CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 21, 2016 – This fall, Southeast Missouri State University Press will publish a book of selected artwork and writings by Jim Hamby, a Southeast football coach from 1958-1968 and philosophy professor at then Southeast Missouri State College.
Hamby passed away in 1986. The book will be edited by Roxanne Dunn, Special Collections and Archives librarian in Southeast’s Kent Library, and Dr. Robert Hamblin, professor emeritus of English at Southeast.
In 1976, Hamby gave up golf for bird watching. He produced watercolor drawings of the birds, adding short philosophical reflections or commentaries to the drawings. Over the next six years, Hamby produced an estimated 300 drawings, which he gave to family, friends, students and colleagues.
Shortly before Hamby’s death, Roy Dawson, professor of English at Southeast, began locating and making color prints of as many of the drawings as he could find. Dawson’s task was complicated by the fact that Hamby had kept no record of the recipients of his gifts. Through great diligence over several years, Dawson was able to locate 200 of Hamby’s creations.
Dawson’s plan was to place his copies of Hamby’s work in a museum or archive, as well as to produce a book of the best pieces. However, Dawson died before his dream was realized.
In 2015, Dunn and Hamblin visited with Dawson’s widow, Carol, to discuss a possible continuation of her husband’s work. Carol had preserved all of Dawson’s files and notes, and it is those materials that will form the basis for the book Southeast will publish.
Dunn and Hamblin are also issuing a request to individuals who might have Hamby drawings that Dawson did not locate, for those items to be considered for inclusion in the book.
“Roy did an amazing job in finding 200 drawings, but he didn’t have email and Facebook at his disposal,” said Hamblin. “Hopefully, we can find even more of Hamby’s pictures.”