Connerly, Doris Hayne (1897–1987)

By: David M. Greathouse

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: September 11, 2019

Doris Hayne Connerly, lawyer and librarian, daughter of Robert Henry and Louise (Hale) Connerly, was born in Austin, Texas, on November 7, 1897. As the director of the Legislative Reference Division of the Texas State Library she served the public and members of legislative, executive, and judicial bodies for thirty-four years (1928–62). The Texas Senate, House of Representatives, and State Library and Historical Commission (see TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION) all passed resolutions honoring her upon her retirement. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1919 and was among the first women lawyers in Texas. After practicing with a prominent Houston law firm for four years, she returned to Austin to become the librarian of the University of Texas law school and to help take care of her invalid mother. In 1928 she was appointed state legislative librarian, a post she held until retirement. She was also acting state librarian from September 1950 through August 1951.

In 1948 Miss Connerly was the first person to be named "Public Employee of the Year," chosen as outstanding among 35,000 state employees (exclusive of college staffs) by the Austin chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. In 1978 she was among fourteen attorneys commended by the Travis County Women Lawyers' Association for their role in establishing the legal profession as a career option for women. She was a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Governor's Committee on Interstate Cooperation, the American Judicature Society, the Colonial Dames of America, and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Her legal and public service interests followed family tradition. Her father, grandfather, and an uncle were attorneys. Her great-grandmother, Sarah Josepha Hale, was editor of the popular women's magazine Godey's Lady's Book from 1837 through 1877 and was an influential advocate for the advancement of women's rights. Doris Connerly's great-grandfather, James Wright Simmons, was secretary of the treasury of the Republic of Texas in the administration of President Mirabeau B. Lamar. She died on November 17, 1987, at College Station, Texas.

Visit the Texas Women Project's standalone website

The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.

Visit Website

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Librarians
  • Women
  • Archivists
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Central Texas
  • Austin
  • College Station

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David M. Greathouse, “Connerly, Doris Hayne,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
September 11, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: