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Gateway to Women's History

The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods Collection features images of the renowned Texas Woman's University landmark, named in 1983 by the Texas Society of Architects as one of 20 buildings representing "Texas' Proudest Architectural Achievements of All Time". In 2014, the Little Chapel celebrated its 75th anniversary. The furnishings and decorations of the Chapel were designed and completed by students in the Art Department of Texas State College for Women (now TWU). The images in the collection show these students at work, under the supervision of Dorothy LaSelle, an associate professor of Art, creating ceiling beams, exterior cornices, the vestibule floor of Texas stone, and wall patterns as well as the carved woodwork for the lectern, pulpit and pew ends, and the metal trim of the Chapel door. OVer 300 TSCW students helped in some part in the design and construction of the Little Chapel.

Designed by the architect O'Neil Ford, of the Dallas firm of O'Neil Ford & A.B. Swank, the Chapel was built during the Great Depression at a cost of $28,000 as a project of the National Youth Administration. The Chapel is part of the legacy of Former TWU President L. H. Hubbard, whose dream it was to provide the TWU community with a place of meditation and prayer. The Chapel was dedicated by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on November 1, 1939, at a special ceremony attended by more than one hundred people.

"May the use of this Chapel in the Woods be a blessing to you all." -Eleanor Roosevelt, Chapel dedication November 1, 1939

Stained Glass Windows

Graduate student Beatrice Paschall supervised the design and execution of the stained glass windows. Art student Sammy Tate directed the execution of metal candlesticks and a cross for the altar. The ten windows illustrate the theme "Woman Ministering to Human Needs." The largest window, situated behind the raised altar at the back of the chapel, is the Motherhood window. The eight windows depict the following professions: nursing, teaching, science, social service, speech, literature, dance and music. The tenth window is is of an abstract rose, and a small window in the vestibule shows the builders, donors, and decorators of the Chapel. Noted professional women who appear in the windows are Florence NIghtingale, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham, and Doris Humphrey. The Advanced History of Art Class, 1939, was responsible for the planning, design, and in some cases, the execution of the Chapel windows.

References

  • Dorothy A. LaSelle, Iconographies of Stained Glass Windows, 1949
  • Dorothy A. LaSelle, The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, a Presentation, 1987
  • Joyce Thompson, Marking A Trail: A History of the Texas Woman's University, 1982.
Featured Items
Little Chapel in the Woods Dedication Ceremony
Constructing the Little Chapel in the Woods
Five Students working on Little Chapel design
For More Information
Contact Information
  • Email: womenshistory@twu.edu
  • Phone: (940) 898-3751
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