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A Thousand Words By: Dr. Tim Chandler

The Hardin-Simmons University campus student newspaper has moved from Abilene Hall to suite 224 in the Skiles Social Sciences Building.

To celebrate the 105 years The Brand has been published, an open house was held Thursday, Sept. 9 in its new offices. At the event two HSU Brand staffers, Annabelle Smallwood and Emily Williamson, were recognized as recipients of the Charles R. Richardson Award for their service in moving the Brand to an online platform and serving as editors.

As part of the transition to online, the goal of The Brand is to incorporate more video and photography of campus activity now that Hardin Simmons is back to a normal schedule. Hanging in suite 224 Skiles are framed copies of eight of the first ten issues of The Brand from fall 1916. Notably, only one of the eight issues has a photograph.

The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” has its origins in American advertising dating back to 1911 when newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane speaking to the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club said, “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Since then, pictures have become the dominant means of communication in many ways and we now live in the most visual culture in history. Sturken and Cartwright, in their book Practices of Looking, note the proliferation of digital photography as a daily habit and state, “today more images are shared in one hour than were produced in all of the nineteenth century.”

Reading the stories you find the name Mildred Paxton but no indication of her role with the Brand. Born in Abilene in 1897, It was she, as a student here at then Simmons College, who conceived the idea of a student campus newspaper and then worked to make it a reality and served as the first editor.

Entering the Skiles building, you will see the Hall of Leadership and its many honoree plaques. One of those plaques has a photo of Mildred Paxton.

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true in our visual culture. In the case of Mildred Paxton, it is, and it is her spirit The Brand seeks to model with more visually rich content to supplement the writing.

Paxton graduated from Simmons College in 1917 and then earned an M.A. from the University of Texas where she served as an editor on the UT student paper, the Daily Texan. She returned to Simmons to teach and write for the local newspaper, the Abilene Reporter-News and went on to earn a journalism degree from Columbia University. She then returned again to Abilene to teach journalism at Simmons and marry Dan Moody who was elected six months later as governor of Texas. After four years as first lady of Texas, Mildred was appointed by the 42nd Session of the Texas Legislature as head of a board to oversee the preservation and decoration of the governor’s mansion in Austin.

Mildred Paxton Moody was the “picture” of the Hardin Simmons spirit, living out the reality of her dreams and in the process leaving a legacy for all who followed her. In reality her “picture” is worth more than a thousand words and so we want to emulate what she did in photos and video as we move through a new school year.

This story has photos of Dan and Mildred Moody and also shows Mildred accompanying Charles Lindbergh after he landed his famous plane, the “Spirit of St. Louis” at Kingsolving Field in Abilene on September 26, 1927. You can also see an old home movie showing Mildred Paxton Moody at home in Austin at the governor’s mansion using the link at the bottom of the page.

link to MPM at home in Austin at the Texas Governor’s Mansion circa 1929-30


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