Hamer, Elizabeth Marcelle Lively (1900–1974)

By: Mary Marcelle Hamer Hull

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: February 21, 2021

Marcelle Lively Hamer, librarian and Texas folklorist, was born on July 14, 1900, in Whitewright, Texas, to Robert Morris and Clara Susan (Lemmon) Lively. Her father was a banker and general merchant in Whitewright, and her mother taught English at Grayson College in Whitewright before marrying. Marcelle attended school in Whitewright, spent a primary year at Kidd-Key College in Sherman, then completed her secondary education at Southeastern State Normal in Durant, Oklahoma. She received a two-year degree from Christian College, Columbia, Missouri, in 1919; she was president of the student body and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She received a B.A. in English in 1921 at the University of Oklahoma, where she belonged to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, an organization with which she maintained a lifelong association. In 1939 she received her M.A. in English at the University of Texas. After a year of elementary school teaching in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, she married Robert Coit Hamer, a cotton buyer of Renner, Texas, on October 1, 1922, in Durant, Oklahoma. They lived in Itasca and Austin, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, but their principal residence was in Dallas, where she belonged to the College Club and Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae. She also volunteered at the well-baby clinic that later became Freeman Hospital. The Hamers had a daughter; their marriage ended in divorce in 1930.

From September 1932 until 1955 Marcelle Hamer was head of the Texas Collection at the University of Texas library. From 1955 until 1965 she was librarian of the Southwest Room of the El Paso Public Library, and after retirement she worked briefly at the Mary Couts Burnett Library of Texas Christian University. In addition to her work as librarian, Mrs. Hamer was also treasurer of the Texas Folklore Society from 1934 until 1951. The position included working with editors of the society, including J. Frank Dobie, Harry Huntt Ransom, and Mody Boatright. She also worked with publishers, answered correspondence, and posted the annual society publications. Among her other writings, she compiled and wrote the first publication on the state Governor's Mansion, at the request of Joe Betsy Allred, wife of Governor James Allred. She wrote a chapter for the 1939 Texas Folklore Society publication In the Shadow of History. Her contributions to the Southwestern Historical Quarterly included an article entitled "Huntsville Centennial of Statehood Celebration" (1947). For the Frontier Times she wrote an article on Texas politics (1944). To the Library Chronicle of the University of Texas (1950) she contributed an article on the growth of the Texas Collection at UT.

During her years in Austin Hamer was an active member of the Texas Folklore Society, the Texas State Historical Association, and the Christian Church. In El Paso and Fort Worth she also belonged to the Westerners Corral. After retirement from the El Paso Public Library in 1965, she moved to Fort Worth, where she lived until her death, on March 4, 1974. She was buried in Oakhill Cemetery, Whitewright.

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Francis E. Abernethy, The Texas Folklore Society, 1909–1943, Vol. 1, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 51 (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1992). Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 5, 1974. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Folklorists
  • Women
  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Archivists
  • Librarians
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Central Texas
  • Austin
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • Southwest Texas
  • El Paso

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

Mary Marcelle Hamer Hull, “Hamer, Elizabeth Marcelle Lively,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hamer-elizabeth-marcelle-lively.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
February 21, 2021

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: