Elga Odessa Daniels, daughter of Mary Latishia and Henry Jefferson Daniels, was born on October 23,1908 at Swift, Texas. Her father was a sharecropper and the family lived at Swift until Elga was about eleven. Then they moved first to Melrose and later to Woden and Shady Grove. Elga missed about four years of school to help work on the farm. In 1926 at the age of 18, she was the only girl in Nacogdoches County to enter a cotton-raising contest. Using Chilean Nitrate of Soda along with potassium fertilizer, she produced 2-1/2 bales from one acre at a time most farmers were getting rarely more than a bale an acre. She was crowned Cotton Queen of Nacogdoches County. In 1927, at the first convention of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, through the support of a large delegation from Nacogdoches County, Elga was voted Queen of East Texas.
The Chilean Nitrate of Soda Educational Bureau noticed the attention Elga was receiving and sponsored a trip for her and other state cotton-raising champions to Atlanta, Georgia, where Elga was crowned Cotton Queen of the South, and to Washington, D.C., where the champions were received by President Calvin Coolidge and made guests of honor at a banquet hosted by United States Senators and foreign diplomats. In 1928 Elga went on tour again with the cotton champions to Florida and Cuba. During these years her picture and story appeared in newspapers and farm journals throughout the country and she received fan mail from all over the United States and as far away as Liverpool, England and South Africa.
Elga graduated from Nacogdoches High School in 1928 and attended Stephen F. Austin State Teacher's College for a year or two. She also raised prize-winning poultry and aspired to be a writer, publishing a few items in newspapers and farm journals. She taught at Hobart School in Carson County for two years and married William Edward Bonifield in Borger, Texas on May 24, 1931. They later resided in Oklahoma City.
Elga returned to Nacogdoches County to visit friends and relatives over the years and was guest of honor at the 50th Anniversary of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce in 1976.
(Hall, Ike G. and Hall, Mrs. Ike G. "Daniels, Elga." Nacogdoches County Families. Dallas, Texas; Curtis Media Corporation, 1985. p. 252).
Scope and Contents: The collection consists of a scrapbook, fan mail and other correspondence, clippings and magazines with articles about Elga, photographs, mementos, and Elga's notes on her tours and writings for periodicals.