New Online: Recent Updates to Finding Aids and Digital Images Available Online

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 will spotlight new additions to the website in a regular feature from Out of the Stacks. The column will list new and revised finding aids recently made available online. We will close out the piece with a list of fresh uploads to the Texas Digital Archive, our repository of electronic items.

Archivists create finding aids for collections once they are processed and add these descriptive guides to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO). TARO hosts finding aids from institutions around the state so researchers may determine whether or not to limit searches to the State Archives. Not all collections have been processed and therefore the list of finding aids does not represent the entirety of our holdings. The Archives & Manuscripts page of the TSLAC website provides more information and guidance on how to access archival collections. Contact ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455 with questions about using TSLAC’s archival resources. For a comprehensive list of all recently added and updated finding aids visit Archives: Finding Aids (New & Revised).


New Finding Aids

TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE LITIGATION CASE FILES – AG II.17 (includes external spreadsheet inventory—link at end of finding aid)

ABSTRACT:
The attorney general is the lawyer for the people of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas, represent the State in litigation, and approve public bond issues. Records consist of selected working files relating to litigation and major investigations handled by the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG), closed in or before 1985 and closed in 2004. Materials date 1959-1985, 1995-2004, bulk 1967-1985.

TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL CRAWFORD C. MARTIN AUDIOTAPE – AG II.18

ABSTRACT:
As the chief legal officer of the state of Texas, the attorney general is charged by the Texas Constitution to defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas, represent the State in litigation, and approve public bond issues. Crawford Martin served as attorney general of Texas from 1967 to 1972. He filed successful litigation against commercial drug manufacturers for price-fixing of antibiotics and encouraged Texas consumers to file claims for a refund from money awarded in the suit. This 1969 recording informs Texas consumers how to file for the refund.

New in TDA: This audiotape has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Revised Finding Aids

TEXAS ADJUTANT GENERAL’S DEPARTMENT RECONSTRUCTION RECORDS – ADG II.0

ABSTRACT:
The Texas Adjutant General’s Department oversees the military interests of Texas to serve the state civil authorities and the citizens of Texas. During the Congressional phase of Reconstruction, the military affairs of the State of Texas, and many aspects of civil government, were controlled by the commander of the District of Texas (1866-1868) or of the 5th Military District (1868-1870). These records are of those districts, and of the State Police and the State Guard and Reserve Militia, both created in 1870 and commanded by a newly restored state adjutant general. Types of records include military orders; correspondence, petitions, and sworn statements; reports of crimes, arrests, and fugitives from justice; certificates of disability; court martial proceedings; annual militia returns; militia rolls; a hospital report; affidavits of loss and damage; quartermaster records (especially vouchers), pay vouchers, ordnance records, and accounts for moneys collected and disbursed; and other financial records, dating 1865-1874, and undated.

Record of murders and assaults, 1867-1868. 401-1000, Record of murders and assaults, 5th Military District/District of Texas records, Texas Adjutant General’s Department Reconstruction records, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

New in TDA: One letterpress volume—Record of murders and assaults—has been digitized and is available in the Texas Digital Archive.

TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL AUTHORITY RECORDS – ECW I.08


ABSTRACT:
The objectives of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority (TLLRWDA) were to update existing statutes governing radioactive materials and to establish a state-operated low-level radioactive waste disposal program. Records include correspondence, memorandums, environmental monitoring and experimental data, minutes and agenda, reports, studies,news clippings, maps and drawings, photographs, land records, contracts, publications, public relations materials, planning documents, board orders and resolutions, court documents, manuals, organizational charts, audio and video recordings, magnetic media, and other background material related to the various stages of the site selection process, dating 1917, 1920, 1933-1999, undated, bulk 1992-1998.

Subjects include the site characterization and selection process, low-level radioactive waste disposal trends, waste management planning, public perception of TLLRWDA and similar entities, development of Hudspeth County infrastructure, legislation related to agency operations, geological features of Texas, collection and analysis of environmental data, status of the agency’s license application, quality assurance tasks and audits, TLLRWDA’s relationships to external entities, socio-economic impacts of the project, and environmental justice issues. Electronic records are present in addition to analog materials.

