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New Work: The Hockaday School Centennial Book

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The Hockaday School in Dallas was founded by Ela Hockaday in 1913 and has become one of the premier all-girl preparatory schools in the Southwest. Now an ambitious new book, The Hockaday School: An Anthology of Voices and Views 1913–2013, commemorating the institution’s 100-year anniversary, has been designed and produced by Pentagram Austin. The oversized coffee-table book, nearly 400 pages and heavier than most of the pre-K to 12th grade girls who attend the day and boarding school, was designed by Pentagram Associate Julie Savasky with Partner DJ Stout.

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The inaugural class of 10 local girls gathered in a modest house where Miss Hockaday first introduced the four guiding principles for her new school: Scholarship, Character, Athletics, and Courtesy. A century later those four cornerstones are still firmly in place and the school has grown to occupy a sprawling 90-acre campus with over 1,000 students from around the world.

Using the school’s four cornerstones as an overarching organizing principal, Savasky and the Centennial Editorial Board built the book around six main sections: The History, The Place, The Curriculum, The Experience, The Arts, and The Community. Each of the sections tell the Hockaday story through a diverse selection of letters, speeches, advertisements, newspaper articles, poems, essays, and photographs.

“The visual record of the place is extensive and very rich,” says Stout. “When Julie and I walked into the school’s fastidious archive for the first time our eyes popped out of our head. The wealth of photographic material, ephemera and objects they’ve collected over the years, and even their flowery graduation hats, gave us a lot to work with.”

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The book team paired the ample archival imagery and written material with contemporary photography and commissioned new essays to tell the history of Hockaday but also to look into the future of the school. Says Savasky, “It was interesting to see how much the school’s history informs the current curriculum and ongoing traditions.”

Syndicated columnist and television commentator Lee Cullum (a former Hockaday Trustee) writes expressly for the Anthology on “Hockaday and Dallas, A Vital Connection,” and Prudence Mackintosh, a well-known author and contributing editor for Texas Monthly (and one-time Hockaday English teacher) provides unique insight into the privilege of a Hockaday education.

Other distinguished alumnae-contributors include a published poet, an art critic, an architectural historian, a Tony Award-winning actress, a costume designer, a Sports Illustrated writer-reporter, a Rhodes scholar, and an ambassador. Important visitors to the school including Eleanor Roosevelt, Gertrude Stein, Gloria Steinem and George W. Bush (whose daughters attended the school before he was elected president) are featured in the Anthology as well.

“Julie grew up in Dallas and I started my design career there,” says Stout. “It’s been a treat for both of us to work on an important landmark book for such an iconic and influential Dallas institution.”

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Project Team: DJ Stout, partner-in-charge and designer; Julie Savasky, associate and designer.