She Died in Her Boots

One of the things I enjoy most about working in the Special Collections department of our library is helping customers locate a birth or marriage announcement, an obituary, or a historical news article. I have to admit though, quite often when you are looking for something specific it is hard to stay on task.  Those old papers are a fascinating snapshot in time and space, providing a unique glimpse of the day to day life in a community. As the headlines scroll across the screen, you often stumble upon something amazing.  Here is one of those headlines that captured my eye and sparked my imagination.

Rosanna McCormick

I think that this short notice of death reads like an outline for a character from a novel. In fact, if I ever do write a novel Ms. McCormick might become my inspiration. Many times an obituary provides answers to questions about people’s lives, this one only makes me want to find out more about Rosanna McCormick.

It must have intrigued others as well. The article was picked up in syndication and ran in papers across the States. This version was published on Tuesday, March, 26 1889 in the Macon Telegraph (GA).  I found it through one of our online resources American’s Genealogy Bank (AGB). If you are doing family history research AGB is a great resource to use. Not only does it have searchable historical newspapers (1690-1922) from across the United States it also provides access to America’s Obituaries, full text obituaries for individuals who have died from 1977 to the present day. If you have a Denton Library card you can log into AGB remotely or it is available on any computer at our library branches.

Special Collections Librarian
Emily Fowler Central Library


In The Weeds 4.18.15: UNT on the Square-125 Years Ago.

Some of you youngsters or new Denton residents may not be aware that The University of North Texas was “On The Square”, to paraphrase the name of their current storefront on Elm, long before the past few years. And, if you happen to walk along the northwest corner at the intersection of Elm and Oak you might notice an historical plaque on the Thomas Ethan Allen store stating that the very first classes for the “Normal College” were held in the second story of a hardware store at that location. Have you ever wondered what that building looked like? One great resource for doing historic research in Texas are the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which can be accessed from our genealogy page. Searching Denton in that database, there is a two page map for February 1891. Classes commenced September 16, 1890 and it is a bit of an historical gem that the map actually states that the school existed there. Observe the following segment(click on image for larger view):

NormalCollegeSquare 1891

Right above the word “Oak” you will see “Normal College 2nd (temporary)”. We were contacted by UNT recently to see if we had a picture of that building on or about 1890. To our knowledge none exist, but the earliest we have found is a still from a silent film entitled “Denton 1913: City of Education”. Yes, there was a film about Denton that early and it can be viewed at the Emily Fowler Library. Here is a still from that movie showing the building on that corner with “Taylor Hardware Company” along the top:


In the history of UNT entitled “Down the Corridor of Years” (La Forte, Himmel) there is printed a picture from 1930 of the same building stating that it was the location of the first classes:



While working on this request with UNT, it was discovered that there had been a fire on that location some years before 1890 and prior a Sanborn Map states this. Thus, if in fact this is the same building as claimed in the UNT book, it must have been virtually new. Here is a picture of the west side of the square looking north along Elm St. ca. 1888:

West Square


As you can see, right beyond the still existing Scripture Building at the far end of the block there appears to be an empty lot across Oak St. So, unless the building housing the first Normal School classes subsequently burned or was torn down and another replaced it, the Taylor Hardware building is the one. If you look back at the Sanborn map, the footprint of that building and of Taylor are likely exactly the same.

Why was this only a temporary location for the Normal School? The group of local buisnessmen and supporters of the new school known as “The Syndicate” had purchased property west of town but had yet to complete the first official college building. Thus, they needed a temporary home for the first school year, 1890-1891.

Thanks for reading and thanks to Jill King and the UNT Archives for information regarding the lot prior to 1890.

I can be reached at




Miss Emily’s JukeJoint

“Lets Face the Music, and Dance”- Irving Berlin

Greetings from Miss Emilys’ JukeJoint aka the Emily Fowler Library Music CD collection. This is Chuck Voellinger, your DJ, so to speak. A few things to note:

-We are consolidating some music collections, so you may notice changes to labels on Music CDs and to the headings in the drawers. For example, all music in the Classical genre will be cataloged and searchable that way. We will no longer have the headings, “piano music”, “guitar music”, etc. on the shelves- you may still search for those terms in the catalog, however. For instance, a subject search for “sonatas” will return any items we have that are cataloged with that term but they will all be found on the shelf under the broad category “Classical”. For more information, please contact a staff member if you have questions.

Here are the old collections followed by the corresponding new name. Some have not changed, however.

Ballet Music – Classical

Band Music – Classical

Chamber Music – Classical

Childrens – Childrens

Choral Music – Classical

Country – Country and Bluegrass

Electronic Music – Rock & Popular

Folk, American – Folk

Folk, World – Folk

Gospel – Gospel

Guitar Music – Classical, Rock & Popular or Jazz & Blues

Holiday – Holiday

Jazz – Jazz & Blues

Musicals – Soundtracks and Musicals

Operas – Operas

Orchestral – Classical

Organ Music – Classical

Percussion Music – Classical

Piano Music – Classical

Popular – Rock & Popular

Rap – Rap

Rock – Rock & Popular

Soundtracks – Soundtracks and Musicals

String Music – Classical

Symphonies – Classical

Variety/Humor – Comedy

Violin Music – Classical

Vocal Music – Classical

Wind Music – Classical

Spanish – Spanish

Other Languages (French, Arabic, etc) – World, “Language”

These changes have already occured at the North and South Branch, so you may have already noticed or are already familiar.

In the next posting we’ll get into some buried treasures perhaps and talk about music.

For your viewing edification: “Po’ Monkey’s” Juke Joint, Mississippi Delta.