Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Speech Communication


"Everyone talks about education. I try to do something about it." These words of Sara Lowrey expressed her primary goal: to prepare her students for the future. This study traces the career of Lowrey through her years at Baylor University and Furman University and delineates her varied activities both in and out of the classroom. In 1923 Lowrey became Chairman of the Department of Public Discourse at Baylor. A fledgling program, the department grew and matured into a respected organization under her able leadership. She instituted programs of study in oral interpretation, radio, and speech correction, spearheaded a radio project under the Works Progress Administration, and formed the Baylor Little Theatre. Lowrey's textbook, Interpretative Reading, co-authored with Gertrude E. Johnson, contained the core of Lowrey's interpretation theory. A practitioner, she provided the beginning student with a specific technique for communicating the meaning of a literary selection. Her "technique of thinking" made her unique among writers of oral interpretation textbooks and remains as one of her finest contributions to the art of interpretative reading. As Chairman of the Department of Speech at Furman University from 1949 until her retirement in 1963, Lowrey had primary responsibility for maintaining a well-established curriculum. Also while at Furman Lowrey pursued other goals, one of which was the establishment of an educational television program for upper elementary school children. Her program, called "How Do You Say It?", was a successful venture and was the first broadcast of its kind in the Piedmont. Primary sources for this study include an interview with Sara Lowrey; her personal papers; the holdings from both The Texas Collection and the Armstrong-Browning Library Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas; materials from the Furman University Archives, Greenville, South Carolina; the personal papers of Glenn R. Capp; and letters from numerous individuals who knew and worked with Lowrey.