Object Lessons on the American Southwest

Object Lessons on the American Southwest

pottery and rug from Ware Collection

The Frances Golden Ware Gift, among the newest acquisitions by Hamon Arts Library, comprises a collection of baskets, pottery, Native American and Mesoamerican textiles and other artifacts from New Mexico, collected for decades by Frances Golden Ware ’44. The SMU alumna, who died in 2010, possessed a fondness for the region’s art and culture, and began forming relationships with artists in the pueblo communities as early as the 1950s. The 90-piece collection includes an antique Navajo rug circa 1910-20, pottery from the Santa Clara pueblo, and several signed Maria Martinez pots from the San Ildefonso pueblo. Some items were purchased directly from the pueblo artisans.

The items were part of the estate of Ware’s son, Dr. John Ware. In dispersing his estate in 2018, the family always wanted the items to come to the SMU Libraries in honor of their mother. They will complement the regional artifacts being used at the SMU-in-Taos campus in Fort Burgwin, New Mexico.

“Objects like these from the Ware collection are precious to have for use in teaching and research assignments,” said Mike Adler, director of SMU-in-Taos. “Courses in archaeology, anthropology, photography, marketing and others benefit from access to early examples of American Southwest culture.”

Ware’s SMU connections go all the way back to the University’s founding. Her grandfather, Stephen J. Hay, an early Dallas mayor, lobbied to bring SMU to Dallas while her grandmother, Mary Hay, was the University’s first dean of women. Mary Hay Hall residence hall in the North Quad was named for her. Ware’s mother Frances Hay Golden, taught music at SMU from 1919-57. At SMU, Ware was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a Rotunda Beauty, a school favorite and student body secretary. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English, she taught school for several years in Highland Park. Ware was an ardent supporter of Friends of the SMU Libraries, joining in January 1989. She went on to serve two terms on the board, 1997-2001, and twice served on the Tables of Content (TOC) committee in 2001 and 2002.