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Sounds of Texas

The collections at the State Archives offer a rich way to experience the musical history of the state. From sheet music and recordings to files from state offices dealing with the music industry, materials span the early music traditions of the state to the business and civic interests in the performing arts today.

Exhibit Items

An image of a cover of a book that is a dark tan color. U.S. and Mexican Boundary Survey, U.S. House of Representatives, 34th Congress, 1st Session. William H. Emory. Report on the U.S. and Mexican Boundary survey. (H. Ex. Doc 135).Journeay violin, 1842. Artifacts collection, ATF0352.

The Journeay Violin was made by Henry Journeay, a member of the Mier Expedition in December 1842. He crafted this violin while in a Mexican prison from wood scraps left over from a chair made for Santa Anna using glass and a razor as his tools. Selected by Laura Saegert, Assistant State Archivist. This violin has a sad but exciting history. It appeals to me because my mother was a violinist, playing at the Texas State Fair when she was four. She started losing her hearing in her 20s, and I never had the chance to hear her play. Click or tap on thumbnails and links for larger images.


An image of a hand written letter on yellow paper. File number 260355, Abner Taylor to the Texas General Land Office, December 14, 1889.The Texian Grand March, 1836, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4. Sheet music collection, item number 105.

The Texian Grand March was composed by Edwin Meyrick, published by Firth and Hall, New York, New York. It was dedicated to General Houston and his brave companions in arms. Selected by the Exhibits Committee. Click or tap on thumbnail and links for larger images.





A photograph of two golden circular medals on a brown block of wood. State of Texas Medal of Honor awarded to Apollo 11 astronauts, 1970. Artifacts collection, ATF0472.Texas State Capitol Grand Waltz, 1888, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5. Sheet music collection, item number 10.

The Texas State Capitol Grand Waltz was composed by Leonora Rives, published by Thomas Groggan and Brothers, Galveston and Dallas. It was dedicated to Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross. Selected by the Exhibits Committee. Click or tap on thumbnail and links for larger images.





An image of a yellow tinted photograph of a man in a bowler hat leaning against a boulder on the right, a wooden one room house with a wagon and man standng in front in the center, and another wooden house behind it. Panel Image. “A Lonely Home in Texas,” Our Indian summer in the far West. An autumn tour of fifteen thousand miles in Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and the Indian Territory, 1880. TSLAC-Main Collection, 917.3 T666o 1880.“Blind Tom” vocal program, 1858. Manuscript collection, 2-23/1061.

 “Blind Tom” Wiggins was an African American pianist and composer (1849-1908) from Georgia. Born blind and enslaved, Wiggins was an autistic savant who toured extensively in the US and Europe, and was famed for his uncanny ability to reproduce sounds and music. While Wiggins’ managers marketed him in a way that promoted African American stereotypes, his audiences were amazed at his artistry. Selected by Jessica Tucker, Archivist. Wiggins is a fascinating and talented figure. Persons of color and individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in the archival record and should be sought out. Click or tap on thumbnail for larger image.



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Page last modified: March 7, 2018