Spotlight on Jenny Lind Porter, A Favorite Teacher for So Many

The Lantern of Diogenes and other poems by Jenny Lind Porter (new Jun 2011)

I have collected the poems I’ve highlighted in some of my posts in this submenu under “Humanism in Medicine”. It turns out there is a newly published edition of her book of poems, The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems, from a house called Literary Licensing, LLC out of Whitefish, MT. It’s a long way from the little college on bluebonnet hill in Austin, TX…Huston-Tillotson. I have no idea on earth what connection Dr. Porter has with it…but I’m happy about it. See my review and reader comments at link http://www.amazon.com/Lantern-Diogenes-Other-Poems/product-reviews/1258049716/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

The Lantern of Diogenes and other poems by Jenny Lind Porter (old)

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  1. Jenny Lind Porter Scott was a lifetime member and past president of Austin AAUW (American Association of University Women). We have lost touch. We believe her house on Summit View was demolished, but we wonder if there is a plaque to celebrate her fame. Who knows where she now resides? Didn’t she write a poem about WOMEN? What is the best book of her poetry? I don’t find any in my Westbank library.

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    • Hello, Anita. I am always astonished by the messages I get about Dr. Porter. They seem to turn up like signposts or forks in the road. Just when I think her story has truly ended, someone like you reminds me her legacy runs deeper than any of us knows.

      The last I heard in September 2016, Casa Magni, which is what she called the house on Summit View, was to be demolished. The architect and project designer was planning a small project to honor her memory, to be erected in the Old Enfield neighborhood. A new house with architecture similar to the original was planned for someone who bought the property. I thought the ground-breaking was supposed to have been sometime earlier this year. I haven’t heard anything since. By now, I’m sure the projects are probably well underway or nearing completion. See my blog post, “Farewell Casa Magni,” posted September 26, 2016.

      Your question about whether she ever wrote a poem about women is excellent, but I’m such a poor scholar of her works that I wouldn’t know the answer. All I have is “The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems.” I could speculate that “The Vinegar Hymn” or “Madame Bovary” might be about the role of women in society, but I wouldn’t flatter myself about my interpretation. Her subjects often had classical or spiritual themes. I’m biased of course because my knowledge of her work is so meager–but I would choose the “The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems” as her best work. You can order a copy of it on line.

      The only biography I could find was on line. It’s a Prabook profile and I occasionally catch myself hoping that someone will write a proper biography. I believe she has had a guardian since 2015. I don’t know where she lives and I’m fine with that. All I know is that I’ve not yet seen an obituary next to that of her husband, Lawrence E. Scott.

      May it be that something of her spirit burns in me.

      Thank you for writing.

      Like

  2. Kathleen Smith says:

    How many Texas women teachers, writers or poets have historic landmark recognition in Austin? Or in the state of Texas? 

    On behalf of the Old Enfield Homeowners Association I am writing to inform you of the demolition permit application for 1715 Summit View, Case NRD-2016-0044 the home of Texas Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Dr. Jenny Lind Porter. 

    I am a resident and board member of the Old Enfield neighborhood. We have been lucky to have Jenny Lind Porter, Poet Laureate of Texas, as a neighbor for 35 years. We, the Old Enfield board, are seeking historic designation for her home at 1715 Summit View, 78703. 

    A demolition permit has been issued and the permit hearing is set for this evening. We are reaching out to possible advocates for help in getting letters or calls to the Historic Landsmarks Commission today. I apologize for the last minute nature of this letter but we were hoping for the hearing to get postponed but it has not been granted as of yet. 

    If possible, we would appreciate your members voices to be included in our fight to get Jenny Lind Porter and her home the historic recognition she deserves.  
    Below is the case number and all the email addresses of the Landmarks Committee chairs. 

    Thank you so much for your time and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. 

    Sincerely, 
    Kathleen Smith
    Old Enfield  
    78703

    Case information to reference when writing the Commission:
    1715 Summit View Place – Case NRD-2016-0044
    Agenda for June 27th, 2016 

    Mary Galindo, Chair 
    bc-Mary.Galindo@austintexas.gov 
    David Whitworth, Vice Chair 
    bc-David.Whitworth@austintexas.gov
    Madeline Clites
    bc-Madeline.Clites@austintexas.gov 
    Terri Myers 
    bc-Terri.Myers@austintexas.gov 
    Tiffany Osburn
    bc-Tiffany.Osburn@austintexas.gov
    Arif Panju 
    bc-Arif.Panju@austintexas.gov
    Alexander Papavasiliou 
    bc-Alexander.Papavasiliou@austintexas.gov 
    Emily Reed 
    bc-Emily.Reed@austintexas.gov 
    Blake Tollett 
    bc-Blake.Tollett@austintexas.gov 
    Michelle Trevino
    bc-Michelle.Trevino@austintexas.gov 
    Sarah Valenzuela 
    bc-Sarah.Valenzuela@austintexas.gov 

    And copy Steve Sadowsky – 
    Steve Sadowsky steve.sadowsky@ci.austin.tx.us
    Historic Preservation Officer
    City of Austin, Texas
    512-974-6454

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathleen Smith,

      Thank you so much for your message. I was not able to send an email to the Historic Landmarks Commission until just this morning. Of course I support making Dr. Porter’s home a historic landmark and hope the best for her, you, and the rest of the Old Enfield neighborhood.

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      • Kathleen Smith says:

        Jim,
        Thank you so much for your response. I have enjoyed reading your blog and the posts from previous students. She seems to have been well admired and made quite an impression.
        We were able to get a 30 day postponement and our neighborhood association, as well as many of her longtime friends are working on getting more letters of support to the Landmark Commission. Along with Dr. Porter living there for over 35 years, the house was designed by Hugo Franz Kuehne, who was the founder of the school of architecture at the University of Texas and designed many of Austin’s prominent buildings. That is a pretty powerful combination!
        Thank you so much for writing to the commission! If any other students are out there and would like to help, please write in to the Landmark Commission.
        We truly appreciate your help!
        Sincerely,
        Kathleen Smith
        Old Enfield Neighborhood Board
        Austin Texas

        Below is a copy of my presentation to the Committee: Monday, June 27th

        “I think we could all agree, that Texas women, in the fields of teaching and writing have long been under appreciated and under recognized in our state and city. Especially in view of the important contributions they have made.

        The Texas Women’s Hall of Fame was established in 1984 to honor the state’s most accomplished women. Inductees include first ladies, teachers, astronauts, and athletes. Again, first ladies, teachers, astronauts, and athletes.

        Dr. Jenny Lind Porter was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
        Poet Laureate of Texas, named as an Outstanding Educator of America and selected for the International Who’s Who of Poetry. She was an author and beloved teacher who taught English and Creative writing to some 12,000 Texas students.
        Dr. Porter earned her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. 
        Had a scholarship named after her.
        She is the Niece of writer O. Henry, whose real name was William S. Porter and she made major contributions of his letters to the Austin History Center, O. Henry museum.

        Austin Architect Hugo Franz Kuehne was the founder of the school of architecture at the University of Texas. His building at 720 E. 32nd Street, the Cox-Craddock House, is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
        He founded the architecture library, which is one of the most important collections in the country.
        His major works include: the Austin History Center,
        The Bohn Brothers and Steck buildings on Congress Ave,
        The Commodore Perry Hotel,
        the International Life building,
        the American National Bank…to just name a few.
        Kuehne was Named Austin’s Most Worthy Citizen in1954.
        “His Beaux-Arts style design was a major force, in the shaping of Austin’s Visual image” That is a direct Quote from the Austin History Center.

        Now let’s combine Dr Jenny Lind Porter and architect Hugo Kuehne and we have 1715 Summit View in the Old Enfield neighborhood.
        This home was designed by architect Kuehne and owned and resided in by Dr Porter for 35 years.
        Shouldn’t this house, that brings these two, incredibly noteworthy and important Austinites together be granted historic landmark status based on this information alone?
        Thank you for your consideration.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bravo, Kathleen!

        Like

  3. Karen J Massey says:

    I was a student of Dr. Porter who taught Honors English and Literature at Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, TX 1966 – 1970. I remember that she commuted from Austin on the days that she had our classes. She was an excellent and demanding teacher. She was always available to talk to about assignments. I was honored to be in her classes. I was an elementary teacher major with a specialization in English, so she was an important part in my studies. She arranged for W. H. Auden to visit and speak at TLC. I too wonder if there is a way to contact her, and thank her for her teaching and influence.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Darlynna Morris Rush says:

    I was also a student of Dr. Porter’s at WTSU in the early 60’s. I have to say that she was the MOST influential person in my life and helped shape who I became, both as a person, and as an educator. She probably never knew just how much I loved and admired her! Is there any way that I could get in touch with her, that you know of? It’s been so many years, I’m sure she wouldn’t remember who I am, but I’d like to communicate with her, if you could help me.. I have some of her early books, and am delighted to find more. I made a comment after your great review of her book – I say “AMEN” to that!!
    Thanks ~
    Darlynna Morris Rush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Darlynna,

      I am so thrilled to hear from someone else who knew Dr. Porter! I wish I knew how to get in touch with her. If I ever find out, I will be sure to post it. I wonder if there’s anyone else out there who could help us. For now, we treasure the memory of her wit and wisdom…and that is a gift all by itself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about a revered teacher.

      Best wishes,

      Jim Amos, MD

      Liked by 2 people

    • Darlynna,

      You’ll never guess what I just discovered today. I have street address and telephone contact information for Dr. Porter, which the Austin Poetry Society (APS) just gave me. Dr. Porter is “still active and brilliant,” according to the APS person who quickly replied to my email inquiry.

      How may I confidentially transmit to you Dr. Porter’s contact information?

      Liked by 1 person

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