Texas State Historical Association Seeks Applicants for 2021 TSLAC Research Fellowship in Texas History


The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) is now accepting applications 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 Texas Library and Archives Foundation, Inc. through a generous donation from the Edouard Foundation.

The application must include the purpose of the proposed research, collections of interest, a description of the medium of the product of the research, a complete vita and why the fellowship is necessary to complete the project. The recipient of the fellowship may be asked to present the results of their research at a TSLAC event. The award will be announced at the TSHA’s annual meeting in March 2021. Judges may withhold the award at their discretion. 

Individuals should submit an online application, including completing the application form, research proposal and a curriculum vita by Nov. 15, 2020. Only electronic copies submitted through the link above and received by the deadline will be considered.

Past Recipients
2020 Sheena Lee Cox and Micaela Valdez
2019 Maggie Elmore and Deborah Liles
2018 Edward Valentin Jr. and William S. Bush

Please direct questions about the application process to TSHA at amawards@tshaonline.org or call 512-471-2600.

The Texas State Historical Association administers the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Research Fellowship in Texas History.

TSHA logo

Hispanic Heritage Month and Early 20th Century Photos from the Rio Grande Valley

Photo of two men sitting, one is painting a portrait of a native woman.
Brownsville, two men sitting, one painting, undated, 1964/263-49, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a look at a photograph collection from the Rio Grande Valley. The Harry Lund collection contains more than 200 photos from the Morales Studio depicting the people of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in the first half of the 20th century. The “RGV” developed along the borderlands of Mexico and the southernmost point of Texas, with the town of Brownsville serving as a hub of commerce and social activity. Though the individuals are mostly unidentified and photos undated, we are able to experience visually the lifestyle and culture of the region for a population of Hispanic Texans at the turn of the last century.

Photo of a man and five children standing in front of a two-story house. Also pictured is an automobile from the middle of the 20th century.
Brownsville, group in front of a house, undated, 1964/263-46, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

Photo of a one-story house with a small, fenced yard. Two girls stand in front of the fence and two men stand on the porch. The writing on the photo reads "Arnulfo Corcea Residence" and "Brownsville, Tex. 9/10."
Brownsville, Arnulfo Corcea residence, 1910, 1964/263-216, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

Photo of men with ox-drawn wagons filled with melons in a line down the street as far as is visible. About 12 count. The writing on the photo reads, "Waiting their turn to unload melons. Brownsville Texas, 6-16-19.
Brownsville, men waiting their turn to unload melons, 1919, 1964/263-160, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

Photo of posed family portrait with left to right a young girl seated, an older man with mustache seated, an adolescent girl standing, a woman seated, and an adolescent boy standing.
Brownsville, family portrait, undated, 1964/263-36, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

Photo of a social dance taking place in about 1929. Four couples are seen dancing while a group of onlookers, both sitting and standing, line one side of the open-air  hall.
Brownsville, ballroom scene, about 1929, 1964/263-127, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

Photo of an outdoor baptism ceremony taking place in a river or lake. About six individuals stand in waist-deep water while a larger group of people of all ages stand on the shore. Buildings and a water tower are visible in the background.
Brownsville, outdoor baptism ceremony, undated, 1964/263-185, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.

A wedding party poses for a photo outside next to an early 20th-century model automobile and horse and buggy. Ten couples, including the bride and groom, are pictured.
Brownsville, unidentified wedding party, undated, 1964/263-10, Harry Lund collection. TSLAC.
Photo of Chamber of Commerce Band, Brownsville, Texas. Three rows of men in white uniforms holding various instruments stand on the steps in front of the building.
Brownsville, Chamber of Commerce band, undated, 1964/263-128, Harry Lund collection. Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Learn more about how to explore the Prints and Photographs Collections by visiting our research guide on the Archives & Reference website.

Americans with Disabilities Act at 30

In recognition of the thirtieth anniversary of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in July of 1990, we offer a sampling of our collections and publications related to disability history. As part of our mission to preserve records produced by state government and agencies, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) houses materials relevant to the historical efforts to provide services to Texans with disabilities. TSLAC also preserves materials from other entities and individuals that contains information related to this theme. Our reference library serves as a federal depository and therefore includes numerous US government publications on the ADA along with titles specific to Texas. All of the publications listed are also available online.

View of institute for the blind from the street, 1894.
Institute for the Blind, 1894 [Austin]. 1/2 26. Artwork of Austin (Chicago: W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894). Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Archival Collections Related to Disability History in Texas

Texas State Board of Control records, 1854, 1885-1890, 1909-1979, undated (agency with oversight of the state schools and hospitals, and schools for the deaf and blind from 1920-1949).

