The first name that came to mind reading the title of this post was probably not Sallie Beretta. However, Sallie Beretta became known as the “Bluebonnet Lady of Texas” because of her efforts to preserve and plant bluebonnets throughout the State of Texas in the 1920s and 1930s. This was years before other notable Texans also took up the cause.
Sallie Ward Beretta is mostly known to members of the Texas State University community through her long history of service and philanthropy to the University. Mrs. Beretta served eighteen years (1933-1951) on the State Board of Regents for the Teachers Colleges of Texas. In 1951 she donated to the University her 125-acre scenic Wimberley ranch on the Blanco River. Currently called University Camp, it is still used as a recreational area providing an area for hiking, biking, swimming and fishing. Since 1963, The Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman Award has been given to an outstanding senior woman “based on leadership, scholarship, character, potential, and loyalty.”
In recognition of her generosity and service, the regents voted to name a women’s dormitory in her honor in 1947. A portrait of Mrs. Beretta, presented at the dedication ceremony, hung in the common area of the dormitory for many years. Unfortunately, at some point the portrait was vandalized and the defacement severe enough for it to be removed from view and sent to the University Archives.
The 30” X 36” portrait provided an opportunity for us to test our new reprographic digital camera and copy stand on a larger sized object. The resulting high resolution image allowed us to use Photoshop to undo the worst of the defacement to the painting, and print a life-sized reproduction suitable for framing and reinstallation in the dormitory.