Odis “Pop” Echols – An Exhibit at the Southwest Collection

Odis Echols and his Melody Ranch Boys KWKH Car

This April the Crossroads Music Archive at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library is excited to debut their exhibit, “Odis ‘Pop’ Echols.” It highlights the life of the titular Echols, whose influence on music in the United States was tremendous.

Echols Brothers Trio

Odis Echols, known as “Pop,” was born May 7, 1903 in Enloe, Texas. In 1922 he moved near Clovis, New Mexico, with his bride Grace Traweek. There he taught shape-note singing, formed the Echols Brothers Trio, and joined The Plateau Quartet. In 1926 he won a spot with Frank Stamps’ original Stamps Quartet, which traveled the South singing gospel and popular music of the day (while selling Stamps-Baxter songbooks…) Echols often got standing ovations for his baritone rendition of “ol’ Man River.” In 1927 the group recorded for Ralph Peer of Victor Records and their “Give the World a Smile” became the first gospel record to sell one million copies! Echols formed his own quartet and opened a songbook store in Lubbock, Texas, organizing singing schools at churches across West Texas all the while.

Odis and Stamps Record Cover

Soon Echols had moved his Stamps Melody Boys to CBS affiliate WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky, where he convinced Mutual Radio Network to broadcast the first coast-to-coast gospel music show. In the meantime he built Hartford Publishing into the second-largest gospel publisher, sold his interest in the company, and moved to Shreveport, Texas, where his Melody Boys sang on KWKH’s Red River Valley Roundup, the forerunner of the Louisiana Hayride.

KCLV Building ADJ

He moved back to Lubbock, where he worked as a radio announcer at KSEL and mentored entertainers including saxophonist Bobby Keys and vocalist Charlene Hancock. Never one to stop pushing forward, Pop then purchased station KCLV in Clovis in 1953, and settled there.

Empire Room McGuire Sisters

In 1957 Pop appeared on national television’s This is Your Life at the request of teen idol Tommy Sands, who credited Pop with starting him in show business. But his biggest success came a year later when he met Charlie Phillips and collaborated on the song “Sugartime.” You know the song: “sugar in the mornin’ / sugar in the evenin’ / sugar at suppertime.” (Enjoy the earworm!) Released with McGuire Sisters’ vocals, in 1958 “Sugartime” went gold and reached Number One on the pop charts. Pop Echols continued to work in the music business until his death on March 23, 1974.

While the exhibit is only up from early April until the early fall, Echols’ Papers are forever available for research at the Crossroads Music Archive here at the SWC! Contact our ever-helpful Reference Staff if you’d like to take a peek at them.

– Curtis Peoples, Associate Archivist, Crossroads Music Archive

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Women Who Shaped Texas Tech: 2015 Edition!

Lucille_Graves

Last March we told you about our Women’s History Month exhibit, “The Women Who Shaped Texas Tech,” celebrating several women whose influence on Texas Tech University is still felt today. The exhibit has received several new additions for 2015 who we’d like to share with you!

The first of this year’s celebrated women is Lucille Graves (above.) 40 years ago she sat down with one of our oral historians for an oral history interview to share her story as the first African American student at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University.) Having already received her bachelor’s degree in 1961, Graves tried to attend Texas Tech to receive her masters. Yet she was repeatedly refused entrance on the grounds that its charter stipulated that the university was established for white students only. With the help of the NAACP, she confronted the university and was at last admitted after a phone call from Texas Tech President R. C. Goodwin himself. Soon Tech saw a peaceful, non-violent integration of the traditionally white college. Graves was also the founder of Mary and Mac, the first black private school in Lubbock, Texas, in 1955. She chose the name of her school after the children’s nursery rhyme on the reasoning that “This poem depicts the act of boys and girls in their desire to become useful in this society.”

FayeBumpass-ADJ Faye Bumpass is also featured in the exhibit. She received her bachelor’s (1932) and master’s (1934) from Texas Technological College, then went on to teach Latin and Spanish in Texas high schools until 1941, serve as a visiting instructor in Spanish during the summer at Texas Tech, travel to Latin America to teach Latin and English as a second language (primarily in Lima Peru,) and acquire a Doctor of Letters (1948) from San Marcos University. Returning to Texas Tech in 1957, she became an assistant professor in both English and Foreign Languages, wrote several textbooks on bilingual education, and testified before Congress in May 1967 about bilingual education. In 1969, she became one of two women to acquire the Horn Professorship, TTU’s highest faculty rank and one previously held only by male professors.mary jeanne van appledorn2

Another Shaper of Texas Tech, Mary Jeanne van Appledorn, studied both piano and theory at the University of Rochester’s prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where each year she was awarded the George Eastman Honorary Scholarship, and in 1948 received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction in piano. She subsequently received her Master of Music Degree (Theory) from Eastman in 1950 and accepted a position at Texas Technological College that fall. She earned a Ph.D. (music) from Eastman in 1966 while teaching at Tech courses ranging from undergraduate music theory to graduate composition courses. Her list of chairmanships, composition commissions, and other honors are too many to list here. Suffice to say that in 1989 she received TTU’s prestigious Horn Professorship. Dr. van Appledorn held the distinction of being one of the longest serving faculty members at Tech (58 years!), and her papers are held in our University Archives.mina wolf lamb1Mina Marie Wolf attended the newly established Texas Technological College where she received her B.A. in chemistry in 1932. While in graduate school at the University of Texas, she was discouraged from pursuing a career as a chemist by a faculty member due to the difficulty of finding jobs in that field for a female. So she returned to Texas Tech in 1935 to get her M.S. in Foods and Nutrition, and, after a brief stint away from Lubbock, she returned to TTU in 1940 to serve as associate professor in the foods and nutrition department of Home Economics, picking up her Ph.D. in Nutrition and chemistry from Columbia University (1942) along the way. Mina married Arch Lamb in 1941, and together the couple left a lasting impression on Texas Tech through their support for the college and its students. Dr. Lamb was a member of numerous professional and local campus organizations, taught Red Cross nutrition and canteen courses during World War II, and also served on the Lubbock Food Ration Board. TTU honored her as a Piper Professor for her teaching and work with undergraduate students, and just before her retirement she donated $10,000 towards a new laboratory for assessment of nutritional status in humans. Yet in an interview in 1990, she stated that her proudest accomplishment was establishing the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program at the Lubbock Children’s Health Clinic where she had volunteered for 18 years.OpheliaMalone1964

Ophelia Powell-Malone is our final Woman Who Shaped Texas Tech. She holds a unique place in Texas Tech history as the first African American to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. After transferring from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, to attend Texas Tech shortly after the college integrated, she became a home economics major. Receiving her degree in 1964, Malone went on to become a teacher in New Mexico, then a dietitian at Langston University and at nursing homes in Lubbock and Houston. Mentor Tech chose Powell-Malone as one of two trailblazing individuals to honor in the naming of their program, which was established in 2002.

If you’re curious about the archival collections of these women, or of those honored last year, why don’t you give our helpful Reference Staff a call? They’d be happy to help you out!

by B. Lynn Whitfield, University Archivist