Day, Donald (1899–1991)

By: Dorothy Wimberley Kerbow

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 1995

Donald Day, writer, was born Horace Henry Day on May 11, 1899, at Millseat, Hays County, Texas, to Lillie (Saunders) and Edward Manning Day. A child of teachers, he was well educated in the San Marcos schools, where he graduated from high school; he then attended Southwest Texas State Normal College at San Marcos. He served in the United States Army during World War I. In 1918 he received his bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas and in 1924 his master's from the University of Texas at Austin. On September 18, 1923, he was married to Nina Mae Starnes, and they had a daughter. From 1925 to 1927 Day taught economics at the University of South Dakota. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 1940. He edited the Southwest Review at Southern Methodist University in Dallas (1943–45) and was a staff writer and roving editor for Readers Digest and a regional editor for Southwest and West. Donald Day was a prolific writer, and most of his works are biographical. Books that he wrote or contributed to include Backwoods to Border (edited with Mody C. Boatright and published by the Texas Folklore Society in 1942); From Hell to Breakfast (also edited with Boatright and published by the Texas Folklore Society around 1944); Big Country Texas (1947, edited by Erskine Caldwell); The Autobiography of Will Rogers (1949, edited by Day); Franklin D. Roosevelt's Own Story (1951, published concurrently in the United States and in Germany); Will Rogers on How We Elect Our Presidents (1952, selected and edited by Donald Day); Woodrow Wilson's Own Story (1952, selected and edited by Donald Day); Uncle Sam's Uncle Josh (1953); The Autobiography of Sam Houston (1954, edited by Donald Day and Harry Herbert Ullom); and The Evolution of Love (1954). Donald Day died on July 22, 1991, in a rest home at Westport, Connecticut. At his request he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered over Hartford, Connecticut, the place where the name of an ancestor, Robert Day, is engraved on a shaft as a founder of Hartford. Donald Day was married six times. He was survived by his wife, Klari Day.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Journals and Publications
  • Folklorists
  • Historians
  • Nonfiction

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

Dorothy Wimberley Kerbow, “Day, Donald,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995