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The Paris Junior College History Department, in a continuing project, collects oral histories from Lamar County veterans of World War II. In recordings and transcripts, the veterans bring to life what it meant to serve 60 years ago.

Listed below are links to historical and genealogical societies and related groups and institutions within the Paris Junior College service area.


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Tribute to Dr. Hayden

Posted 05.24.10 at 9:05 AM

I mourn the recent passing of my good friend, Dr. William deG. Hayden, who was truly a great friend of his adopted city, Paris, Texas, as both a medical doctor and an historical preservationist of the utmost dedication. He is still much on my mind, as over the years, I had the opportunity to work with him and to know him as a friend.
I have many fond memories of him. I often called him for a bit of information that I needed, and likewise, he’d call me to look up something for him.  One time he called me to do a program on Sidney Lanier, the famous Southern poet, for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and I said that I didn’t know that much about Lanier, and he said, “Well, you can look him up, can’t you?” Indeed I did and enjoyed working up the program, which I gave for the Sons in the second floor meeting room of the museum on the grounds of his home.
I’ll never forget being at his interview of Mary Atkinson, now deceased, in Clarksville, Texas. She was the last remaining descendant of Frederic Douglas. He brought her to Paris for the Smithsonian Exhibit “Before Freedom Came” at the Hayden Museum.
Dr. Hayden was a Southern gentleman, in my book, and his charming, courtly manner didn’t hurt him a bit. It was always a pleasure to hear that deep, softly-accented voice, and it was surely a pleasure to see his many treasures at the museum and to enjoy the beautiful grounds of Belle Cheniere. I have a particular place in my heart for the Bayou Teche country of Southeast Louisiana, and when I could start him talking about it, because he came from there, it was just so much fun for me. I loved to hear about New Iberia, Shadows on the Teche, and the Southern writers he had known.
He told me once that the first time he ever saw Betty (who became his wife), he thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Betty, too, has told me much about the Louisiana where she grew up, and I concur with Dr. Hayden. Betty is a rare and precious woman, and she took loving care of Dr. Hayden until the end. I thank her for that.
Farewell, Dr. Hayden. We’ll never forget you, and we’ll try to follow your motto, printed in every issue of The Maxey Dispatch: “Stand firmly by your cannon / Let ball and grape shot fly. / And trust in God and Davis, / But keep your powder dry.”

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Summer Hours

Posted 05.17.10 at 8:52 AM

Summer Hours

Another semester is finished at Paris Junior College, ending my teaching obligations until next fall. Summer archives hours are as follows:

Mon. - Thurs. 8-12, 1-5
Fri. 8 - 12
Closed Sat. and Sun.

As ever, vacations must be taken. The archives will be closed June 1 - 18. Normal working hours will resume on June 21.
If you fail to find me “at home” when you visit the campus and the archives, please email your requests to [email protected]. Be sure to include your mailing address, in case I find information for you. Photocopies are ten cents a sheet; microfilm copies .25 cents a sheet, and I will bill you. Because of limited manpower, we cannot undertake major searches for microfilmed news stories and obituaries without a specific death date.

Don’t forget that you can also post enquiries on this website.

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Recent Gifts

Posted 12.22.09 at 12:30 PM

Recent Gifts

The Ties That Bind: A Georgetown, Texas Memoir by Louise Walsh of Montgomery, Texas. She acknowledges our assistance in researching Morris Fleming in the lat 1940s. The book is essentially about Morris’ “arduous love affair” with Early Price of Georgetown. According to Louise, the Flemings lived in Paris from 1910-1969 when Morris died.  He was Vice President and Trust Officer of First National Bank, and she was active in DAR and First Methodist Church. They sent all three of their daughters to Paris Junior College before they went on to universities in Texas. One of them, Louise Snow, was an English teacher at Paris High School.