TEXAS SUPREME COURT RECORDS – SC I.01
A new partial list of missing Supreme Court M case files is now available in PDF and .xls format.

ABSTRACT:
The Texas Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction in most civil and juvenile cases. It also has the authority to conduct proceedings for the removal or involuntary retirement of state judges; supervises State Bar operations; promulgates rules and regulations for the discipline, supervision, and disbarment of lawyers; and has supervisory and administrative control over the judicial branch. The records consist of case files, applications, opinions, dockets, indexes, registers, and minutes covering the period 1840-2004. Also present are the records of the Texas Commission of Appeals, consisting of opinions, dockets, and minutes, dating 1879-1892, 1918-1943. A portion of these materials has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.

TEXAS DEPARTMENT ON AGING RECORDS – OAH IV.073

ABSTRACT:
The Texas Department on Aging was responsible for addressing the social and physical well-being of Texans aged 60 years and older through the development, coordination, oversight, and advocacy of aging services. Records include meeting documents, correspondence and memoranda, legislative documents, legal documents, financial documents, reports, grant applications, media documents, responses to surveys, organization charts, and resumes, dating 1957-2004, bulk 1979-1999. They comprise records of the Texas Department on Aging, its predecessor the Governor’s Committee on Aging, and the affiliated State Citizens Advisory Council. Also well-represented are the records documenting Texas’ participation in the White House Conferences on Aging of 1971 and 1981.


More Items Recently Added to the Texas Digital Archive

Jacob de Cordova Letter Book, 1851-1856:
Copies of outgoing correspondence from de Cordova relating to his business as a land agent, dating from 1851 to 1856. The book consists of two sections: “Assessors and Collectors” and “Letters to Phineas de Cordova and Commissioner of the General Land Office Austin and other persons,” each with an alphabetized index of correspondents.

Jacob de Cordova letter book. 2012/174, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Governors’ Letterpress Copybooks:
Letterpress was a method of creating copies by pressing the original text, with the ink still wet, onto a thin paper in a bound book. Records from the 19th century, including those from Texas governors, often contain such volumes. TSLAC has digitized the following:
Sam Houston (1859 -1861)
Francis Lubbock (1861-1863)
Pendleton Murrah (1863-1865)

Texas Historical Commission Meeting :
The State Archives collects records of Texas state agencies like the Texas Historical Commission. This item is a packet from a 2010 meeting in Laredo.

Explore more items available online from the homepage of the Texas Digital Archive.

From “Unplayable” to Searchable Online: the House Recordings Recovery Project

By Steven Kantner, Digital Asset Coordinator


One of the many reel-to-reel recordings marked “unplayable” by the Texas House of Representatives media staff.

In 2007, Texas House of Representatives’ Media Services transferred to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) about 350 reels of audiotape. Most of the recordings dated between 1975 and 1984 and covered the House floor debates from the entire 63rd through 68th Legislative sessions. Many House committee recordings were included as well. At the time the tapes were transferred to TSLAC, the majority of the reels were described by House media staff as “unplayable.” Having been marked as damaged and unplayable, the audiotapes were stored in TSLAC’s climate-controlled stacks awaiting deaccessioning.

State Archives staff revisited this collection in 2017 after digitizing recordings from the House Textbook Committee and others from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Digital Asset Coordinator Steven Kantner, with a background in recording engineering along with a graduate school focus on the preservation of audiovisual materials, recognized the primary issue facing these tapes.

Samples from the House recordings. The few Scotch 207 and Ampex 631 tapes in the set did not require any treatment for playback. However, over 300 Ampex 407 tapes did.

The bulk of the audiotape used in the House recordings from this time period was Ampex 407. Ampex was once a well-known manufacturer of recording devices and produced their own brand of audiotape.

