COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL: Miscellaneous Photographs from the Ruth and Richard Shack Papers

Emily Gibson

A Pick of the Week from Special Collections of the UM Libraries

By Bea Skokan



Former Dade County Commissioner, Ruth Shack, recently donated her and her husband’s papers to the University of Miami Special Collections, which offer a lot of history and insight into her political career that began in the 1970s. She was a noted social rights and women’s rights activist, and she was also one of the key political figures in support of the Gay Right’s Movement here in South Florida, going so far as to sponsor an amendment in 1976 that would grant equal rights to homosexuals.


She’s an inspiring role model who was elected three times as Dade County Commissioner in response to all the reforms she fought for, and these photographs are mere glimpses into the colorful life she lead, including a signed photo of her with Johnny Cash, another one with her and former president Jimmy Carter, and one featuring her and former attorney general, Janet Reno. The last picture is a shot of her campaign billboard in which she gained recognition in South Florida as “the woman in the yellow dress” and centered her campaign on that key image.


COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL is written by Yvette Yurubi and showcases unique items at Special Collections and the University Archives discovered by librarians and staff members while on the job. They gather monthly for “Show and Tell” to present their top finds. You too can experience these items up close, and access other rare and interesting treasures, by visiting Special Collections and the University Archives, located on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.