The personal papers of two women poets are available for research in Special Collections: the Violette Newton Papers and the Ramona Maher Weeks Papers. These collections trace the lives and literary careers of these women and their love for poetry.
Born in Alexandria, Louisiana in 1912, Violette Newton moved to Port Arthur as a child. She loved poetry, storytelling, and writing from a young age. She married Wilben Long Newton soon after graduating from Lamar University in Beaumont. The Newtons raised their children in a home environment full of art, literature, and music. As her children got older, Violette spent more time writing poetry and began submitting her verses for publication. She went on to publish her first book, Moses in Texas, in 1967, at the age of 55. She would go on to publish 20 more volumes of poetry and receive numerous awards for her writing. In 1973, Governor Dolph Briscoe named Newton the Poet Laureate of Texas. She mentored young writers and poets, and advocated for poetry across the state. Violette died in 2013 at the age of 100. She donated some of her papers to TCU in 1999 and 2000, including scrapbooks, manuscripts, correspondence with notable Texas writers and publisher, and personal reminiscences of her career.
A 1953 graduate of TCU, Ramona Maher Weeks wrote young adult novels in the genres of historical fiction and mystery. She co-founded The Baleen Press with her friend Joy Harvey and published the poetry journal Inscape. Weeks herself was a prolific and widely published poet. Her books include Lincoln County Poems, About Armadillos and Others, and Alice Yazzie’s Year. She donated her papers to TCU in 1967, 1985, and her son donated the remainder in 2013. The papers include manuscripts and drafts of her books, poetry, and other writings, correspondence with family, friends, and fellow writers, photographs, and memorabilia from her days as a student at TCU. Weeks also worked as an editor at the University of New Mexico Press, the University of Washington Press, and for the Arizona Education Association. She died in 1996.
These collections compliment the Mabel Kuykendall Papers, also recently added to Special Collections. These collections give insight into the work of these three gifted and honored poets. We are glad they have a home at TCU.