Dee Woods (1896-1984) was active in the literary affairs of Corpus Christi from the 1940s to the 1970s. Born Laura Lou “Dee” Roberts in Springtown, Texas, she was raised in Amarillo. After attending the University of Texas, she taught school. In 1923, she married Dever E. Woods. The couple lived in San Antonio, but moved to Corpus Christi in 1933.
Dee Woods was a feature writer, columnist, historian, artist, and schoolteacher. She was the author of Blaze of Gold: Treasure Tales of the Texas Coast (1942), and she was editor of the Texas Literary Quarterly.
She likewise wrote many short stories such as “The Day Texas Hanged a Woman” about the legendary Chipita Rodriguez. During her career, she sold articles to over sixty-five publications. Her byline was seen in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and other newspapers. She often used the pen name Polly Rogers.
Woods was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the State Poetry Society, was president of Texas Press Women, and was a member of the board of Directors of the National Federation of Press Women and City Federation of Women’s Clubs. She helped found the South Texas Speech and Art Association and Valley Byliners, a local writers’ club. She served as Commissioner of the Texas Centennial of Statehood in 1945.
Woods was one of seven Corpus Christi women to be named in the first edition of Who’s Who in American Women. In 1983, Corpus Christi proclaimed Dee Woods Day for her work founding the Corpus Christi Byliners, for founding and directing the Southwest Writers’ Conference from 1944 to 1962, and for her civic activities.
The Dee Woods Papers consist of twelve linear feet and contain manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, and files of the Southwest Writers’ Conference. The collection also contains the Byliners scrapbooks from 1953 to 1962. Other topics in the Dee Woods Papers include the Texas Women’s Press Association, the Tuesday Music and Literature Club, as well as local folklore and history.
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