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Dr. H.M. "Jim" Lafferty Collection

Identifier: 2012.07

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of correspondence from Dr. (Lt.) Lafferty to his wife, Rachel, throughout his service during World War II. A portion of the letters was written after Dr. Lafferty joined the Navy, but prior to his July 1942 marriage to Rachel. His correspondence varies based on the multiple stations at which he was deployed. The stations include Texas A&M College Station Naval Training School, the United States Naval Reserve Midshipman School in Chicago, Illinois, the Destroyer U.S.S. Denebola in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Naval Training Unit at the Rice Institute (present-day Rice University) in Houston, Texas, and the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. Dr. Lafferty discusses many subjects with Rachel during this correspondence. One of the most frequent subjects brought up is East Texas State Teachers College. He was highly concerned about the state of the college during his service and frequently asks after other faculty members, the effect of the war on the school, and how Mrs. Lafferty's job is progressing. He also discusses his own relations with ETSTC and academics in general.

The second part of the collection is correspondence from Mrs. Lafferty to Dr. Lafferty during her world travels in the 1970s and 1980s. Rachel visited many countries all around the globe including Japan, China, Mongolia, South Africa, Finland, Germany, England, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, the Netherlands, Ecuador, the Philippines, and many sites around the United States. Aside from correspondence, the collection contains legal documents, financial documents, photographs (mostly of Dr. and Mrs. Lafferty during the war), a marriage ceremony book, and a copy of Mrs. Lafferty’s birth certificate.


  • Creation: 1927-1984, inclusive
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942-1945,


Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Harry Montgomery Jim Lafferty

Harry Montgomery Jim Lafferty was born in Pilot Point, Texas on September 9, 1911 to Harry Alford Lafferty and Annie F. Mize of Kentucky. He had distinguished careers as a student, professor, and naval reservist. In 1932, he graduated from East Texas State Teachers College with a bachelor of arts degree in history and chemistry. From there, he continued his education graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a master of arts degree in education administration in 1934, and once more from the University of Texas at Austin with a doctorate of philosophy in 1936. After receiving his doctoral degree only two years after his master’s degree at the young age of 25, he became one of the youngest students in Texas history to graduate with a doctorate. In 1936, Dr. Lafferty served at ETSTC as a Visiting Professor. Then in 1937, he was promoted to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in 1939, Professor in 1945, and Director of Organized Research in 1962. He also served as Chairman of the East Texas State University Athletic Council for 13 years. Throughout his early career, Dr. Lafferty worked at a number of other academic institutions. In 1936-1937, he was employed by the Schreiner’s Institute as Director of Personnel for the Department of Education. At both Oklahoma State University in 1948 and the University of Michigan in 1950 he taught as a visiting professor. In addition to visiting professorships, in 1951 he worked with the University of Texas at Austin as a Special Consultant for the Kellogg Project.

Military Service during World War II

During World War II, Dr. Lafferty served in the United States Naval Reserve at multiple stations. As a lieutenant in 1942, he was stationed in New Orleans, Louisiana and Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. From late 1942 through 1943, he served on the U.S.S. Denebola in the United States North Atlantic Fleet. Then in 1944, he was stationed in Houston, Texas at the Rice Institute (Rice University). Finally, from late 1944 to his discharge, he served for the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. At his discharge from the service in 1946, he held the rank of lieutenant commander.

Professional Career as an Author, Academic, and Community Member

In addition to his career as a professor, Dr. Lafferty was an active academic and author, contributing considerably to the field of education. Participating in multiple academic organizations, he was a member of the Texas State Teachers Association, the National Society for Study of Education, the American Educational Research Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and Kappa Delta Pi. As an author, he wrote one book, Sense and Nonsense in Education, published by MacMillan Publishing Company in 1947. In addition to his book, he also authored approximately 100 articles that were published in a number of academic journals. In the Commerce community, Dr. Lafferty was a nominated member of the Board of Directors for the Security State Bank in 1960.

Mrs. Rachel Treadway Lafferty

Dr. Lafferty married Rachel Treadway of Greenville, Texas on June 5, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois at the Chapel of the Holy Grail. Miss Treadway taught arithmetic in Gladewater, Texas for two years before beginning work in the Registrar’s Office at ETSTC. After Dr. Lafferty returned from the service at WWII’s end, Mrs. Lafferty became an active leader in the Commerce community. She was the first woman to serve on the Commerce City Council and was a dedicated volunteer for Hunt County as a member of the American Cancer Society. Her work for the Hunt County Chapter of the ACS included a seat on the Board of Directors.


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Dr. H.M. "Jim" Lafferty Collection
Benjamin Williams
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository