The Nancy and Jake L. Hamon Resource Center opened to the public in
December 1998, made possible by a $1 million gift from Mrs.
Nancy Hamon in honor of her husband, Jake L. Hamon. In addition to financing the
initial creation of the Hamon
Oil and Gas Resource Center, the gift established a permanent endowment that
provides a continuous source of funds, matched by City of Dallas funds, to
maintain up-to-date oil and gas resources.
Mrs. Hamon's gift also funded other major renovations to the Dallas Public
Library's Business and Technology Division, including:
- a remodeled, customer-centric public space, designed to facilitate
research and learning.
- networked computer workstations, providing access to electronic oil and
gas information sources, business databases, and other electronic
- addition of the Hamon Training Room, intended primarily for teaching
users how to effectively search business and technology databases.
Nancy Blackburn Hamon was born in San Antonio, Texas. She attended the University of Texas and
in 1942, moved to Hollywood, appearing in several movies as a dancer. She married Jake L.
Hamon in 1949. An outstanding hostess as well as a civic benefactor, Mrs. Hamon was often
called upon to entertain distinguished visitors to Dallas. Since 1985, Mrs. Hamon was
a major contributor to the arts in Dallas. In 1990, she received the James K. Wilson
Silver Cup Award for her generous support to the cultural arts of Dallas. In 1994, Mrs.
Hamon was selected by a panel of local business and civic leaders to receive the Linz
Award, Dallas' most prestigious civic honor, presented annually for civic or humanitarian
efforts creating the greatest benefit for the Dallas community. Along with her support of
the Dallas Theater Center and Dallas Historical Society, Mrs. Hamon's contributions
included the Jake Hamon Gorilla Habitat at the Dallas Zoo, the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts
Center at Southern Methodist University, a $20 million gift to the Dallas Museum of Art in
1988, and a $1 million donation to the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Inc. in 1998
to establish the Jake L. Hamon Oil and Gas Resource Center and partially renovate the
Business and Technology Division of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown
Dallas. Mrs. Hamon passed away in Dallas on July 30, 2011 at the age of 92.
Jake Louis Hamon, legendary Dallas
independent wildcatter and civic leader, was born in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1902.
He studied law at the University of Chicago but left in 1920 to help support
his family after his father's death. He began his oil career as a roustabout
in the oil fields near Ranger, Eastland County, Texas. In 1923, Jake Hamon
formed a partnership with Edwin B. Cox, first purchasing a group of Oklahoma
stripper wells. This partnership was to last over 20 years. Mr. Hamon moved
his company to Dallas in 1932 and became increasingly involved in civic and
professional associations. In 1934 he was elected Director of the American
Petroleum Institute and later served as President. In 1950, Mr. Hamon began
working independently over a multistate area and in 1958 received the Carl A.
Young Memorial Award from the American Petroleum Institute. He was asked to
serve as a member of the National Petroleum Council in 1961. In 1974, Jake
Hamon received the American Petroleum Institute's highest award, the Gold
Medal for Distinguished Achievement. Mr. Hamon also served as president of the
National Stripper Well Association, Dallas Petroleum Club, and the Texas
Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. In 1984, he incorporated his business
as Hamon Oil Company. Jake L. Hamon died during a trip to Amsterdam in 1985,
at the age of 82. He is remembered as a major supporter of the Dallas Museum
of Art and as a director of the Dallas Zoological Society and Dallas Cotton
Bowl Athletic Association. Mr. Hamon enjoyed reading and was a strong
supporter of the library, serving as Chairman of the Dallas Committee for
National Library Week in 1961.