Gift of Oneself: Art and Writings

Gift of Oneself: Art and Writings

Hamby's Randol American Goldfinch

by Susan Swartwout

It’s the Southeast way: gather together with the will to do something lasting and meaningful.

Gift of Oneself: Art and Writings by James H. Hamby, a book Southeast Missouri State University Press will launch in November 2016 with a reception and art display, has brought together both past and present Southeast community members, a reunion in word and image. The collection contains the beautiful artwork and philosophical writings of a beloved Southeast professor and coach, made possible by a host of Southeast Missouri State University faculty and staff.

James Harold “Jim” Hamby was a football coach at Southeast Missouri State University and a brilliant, enormously popular teacher of philosophy at Southeast from 1968 until his death in 1986 at the age of 55. He studied birds, taught himself the art of watercolors and  gave more than 300 of his beautiful and detailed creations to other faculty and friends around the community.

The two editors of the book about Hamby’s work are Southeast family: Bob Hamblin (emeritus English professor) and Roxanne Dunn (Kent Library Special Collections director). The art and accompanying short writings were originally compiled by the late English professor Roy Dawson, who also wrote the introduction before his death in 2009. Without any records from Hamby about the recipients of his artwork and without Internet or email, Dawson located 200 of the drawings. Hamblin and Dunn picked up the project in 2015 with the help of Dawson’s widow, Carole, who provided them with all Dawson’s files on the project. Southeast’s University Press agreed to publish and help fund the full-color book. Carrie Walker, University Press production manager and Southeast alumna combined the text and art into book format. Several of Southeast’s past faculty and alumni have made donations through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation toward the cost of printing. It’s a family affair.


“My birds:  I have flung them unto the wind, hoping some would light and stay awhile, and that someday what was me that remains in them would touch a stranger’s heart so much
that he would smile at what I have left him.”
—Jim Hamby


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