Three Questions with Elise Clements, 8th Grade Student
Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and others in the UNT community derive from using the Unique Collections at UNT Libraries.
How important are Unique Collections in your teaching, learning or research?
When I started my project two years ago, which was to have a Texas Historical Commission historical marker made for Miss Beulah Harriss, I had no idea where to start. Through the UNT Digital Library and the Portal to Texas History, I was able to tell her life’s history from the time she came into Texas in 1914, to become the first physical education teacher at the North Texas State Normal College to her death in 1977. Through the early Yucca Yearbooks of North Texas State Normal School I was able to discover the history of how she started the first Girl Scout Troop in Denton in 1917 at the college and actually see pictures of some of the early troops. There were pieces of her early years in Girl Scouts that had not been documented. With the help of these online resources I was able to fill in those missing pieces.
How have Unique Collections changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?
I’ve learned to never be afraid to ask questions. When we contacted the UNT Archives to see if they had any information on Miss Harriss, I discovered they had some of her collection of Green Jackets and P.E. Bloomers. I was able to actually hold a piece of her history, which brought her story to life for me. I recently discovered that the archives also had her scrapbook and they placed it in the UNT: The First 50 Years Exhibit. I was able to view the exhibit online.
What do you want others to know about your research?
Never let people discourage you to do a project because they think you are too young. No one thought I could complete my project. The information was there for me, all of it was indexed, thanks to the UNT Digital Library and the Portal to Texas History. All I had to do was collect it, put it in order, and document it. Not only was I able to have a Texas Historical Commission Marker made for Miss Harriss, but UNT realized the many contributions she had made to the college. They are also having a marker made for her that will document the Harriss Gymnasium, which was named after her.
Elise Clements is an 8th grade student at Strickland Middle School. For her Girl Scout Silver Award, she wanted to have a historical marker made for Miss Beulah Ann Harriss. She began her research in the fall of 2013 at the age of 12. On October 24, 2014 she received notification that her narrative on Miss Harriss was selected to receive a Texas Historical Commission Undertold Story Marker. On October 25, 2015 a dedication ceremony will be held in the City of Denton Quakertown Park. The Beulah A. Harriss marker will be placed near the location where the Girl Scout Little House once stood.