Another wonderful gift received after homecoming 2009, through Derald Bulls, is the 1957-58 Paris Junior College scrapbook of Betty June Shew, now Mrs. Troy Owens, of Lamar County. This album is filled with the type of PJC memorabilia which students typically toss away in time or is destroyed over the years, but which is extremely valuable to college historians.
Of interest to me, in particular, is the student directory listing every student by name, address, and phone number. She kept a student “petition,” signed by 82
Students (I counted) although Ralph Webb had slipped his signature into it: “We, the undersigned, do hereby request that JEROME DE ORE shave off the unsightly hair that covers the larger part of an otherwise attractive face,” dated Feb. 7, 1958.
Also, pictures and stories about “Western Day,” Feb. 27, 1958, and a story in the Bat highlighting Fulton Stevens and Betty Shew for their election as “Dude Darlins’” According to the Bat, festivities were held in the auditorium with the “XERF radio station in Del Rio, Texas.” The station “took the audience by remote control to the PJC campus, the only college in the south with used henhouses for dormitories.” How far the entertainment preferences of our students have come in this day of texting and vampires!

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State Aid

Posted 12.15.09 at 11:56 AM

Title: State Aid

How times have changed. In 1941-42, Paris Junior College received a total of $22,358.30, or $49.21 per student from “state aid,” as a result of the bill introduced by Sen. A. M. Aikin, Jr., who was an ex-student of PJC. In the 47th Legislature, this would give $50 per capita for full-time students as of Nov. 1, 1941, enrolled in junior colleges. It was anticipated that during 1942-43, enrollments would be declining.
This was the second year that PJC would receive aid under the bill passed by the 47th Legislature and signed by Gov. W. Lee O’Daniel.

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Legion of Honor

Posted 08.10.09 at 11:08 AM

There have been many “perks” in my job as the PJC archivist over the years, mainly involving people I have met, many of them veterans, but last week I had the great privilege of interviewing Terrell Boyd concerning the June 2009 trip that he, his wife, Dorothy, and their sons and daughters-in-law, Gary Boyd, Craig and Maudie Boyd, and Alan and Sherrie Boyd, made to Colllville-sur-mer at the special invitation of the French government for Terrell to accept the Legion of Honor for his service to France during World War II. In short, Terrell landed at Normandy on Utah Beach and survived to return home, wed Dorothy in 1950, and raise three fine sons. Terrell has also been blessed with the means to return to Normandy several times in his 87 years, drawn back always to the cemetery where many of his friends lie buried, a scene familiar to many of us from “Saving Private Ryan.,” which Terrell says he has yet to watch after hearing his sons describe it. (It took me several attempts to watch it through to the end.)

One of the many celebrities that he met at the ceremony in France was Tom Hanks, and he has many pictures to prove that he sat and conversed with Tom Hanks several times. There they are, and Mr. Hanks appears to be hanging on Terrell’s every word.

Many of Terrell’s vivid memories of “how it was” bring tears to my eyes, but he has his emotions firmly under control. In doing my “homework” before this interview, I learned that one of the invited survivors actually died the night before he was to receive his medal. Critically ill, he had made the trip, nonetheless, and “did his duty,” as he saw it. To hear Terrell tell about it all, you’ll have to come to the archives and see the tape, which is having its edit right now. I can tell you, though, that Billy Brown, who did the taping, hung on his every word, as did I, and a couple of hours had passed before we even knew it.
It was extremely moving to me when Terrell brought out the Legion of Honor, which is a fairly small medal (what had I expected?), but oh, my, what it symbolizes! I’ve heard from visitors to Normandy, besides the Boyds, tell about how the villagers and citizens of the small towns come out and welcome them. They may have forgotten in the cities, but the “country people” haven’t forgotten the Nazis.

I think about our own young folks, too. I’ve read that they don’t “connect” as well to the World War Two era as us old folks do. I wonder if they believe that Terrell Boyd saw parachutists hanging shot dead tangled in tree limbs on his torturous journey inland. I really wonder sometimes, but I pray that they do believe it all happened the way that he and other veterans say that it did. Could it happen again? It happened once worldwide.

Of course, Terrell taught for 27 years in what became the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology, training many disabled veterans in his demanding craft. He was cited for this work by the President’s Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped in 1961 and inducted into the PJC Hall of Honor in 1996, but for me, his greatest achievement in life was to climb that beachhead at Normandy. I don’t have many heroes in this life, but Terrell Boyd stands at the top of my list.

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