Residues on the surface of the tape’s black back coating, which is the primary suspect as to the increased occurrence of stickiness in tapes manufactured after 1970.
An Ampex tape exhibiting binder degradation. The tape is not falling off the pack tangentially as it would when new.

As years pass, audiotape is known to suffer from binder degradation, also known as “sticky-shed” or “sticky-binder” syndrome. Post-1970 audiotape construction has multiple layers that keeps magnetic and carbon particles attached to the support tape. Over time, these chemical bonds break down from exposure to humidity. Ampex 407 is no exception.

Tapes with this condition will squeal upon playback and can lock up the tape player altogether. This can damage the tape and the players too. While there have been various methods applied to attempt remediation of this degradation, the most successful and widely used is a heat treatment. A pilot test consisting of a random sample of the tapes was conducted to prove salvaging these recordings was possible.

Soon after the first project meeting in April 2018, the effort was underway. Using a scientific lab oven in the State Archives, a dozen reels of tape at a time were carefully heated at 130F/54C for a total of 24 hours. The tapes were cooled down for at least 24 hours before they would be played.

Preparing to bake reel-to-reel tapes in the State Archives oven.

The original Studer ReVox and Sony recorders used to create the tapes were not available. TSLAC bought a brand new Otari MX-5050 reel to reel player in 2014, about one year before Otari ended manufacture of these last modern reel-to-reel players. The original recorders had a tape speed option to slow the tape down to audio-cassette speed (1.875” per second). The Otari does not have that option and only uses faster consumer and production tape speeds.

Capturing a house recording with equipment in the State Archives Digital Lab.

Since no new reel players are on the market today, and working old ones are hard to come by, the recordings were captured at double their original speed, but at a very high digital resolution. This high resolution was to compensate for time duration adjustments after the digitization of the tape. This provided quality better than compact discs and kept audio transfers within digitization guidelines and standards from organizations such as the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.

While the bulk of the tapes just required heat treatment, some tapes exhibited other damage that occurred during the original recording or subsequent handling.

A tape that was stretched and curled upon itself. The poor tape pack seen here was commonly found on the reels. Some of the tapes continued to exhibit problems with tape pack even after rewinding and playback on the modern reel-to- reel player.

Some tape had strange white residues that formed around old fingerprints left on the tapes. It was determined after viewing under a microscope that it was not mold and was safe to handle.

Nearly all tapes were missing leader tape at the head or tail of the reels.

Splicing a tape and adding a new leader at the head of the reel.

Log books of the recordings were part of the original accession and contain useful metadata about the activities captured in the recordings. These were handwritten notes that included the “counter” information on the original recorder, which unfortunately is information only helpful with the original playback equipment and doesn’t equate to an accurate “time stamp.” However, representatives speaking and bill number information is useful to narrow down what was happening on any given day. These log books were digitized and are provided as a PDF file to browse through to look for names, bill numbers, and any other information a researcher may need. Each page of the PDF is bookmarked with Tape and Side where the audio resides and can be cross-referenced with the recordings.

Log books of the recordings were part of the original accession and contain useful metadata about the activities captured in the recordings.

The original project plan was to provide these to the public as MP3 files along with the PDF log books as an index. However, after some testing, it was found that using artificial intelligence for Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) could be a powerful discovery tool for this collection. For over 1,000 hours recordings, it could cost the State thousands of dollars to send off to a vendor to perform. To hire people to manually write transcriptions would cost even more. Instead, an open source video software tool called ffmpeg was used to convert MP3 audio files into an MP4 video file using a placeholder “frame” for the video image. Then the MP4 was uploaded into a private channel on YouTube. Many of the recordings were just under the time limit set by YouTube, and YouTube (owned by Google and likely using a light version of Google’s ASR) would provide captions within about 24 hours after upload.

A screenshot of a House recording playing with the captions along the bottom of the screen.

