March 20, 2019: Presidential Archives – Bowser Collection Donation
On March 20, 2019, Clydia Williams-Bowser and her husband John Bowser, on behalf of the alumni of Odessa’s Blackshear Junior-Senior High School, donated a collection of presidential artifacts to the Presidential Archives. The donation will provide additional materials related to several recent presidents, especially President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Ms. Williams-Bowser, who graduated from U.T. Permian Basin with a Master of Arts degree in counseling, has been collecting memorabilia for some time and stated that she was “delighted that some of my collection will be useful in educating the public.” Mr. Bowser noted that the Blackshear High School alumni association regularly visits the Presidential Archives during its reunions.
Items donated included several collectible figures of the Obamas, along with t-shirts, yard signs, photographs from the White House, and news publications from Obama’s presidency. President Obama’s books Dreams of My Father and Audacity of Hope, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and My Life by President Bill Clinton were also donated to be included in the John Ben Shepperd, Jr., Memorial Library, located in the Presidential Archives.
“We are grateful to the Bowsers for this generous gift,” said, Clay Finley, who oversees the Presidential Archives. “The Bowsers have significantly increased our collection of contemporary presidential memorabilia, allowing us to continue telling the stories of those who have served our nation in this role.”
In addition to the Bowsers, the presentation was attended by Rose Mary Hammond, Morris Nelms, Barbara Finley, Celestine Rand, Joyce Williams, and Idell Tatum, all of whom graduated from Blackshear High School. Also in attendance was Mari Spivey Willis, who attended Blackshear Junior High School and currently represents District 5 on the Odessa City Council.