Amanda Howell “Hattie” McDonald was born in 1898 (maybe 1896 according to 1900 Census) to Sam H. & Ida Fullilove McDonald in Hills Prairie, Texas, a community four miles south of Bastrop, Texas. Her parents were farmers. Amanda was welcomed by five sisters, Lizzie, Ida, Flora, Jessie and Eva. Her grandfather, H. R. McDonald, had come to Texas from Tennessee. His father was born in Scotland. (Picture at right was shared by Debra Louise Ramsey Davis, a grandniece of Amanda.)
Amanda demonstrated her precociousness early as reported in this entry in the Bastrop Advertiser:
“HILL’S PRAIRIE SCHOOL
Bastrop, Texas, May 7, 1901
Wednesday evening, May 1st, the good citizens of Hills Prairie gathered at the School House to witness and hear the closing exercises of the school term, consisting of recitations, dialogues and songs by pupils. From the opening song to the closing, everyone seemed fully satisfied with the exercises. Miss Amanda McDonald, a tot of four years, gave the address of welcome in a manner at once captivating and surprising in one so young. Each boy and girl contributed his or her part and nothing could have more fully demonstrated the benefit to be derived from such exercises than did the self possession and ease displayed by the children and young people.”
In 1910, Amanda’s sister Ida was a school teacher at an Austin school. The family lived on West Thirtieth Street, later moving to Manor Road. Amanda attended the Bastrop Normal School as revealed in an entry in the “Bastrop Advertiser”:
“September 4, 1914. The Bastrop Normal closed its summer term on Thursday afternoon, after a splendid term of hard work. The class was organized with the following officers: President, Miss Amanda McDonald, of Austin; Vice-President, Miss Florence Warren, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; recording secretary, Miss Gladys Sapp, of McDade; Treasurer, Miss Jessie McDonald, of Austin; Historian, Miss Era McDuff; Poet, Miss Minnie McMahan, of Smithville; Corresponding Secretary, Miss Ellis Cannon, of Cedar Creek.” There are announcements for the school in The Advertiser that go back to 1905.
The clipping at right was published in The Advertiser February 27, 1914. In 1914, Amanda would been about 17 or 18. There are inconsistencies in her birthdate. Early census records and newspaper entry would indicate her birth year as 1896 or 1897, however her tombstone has 1898. Her husband was born in 1900, so there may have been some sensitivity about the difference in ages.
Amanda and her sister, Eva, held important secretarial positions at the University of Texas. Eva served as Secretary to the Dean of College of Arts from 1914-22. Amanda was Secretary to the Editor of University Publications in 1918 and 1919. She became Assistant Secretary to Dean of Arts and Sciences in 1920, along with her sister Eva who is the Secretary to the Dean. They do not appear in the UT yearbook as students so the location of their education is not known. Amanda states in the 1940 Census that she has 4 years of college.
The Texas Journal of Education in 1902 published examples of the examination questions given to students from Normal Schools seeking certificates. They are quite demanding as the example show here illustrates.
On June 27, 1923, Amanda married George Miller Reynolds (at left) in Caddo Parish, LA. George had received his A.B. in 1920 from Hendrix College in Conway, AK, where his father, John Hugh Reynolds (at right), was president from 1913-45. John Reynolds was also founder of the Arkansas Historical Commission. Though president of this private Methodist college, President Reynolds approved the teaching of evolution. This was done despite a 1928 law, approved by 63% of the vote, banning the teaching of evolution in public institutions. (Photo of John Hughes Reynolds taken from The Book of Arkansas by the Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock: Arkansas Gazette, 1913), courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.)
Following their wedding, George and Amanda moved to Shreveport, LA, where they both had positions at Centenary College. Two of her married sisters, Eva (Mrs. Edgar Fullilove) and Lizzibelle (Mrs. W. J. Fullilove) lived in Shreveport also.
George was Professor of Zoology and Secretary to the Faculty and Amanda was Secretary to the President and eventually Assistant Registrar in 1927. George completed a master’s degree at Columbia in 1928. His thesis was entitled, The Recognition Policy of the United States as Applied in the Caribbean. In 1929, George was listed in Centenary publication as “Associate Professor of Science and Laboratory Demonstrator and Graduate Student at U. Chicago and Columbia University.”
On June 26, 1931, George and Amanda arrived Plymouth, England aboard the M. S. Lafayette, a French Line. They depart from LaHarve, France on the same ship and arrived New York on July 29, 1931, having stayed nearly a month. His profession is professor. Amanda, pictured at left, and George pictured below: Courtesy of the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture which is a repository for George and Amanda’s papers.
