Dana Darwin Mallett Hummel is a retired research librarian and information technology specialist, having a diverse career with the military, U.S. Embassies and Washington, DC, “think tanks.” Fluent in Spanish, she helped abused women who had escaped deplorable conditions from embassies in Washington. Ms. Hummel also taught Spanish at high schools and English as a second language.
Originally from Oklahoma, Ms. Hummel graduated from East Denver High School in Colorado in 1953. There, she was awarded the school’s highest academic award – the Virgil Medal for Latin, after which she chose to take the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB)’s exam for Smith College in Latin. In 1957, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in art history, with an emphasis in architecture, from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Shortly before graduation, she was awarded a teaching fellowship at the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum. Following her graduation, Ms. Hummel and her classmate, who was from Cheyenne, Wyoming, embarked on a three-and-a-half month trip around Europe, for which they had been saving up for four years.
Later, through friends, Ms. Hummel learned that public television station, KRMA, in Denver was producing a new series of educational programs. Her time at Winterthur had expanded her communication skills for lecturing about antiques, architecture and furnishings. In November 1957, she was interviewed by Mr. Willsea, its director of radio and TV, and he hired her on the spot; broadcasting began in early December and continued into 1958. Near the end of her series. Ms. Hummel decided to return to Aspen, Colorado, where she met her husband, Capt. Charles S.T. Mallett.
Gen. Westmoreland had been Ms. Hummel’s husband’s Eagle Scout leader when they were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. She loved languages and hoped she too could attend. However, the school was strict and had a rule that only the wives of general officers would be allowed to enroll. As luck would have it, the commandant of the school came from a family who were old friends of her husband’s family and she was allowed to enroll. At that time, the enrollment numbered about 26 men, ranging from privates to captains, majors and one general officer. Her husband’s family placed their daughter with a Portuguese woman nearby during the day so Ms. Hummel could be at school all day for a year. In college, she had taken French, so Spanish came a bit easier for her than other students. At the end of the year, she and another officer were named to the top of the class.
A memorable moment in Ms. Hummel’s career was when she briefly relocated to Mexico and, to expand her knowledge of Spanish culture, took several courses from three differing colleges, one being strictly for women. Her family’s activities were not confined to military matters, but were extended into the Mexican community as well. In this case, it was through her membership in Junior League International, which had a chapter in Mexico City. The league accepted her plan for a puppet theater performing in Mexico City orphanages. Ms. Hummel’s major part, besides being a member of the cast, was to make the costumes, theater curtain and other paraphernalia. The performances were such a great success that they took the theater and play to their Panama assignments, and gave shows at orphanages there.
Ms. Hummel was a member and distinguished president of the Fairfax County Public Library Board and four large libraries were built under her leadership. She was active politically and served as a delegate to a Virginia State convention. Furthermore, she was a leading fundraiser for two U.S. universities. For her work in her specialized area, Ms. Hummel received an Outstanding Women of Fairfax, Virginia, Award.
In her retirement, over a 14-year period, Ms. Hummel was a board member and 10-year president of her local condominium association. Athletically active from youth, she mastered horsemanship, rock climbing, mountain climbing and taught skiing in Aspen, Colorado. She also won a two-day women’s golf tournament. Ms. Hummel is an excellent cook and has won many awards for her needlework, including a sweepstakes ribbon at a Sarasota, Florida, major arts festival.