Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark was born on January 23, 1859, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to Henry Jacob Lutcher and his wife, Frances Ann Robinson Lutcher. Her father was a lumber tycoon who co-founded the Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company after moving to Orange, Texas, with his family in 1877. On December 22, 1881, Miriam married William Henry Stark. They had two children; Frances Ann, who died as a young child, and Henry Jacob (H.J.) Lutcher Stark, who went on to become a prominent businessman and philanthropist in the Orange, Texas community. Miriam was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church in Orange, Texas, and she was active in Pi Beta Phi. She became a passionate collector of art, books, and decorative objects. Beginning in 1925, she donated her collection of rare books and manuscripts to the University of Texas, the university attended by both her husband and son and for which both men later served as members on the Board of Regents. The collection included works by Byron, a page from the Book of Leviticus from Gutenberg Bible (circa before August 1, 1456), a first issue of the King James Bible dated 1611, and a Breeches Bible dated 1588. These items remain today as part of the Miriam Lutcher Stark Library located in the Main Building of the University as well as in the University’s Harry Ransom Center. Her enthusiasm for reading also prompted her to establish the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation in Orange, Texas schools in 1904. The contest, known locally as the Stark Reading Contest, is a qualified scholarship program that continues today in all Orange County, Texas public high schools. Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark died on November 27, 1936, shortly after the death of her husband. She was buried in the family mausoleum in Evergreen Cemetery, Orange, Texas.