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The story of the library's namesake, Mary Couts Burnett, is at once tragic, poignant and heroic. Born in 1856, she was one of five daughters of Colonel James Robertson Couts, a prominent banker and rancher in Parker County. The Colonel is known to have been an admirer of Addison Clark who, with his brother Randolph, founded in Thorp Spring the school which would eventually become Texas Christian University.