Digital Collections

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

Purple Twilight

Purple Twilight, Original model
No. 15, 1935

[Jake and Nancy Hamon]

[Jake and Nancy Hamon], 1982

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

[Jake Hamon, Seated]

[Jake Hamon, Seated]

Untitled [Blue Hat Design by Nancy Hamon]

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

[Jake and Nancy Hamon Dancing]

[Jake and Nancy Hamon

Untitled [Green Dress Design by Nancy Hamon]

Untitled, ca. 1933-1942

About the Collection

Holding library: Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library

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[Jake and Nancy Hamon, Seated]Overview

The Jake and Nancy Hamon Papers collection contains the personal papers of Jake and Nancy Hamon. Jake Hamon was a legendary Dallas independent wildcatter while his wife Nancy was a celebrated hostess and philanthropist. The collection offers insights into Dallas social and cultural history. The bulk of the materials originate from Dallas, Texas.

The Jake and Nancy Hamon papers include a wide variety of materials, consisting primarily of correspondence, photographs and scrapbooks. The bulk of the materials can be dated from 1940 to 2000. In addition, the collection contains artwork, clippings, documents, ephemera, manuscripts, published works, scrapbooks, photographs and three-dimensional objects.

A finding aid for the collection is available in TARO.

The Lives of Jake and Nancy Hamon

Jake Hamon was born on July 24, 1902 in Lawton, Oklahoma. After dropping out of the University of Chicago, he was working in the oil fields by 1920. He entered into a partnership with Edwin B. Cox in 1921. In 1934, he became the youngest ever appointed director of the American Petroleum Institute and the only independent oil man to serve as its chairman. The partnership with Cox dissolved in 1950 and Hamon incorporated independently as the Hamon Oil Co. He was very involved in arts and civic organizations such as the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, The Dallas Zoological Society, and Southern Methodist University.

Nancy Hamon was born on December 12, 1918 in San Antonio, Texas to McMaster Blackburn and Estelle Blackburn (known as Mamacita). She studied paleontology at the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1930s for a short time before leaving for her first marriage which lasted only four years. She then briefly worked in Hollywood as a dancer with a small dance group led by Russian ballet master David Lichine and appeared in films such as The Heat’s On (1943). During World War II, she spent a year in Hawaii with an Army special services acting troupe, playing the lead in Petticoat Fever opposite a young Carl Reiner. She married Jake L. Hamon in 1949 and moved to Dallas. Mrs. Hamon was an extraordinary hostess and was known for the extravagant theme parties she hosted with her husband [Jake and Nancy Hamon, Snapshot]during the 1950s and 1960s. Themes included circus, Moulin Rouge and others, even a Silent Movies theme party which featured Louis Armstrong.

Mrs. Hamon was a legendary philanthropist and Dallas benefited from her enormous generosity, particularly to the arts, education and medicine. For example, Mrs. Hamon contributed millions of dollars to such causes as the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Winspear Opera House, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, the Dallas Zoo, The University of Texas at Dallas, the Salvation Army, the Dallas Public Library, Buckner Children and Family Services of North Texas, the African American Museum at Fair Park, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; the Dallas Theater Center; and numerous other causes in other cities such as San Antonio, San Francisco and New York.

About Nancy Hamon's Sketches

Mrs. Hamon’s fashion design sketches were completed while she was in her late teens and early twenties. The vibrant sketches were made using tempera, watercolor, pen and pencil on paper. These wonderfully executed sketches demonstrate Mrs. Hamon’s remarkable talent and lifelong passion for the arts and fashion.

Items in SMU Libraries Digital Collections are digitized following the nCDS Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the Digital Collections Workflow and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite Bywaters Special Collections, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting

For more information about the collection, please contact