Dallas Historical Society

By: Guy C. Vanderpool

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: May 29, 2020

On March 31, 1922, George B. Dealey and 100 other charter members founded the Dallas Historical Society. It was incorporated as an educational institution on August 10, 1922. Since its founding the society has focused on collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials relating to the history of Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, and the Southwest. The society originally operated out of the library of Southern Methodist University, but moved to the Hall of State at Fair Park in 1938. The society is a private nonprofit organization, and membership is open to the public. The society offers several educational programs. It provides school tours of the Hall of State to area school children studying Texas and United States history. The tours use the art, architecture, regional rooms, and statues of the Hall of State as teaching tools. The society also has outreach programs. An outreach specialist travels to area schools and uses artifact reproductions and slides to illustrate talks on Indians of Texas, African Americans, pioneers, and cowboys. In addition, the society presents exhibits from its own archival and museum collections and hosts traveling exhibitions. Dallas Historical Society operates the George B. Dealey Library at the Hall of State, which is open to the public by appointment. The library's holdings include 2.5 million archival documents, 3,000 photographs, 14,000 books, and 3,000 periodicals.The collection contains rare books and manuscripts on the founding of the Republic of Texas, Texas since 1845, and Dallas and North Texas. Large archival collections include the papers of local, state, and national leaders, such as pioneer attorney John C. McCoy, nineteenth century businesswoman Sarah Horton Cockrell, Congressman Hatton W. Sumners, Democratic party leader Thomas B. Love, George W. Briggs, Sam Acheson, Joseph W. Bailey, Jessie Daniel Ames, Dallas Morning News publisher George B. Dealey, "the Heroine of Tampico" Anne Chase, philanthropist Elmer Scott, P. Pacheco Martinez, Margaret Scruggs Caruth, John M. Moore, and the 1936 Texas Centennial Commission. The society's museum collection has over 15,000 items, including 3,500 costumes. The collection centers on the social, economic, and political history of Dallas and Texas. Rare items include the spurs of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the watch of James W. Fannin, and a sugar bowl made by a slave in Nacogdoches. In recent years the society has made strong efforts to acquire items documenting the different cultures living in Dallas and North Texas. The society's publications include Dallas Rediscovered: A Photographic Chronicle of Urban Expansion. 1870–1925 (1978); When Dallas Became a City: The Letters of John M. McCoy, 1870 to 1881 (1982); and Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, which is published with the Dallas County Heritage Society.

Dallas Historical Society (Dallas: Dallas Historical Society, 1938).

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

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

Guy C. Vanderpool, “Dallas Historical Society,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dallas-historical-society.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 29, 2020

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