The captions are not perfect as there are heavy accents, people speaking simultaneously, and other background chatter on the tapes that confuses the AI – but a large majority of the captioning is accurate. The caption files were downloaded and placed with the recordings. When topics are mentioned or House bill numbers are mentioned, this text is now searchable across the entire Texas Digital Archive – a text search will lead you to the captions – once the caption file is open, then use the FIND feature in your browser to search through the text in the record. A time stamp is included with each line of captioning to help the user pinpoint the audio in the recording. Using ffmpeg, captions were also permanently burned into the video frames so whole recordings are available not only as MP3 audio files, but also as video files with the captions.

The last audiotapes were captured about 15 months after the project kick-off, and within a couple of months all metadata and files were ready for ingest into the Texas Digital Archive. The collection, much of which was inaccessible for many years due to the tape condition, was now available to the public online.

Researchers using this collection have two options: use the log books to locate topics on a given day, or try a text search across a session or the entire collection. If using a text search, it is recommended to try several varieties of how a house bill or other topic could be mentioned. For example, “house bill 131”, “HB 131”, or just “131”. As technology advances further, future discovery improvements may be implemented to make searching and discovery within this large set of recordings even better.

Check out the collection here: Texas House of Representative Recordings

Research Topics at the State Archives: Subject Guide to Native American Resources

Unidentified American Indian women. Richard Niles Graham Collection, 1964/306-301. Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The Texas State Archives maintains a wealth of material relating to the Native American peoples of Texas. The holdings, which range from the colonial era of Spanish rule during the eighteenth century through the years of the Republic and to the present day, depict the cultures and histories of those tribes which once resided, and in some instances still live, in Texas.

Rich collections such as the Nacogdoches Archives and the Texas Indian Papers provide narrative and statistical evidence concerning the encounters and varied relationships that colonists, settlers, and well-known historical figures had with the indigenous peoples of Texas. Other collections from the nineteenth century such as the Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers and the Andrew Jackson Houston Papers contain plentiful correspondence that details the differing perspectives of Mirabeau Lamar, Sam Houston, and other leaders concerning the status of Indians during and after the Republic.

Letter from Sam Houston to Captain of the Cherokee Rangers, September 23, 1836, authorizing him to recruit 25 Cherokees to range upon the Brazos, Page 1. Document 548, Andrew Jackson Houston collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Records produced by state agencies that provided economic and material aid to those tribes remaining in Texas following the nineteenth century are especially informative. The assistance provided by the State Board of Control and its successor, the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools, to help the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation gain economic sustenance and political control of their affairs from the early through the middle of the twentieth century is well documented, with correspondence and reports providing daily snapshots of the challenges and achievements stemming from this era.

Management of Native American reservations and other affairs in Texas during the later twentieth century can be found in the administrative, financial, and legal records of the Texas Indian Commission. The political emergence of the Tigua and Kickapoo Indians in Texas after decades of political neglect and administrative oversight, as well as the timely assistance provided to these tribes by the Commission, are just two of the compelling events recorded within the agency’s history.

Other collections in the State Archives provide records and materials that give glimpses into the cultures of the state’s tribes. One of the goals of the Texas Tourist Development Agency was to make various tourist attractions and facilities more widely known to the general population in and out of Texas; its visual records of Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua villages are instances of such an effort.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/texasstatearchives/35734347111/in/album-72157683441901183/
Tigua 0123, 1991/077-6, Audiovisual material, Texas Tourist Development Agency, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Another collection, the James L.D. Sylestine papers, contains considerable amounts of stories, legends, and songs from the Alabama and Coushatta tribes in both textual and audio form. Lastly, the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, a branch of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Liberty, Texas, has a large collection of arrowheads and spear-points from tribes that once lived in southeastern Texas; there are also collections of handcrafts and baskets made by the nearby Alabama-Coushatta tribe.

These collections and others with entries in this guide are just some of the larger and well-known holdings in the State Archives pertaining to Native American tribes in Texas. Additional collections are available at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), most available through this website, for those interested in accessing material not mentioned in this guide.

