Hallie Earle: Waco’s Weather Watcher

by Casey Froehlich, Library Assistant

Photograph of Hallie Earle, undatedYou think this summer is a hot one? It probably won’t surprise you that Waco, Texas, has hot summers (and arguably falls and winters and springs). What might surprise you is that a Central Texas teen tracked temperatures for decades. However, that’s exactly what Hallie Earle did.

Cover to one of Hallie Earle’s Diaries, 1917Born in McLennan County in 1880, Earle was the only woman in the class of 1907 at Baylor University Medical School in Dallas and later became Waco’s first female physician. She kept local weather diaries from about age fifteen until the year before she died in 1963. The Texas Collection is fortunate to have these diaries as part of the Graves-Earle family papers.

Hallie Earle diary entry for June 17, 1919Almost every day, Hallie would open her journal entry by commenting on the weather. Sometimes she was as straight forward as simply writing down the temperature, and other days she’d only offer an adjective like “cloudy” before outlining her schedule or detailing what happened to her that day.

She was most likely inspired by her father, Major Isham Harrison Earle, the first registered weather reporter in Central Texas, who kept weather records long before Hallie’s birth.

Curious about tomorrow’s (June 17th) weather in years past? Luckily, because of Hallie Earle’s diaries, we know.

  • 1917: “cl & cold” (whether “cl” means cloudy or clear is unknown)
  • 1918: “clear”
  • 1919: “Sunshine – glad to see it… a very heavy dew”
  • 1921: “Raining”
  • 1924: “Up at 6.40 – few clouds”
  • 1926: “cool and… very badly want rain”
  • 1931: “83”
  • 1934: “82”
  • 1935: “up at 7.10 – cloudy”
  • 1938: “76… up at 6 – clear”
  • 1939: “Rain”
  • 1950: “92°”
  • 1953: “92°”
  • 1956: “92°”
  • 1957: “80°”
  • 1960: “rainy – some light rain”
  • 1962: “90° at 4 P.M.”

So what will tomorrow hold? Probably more of the same, but that doesn’t mean the information is trivial. If this collection has taught me anything it’s that you never know when you might want to look back, even on the seemingly mundane details of life.

If you want learn more about the Earle family and their weather tracking, you can find more in the Graves-Earle family papers. The collection contains Hallie’s dairies, her father’s weather documentation, and more!

References:
Graves-Earle Family Papers, Accession #47, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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