Cabinet of Curiosities
Government archives may house an array of medals, buttons, ribbons, and plates commemorating major anniversaries and momentous events. Everyday objects like fountain pens may carry historical significance when used by officials on important occasions. These artifacts offer physical reminders of what transpired and enhance the story. Gavels, for instance, may be made unique by their source or prior purpose. The State Archives houses a gavel crafted from the wood of the home of Alamo defender Davy Crockett and another from the site of the first Texas Senate.
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Republic of Texas and the King of Netherlands, Willem II, 1840. Artifacts Collection, ATF0421. TSLAC.
Ornate, blue velvet-lined book in a frame, along with a silver seal with the royal coat of arms in relief on the surface. Book cover is embellished with a crown in gold threadwork and a floral pattern on the edge. Within, the paper has a gold trim. Also etched: Je Maintiendrai. Dated September 18, 1840.
After the United States of America rejected the annexation of Texas in the 1830s, the government of the Republic of Texas sought to create favorable foreign relations on its own. Texas signed treaties with France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Great Britain and was able to secure loans for commercial development. The treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between the Republic of Texas and the king of the Netherlands was signed on September 18, 1840. View larger image of Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Republic of Texas and the king of Netherlands, Willem II, 1840 on Texas Digital Archive Site.
Medallion commemorating the Chamizal treaty, 1964. Artifacts Collection, ATF0434. TSLAC. Silver medallion commemorating the Chamizal Treaty. Obverse: Wreaths on the top and bottom. Legend states: Lyndon B. Johnson. Chamizal. Adolfo Lopez Mateos. September 25, 1964. Reverse: Crossed flags of the United States and Mexico. Legend: United States of America. United Mexican States.
This medal is one of a limited number of Chamizal Commemorative Medals struck by the United States Mint in Philadelphia on the occasion of the meeting of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Lopez Mateos at El Paso on September 25, 1965, to commemorate the Chamizal Convention. Three hundred and eighty silver medals were struck.
Pen and pen holder used by School Land Board members, 1963. Artifacts Collection, ATF0198. TSLAC. Black fountain pen with black and gold square pen holder. Printed in gold on the pen: Pen used by School Land Board members Sadler, Connally, Carr to sign deed for National Sea Shore.
Pen used by President Lyndon B. Johnson in signing El Chamizal treaty with Mexico, 1963. Artifacts Collection, ATF0433. TSLAC. Clear-colored pen with a black outer cap to attach the nib. Treaty signed on December 20, 1963. Printed on the barrel: The President, The White House. This pen was used by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in signing the Chamizal Treaty with Mexico in 1963.
The Chamizal dispute between Mexico and the United States was a boundary conflict over about 600 acres at El Paso, Texas, between the bed of the Rio Grande as surveyed in 1852 and the present channel of the river. The dispute was formally settled on January 14, 1963, when the United States and Mexico ratified a treaty that generally followed the 1911 arbitration recommendations. In 1964 President Adolfo Lopez Mateos and President Lyndon B. Johnson met on the border to end the dispute officially. In October 1967, Johnson met with Mexican president Gustavo Diaz Ordaz on the border and formally proclaimed the settlement. View larger image of Pen used by President Lyndon B. Johnson in signing El Chamizal treaty with Mexico, 1963 on Texas Digital Archive Site.
Fountain pen, 1908. Artifacts Collection, ATF0344. TSLAC. Fountain pen with a brown wooden stem and a metal nib. Printed in white: 3. Eagle Pencil C2. New York pat'd. Image of a crown.
Pen used by President Theodore Roosevelt when he signed the Act of Congress granting pensions to Texas Rangers of 1855-1860. Date of the signature: May 30, 1908.
Gavel, Texas Declaration of Independence, 1931. Artifacts Collection, ATF0005. TSLAC. Gavel with wooden handle and head. One end rounded, the other end flat. Dark wood, walnut. This gavel was made by David Dance of Columbia. It was made from a piece of walnut wood and strip of pine from the building in which the first Texas Senate convened.
Gavel used by School Land Board members, 1963. Artifacts Collection, ATF0199. TSLAC. Gavel, brown, with gold-colored metal plate along the head. Inscribed on the plate: Gavel used at the meeting of School Land Board to convey State Land to U.S.A. for Padre Island Seashore area, 8-23-63. Jerry Sadler, Chairman, Governor John Connally, Atty. General Waggoner Carr. Printed along the length of the handle: Jerry Sadler, Land Commissioner.
Gavel made from a plank of David Crockett's home, 1895-1905. Artifacts Collection, ATF0393. TSLAC. Gavel, wooden, brown. Metal plaque on three sides of
the head of the gavel. Plaques read: Made from a plank in Crockett's floor, Gibson County, Tennessee. Presented by Rev. H.R. Reed. Made by M.E. Hearn. David Crockett fell at the Alamo, AD 1836.
Cabinet of Curiosities Exhibit Pages:
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