Artifacts at the Texas State Archives, pre-1900

Nacogdoches Archives, 1736-1838, bulk 1820-1836

The Indian Papers of Texas and the Southwest, 1825-1916, bulk 1838-1870

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar papers, 1733-1859, bulk 1835-1841, 1857-1859

Andrew Jackson Houston papers, 1812-1941, bulk 1835-1859

Texas Secretary of State executive record books, 1835-1917

Texas Adjutant General’s Department biennial reports, 1870s-1880s

Captain John J. Dix papers, 1860-1928

Texas Department of Criminal Justice records, 1849-2004

James Ludwell Davis Sylestine papers, [17–]-1989, bulk 1900-1980s

Texas State Board of Control board members files, 1885-1890, 1917-1953, bulk 1920-1953

Texas State Board of Control building records and contracts, 1854, 1885, 1909-1949, 1967, undated, bulk 1920-1928

Texas Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools records regarding Alabama-Coushatta Indians, 1938-1939, 1948-1965, bulk 1956-1964

Texas Indian Commission records, 1957-1989

Texas Department of Corrections photographs, about 1911-about 1985, undated, bulk about 1965-about 1980

Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Documents, deed files, 1848-1994, bulk 1928-1963

Texas Tourist Development Agency audiovisual material, about 1963-1987

Texas Historical Commission, Marketing Communications Division records, 1955-1998, 2002, undated

Texas Governor George W. Bush General Counsel’s legal opinions and advice, 1995-2000

Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center (SHRLRC) holdings related to Native Americans, about 10,000 BCE – 2000 CE, bulk about 10,000 BCE – 1800 CE

A “Subject Guide to Native American Holdings at the Texas State Archives, about 1700-2004” is available in full online at: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/90021/tsl-90021.html#series1. For more information about the holdings at the State Archives and conducting research in our collections, contact the Reference Desk at ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455.


Texas State Historical Association Seeks Applicants for TSLAC Research Fellowship in Texas History

TSHA logo

The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) seeks applicants for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) Research Fellowship in Texas History. The fellowship includes a $2,000 stipend and is awarded for the best research proposal utilizing the collections of the State Archives in Austin.

The TSLAC Research Fellowship in Texas History is administered in partnership with TSHA and made possible by the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas through a generous donation from the Edouard Foundation.

Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas logo

Proposals must specify the purpose of the research project, collections of interest at the State Archives, a description of the end product of the research and a statement of need for funding.

In addition to the one to two page narrative, the application packet should include a complete vita. Fellowship recipients may be asked to present the results of their research at a future TSLAC event. The award will be announced at the TSHA’s annual meeting in February 2020.

Individuals should submit an entry form, four (4) copies of a vita and four (4) copies of the proposal to the TSHA office by Dec. 28, 2019. Applicants should address their entry forms to:

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Research Fellowship in Texas History Committee
Texas State Historical Association
3001 Lake Austin Blvd., Ste. 3.116
Austin, TX  78703

Past Recipients
2019 Maggie Elmore and Deborah Liles
2018 Edward Valentin Jr. (Partial Award)
2018 William S. Bush (Full Award)

THRAB Offering Free SAA Workshops at the State Archives

As part of its efforts to support education and training for archivists, librarians and others charged with preserving and providing access to the rich documentary heritage of the state, the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is pleased to announce two free workshops on issues relating to digital collections. The Society of American Archives (SAA) developed these workshops as part of its Digital Archives Specialist curriculum and are open to archivists, librarians and staff members working at Texas archival repositories and charged with managing digital projects. Registration is limited to 30 attendees.

“Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives” takes place on Friday, November 22, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Building Digital Advocacy” will be held on Thursday, December 12, 2019 from 9 a. m. to 5 p.m. Both workshops will take place in the Tocker Learning Center at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) located at 1201 Brazos Street in Austin.

According to SAA, “Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives” covers privacy and confidentiality legal issues specific to archives of digital material. Topics include free speech, third-party rights, donors, national security legislation and special situations like medical and education records.

