BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE COLLECTION
William D. Herron was born in Athens, Ohio June 25, 1903. He was the son of Olive Mae Bellows and Warren Norris Herron. Herron graduated from Athens High School in 1920, and in 1924 he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Ohio University. Herron also received a M.Ed. from Rutgers University in l948.
In 1979 William Herron received the Medal of Merit from Ohio University for "devotion and service to alma mater as an active researcher and contributor uncovering significant findings about Ohio University, its heritage, and its people." In 1941 he represented Ohio University at the 175th anniversary of the founding of Rutgers University.
He was a member of the Ohio University Alumni Association, the Ohio Historical Society, the Athens County Historical Society and Architectural Preservation Committee with a lifelong interest in Athens County history and architecture.
He taught high school English for 47 years, two years in Ohio and 45 in New Jersey (Newark). At the end of his teaching career he taught for eight years at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Herron also served in a teacher-training capacity for Montclair State College, Jersey City State College, Rutgers University and Seton Hall University.
He belonged to the New Jersey Association of Teachers of English for which he was vice-president and president. He also served as representative to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) on several occasions. A literary "map" of the state of New Jersey was the outgrowth of his work in helping to index its authors.
William Herron was editor of the N.T.A. News, the monthly newspaper of the Newark Teachers Association from 1943-1945. In the course of his career, he travelled extensively in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the United States. He also visited Norway and Denmark.
Among his many social contacts, Herron maintained close personal relationships and followed the careers of three prominent Ohio University alumni: Ruby Mercer (opera/play star and broadcaster), John Rood (sculptor), and David Smith (sculptor). His collection contains extensive personal and public information on these three people.
William Herron died in Athens, Ohio on March 18, 1982 at the age of 78.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION
The Herron collection covers a period of approximately 40 years (1934 - 1970s). Materials contained in this collection are pertinent to Ohio University and five of its former students and/or teachers; John Rood (sculptor), Ruby Mercer (opera star), David Smith (sculptor), Louis Stahl (artist and former O.U. art instructor) and Bernarda Shahn (wife of artist Ben Shahn). The collection also contains 22 copies of Manuscript (1934 - 1936), a literary journal published in Athens, Ohio by Mary Lawhead (former wife of John Rood), John Rood, and Flola Shepard.
In regard to the five Ohio University alumni Herron collected large numbers of newspaper articles and public advertisements (i.e., playbills, exhibitions catalogs) concerning John Rood, Ruby Mercer and David Smith. Materials concerning Louis Stahl and Bernarda Shahn are mostly correspondence and several newspaper articles about Ben Shahn. There is extensive correspondence with Ruby Mercer and John Rood, with whom Herron maintained close personal relationships.
The collection contains several photographs of Rood sculptures and other photos of Rood with friends and/or relatives. The collection holds approximately 75 exhibition catalogs (Rood and Smith together) of John Rood and David Smith sculpture and exhibitions.
With regard to Ruby Mercer, the collection contains playbills and/or programs for performances in which she appeared and newspaper articles concerning her performances. Correspondence relevant to Ruby Mercer's honorary doctorate which she received from Ohio University in 1978 is also contained in the collection. Herron was instrumental in having this degree awarded to her.
In sum, the collection contains a large amount of information pertinent to the lives and careers of John Rood, Ruby Mercer, and David Smith.