Texas Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools, Texas Confederate Woman’s Home resident files, about 1900-1965.

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

Texas Governor records

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Texas Research and Oversight Council on Workers’ Compensation records, 1989-1999.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired meeting files, 1856-1919, 1979-2015.

Texas School for the Deaf minutes and agenda, 1982-1998.

View of school for the deaf, 1894.
School for the Deaf, 1894 [Austin]. 1/2 76. Artwork of Austin (Chicago: W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894). Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Commission for the Blind records, 1932-2003, undated.

Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing records, 1972-2004.

Texas State Department of Health records, 1853, 1899-1901, 1910, 1921-1955, undated.

Texas Bureau of State Health Planning and Resource Development. Texas Medical Facilities Inventory and Utilization reports, 1973-1983.

Texas Department of Public Welfare Executive Office central files, 1943-1977.

Texas Board of Human Services

  • Meeting files, 1933-2004.
  • Records (copies of handbooks/manuals and some historical files), 1954-1981 (this finding aid is not available online)

Texas Department on Aging records, 1957-2002.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs records, 1972-2001.

Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services records, 1992-2000.

Texas Adjutant General’s Texas State Troops records, 1861-1865, undated.

Texas Comptroller Confederate pension application records, 1899-1979 (you had to be indigent and unable to support yourself, the applications note a number of diseases and disabilities).

Texas Veterans Commission records, 1918, 1935-1937, 1944, 1947-2006.

Texas Youth Commission Morales case files, 1949-1990 (health care and lack thereof was one of the issues in this landmark lawsuit).

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director and Librarian’s records (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

Texas Library and Archives Commission chairman’s files (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

Texas State Library and Archives Commission, records (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

A one sheet piece of paper from circa 1953 with type writer written text and with heading text of Service for the Blind surrounded by a thick blue border. The text reads: 
For many years the State Library has been the depository of reading matter for the blind. Until 1934 the books were those printed in Braille or other kinds of raised type that could be read by touch. To read in this method it was necessary to learn a difficult art and so the number of borrowers was limited, and persons who became blind late in life were not always able to enjoy the books. 
But now that the Talking Books are available in quantity and machines with which to listen to the records are furnished without coast, the number of borrowers has grown enormously, until now the State Library has the names of over 900 blind borrowers in its list. 
Talking Books are one of the most dramatic developments in service to the blind, and they bring to these persons the great world of books, for either entertainment or study. Imagine the pleasure and satisfaction of being able to listen to a well-trained voice reading to you the type of book that holds your interest and attention.
In many households, members of the family literally do not have time to read aloud to their blind relatives, and these Talking Books can take their place in this respect.
The special machines on-which the records must be used are furnished by the State Commission for the Blind, and, since these are on deposit and not for sale, no cost except that of transportation from Austin, is involved. If you know of a person in your community whose vision is so impaired that he can no longer read print, he can write to the Commission for the Blind and find out the details of how he can obtain one of these machines. 
Once a borrower has obtained such a machine, his name is sent to the State Library and he becomes a borrower of Talking Books. 
Talking Books are records and are sent to the State Library from the Library of Congress without cost. These records of books are packed in stout containers and the Government carries them through the mails without cost. 
The selection of books is excellent and the Bible is included, as well as many of the classics. Some of the very latest books can be found recorded, and the Reader’s Digest and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine are released almost as soon as the monthly issues in print are placed on newsstands.
By means of a unique system of charging these books the borrower is given a special service. Once he has indicated the type of reading in which he is interested, Talking Books are sent him, and as soon as he returns one book, another is mailed. This method keeps the flow of books moving without the need of correspondence. 
This is a joint operation of your Federal and State government, and it is something of which all of us can be proud. 
For information from the State Commission for the Blind write to Mr. Lon Alsup, the Director, in Austin. For this borrowing of the Talking Books write to either Miss Adele Mitchell or to Miss Emma Harrell, Texas State Library, Austin.
[Texas State Library Scrapbook] 1980/219-227-21, about 1953. Records, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. [Read Transcript]

Texas Rehabilitation Commission records, 1969-1996 (this finding aid is not available online).

Austin State Hospital bulletins, 1960-1964 (this finding aid is not available online)

Austin State School records, 1917-1919 (correspondence of J.W. Bradfield, superintendent of the school) (this finding aid is not available online).