“Building Digital Advocacy” provides attendees with the tools to obtain support for digital archives. Instructors will offer strategies for connecting with donors of materials, technology staff and others who are essential to successful digital archives management.

To learn more about these opportunities and to register, visit THRAB’s professional development webpage at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/workshops. Deadline to register is October 25, 2019.

Funding for these workshops is provided by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. 

THRAB Announces 2019 Archival Award of Excellence Recipients

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is pleased to announce that the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections at the University of Texas at El Paso Library and Brenda Lincke Fisseler, former volunteer with Lavaca County, have been chosen to receive the 2019 Archival Award of Excellence. The award recognizes significant achievements in preserving and improving access to historical records in any format by a Texas archival institution and individual.

“This year’s recipients serve as stellar examples of how dedication and ingenuity can help ensure that archival records are not only preserved, but made even more useful for future generations,” said Jelain Chubb, State Archivist and the board’s coordinator.

The board selected the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections at the University of Texas at El Paso Library as the recipient for the award in the institutional category for their Casasola Project. With the Casasola Project, Special Collections personnel employ crowdsourcing to help identify unnamed individuals featured in the images from their Casasola Studio photograph collection.

Catholic Youth Organization Golden Gloves Boxing Team, PH041-10-00111, circa 1955. More than 40 people called to identify individuals in this Casasola Studio photo when it appeared in the El Paso Times. Courtesy of C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections, University of Texas at El Paso Library.

Not only does the collection of photos highlight the people and culture of Texas, but the Library has enhanced the value of the images by partnering with the community for biographical and historical information. In so doing, members of the general public have contributed narrative context to the collection and connected personal history with the greater purpose of archives work.

THRAB selected Brenda Lincke Fisseler as the recipient for the award in the individual category for her extensive work with Lavaca County records. Ms. Fisseler helped coordinate an initiative to rescue, preserve, properly house and facilitate access to historical records documenting the county that led to the creation of the Lavaca County Archives. She has demonstrated the enormous impact one individual may have on preserving our collective history.

Congratulations to the winners!

THRAB serves as an advisory body for historical records planning and supports efforts to preserve and provide access to archival collections throughout the state. Funding for THRAB is provided by the National Historical Publications Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the National Archives and Records Administration. The state archivist is appointed by the governor to preside over the nine-member board. Learn more about THRAB by visiting the website.

Celebrate Archives Month in October!

Texas archivists celebrate Texas Archives Month in conjunction with American Archives Month each October. Texas archival institutions, repositories and organizations are offering exhibits and activities as we raise awareness about what archives have in our holdings and what archivists do with our collections. Webinars, workshops and exhibits will be on offer throughout the month.

Watch how archivists tag images for preservation and access during the University of North Texas Special Collections’ metadata live stream or log-in for a webinar on Native American boarding school records from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Want to learn how to preserve your personal digital archive? The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a workshop for that! And hop on to Twitter on October 2 when archivists from TSLAC and other repositories participate in #AskAnArchivist Day. We are also promoting archival activities that you should make plans to attend later in the fall. You will find Archives Bazaars happening in Houston and Denton, for instance, and SAA workshops at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) maintains a Texas Archives Month webpage to keep track of all these happenings across the state.THRAB announces the annual Award for Archival Excellence as part of the Texas Archives Month celebrations and, as was recently reported here, the Texas Archives Month poster is up and available for download from the site. Keep an eye on Out of the Stacks for announcements about these and other archival activities coming up.

Happy Texas Archives Month!


