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Born, on September 11, 1946, in Comanche, Texas, Shirley Wetzel spent much of her youth travelling around the United States with her mother and sister to accommodate her father’s career in the Navy. When he retired, the family settled in Texas, where Shirley graduated from South Oak Cliff High School before attending two years at Navarro College, then finishing her B.A. in Psychology at Texas Tech.
In September of 1967, Shirley married Don Alan Wetzel and spent the next two years working at Goodwill Industries and the Waco V.A. Hospital to help put Don through law school at Baylor University. In February of 1970 Don joined the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, and the family moved to Fort Eustis, Virginia, and had their first son, Christopher Baylor Wetzel. The couple’s second son, Jeffrey Alan, was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where the family spent several years before settling in Houston in June of 1974. Don clerked for a federal judge, joined Baker Botts Law Firm for a short while, and worked for other firms and for himself, while Shirley started graduate school in the Anthropology Dept. of Rice University.
During her time as an anthropology student at Rice, Shirley worked under Frank Hole and with Texas Anderson doing primary archaeological and historical research on the 1890 Nottingham Lace Factory site (41GV71) in Galveston Island. Her research (Wetzel 1980), along with that of Texas Anderson (1980), produced a detailed history of the short-lived factory. They also found archival evidence that the developers platted the community of Nottingham around the factory.
Shirley and Don separated amicably, and Shirley left her Ph.D to pursue a different track, moving up from her temporary job as a student worker in Fondren Library at Rice to a staff position, and later supplementing her work with a degree in Library and Information Science. Shirley continued her work as a librarian at Rice University for over 25 years, writing and publishing several essays and historical stories in her free time.
0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)
Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository