TSLAC Research Fellows Announced

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 TSLAC Research Fellowship in Texas History: Cecilia N. Sanchez Hill, Angus McLeod, and Halee Robinson. The fellowship includes a $2,000 stipend and is awarded for the best research proposal utilizing the collections of the State Archives in Austin.

Hill is a PhD candidate at Texas Christian University and has conducted research at the State Archives for her dissertation project. The fellowship allows her to continue her inquiry into the history of educating Mexican American students in 20th century Texas, including new questions about the development of and approaches to teaching Mexican American students along with issues of their identity and social, economic and political mobility.

McLeod is a doctoral student working toward a joint degree in education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He will continue his research at the State Archives to complete his dissertation in 2024. His project examines the origin and development of the school finance system in Texas between 1821-2016 and fills a gap in the historiography of education. 

Robinson is currently a PhD candidate at Princeton University. Her dissertation focuses on the Texas penal system, community and citizenship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She explores the relationship between the penal system and lives of everyday Texans.

The awards the awards were presented at the Texas State Historical Association’s (TSHA) Annual Meeting in El Paso on March 3.

The TSLAC Research Fellowship in Texas History is administered in partnership with TSHA and made possible by the generous support of the Texas Library and Archives Foundation.

Declaration of Independence Broadside

After delegates gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March of 1836 to form the new government of the Republic of Texas, they sent a handwritten copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence to the town of San Felipe de Austin for printers there to produce a broadside version for wider distribution. The printers were Baker & Bordens, a small company that handled other orders from the Texas government and published the newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register. Baker & Bordens took the order to publish 1,000 broadsides of the Declaration of Independence from Mexico. They also printed the text in the March 12, 1836, edition of their newspaper, where they apologized for neglecting to add the names of two signers of the document, including the author of the declaration, George Childress.

July 6, 1836, printing record, Baker & Bordens. Texas Secretary of State public printing records, 1835-1836.

The State Archives has in its holdings an itemized record with charges for producing the Declaration of Independence, along with the Travis Letter written from Bejar (the Alamo) on February, 24, 1836, and the announcement of the fall of the Alamo. (Click the image below for a closer view of these items.)

Close-Up: July 6. 1836, printing record, Baker &Bordens. Texas Secretary of State public printing records, 1835-1836.

The disruptive activities of the Texas Revolution during that time caused citizens to flee their settlements, and the printed handbills of the declaration were largely lost to history. The State Archives acquired its copy as part of the Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers in 1909. Lamar was the second president of the Republic, and the document certainly would have been significant to someone in his position.

Main Broadside, Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836. Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers, 1909/001-344.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, several printed forgeries of the broadside were created and eventually sold to collectors as originals. When a rare book dealer, W. Thomas Taylor, noticed a suspicious number of broadsides coming up for sale he began comparing copies. In his 1991 book, Texfake: An Account of the Theft and Forgery of Early Texas Printed Documents, he identified 12 original copies of the broadside in libraries, museums, and private collections and ten forgeries. The Lamar copy at the State Archives has been authenticated as a genuine imprint and was featured in a 1995 Antiques Roadshow segment on the topic. One tell-tale sign of a forgery is the word “denies” is misspelled as “donies.” In addition to the broadside version of this historical document, the State Archives also preserves an even rarer copy of the hand-written manuscript.

Read the full transcription of the Declaration of Independence here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/declaration.html

THRAB Presents Free Finding Aid Workshops

Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) presents free training opportunities on encoding finding aids to enhance the collection access efforts of historical and genealogical societies, archives, museums, libraries, colleges, local governments, and other institutions who hold Texas’ archival collections. Through these workshops, archivists will learn the hands-on basic skills needed to participate in the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) finding aid platform, www.txarchives.org. Trainers will offer day-long workshops in Lubbock (3/20), Edinburg (4/17), and El Paso (5/25). Registration is free but limited to 15 participants at each site.

About the training:

Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids is a workshop designed to serve anyone learning how to encode archival finding aids using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard in XML but focuses on the local guidelines and participation logistics for the state consortium for finding aids, Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO). The morning session will provide basic information on EAD and the standards used with it, as well as background on TARO. The afternoon session will include hands-on time using an XML editor (or alternatively, using ArchivesSpace) to build a valid EAD XML finding aid file and uploading it to TARO.