2019 Texas Archives Month Poster Now Available Online

October is Texas Archives Month and the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is kicking it off with our 2019 poster, The Power of Water. The theme acknowledges both the prevalence of archival records dealing with water-related subjects and the threat water poses to those very materials. The design features images from Rosenberg Library, the University of Texas at El Paso Library, Fort Worth Public Library, Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Archivists of Central Texas. Visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/thrab/archivesmonth.html to download a copy of the poster and learn more about Texas Archives Month activities. #TxArchivesMonth #AmericanArchivesMonth

Second Saturday Workshops Continue with Introduction to Newspaper Collections

Researchers encounter newspapers in libraries and archives on microfilm, in old bound volumes and through online databases that allow users to keyword search entire collections of digitized issues dating back decades and even centuries. The next installment in the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s monthly workshop series covers the various methods of locating and using these resources with an Introduction to Newspaper Collections.

Brenham Banner-Press, 12-8-1941. Original newspaper from the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

TSLAC reference staff will guide participants through our newspaper resources in a free, 20-minute orientation session beginning at 10a.m. on September 14, 2019. Registration is encouraged but not required. Visit our workshop page for descriptions and a full schedule of topics or go ahead and register here.

TSLAC Staff Participate in Council of State Archivists / Society of American Archivists National Conference

When the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) / Society of American Archivists (SAA) held their joint annual meeting in our hometown of Austin,Texas this summer, the name badges of Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) staff could be spotted throughout the conference. TSLAC archivists gave presentations, facilitated panel discussions and obtained vital information on current trends in the field. Colleagues from the State and Local Records Management (SLRM) division of TSLAC also presented and attended sessions relevant to government records.

TSLAC Archives and Information Division Director and State Archivist, Jelain Chubb served on a panel discussion about controversial monuments.

The CoSa/SAA program featured a number of TSLAC presenters. State Archivist and the division director for TSLAC Archives and Information Services, Jelain Chubb, chaired a timely panel discussion on the role government archives play in relation to controversial public monuments. Jelain also facilitated the session for CoSA’s invited speaker, former State Archivist for Texas and retired University of Texas professor David Gracy.

Archivist Anna Reznik found deeper meaning in records dealing with radioactive waste for a Science, Technology, and Health Care Section presentation and Jessica Tucker, another TSLAC archivist, facilitated a session on how student employees contribute to archival work. Both Anna Reznik and Rebecca Romanchuk, the team lead for our TSLAC archives unit, presented at a forum for the archives information database, ArchivesSpace.

TSLAC Archivist Rebecca Romanchuk presents at the 2019 CoSA/SAA joint annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

TSLAC invited conference attendees to explore the home of the State Archives with two behind-the-scenes tours of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Archives and Information Services personnel offered close-up views of the Summerlee Conservation Lab, archival storage and processing areas, the digital program, and reading rooms.

Digital Asset Coordinator, Steven Kantner gives a talk on TSLAC digitization projects for a tour group.

Digital Asset Coordinator, Steven Kantner, played a little hoe-down music from a Pappy O’Daniel radio program that he had reformatted to digital audio. Conservator Sarah Norris described how she approached a recent project to conserve a Texas Ranger company muster roll from the 19th century.

Conservator Sarah Norris provides a tour of her lab at TSLAC.

Sarah Norris describes the conservation techniques she applied to a Texas Ranger muster listing from the 19th century.

We had a great time hosting our guests and sharing a few of our techniques and procedures with fellow archivists from around the country. The annual national conference takes place in a different city each year and we look forward to when Austin once again welcomes archivists back to town. 

 

More scenes from CoSA/SAA 2019:

  • Archivists Angela Swift, Rebecca Romanchuk and Anna Reznik pose with former ARIS Preservation Officer, John Anderson.
  • State Archivist, Jelain Chubb gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the State Archives.
  • Rebecca Romanchuk stands ready at the registration desk for the ArchivesSpace forum.
  • Anna Reznik, second from left, with TSLAC colleagues from the State and Local Records Management division (L-R Erica Siegrist, Sarah Jacobson, Craig Kelso and Megan Carey)
  • Conference name badges with ribbons indicating presenters, first-time attendees, etc.
  • Archivist Tiffany Criswell demonstrates how a large trash can serves as a humidification chamber.
  • Tour group ready to explore the State Archives.
  • Anna Reznik speaks at the ArchivesSpace forum.