From the Annals of the Writers – In 1890, Katherine Anne Porter (nee Callie Russell Porter) was born in Indian Creek. At age two, her family moved to Kyle after the death of her mother in child birth. They lived with her paternal grandmother Catherine Ann Porter – whose name she later adopted – until her death when KAP was 11. After that the family moved around Texas and Louisiana. She received little formal education beyond elementary school but did attend the Thomas School in San Antonio. She left home at 16 married a well-to-do scion of a ranching family who physically abused her. They divorced after about a decade and she had her name changed to Katherine Anne Porter in the divorce decree. After her divorce she spent time in New York and Mexico where she became acquainted with Mexican leftists such as Diego Rivera. She made her living ghost writing and doing publicity work for movies. Her first published story was Maria Concepcion in The Century Magazine. In 1930, she published her first short-story collection, Flowering Judas and Other Stories. After an expanded edition of this collection was published in 1935, she began to receive true critical acclaim. Her only novel Ship of Fools was a best-seller and the movie rights made her financially independent. She continued to write short stories including Noon Wine, a collection of short stories set in Central Texas. Today she widely recognized as a master of the short story genre. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965) won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Award. She died in 1980 and her ashes were buried along side her mother in the Indian Creek cemetery. She is a must read for all lovers of Texas literature.
From the Annals of the Theatre – In 1921, the Majestic Theater opened in Dallas. This was during the Vaudeville Era and the MT hosted a variety of acts rangint from Harry Houdini to Mae West to Bob Hope. The Theater was named to the National Register of Historic Places and re-opened on January 28, 1983, as an elegant center for the performing arts in downtown Dallas. The MT presents music concerts of all stripes, traditional theater, musicals, comedians, movies, lectures and a variety of other events.
From the Annals of the Theatre – In 1958, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Globe of the Great Southwest. The theater is located in Odessa and is a replica of the original Globe Theater in Southwark, London which was built in 1598 for William Shakespeare’s acting company. Now called simply the Globe Theater and operated by Odessa College, the theatre is 410-seat venue featuring an authentic Elizabethan stage used for classical and modern plays as well as community theater, concerts and other community events. The GT was built in response to a proposal from Odessa College Professor Marjorie Morris. Shakespearean scholar Dr. Allardyce Nicoll has called the theater “the most nearly authentic replica of Shakespeare’s own Globe anywhere on Earth.”
From the Annals of the Museums – In 1980, The Old Jail Art Center opened to the public in Albany. The OJAC was originally located in Shackelford County’s former jail house. Additional buildings have been added for more exhibition and operation space as well as an education wing. The museum is home to an impressive collection of more than 2000 works and features important traveling exhibits. The original jail building is an outstanding example of 19th Century Classic Architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a must see if you are travelling through the area.
From the Annals of the Artists – In 1911, the Elisabet Ney Museum was founded in Austin. It served as one of the earliest centers for artistic development in Texas. The German-born Ney spent the first half of her life in Europe before emigrating to the U.S. at the age of 39 with her husband Edmund Montgomery. The first settled in Georgia before coming to Texas where Montgomery purchased Liendo Plantation near Hempstead. Ney ran the plantation while Montgomery tended to his studies. In the early 1880’s, Ney was invited to Austin by Gov. Oran Roberts. She purchase land in Hyde Park and built a new studio named Formosa. She revitalized her artistic career in Austin creating her most famous works – statutes of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for the Chicago World’s fair and the memorial to Albert Sydney Johnson in the Texas State Cemetery. The museum which bears her named is located on the site of her studio in Hyde Park.
From the Annals of Broadway – In 1913, Mary Martin, star of stage and screen, was born in Weatherford, Texas. Martin was encouraged to perform in local theater as a child and began voice lessons at age twelve. Her first success was on Broadway in Cole Porter’s Leave It To Me . Martin sang the show-stopper “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and was an instant hit with Broadway audiences. Although she appeared in at least 10 films, Martin’s greatest success came in musical theatre – starring in productions of South Pacific , Peter Pan , The Sound of Music, and I Do, I Do among many others.