In 2020-2021, TARO underwent significant changes and upgrades, which this workshop will address, so it will be useful even to those who are familiar with the previous version of TARO. This includes required tags and attributes, suggested subject browsing terms, and a new way of uploading and managing files. Participants will learn how XML tags work, what the EAD tags are, how to validate an XML file, how to use the TARO Best Practices Guidelines, and how to upload files to TARO. Detailed handouts and sample files will allow participants to continue their practice after the workshop. Trainers Robert Weaver, Amy Bowman, and Amanda Focke will lead these hands-on workshops.

Locations and dates:

  • March 20, 2023 | Texas Tech University, Lubbock |10am-4pm
  • April 17, 2023 | UT-Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg | 10am-4pm
  • May 25, 2023 | UT-El Paso | 10am-4pm

For contact information and to register visit: https://forms.gle/dJnhApWtewJgy3cf6

The National Historical Publications & Records Commission funds THRAB programming.

Apply for Free Registration to AASLH Basics of Archives Online Course

Through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) has partnered with the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) to offer free registration to their popular online course, Basics of Archives from March 27 – April 28, 2023. Meant for those with little to no archival experience, this self-paced course takes place over five weeks, with lessons covering the essential components of archives work from acquisition to outreach. The time commitment is about 15-20 hours to be completed within the five-week period.

Registration is limited to 30 attendees residing in Texas and working for a repository or organization charged with preservation responsibilities but lacking in formal training. Preference will be given to employees or volunteers of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, or smaller institutions that serve rural areas and receive little or no funding for professional development. THRAB may limit registration to one person per institution to allocate space equitably.

Apply by March 10, 2023

The National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) funds THRAB programming.

THRAB Offering Free Preservation Assessments for Rio Grande Valley Region

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) has announced that it is accepting applications from libraries and archives in the Rio Grande Valley for free professional preservation assessments. As part of its ongoing efforts to provide education and support to archival repositories in the state, THRAB, with support from the National Historical Publication and Records Commission (NHPRC) will provide funding for three professional preservation assessments in the Rio Grande Valley region during the spring of 2023.

Archives, libraries, museums and other cultural heritage repositories preserving and providing access to historically significant archival collections are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to those located in the counties of Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Selected South Texas repositories will receive a professional preservation assessment free of charge. THRAB has contracted with Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation of Austin to conduct the on-site reviews of facilities, environments and collection needs and produce a brief assessment report for each repository with short and long-term recommendations. Areas of review include building and environmental conditions; general collection needs; storage and shelving; exhibits (if any); and emergency planning and security. The report will prioritize the recommendations and provide essential documentation to support any future funding requests, including grant applications, to accomplish the projects.

THRAB will review the final assessment reports and work with the institutions to identify appropriate grants or other means to address the recommendations. THRAB will monitor progress of the institutions and provide advocacy support. THRAB intends this initiative to be a pilot project to engage and support underfunded repositories.

Applications can be made online by visiting www.THRAB.org or clicking on the button below. The deadline is March 1. Successful applicants will be notified by April 1 and will make arrangements with Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation for assessments to be completed by June 1. 

The nine-member Texas Historical Records Advisory Board was established in 1976 by Governor Dolph Briscoe. It enables the state to receive monies from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in support of archival and records management programs and serves as a catalyst for improving archival and records storage conditions within the state.

The National Historical Publications & Records Commission funds THRAB programming.

Texas Governors: Indelible Ann

By Traci Reece, Reference Librarian

As legislators and staff return to the Texas State Capitol for the start of the 88th Texas Legislature, we’re looking back at the legendary Texas Governor Ann W. Richards. Thirty-two years ago this month, Governor Richards was inaugurated as the 45th Governor of Texas. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has in our collections papers, photographs, and publications connected to Texas governors dating back to the first chief executive of the state, including Richards.

Book cover with illustration of Ann Richards in profile with bluebonnets decorating the bottom portion
Cover: Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards by Meghan P. Brown and Carlynn Whitt

Last fall, TSLAC’s Texas Center for the Book selected as the Texas Great Read for 2022 the new picture book biography about Governor Richards, Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards by Meghan P. Browne and illustrator Carlynn Whitt. The author spoke about her work and the importance of the TSLAC collections in supporting her research in the promotional video for the Texas Great Read, which also includes images of Richards from our State Archives.

Texas Center for the Book interview with Meghan P. Browne for the 2022 Texas Great Read, Indelible Ann.

Browne is not the first author to publish a book on Richards. Our library stacks contain numerous titles focusing on the governor, some of which are currently on display in the Reference Reading Room. See below for a list of featured titles.



Call Number


A love letter to Texas women

Bird, Sarah

Z UA380.8 B532Lo

Texas Documents,

e-Book online

Ann Richards : “a woman’s place is in the dome”

Stumpff, April D.

920.7 R390a YALL

Reference Reading Room Collection

Capitol women : Texas female legislators, 1923-1999

Jones, Nancy Baker

328.764 J722c


Claytie and the lady : Ann Richards, gender, and politics in Texas

Tolleson-Rinehart, Sue.

976.4063 T578C


Indelible Ann : the larger-than-life story of Governor Ann Richards

Browne, Meghan P.

976.4063 B814in YALL

Reference Reading Room Collection

Let me tell you what I’ve learned : Texas wisewomen speak

Pierce, Paula Jo

920.72 P611L

Main, e-Book online

Let the people in : the life and times of Ann Richards

Reid, Jan.

Z UA380.8 R272LE

Texas Documents, e-Book online

Molly Ivins can’t say that, can she?

Ivins, Molly

070.92 Iv5m


Storming the statehouse : running for governor with Ann Richards and Dianne Feinstein

Morris, Celia.

923.2764 R39M


Straight from the heart : my life in politics and other places

Richards, Ann.

973.927 R39S


The great Texas wind rush : how George Bush, Ann Richards, and a bunch of tinkerers helped the oil and gas state win the race to wind power 1st ed.

Galbraith, Kate

Z UA380.8 G131gr

Texas Documents, e-Book online

The thorny rose of Texas : an intimate portrait of Governor Ann Richards

Shropshire, Mike.

976.4063 R39S


Where is Sam Houston Buried? : A Tour of the Graves of the Governors of Texas

Swearingen, John

923.2764 SW31w


With Ann : a journey across Texas with a candidate for Governor

Bonar, Ave.

923.2764 R39B


Women and Texas history : selected essays

Downs, Fane

305.4 W8423


To search for these books and more, visit our library catalog. If you are interested in checking out a title from this post, please visit the Reference Desk or contact your local library about borrowing books through the interlibrary loan program. Call us at 512-463-5455 or send an email to ref@tsl.texas.gov with your questions about our collections.

Governor Richards, press conference with Harley Davidson, May 21, 1992. Governor’s activities, 1991-1995, 1992/095-2-1, TSLAC Current Events Photographic Documentation Program Collection. TSLAC.
I did not want my tombstone to read, ”She kept a really clean house. I think I’d like them to remember me by saying, “She opened government to everyone.” Ann Richards, from Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards by Meghan P. Browne and Carlynn Whitt.

Explore Our Collections

Visit us online or at our library to see documents and images from the first century of Texas governors in Texas Governors and their Times, 1846-1946 on exhibit at TSLAC through May 15, 2023.

Sign up for our research webinar, “Researching Texas Governors at TSLAC” scheduled for January 27 at 3:00 p.m.

See more Featured Collections blog posts for additional women’s history topics:

Felicia J. Williamson Appointed to Texas Historical Records Advisory Board

New THRAB member Felicia J. Williamson.

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is pleased to welcome new board member Felicia J. Williamson. Williamson, who will join THRAB on February 1, 2023, has served as the Director of Library & Archives at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum since 2015, working to expand, strengthen and increase access to the Museum’s important collection of rare books, artifacts and oral history testimonies. In addition, she has received a grant from the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission to catalog oral history testimonies, as well as a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to catalog and make available artifact collections.

Williamson graduated with a BA in History, German and European Studies and a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She received a master’s degree in Library and Information Science with a focus in archives from Louisiana State University (LSU). A Certified Archivist, Williamson is a former member of the Executive Board for the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) and a member of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). As the Head of Sam Houston State University’s Special Collections (2011-2015), Williamson instituted a program of instruction and outreach awarded the Texas Library Association’s (TLA) “Upstart Innovative Programming Award” for efforts to increase access to archival collections.

The Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Gloria Meraz, appointed Williamson for a three-year term expiring February 1, 2026.  

For more about THRAB visit: www.thrab.org

New Online: Recent Updates to Finding Aids and Digital Images

As our archives staff work on an ongoing basis to arrange, preserve, describe, and make available to the public the materials under our care, we spotlight new additions to the website in a regular feature from Out of the Stacks. The column lists new and revised finding aids recently made available online, along with fresh uploads to the Texas Digital Archive, our repository of electronic items. For a comprehensive list of all recently added and updated finding aids visit Archives: Finding Aids (New & Revised).

New Finding Aids

State Records

Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation records
The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) established in 1993, plans and executes the eradication and diapause programs designed to eliminate the boll weevil and the pink bollworm from cotton in the state under the supervision of the Texas Department of Agriculture. Records of TBWEF date 1983-2013 and include foundation quarterly board meeting minutes, agenda, and supporting documentation; agriculture commissioner talking points; manuals; administrative correspondence; program records; financial statements; independent auditor reports; newspaper notices and purchase orders; complaints; and budgets.

Texas Governor Allan Shivers legal files
Legal staff of the Texas Governor’s Office were responsible for providing legal advice to Governor Allan Shivers. Records are the legal files for Governor Allan Shivers and consist of press releases, memorandums, correspondence, administrative records, clippings, and legal documents, dated 1949-1956, bulk 1950-1954


Governor Price Daniel records holiday announcements about traffic safety, December 1959. 1965/162-133, Bradford Smith audiovisual materials. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

Bradford Smith audiovisual materials
Bradford Smith started his career in Texas print and broadcast media in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1958, he moved to Austin to be Texas State Traffic Safety Director and later a member of Governor Price Daniel’s staff. These audiovisual materials, created by Smith while serving in those roles, date 1958-1962 and consist of black-and-white photographs and negatives, 16mm motion pictures, color transparencies, a framed drawing of a political cartoon, and an open reel audiotape. Most photographs document events of Governor Daniel. The motion pictures and audiotape have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Revised Finding Aids

State Records

Texas State Securities Board records (includes one series of electronic records in the Texas Digital Archive)
The Texas State Securities Board, composed of the former Securities Divisions of the Texas Secretary of State and the Texas Board of Insurance Commissioners, was created by the Texas Securities Act of 1957 (Senate Bill 294, 55th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to regulate securities sold publicly in Texas. The mission of the State Securities Board is to protect Texas investors and its goals are to ensure a free and competitive securities market for Texas, increase investor confidence, and thereby encourage the formation of capital and the creation of new jobs in Texas. The regulation of securities involves the registration of stocks, bonds, and other securities sold in the state; the licensing of persons or firms selling securities; the investigation of alleged violations of the act; and the presentation of these violations to county and district attorneys for prosecution.

These Texas State Securities Board records include correspondence and memoranda, press releases, agenda and minutes, summaries of board actions, notices of hearings, copies of board orders, reports, legislation, attorney general opinions, court documents, printed materials, budget materials, and notes. Records range in date from 1933 to 2021. Materials cover nearly all aspects of the regulation of securities, both by the Secretary of State (1933-1957) and by the Securities Board (1957-2021).

Texas Governor Allan Shivers personal files
Allan Shivers served as lieutenant governor of Texas from January 21, 1947, to July 11, 1949, and as governor of Texas from July 11, 1949, to January 15, 1957. These records created, received, and maintained by the Texas Governor’s Office are what Shivers considered to be his personal files, though they were administered by him and his staff as part of official state government business and are state records. These files consist of personal correspondence, clippings, photographs, greeting cards, booklets, brochures, and related records, dated 1946-1959, undated, bulk 1950-1957.


National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators organizational materials two additional photographs digitized (in Project files series) among the other digitized and born-digital records available on the Texas Digital Archive.
Through institution-based membership, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) encourages the exchange of information, cooperative approaches, and professional development and standards, and promotes awareness of government records issues. As an outgrowth organization from its predecessor, the National Association of State Archives and Records Administrators (NASARA), NAGARA was founded in 1984 to meet the needs of the government archives and records administration profession on all levels of United States government. These materials document the history and activities of NAGARA’s organizational pursuits with local, state, and federal governments as well as late NASARA endeavors with state governments. The NAGARA records include administrative files, correspondence, events files, meeting minutes, project and grant files, and records concerning relations with professional organizations, dating 1974-2018, undated, bulk 1984-1996. Records are paper as well as electronic; additionally, a portion of these materials have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Texas Digital Archive

Paintings and coatings,1991. General professional materials, 2022/30-12. Allen McCree papers. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

Allen McCree Papers, 1975-1997
Allen McCree was the architect of the Capitol of Texas from 1988 to 1992 and oversaw the interior preservation and underground extension of the Capitol Building. These Allen McCree papers, dated 1975-1997, primarily document McCree’s involvement in architectural projects in the state and include plans for the Capitol project, general architectural materials, newspaper clippings, correspondence, memos, notes, architectural plans and specifications, budgets, reports, pamphlets, drafts, and slides and a script for a lecture on the history of the Capitol. All of these materials except oversize prints and architectural drawings have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the Texas State Ranger Force transcript of proceedings
The Texas Joint Committee to Investigate the Texas State Ranger Force was created in January 1919 during the 36th Texas Legislature to investigate the actions taken by the Texas Ranger Force during the period from 1914 to 1919. Records consist of digital copies of the original three-volume transcript of proceedings conducted by the committee during January and February of 1919. These digital copies were created by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission with grant funding provided by the Library Services and Technology Act, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Texas Supreme Court: M Case files, 1840-1892
The M case are part of a larger set of records titled the Supreme Court Case files. The Case files as a whole consist of two distinct groups of files, the circuit court-era or M files, 1840-1892, and case files from 1893-2004. As of 2017, case files for 2005 forward are held by the Texas Supreme Court. Types of materials present in the case files include original petitions (briefs, appeals), original indictments (criminal cases only for the early years), transcripts of proceedings from the district court, bills of exception, agreements, demurrer and answer, supplemental answers, statements of facts, testimony, judgments, motions, petitions and/or bonds for writ of error, citations in error, assignments of error, sheriffs’ returns, certifications of costs, waivers of service, precepts, motions for rehearing, applications for extensions of time, certification of costs, and opinions of the lower court. The M case files have been partially digitized and are available in the Texas Digital Archive.

Contact ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455 with questions about using TSLAC’s archival resources at the Lorenzo de Zavala building in Austin and SamHoustonCenter@tsl.texas.gov or 936-886-9821 regarding collections at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty.

Try Recipes from the US Army for Your Thanksgiving Feast

By Clinton Drake, Reference Librarian

Will you be cooking enough food to feed an army this Thanksgiving?  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) can assist you with that!  As part of our U.S. Documents collection, we hold the 1916 Manual for Army Cooks. The pumpkin pie recipe included in the manual begins with 25 pounds of pumpkin, “sufficient for about 15 pies.”  And, if you are trying to keep critters—or people!—out of your pie, there are instructions for suspending food in a swinging cage.

According to the National Park Service, “during the Spanish-American War, less than 200 men died from battle injuries, but over 5000 died from sickness or disease. And much of the sickness was attributed to the lack of trained cooks. So, in 1905, the War Department opened the first school for bakers and cooks at Fort Riley, Kansas. It soon added schools at the Presidio, at Washington Barracks, D.C., and at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.”

Recipe #567. Pie, pumpkin or squash, Manual for Army Cooks (244-245).

Prior to his promotion to head the organization of bakery companies under the Office of the Quartermaster General, Colonel Leonard Lyon (L. L.) Deitrick organized the School for Bakers and Cooks in the Southern Department (Fort Sam Houston), and assisted in the preparation of manuals for bakers and cooks, including this version held by TSLAC.

Tip for how to store food while at camp.

A few recipes that probably won’t be making it to our Thanksgiving table include: pancreas, thymus gland, rolled wheat mush, brains without eggs, or gruel. For a look at more recipes and explore more cooking tips from the Army Manual there is an online version here: http://www.314th.org/numbered-documents/0564-manual-for-army-cooks.pdf.

As one of two regional and 54 selective depositories in Texas belonging to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), TSLAC assists in providing publications of the federal government free to the public at no cost.  As a regional depository, TSLAC develops and manages a comprehensive, perpetual Federal depository collection and provides reference and interlibrary loan services to selective depositories within the state or region.


“Cooking School for Camp Bowie.” The Houston Post. January 6, 1918.

“To Start Army School for Bakers at Ft. Sam Houston.” El Paso Herald. May 29, 1915.

United States. Department of the Interior. “Bakers and Cooks School: Philippines War Tour.” National Park Service. March 2, 2021.

United States. War Department. Manual for Army Cooks, 1916. New York: Military Pub. Co., [1916].

Sharpe, Henry G. The Quartermaster Corps in the Year 1917 in the World War. New York: The Century Co., 1921.

For questions about TSLAC collections please contact our reference staff at ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-564-5455.

Alabama-Coushatta Craftwork Collections at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center

Lisa Meisch, Archivist/Museum Curator

Spanish moss mat, moss spinner, and needle, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center maintains two extensive collections of  Alabama-Coushatta craftwork. The Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts and the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Collection include rivercane baskets, long leaf pine needle baskets, beadwork items, pottery, wood carvings, and other craftwork. Basketry and beadwork make up the majority of the items, which were created by tribe members at the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation in Polk County, Texas. Items date primarily from the 1930s to the 1990s.

rivercane elbow basket, v-shaped, with cane handle.
Rivercane elbow basket, about 1960, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

Cane basketry is an important aspect of southeastern Native American societies, including the Alabama-Coushattas. It is one of their oldest artistic traditions. These baskets are plaited from strips of rivercane, a large bamboo-like grass native to the southeastern United States. Some are used for gathering or storing plant foods, sifting grain, or other utilitarian purposes. Sometimes geometric designs created with dyes from plant or animal sources are added as decorative enhancements.

rivercane gathering basket with open body and cane handle.
Rivercane gathering basket, about 1976, Alabama-Coushatta Indian Collection, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.
Rivercane wall pocket basket, about 1960, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

The Alabama-Coushattas are more closely identified with pine needle basketry. Needles of dried long leaf pine, common to East Texas, are coiled and sewn together with raffia (fiber from the leafstalks of the raffia palm). Finished baskets may then be decorated with pinecones, raffia flowers, or geometric patterns. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including animal effigies (whimsical decorative baskets in the shape of animals, birds, or insects).

rounded pine needle basket used for food storage.
Longleaf pine needle food storage basket, about 1976, Alabama-Coushatta Indian Collection, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

The Sam Houston Center’s collections include decorative baskets as well as those for household or agricultural use. Many of the animal effigy baskets represent species common to East Texas. The armadillo and turtle baskets shown below also utilize pinecone sections to create portions of the bodies.

four animal baskets include a duck, armadillo, butterfly and turtle.
Animal effigy baskets (armadillo, duck, butterfly, and turtle), about 1970, 1998, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.
tall, slender pine needle basket with pine cones affixed on two sides.
Longleaf pine needle vase with pinecone decorations, about 1975, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

Many tribe members are also skilled crafters of colorful beadwork. Beadwork items in the Center’s collections include jewelry, purses, and bolo ties, as well as other personal accessories. Shown here are a necklace, bolo tie, brooch, belt buckle, coin purse, and earrings.

Various beadwork items, about 1960, 1975, 1976, 1986, Frances Broemer Collection of Alabama-Coushatta Indian Artifacts and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Collection, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. TSLAC.

Selected items of Alabama-Coushatta craftwork are displayed in the Sam Houston Center’s museum as part of the permanent exhibits on the history of Southeast Texas, including a mat woven of Spanish moss, a moss spinner, and needle. The Center’s hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. No appointment is required to tour the museum. For more information, go to Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center | TSLAC (texas.gov) or call 936-336-8821.


Frances and Walter Broemer Archives, SHC.
Alabama-Coushatta Indian Collection, SHC.
Native American Basketry, 64parishes.org

The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center museum is open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm and Saturdays 9:00am – 4:00pm.


Call (936) 336-8821 for assistance.
Physical Address: 650 FM 1011, Liberty, TX 77575
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 310, Liberty, TX 77575
Telephone: (936) 336-8821
Email: SamHoustonCenter@tsl.texas.gov