A Guide to the Mary Elizabeth Decherd Papers, 1865, 1887-1946
The daughter of physician George Michael Decherd, Mary Elizabeth Decherd (1874-1954) received a bachelor of arts in 1892 and a master of arts in 1897, both in literature from the University of Texas at Austin. A longtime instructor of mathematics at the university, she was heavily involved with the University Methodist Church and its student missions particularly in the church's work to found and support a school in Brazil. Decherd was also active in the greater Methodist Episcopal Church and several aid societies in Austin.
"The Decherds have it." The Alcade, October 1963, 31.
Correspondence, financial records, reports, speeches, a thesis, record books, photographs, and a certificate compose the Mary Elizabeth Decherd Papers, 1865, 1887-1946, documenting Decherd's life and work with Methodist missions and other charitable organizations. Correspondence relating to missionary work, 1915-1931, 1946, particularly by the Austin, Texas, University Methodist Church in Brazil, describes fundraising activities, the missions, and planning. Reports and speeches, 1925-1928, and financial records, such as receipts, pledges, and statements, 1915-1931, also pertain to the missions. Early records of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society, 1899-1909, and the Ladies Aid Society, 1887-1908, consist of bound volumes of minutes, membership lists, and financial information. Three snapshot photographs depict people and places from Decherd's travels, while a 1924 certificate commends her missionary work. Furthermore, the collection contains Decherd's masters thesis on Chaucer, 1897; genealogical material; and family correspondence, including a letter from her brother Henry Benjamin Decherd describing the 1900 Galveston flood.
This collection is open for research use.
Mary Elizabeth Decherd Papers, 1865, 1887-1946, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers