The Texas Poets' Corner was the inspiration of Dr. Jenny Lind Porter, Professor of English at West Texas State University from 1959-1961 and 1964 Poet Laureate of Texas. Dr. Porter went on to be inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. She has also published numerous poems and books.
At the core of the collections in the Texas Poets' Corner are approximately 1,800 rare books, numerous pieces of furniture, artwork, photographs, and manuscripts donated by Dr. Porter and her husband Lawrence E. Scott. Valued at above $250,000, the gift consists of:
- first editions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter and House of Seven Gables,
- a 1787 supplementary printing of the Edinburgh edition of Robert Burns' Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect,
- a first edition of Emily Dickinson's Poems, Second Series,
- a 1605 book of the writings of the Roman philosopher Seneca,
- a collection of poems by Francis Scott Key, which is thought to include the first appearance of "The Star Spangled Banner" in a book,
- O. Henry's original handwritten manuscript for his short story, "A Fog in Santone".
The artwork includes the painting, "Hazy Day," by Texas artist, M. Walton Leader and a carving of Stephen F. Austin by renowned sculptor and wood-carver Peter Mansbendel.
The book collection consists primarily of Texas literature -- with a significant contribution by J. Frank Dobie, renowned folklorist -- and the Casa Magni Collection, which consists primarily of British and American literature by such notable writers as: O. Henry, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Katherine Anne Porter, Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns, Washington Irving, and Robert Browning.
Who May Use the Texas Poets' Corner?
- Anyone doing research with special collections materials may use the Texas Poets' Corner. Visitors who wish to look at the artwork and exhibits in the Room are also welcome. Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult to enter the Reading Room and/or use the collections.
- Special Collections materials must be used in the Casa Magni area of the Texas Poets' Corner, a current registration form must be on file, and you must present a current form of photo-identification.
- No more than two people may use special collections materials at the same time, with the exception of classes booked in advance by instructors. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Visitors will be asked to leave purses, backpacks, briefcases, other containers larger than 9.5" x 6.25", raincoats and overcoats, cutting implements such as scissors, and books and other items not needed for research in one of the lockers provided near the entrance to the Reading Room, before entering. Cameras, tape recorders, and hand-held scanners may be used in the Reading Rooms with the permission of the Special Collections librarian. We are not responsible for personal items left in lockers.
- The following items may be taken into the Texas Poets' Corner: paper, binders and notebooks, pencils (not pens), personal books needed for research, laptop computers, and service animals.
- The Special Collections staff person in the Reading Room is there to assist patrons with their research and to enforce our Reading Room policies. For security purposes the Special Collections staff person reserves the right to check all patrons' papers and books before they leave the Reading Room.
- Group tours of the Reading Room are available, but must be scheduled in advance by calling 651-2208.
- Please complete a registration form and present current photo-identification at the Special Collections Desk, if you wish to use special collections materials. Completion of a registration form is only required once a year. If you have a current registration form on file (registration is good for the academic year, September - August), you will only be asked for current photo-identification.
- Visitors only wishing to look at artwork or view exhibits in the Texas Poets' Corner do not have to complete a registration form or show current photo-id.
- Please sign our patron guest book, before entering the Texas Poets' Corner.
- Please leave purses, backpacks, briefcases, and other containers larger than 9.5" x 6.25", raincoats and overcoats, and cutting implements such as scissors in one of the lockers provided near the entrance to the Reading Room, before entering the Reading Room. Cameras, tape recorders, and hand-held scanners may be used in the Reading Rooms with the permission of Special Collections staff. We are not responsible for personal items left in lockers.
- The following items may be taken into either Reading Room: paper, binders and notebooks, pencils (not pens), personal books needed for research, laptop computers, and service animals.
- All Special Collections materials may only be used in the Casa Magni area of the Texas Poets' Corner. No Special Collections items may be checked out or removed from the Reading Room.
- Complete a request slip at the Special Collections Desk for those items you wish to use. All Special Collections items are considered "closed stack" and are pulled and brought to patrons by Special Collections staff.
- Special Collections staff will pull items for patrons, when given at least 24 hours notice. If a patron has used an item and plan to continue to use it for a while, he/she may request that Special Collections staff hold (do not reshelve) the item(s) for 72 hours.
- Special Collections staff reserve the right to restrict access to materials that have not been processed, are too fragile to handle, and/or have legal restrictions preventing their use. In some cases, copies of materials may be used, but not originals.
- Staff at the Special Collections Desk reserve the right to check all patrons' papers and books when leaving the Reading Room.
- The Texas Poets' Corner is open restricted hours. Special Collections staff will give 30 and 15 minutes notice before closing.