Godbold, Mollie Moore (1877–1964)

By: Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: December 4, 2019

Mollie Moore Godbold, playwright, was born in Proctor, Comanche County, Texas, on November 4, 1877, the daughter of Thomas Oscar and Sarah Thomas Moore. She was named for her father's sister, writer Mollie Evelyn Moore Davis. She received her education in the public schools of Comanche and through tutoring at home. In 1897 she married Sanc Wilbur Godbold; the couple had two sons and one daughter.

Mrs. Godbold began writing plays in 1909 and eventually her works, largely written for amateur performance groups, became nationally known. Her first play, a comedy called The Microbe of Love, was written when an amateur drama group in Comanche needed a piece to perform. The production was a success, and the author soon received requests from other cities for copies of the play. Eventually, the Wayne B. Sewell Lyceum and Producing Company of Atlanta, Georgia, published the play, and it was performed in almost every state in the country. After this initial favorable reception as a playwright, Godbold, by that time a widow, continued to publicize her first work and to produce other pieces. Her plays, many with Texas settings, were often performed first in Comanche and played in numerous Texas towns and cities, often under her direction. She stressed that as a single mother she wrote as time allowed and always hoped to provide wholesome humor to mollify life's disappointments. Her second work, Polly Tickks, also was contracted by Sewell. In 1924 Godbold joined Hettie Jane Dunnaway (the wife of Wayne Sewell) to write The Flapper Grandmother. Her next play was Help Yourself (1926, revised in 1930), a three-act musical comedy set in a small Central Texas town; it was produced in more than twenty-five states. That same year Godbold wrote The Love Cure, a one-act comedy that was published by Samuel French and performed in Canada, Jamaica, and the United States. The Love Cure and The Microbe of Love were later combined in a musical comedy arrangement as The Love Bug (1930). Gun-Shy (1930), a three-act comedy set in a small West Texas town, was followed by Raw Edges, a drama that premiered in Dallas in 1934. In her musical works, Godbold composed all the songs as well as the scripts.

She also wrote articles, poems, and novels. Two of her novels, Raw Edges and Gun Shy, were based on earlier plays of the same name; her third novel was Quality Folks. One of her last writing efforts was a two-part article on Comanche, Texas, and the gunman John Wesley Hardin, which appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1963. Mollie Godbold, a resident of Dallas from 1922 until her death, was active in numerous civic and professional groups, including Dallas Pen Women, Little Theater of Dallas, Texas Woman's Press Association (now Texas Press Women), and the Presbyterian Church. In addition to these interests, "Miss Mollie" was an avid walker, horseback rider, and fisher. She died in Dallas on June 4, 1964, and was buried in Comanche. Her survivors included her three children and several grandchildren and siblings.

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Florence Elberta Barns, Texas Writers of Today (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). Dallas Morning News, April 18, 1926, June 5, 1964. Dallas Times Herald, June 4, 1964.

  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Poets
  • Women
  • Authors and Writers
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, “Godbold, Mollie Moore,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/godbold-mollie-moore.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
December 4, 2019

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