SMU's Degolyer Library held a public reception for Dallas real estate legend Ebby Halliday in honor of the publication of her new biography, Ebby Halliday: First Lady of Real Estate, on Feb. 15, 2009.
Halliday began her career selling hats. Impressed with her sales talents, the husband of one of her customers asked Halliday if she could sell 50 insulated concrete homes he had built. She spent her savings decorating one of the homes – creating in 1944 one of the first model homes. Within nine months she sold all the homes and launched Ebby Halliday Realtors, which is now ranked 23rd nationwide with annual sales totaling more than $3 billion.
A popular speaker, the 97-year-old dynamo continues to attract standing-room only crowds. Halliday charms and inspires her audiences with humor and motivational messages, but she brings them to their feet with her unique closing – a song composed for the occasion that she sings while strumming the ukulele.
Halliday’s speeches and lyrics to tunes such as “Camptown Races” or “Five Foot Two” are included among the papers she has given to the Archives of Women of the Southwest at DeGolyer Library.
The collection was established over a decade ago to document the historical experience of women in the American Southwest. It includes the papers of renowned women in the professions, the arts, and community service such as Lee Cullum, Sarah Cockrell, and Anita Martinez. In addition it includes letters and papers of women in private life, oral histories, and records of women’s organizations such as the Dallas Women’s Foundation.
# # #