STEPHENVILLE — A pair of iconic organizations, each with a legacy encompassing more than a century of Texas history, have joined forces. The 109-year-old Texas Folklore Society is partnering with Tarleton State University and will move its offices to the Dora Langdon Center in Granbury.
“This is another opportunity for Tarleton, given our own rich history, to have a very visible presence and make a significant contribution in the preservation of Texas history and culture,” said Dr. Eric V. Morrow, dean of Tarleton’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
The Texas Folklore Society is the oldest state folklore organization continuously functioning in the United States. Founded in 1909, it held its first meeting on the University of Texas campus in 1911. Its list of distinguished members includes Texas folklore icon J. Frank Dobie, who served as secretary-editor for more than two decades.
With its diverse research interests, the society has published more than 100 volumes of folklore-related works. Members overwhelmingly voted to make the move after a statewide appeal for an institutional partner.
Highly regarded publisher, writer, historian, and folklorist, Frances B. Vick is the recently elected secretary-editor, and serves as the first woman to hold the position. She voted to relocate in Granbury, as did 18 past presidents and all three living fellows.
“We know that our new host institution values the work that we do — collecting, preserving and sharing folklore of Texas and the Southwest,” she said. “Tarleton State University is in a position to help us expand that work, and realizes what the Texas Folklore Society can bring to the campus and community.
The organization tentatively plans to move during the summer, followed by a national search for a director who will serve in a dual capacity — leading the Folklore Society and holding a faculty position as folklorist in the Tarleton Department of English and Languages.
The agreement also is expected to benefit other university partners. “We see the collaboration between the W.K . Gordon Center, the Langdon Center and the Texas Folklore Society as raising our research and program profile in the areas of Texas history and culture,” Morrow said.
“Through this partnership, we envision a strong level of engagement between these centers and programs. While each has its own mission, their shared focus on Texas will yield significant research opportunities and unique events.”
Vick added that Granbury is a “wonderful place with a lot of exciting things going on, and we will bring something, too — book signings, all sorts of events, and our annual meeting there next April. It’s a great fit, and we’re very excited.”