Dawson Ann Forman Gaillard Keefe was born on September 25, 1938, in Marietta, Georgia, and grew up in Monroe (Ouachita Parish), Louisiana, graduating from Neville High School. She earned a B. A. in Social Studies and English at Louisiana State University (1959) and both a Master’s (1965) and Doctorate in English (1970) from Tulane University. Gaillard was a member of the faculty of Loyola University New Orleans from 1968 to 1983, and served as chair of that department from 1974 to 1977. She also edited the New Orleans Review from 1973 to 1979.
She worked as copy manager for the LSU Press from 1979 to 1981 and wrote the copy for the advertisements and book jackets of Confederacy of Dunces and other titles. Gaillard authored a book entitled Dorothy L. Sayers (1980) on the English mystery writer and (with colleague John Mosier) co-edited a groundbreaking anthology of short fiction, Women and Men Together (1978).
Her battle with multiple sclerosis contributed to her eventual departure from academic and professional life, and on October 1, 1985 she died in an accident at her home in Metairie, Louisiana. The annual Dawson Gaillard Writing Awards are held in her honor at Loyola University, recognizing student work in the categories of expository writing, creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and script.
The Dawson Gaillard Papers consist primarily of the personal and professional writings of Dr. Dawson Gaillard. These include…
Her personal diaries from 1951 to 1985:
Academic work and research papers written as a student and teacher:
Samples of her copyediting work from LSU Press, and a small amount of original nonfiction, fiction and poetry:
Also included is research related to the 1927 murder trial of Ada LeBouef and Dr. Tom Dreher, including two audiocassette tapes of interviews conducted by Gaillard with Murphy Dreher, Tom Dreher’s nephew, and Mrs. Waleer Hamlin, the wife of Ada LeBouef’s lawyer.