On Sunday, November 3, the El Paso County Historical Society will induct Nancy M. Hamilton into their Hall of Honor at a banquet at the El Paso Country Club. This is only one of many honors bestowed on Hamilton, a UTEP graduate and former staff member.
Nancy Corinne Miller Hamilton was born August 22, 1929, in El Paso, the daughter of Harold F. and Corinne Miller. She graduated from AustinHigh School in 1946 and received her B.A. degree in journalism in 1949 and M.A. in English in 1954 from TexasWesternCollege (now The University of Texas at El Paso). She married Ralph E. Hamilton in 1968 and became the stepmother of his children, James (Jay) and Jeannie.
Her career alternated mainly between newspaper reporting and educational public relations. She spent nine years with the El Paso Times (1950-59), nine years with the El Paso Independent School District (1959-68), four years with the El Paso Herald-Post (1972-76) and nine years in media relations for UTEP (1976-85). She then became associate director of Texas Western Press at UTEP, serving until her retirement in 1990. She continued to edit books for TW Press and other publishers for another ten years. In 1997 and 1998 she was a part-time lecturer in public relations for the UTEP Department of Communication.
Nancy Hamilton is past chairman of the Executive Committee of the UTEP Heritage Commission. After her husband Ralph passed away in 2007, a memorial fund was established for him at the Heritage Commission; he had been an active volunteer, and, through the generosity of donors, he continued to support the commission. She is also past sheriff of Mt. Franklin Corral of Westerners, and past president of Western Writers of America, a professional organization of about 500 members.
Her history interests have included serving three years as editor of the El Paso Historical Society’s Password, ten years on the El Paso County Historical Commission, longtime secretary-treasurer of the Pioneers Association of El Paso County, and service on the Four Centuries ’81 Commission. She is the author of a biography, Ben Dowell, El Paso’s First Mayor (1976), and UTEP: A Pictorial History of the University of Texas at El Paso (1988). She was a contributor to the revised Handbook of Texas. She is co-author of Legendary Watering Holes (2004, Texas A&M Press), Literary El Paso (2009, TCU Press) and Grace and Gumption: Women of El Paso (2011, TCU Press) as well as over 100 articles in UTEP’s magazine Nova.
Some of Nancy Hamilton’s work is now accessible online on the UTEP History Resources page in Digital Commons at http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/utep_hist/. Images of her book on UTEP History—so important for research with the approaching centennial of the University—and many issues of Nova Magazine are available there. To read an interview with Mrs. Hamilton, go to http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/interviews/710/ and read about her recollections of college life at Texas Western College.
Finding aid for the Nancy Hamilton papers, MS314. C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department, University of Texas at El Paso Library. (Nancy herself wrote the biographical sketch).
El Paso County Historical Society website for Hall of Honor biography written by Magda Flores: http://www.elpasohistory.com/hall-of-honor/2-uncategorised/99-hoh-nancy-m-hamilton
Claudia Rivers is the head of the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. She earned both her BA and MLIS degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked at the Benson Latin American Collection there before coming to El Paso in 1992. Her interests include the history of the Southwest and Mexico, ancient Meso-America, and detective fiction.