On April 18, 1933, George M. Reynolds, now Professor of Government at Centenary College acknowledges receipt of an invitation from Mr. James Brown Scott in Washington, DC, to attend a summer school on the teaching of International Law, to be held under the auspices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at the University of Michigan, July 17-Aug 18. He notes that he can not commit to attend, however, he is trying to make arrangements that would permit him to do so. A return letter says the offer will remain open until the workshop quota of 50 is reached. On May 2 he accepts the invitation. On June 5, he asked if the transportation stipend for railroad and pullman fare could be used to pay for transportation automobile. He is permitted to do so. James Brown Scott, Secretary of the Carnegie Foundation, had travelled to France with President Wilson in 1918 to participate in the peace talks.
In January 1934, George requested information from the Carnegie Foundation about the courses he had taken at U. of Michigan during the workshop. He also reported that he and Amanda are now at Columbia where he hoped to complete his doctorate by the summer. George, like many graduate students, was too optimistic. He completed the dissertation in 1936. (Letters exchanged between George and the Carnegie Foundation were generously provided by Jennifer S. Comins, Librarian in the Rare Books & Manuscript Library at Columbia University.)
In 1934, George applies to the Carnegie Foundation for a fellowship. His purpose, “I plan to continue teaching government and international law and relations in the South. Having taught in this field for a number of years, I am convinced of the need for building an informed public opinion that will bring about international understanding and good will. To accomplish this, I believe it is necessary to teach in our colleges and universities the great value of order in the international community, which can be had only through law and organization. It is to further my preparation for this task that I apply for this fellowship.” He withdrew his application on March 23, 1934, probably as a result of the delay in completing his dissertation.
George and Amanda listed their residence in 1935 as Jackson, MS. It is likely they were there doing research on his dissertation topic, Machine Politics in New Orleans. On July 28, 1938, Amanda visited Bastrop from Jackson.
In 1936, George Miller Reynolds published a book based on his dissertation, “Machine Politics in New Orleans, 1897-1926.” He acknowledges Amanda McDonald Reynolds for valuable assistance. The book was published by Columbia University Press.
Following the publication of his book, this announcement appears in a Hendrix College publication, “(1936) Announcement of appointment of Dr. George M. Reynolds, son of Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Reynolds of Conway, to a fellowship in European study next year by the Carnegie Foundation for Peace has been made. The fellowship, which will cover expenses, provides for study at the more important European capitals on the international situation and ways, in which and by which, the foundation may promote the cause of peace.” No record has been found of their making such a trip.
From 1935 to 1938 George served as State Director of the Mississippi Farm Security Administration.
George M. Reynolds became Director of Fellowships for the Julius Rosenwald Fund at 4901 Ellis Ave., Chicago from 1938-41. The foundation was established in 1917 by Julius Rosenwald and his family for "the well-being of mankind.” One of the greatest contributions of the Rosenwald Fund was a series of grants it made to African-American artists, writers, researchers and intellectuals between 1928 and 1948. Civil rights leader, Julian Bond, whose father received a Rosenwald fellowship, has called the list of grantees a "Who's Who of Black America in the 1930s and 1940s."
Hundreds of grants were disbursed to such luminaries as Gordon Parks Jr., Elizabeth Catlett, Claude McKay, Dr. Charles Drew, Augusta Savage, Katherine Dunham, Ralph Ellison, W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes. Fellowships of around $1,000 to $2,000 were given out yearly to applicants and were usually designed to be open-ended, requesting but not requiring grantees to report back on what they accomplished with the support. George was responsible for many of these grants.
Presumably Amanda was an informal participant in many of his decisions and would have, no doubt, been present at social occasions involving these soon to be leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
During 1941, George was Director of the Latin American Institute. From 1942 to 1945, he served in the Foreign Economic Administration in the Roosevelt Administration and became Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce. From 1945 to 1954 he was President of Southwest Newspapers and Vice-President of General Newspapers, Inc. serving as vice-president and general manager of The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.
In the 1950s, George is President of Winrock Enterprises. Winrock, in partnership with the University of New Mexico, built the first regional shopping center within 400 miles of Albuquerque. The project cost $7 million.
He was President of Winrock Enterprises from 1955 to 1965 and served on its Board of Directors. He also became a partner in the Winrock Grass Farm in 1955 and became Director of SPACE Corporation in 1965. In addition to his business ventures, he was a Trustee for Colonial Williamsburg, Director of the National Conference of State Parks, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1969 to 1986. In Arkansas, he served as a member of the Arkansas Publicity and Parks Commission from 1955 to 1965 and on the State Review Board for Historic Preservation from 1969 to 1986. George’s papers are archived at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture at the Arkansas Studies Institute, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
George Reynolds b. April 25, 1900, d. April 11, 1987 Morrilton, AK
Amanda Howell McDonald Reynolds, b. September 19, 1898, d. March 8, 1986 Morrilton, AK
George and Amanda McDonald Reynolds Photo Album