We invite you to look beyond the bricks and mortar and learn more about TWU’s rich history and traditions. For locations, visit our interactive online map.
Texas First Ladies Historic Costume collection
This collection represents a living history of Texas women, with gowns of first ladies of the Republic of Texas, the state, and the U.S. Each of the 47 dresses has been loaned or donated by various sources. The collection originated in 1940 as a statewide project of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), headed by State Regent Marion Day Mullins. The gowns on display change at various times throughout the year, so visitors can enjoy different gowns with each walk through the hall. The collection is located on the second floor of the Administration Conference Tower.
Texas Women’s Hall of Fame
The exhibit features the biographies and photographs of more than 100 pioneering women who have left their mark on the state of Texas. Familiar names include Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court; former Gov. Ann Richards; Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles; and Grammy-winning recording artist Selena Quintanilla. The Governor’s Commission for Women established the hall in 1984 and selected TWU as the exhibit’s permanent home in 2003. The Hall of Fame is located on the second floor of the Blagg-Huey Library.
Sue S. Bancroft Women’s Leadership Hall
The Sue. S Bancroft Women’s Leadership Hall is a breathtaking exhibition gallery showcasing the achievements of women leaders of Texas. This highly interactive space is the flagship of the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership.
Guests are welcomed to the Hall from a grand entrance featuring a replica of Winged Victory of Samothrace. The current reproduction was originally delivered from the Louvre in Paris to TWU in 1982 after an alumna initiated fund drive allowed for the replacement of an earlier 1929 replica. Nancy P. and Thaddeus E. Paup generously funded the restoration of the current 1982 reproduction that now beckons visitors to the gallery located in Old Main. Gallery visitors engage with content in four main exhibit areas: Pioneering Women; Historic Elections; Civic Learning Center and Minnie Fisher Cunningham: Texas Suffragist including a video screen featuring an actor’s portrayal of Minnie Fisher Cunningham.
The Hall is named for Sue S. Bancroft, in recognition of her community leadership in education and the arts, and for her dedication and generous support of women’s leadership.
Named for TWU’s first female president, Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey, the library is more than a resource for students. It houses the Woman’s Collection, the largest source of research materials on Southern and Southwestern women in the United States. The Children’s Collection, located on the first floor, is one of the largest children’s book collections in the country and houses the distinguished Clarabel Tanner Collection of Children’s Book Art. The Cookbook Collection is one of the largest culinary collections in the United States. From abundance to diets, from Prohibition to war, TWU’s collection of cookbooks richly illustrates decades of America’s changing relationship with food.
The library itself is a thing of beauty, with its marble floors, chandeliers and stained-glass windows. The Virginia Thomas Memorial Windows include representations of classical goddesses and muses as well as flowers. The motifs were selected because of their appropriateness to the classical style of the building.
If you’re thirsty or want to grab a snack during your visit to the Blagg-Huey Library, there’s a Starbucks offering a full range of menu items to your left as you enter. If it’s a gorgeous Texas day, you might want to sit by the fountain out front. It’s a popular gathering spot for students.
The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods
The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, one of the most beloved buildings on campus and ranked one of the top things to do in Denton by TripAdvisor®, has for decades provided a quiet, unassuming place for personal reflection.
The chapel was completed in 1939 and was dedicated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Designed by heralded Texas architect O’Neil Ford and his associates A.B. Swank and Preston M. Geren, the chapel was named one of the 20 most outstanding architectural achievements by the Texas Society of Architects.
More than 300 TWU students and faculty contributed to the design and construction of the chapel, including the doors, pews, mosaic work, light fixtures and stained-glass windows that are still in the chapel today. The 10 windows illustrate the theme “Woman Ministering to Human Needs” through the professions of nursing, teaching, science, dance and more.
The Wedding Book tradition
Couples have been saying “I do” in the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods since it was built in 1939. The Bride’s Book tradition began that same year.
The original Bride’s Book contains thousands of names of couples who were married in the Little Chapel between 1939 and 1979. When the book was filled, the tradition ended. In 2001, however, then-Chancellor Ann Stuart commissioned a new book in celebration of TWU’s 100th anniversary.
If you’re curious about a particular ceremony that took place in the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, please contact the University Archives in the Blagg-Huey Library.
Adjacent to the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, the Botanical Gardens were begun in 1930 as both a laboratory for biology students and an instructional and recreational center for all garden lovers. The former 7-acre weed patch today is a haven for flora and fauna. This charming setting has been chosen by thousands of brides for their most cherished photographs.
The gardens were the site of the inaugural “Texas Wildflower Day” and inspired the creation of the first chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. You are welcome to follow in the footsteps of first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Lady Bird Johnson, as well as famed Texas horticulturist Benny Simpson. Look for markers that identify various trees and shrubs.
A shaded rock garden with benches and terraces of native woodbine sandstone provides a quiet place for rest and relaxation. To the west of the rock garden, the Texas Pond not only takes the shape of the Lone Star State, but also is a habitat for water lilies, frogs and turtles.
Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden
This native plant butterfly garden project is designed to attract and sustain monarchs and many other butterflies, bees and birds. Phase I is located on the grounds of the Ann Stuart Science Complex, with Phase 2 to be a large “showcase garden” west of the Texas Pond.
The garden officially has been designated a Monarch Watch waystation, signifying that it provides milkweeds, nectar plants and shelter for monarchs throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration.
In addition to creating another beautiful landmark on campus, the project will give TWU students many opportunities to “Learn by Doing” (the university motto).
As you stroll through the campus, be sure to visit Redbud Lane, a campus landmark. Did you know that Denton is the Redbud Capital of Texas?
The Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) courageously left their homes and jobs during the height of World War II to become the first female aircraft pilots in United States military history. TWU is home to the official WASP Archive, a one-of-a-kind collection that tells the story of these brave women.
The WASP Archive has served more than 20,000 researchers to date, including students, filmmakers, journalists, historians, aviation enthusiasts and more. It includes 1,200 biographical files on WASP and related personnel; more than 700 oral histories; more than 600 collections of records, papers and memorabilia of individual WASP; and the WASP Digital Archive, which consists of 5,000 digitally accessible historic documents and images.
The WASP movement marked a pivotal step forward for the women of the United States. Collectively, these women surpassed all expectations and proved that women could fly military aircraft with as much skill and competency as their male counterparts. The WASP Archive at Texas Woman’s University seeks to convey the history and legacy of the WASP for future generations.
Page last updated 3:53 PM, November 9, 2023