Collection MSS 022 - Pearl Wallace Chappell Collection

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Pearl Wallace Chappell Collection


  • 1914 - 1969 (Creation)
  • 2012 (Creation)


0.5 linear feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Pearl Wallace Chappell, a teacher of oratory and expression, and a poet and writer, was born near Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1889 to Jesse M. Wallace, a Methodist Circuit Rider, and Belle Harrell Wallace. Pearl Wallace Chappell finished high school in Calvert, Texas and attended Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. She married Frank W. Chappell, a consulting engineer in Dallas, Texas. The couple had three children: Frank W. Chappell Jr., a writer, Wallace Edwin Chappell, a preacher, and Ethel Chappell Glenn, a teacher and play director.

During grammar school, high school, and college, Pearl Wallace Chappell gave recitals throughout southern Texas. In 1917, she started giving private lessons in Expression at her home in Oak Lawn before moving to a studio in downtown Dallas, Texas, which became known as the Oak Lawn School of Expression. In 1922, to reflect the school’s growth, its name was changed to The Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama. During the school’s early years, from 1917 to 1940, its curriculum focused on expression, readings, recitals, and individual student programs. During this period, the student body was primarily female. The Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama expanded in the 1940s and 1950s when it received approval for tuition payment from the G.I. Bill. During these years, the school hired additional teachers and supported an increase in play productions. One of the school’s longest-standing productions was the Laurel Land Easter Pageant, which began in 1934 and was produced through the late 1960s. Pearl Wallace Chappell authored several textbooks for the school, including Chappell Normal Course of Expression. She also published short plays and poems. The Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama operated continuously until 1965. Pearl Wallace Chappell died at the age of 80 in 1969.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection documents the teaching and writing career of Pearl Wallace Chappell and the history of the Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama. Included in the collection is biographical information about Pearl Wallace Chappell and historical information about the Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama. There are published poems and plays by Pearl Wallace Chappell and an audio recording of her giving a poetry reading shortly before her death. Also included are alumni directories and yearbooks, commencement programs, recital and play programs, a blank diploma, and a course textbook and workbook authored by Pearl Wallace Chapman.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in five series: Biographical and Historical Information; Early Career; Mid and Late Career; Dallas Academy of Speech and Drama Alumni; and Publications. Original order is maintained within each series. Ethel C. Glenn arranged the collection chronologically and assigned numbers to each item. These numbers are reflected in the inventory in folder 1.

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Conditions governing access

The collection is open to researchers.

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Conditions governing reproduction

Some materials may be subject to copyright. No part of the materials protected by copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the copyright holder. Researchers are required to seek permission from the copyright holder to reproduce and/or publish materials under copyright.

Languages of the material

  • English

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