Dolly Marie Glover
By Chris Guthrie
Tarleton’s English Department has been blessed with a large number of outstanding teachers over the years. Ms. Dollie Marie Glover is one of the most notable members of this group. During the thirty-four years she taught at Tarleton she devoted all her boundless energy and considerable classroom talents to providing generations of students with an excellent background in English grammar and literature. She exemplified the kind of dedication to teaching and devotion to the success of her students that made Tarleton one of the best junior colleges in the country between the 1920s and the early 1960s.
Dollie Marie Glover was born in Brownwood, Texas on February 22, 1895, the only sister to four older brothers. She attended Brownwood High School, graduating with honors in 1914. She then entered Howard Payne College and graduated in 1918 with a major in English and a minor in Latin. In a repeat performance of her high school graduation, Glover was selected as valedictorian of Howard Payne’s Class of 1918. Armed with a bachelor’s degree, she obtained a teaching job at Santa Anna High School in the fall of 1918. She worked in Santa Anna for a year before moving to Big Springs High School for the 1919 school year. Glover only stayed in the West Texas town for a year before moving east to Taylor High School in the fall of 1920. She would teach in Taylor until 1923.
The year 1923 saw Glover enter the ranks of higher education when she joined the faculty of Kidd-Key College (now Austin College) in Sherman, Texas. She became head of the English Department there in 1925, the same year that she earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas. Her arrival at Tarleton the following year, 1926, finally put an end to her wandering; even though she was originally hired to replace a teacher who had taken a year’s leave of absence, she would remain at this school for the rest of her long career.
Although she received an honorary doctorate in literature from Howard Payne in 1955, Glover never actually pursued a Ph.D. in English. She certainly possessed the ability to earn this degree, as witnessed by her successful participation in several graduate classes at the University of Chicago during the summer of 1938 and at the University of North Carolina during the summer 0f 1952 (under a Dansforth Scholarship). Glover never publicly talked about why she did not seek a doctorate in English. It may have been the result of certain prejudices of the time that subtly discouraged most women from seeking doctorates. Furthermore, Tarleton faculty simply were not required or even encouraged to obtain doctorates during the Dean Davis years. Finally, Glover—as was the case with most faculty at Tarleton at the time---primarily saw herself as a teacher and devoted most of her time and energy to perfecting her performance and effectiveness in the classroom. In this area, few could surpass her.
Former students still remember Dollie Glover as one of the best teachers they ever had at Tarleton. Colonel Will Tate, who attended the college between 1931 and 1935 recalls that she “was just a beautiful person and so kind you just wanted to do good for her because she wanted you to do good.” If a student had difficulty with a concept or principle, she would work with that individual until he grasped it:
“[She] would…say well, we didn’t get this today and maybe Sue, maybe you’d like to help me explain this tomorrow when we go back over this…If you were having trouble, which I did pretty frequently, she’d say, well you come back after class and let’s talk about this. Never in a recriminating way.”
Glover’s dedication and patience left an enduring mark on Colonel Tate and on many others who had the good fortune to learn English grammar and composition from her.
While teaching always held first place in her heart, Glover accepted administrative responsibilities when called upon. She served as interim head of the English Department twice during her long career at Tarleton. In 1945 the longtime head of the English Department, Pearl Mahan, died and Glover assumed her position until Dr. Earl Saucier arrived in 1947. Saucier lasted only a year and was replaced by Mary Hope Westbrook in 1948. However, Westbrook left I 1954 to work for a former student who had struck it rich in uranium mining in New Mexico and, once again, Glover assumed leadership of the English Department. The return of Dr. William Martin in 1956 (he had been at the University of Edinburgh working on his Ph.D.) allowed Glover to return full time to her first love—the classroom. She remained there until her retirement in 1960.
Retirement did not slow Glover down. Right at the end of her active career, she wrote a short overview of her tenure at the school entitled “Thirty-four Years In Tarleton” (1960). Although only six pages long, this extended essay is an elegant piece of work that succinctly summarizes the changes the college experienced between 1926 and 1960. Free of the personal biases and antiquarian eccentricities which have marred better known histories of the school, Glover’s “Thirty-four Years In Tarleton” remains the best account of the “golden years” of Tarleton ever written.
Glover also used the free time provided by retirement to publish A Daily Guide to Correct English in 1965. Published by The Christopher Publishing House of Boston and distributed nationwide, the 109-page book was intended “to meet the day-to-day requirements for correct English usage” and “meet the needs of people as a quick and ready reference” by presenting “the basic aspects of effective writing and speaking in a comprehensive and usable manner.” The Tarleton English Department organized an “autograph” party to celebrate the publication of the book. All available copies at the Campus Book Store sold out on the first day they went on sale.
Glover simply refused to lapse into idleness. She believed that “there is too much to do, too many people to meet, and too many places to go to just sit and watch the years go by.” She stayed in Stephenville after her retirement and retained an active involvement in professional affairs. A charter member of the Joint English Committee for Schools and Colleges, she also remained a member of the South-Central Modern Language Association, the Conference of College Teachers of English, and the American Association of University Professors. She was a charter member of the Stephenville Chapter of the American Association of University Women and served as local president of that organization for three years. She was tireless in her efforts on behalf of the Stephenville community. She was a founding member of the Erath County Cancer Society and the Erath County Retired Teachers Association and participated in the Tarleton Campus Club, the Tarleton Ex-Students Association, the American Heart Association, the Democratic Women’s Organization, the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, and Senior Citizens Organization. As a lifelong member of the First Methodist Church of Stephenville and the Wesleyan Service Guild, she visited one or more sick or bereaved persons in town every week.
Glover maintained close contact with Tarleton right up to her death on January 23, 1984. She volunteered as a tutor for freshman English students every semester and continued to attend annual graduation ceremonies (marching in with the students) for as long as she was physically able. She probably wrote the best epitaph of any for herself at the conclusion of her “Thirty-four Years in Tarleton”: “Though I am retired, I hope to continue to be a part of Tarleton. I am ready and eager to do anything I can to help Tarleton. I shall always be interested in Tarleton’s growth and development in every way. I love Tarleton.”
Guthrie, Christopher. John Tarleton and his Legacy: The History of Tarleton State University, 1899-1999. Acton, MA: Tapestry Press, 1999. pp. 393-396.