Josephine Lamb collection, 1931, 1942-1969, undated (head of psychiatric nursing in the state hospitals in the 1950s-60s).

Anne Michel valedictory address (valedictory address made by Annie Michel at the Texas Institution for the Blind, dated 1884).

Zachary Taylor Fulmore biography (contains photographs, correspondence and biographical notes pertaining to his support for education in Texas including the Stuart Female Seminary; Austin Public School; State School for the Blind; Colored Deaf, Dumb and Blind School and others, dated 1954. Fulmore (1846–1923) was a lawyer, judge, author and charter member of the Texas State Historical Association).

“The Lone Star” Graduation Numbers (Graduation editions – referred to as numbers – of the “Lone Star,” a magazine produced by the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas. The magazines are dated 1933-1938).

Republic Claims, particularly pension claims, which may include claims by veterans injured while serving in the Republic of Texas:

Governor George W. Bush, Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities records

Texas Confederate Home Roster (available in Archives Reading Room Transcriptions of entries from the roster and the ledger are available by request, by emailing archinfo@tsl.texas.gov. The original records are not available to view).

Publications Related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Disability History

From isolation to participation– : a history of disability in Texas, 1835-1999
G1001.8 F925 1999 OVER-T
Available online: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1204314/m1/

Disability history [electronic resource] : an important part of America’s heritage : defining the next generation
L 41.2:D 63/3 (electronic resource)
Available online: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/gpo12332/Disability%2520History_508%2520compliant_links.pdf

History of the provisions of old-age, survivors, disability, and health insurance, 1935-1996
SSA 1.2:OL 1
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011325808

Beyond the cases: 26 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act : the lives, faces, and stories behind the ADA
J 1.2:D 63/10 (electronic resource)
Available online: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/gpo121018/beyond_cases_26yrs.pdf

An Act to Restore the Intent and Protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [electronic resource]
AE 2.110:110-325 (electronic resource, also available in print)
Available online: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-110publ325/pdf/PLAW-110publ325.pdf

The impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : assessing the progress toward achieving the goals of the ADA
Y 3.D 63/3:2 IM 7/3 (electronic resource)
Available online: https://wayback.archive-it.org/3658/20160329060700/https://www.ncd.gov/publications/2007/07262007

Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : challenges, best practices, and new opportunities for success
Y 3.D 63/3:2 IM 7/2 (electronic resource)
Available online: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/lps91121/implementation-07-26-07.pdf

NCD and the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : 15 years of progress
Y 3.D 63/3:2 AM 3/4 (electronic resource)

Available online: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/lps97365/15yearprogress.pdf

Wilderness accessibility for people with disabilities [electronic resource] : a report to the President and the Congress of the United States on Section 507(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Y 3.D 63/3:2 W 64
Available online: https://permanent.fdlp.gov/lps97467/wilderness.pdf

Legislative history of Public Law 101-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act : prepared for the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, second session
Y 4.ED 8/1:102-C
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011336939

An Act to Establish a Clear and Comprehensive Prohibition of Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
AE 2.110:101-336
Available online: https://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm

The American with Disabilities Act Public Law 101-336 [electronic resource]
L 41.2:2004018154
Available online: https://www.webharvest.gov/peth04/20041108022736/http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/ada92fs.htm

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the health professional : an introduction to what health professionals need to know about employment of people with disabilities
PREX 1.10:H 34/2/BRAILLE
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011416482

The Americans with Disabilities Act : how is Texas doing? : the initial report of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities on the state’s implementation of the ADA
G1001.8 AM35
Available online: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1204507/m1/

Veterans with service-connected disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [electronic resource] : a guide for employers
Y 3.EQ 2:8 V 64
Available online: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS105556

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : hearings before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources and the Subcommittee on the Handicapped, United States Senate, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on S. 933 … May 9, 10, and 16, and June 22, 1989
Y 4.L 11/4:S.HRG.101-156
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008516709

Joint hearing on H.R. 2273, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : joint hearing before the Subcommittees on Select Education and Employment Opportunities of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, hearing held in Washington, DC, July 18, 1989
Y 4.ED 8/1:101-37
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007605519

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on H.R. 2273 … August 3, October 11 and 12, 1989
Y 4.J 89/1:101/58
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008516943

Americans with Disabilities Act : hearing before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on H.R. 2273 and S. 933, bills to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability, September 28, 1989
Y 4.EN 2/3:101-95
Available online: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007606121

New Online: Recent Update 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 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. We close out the piece highlighting 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 and 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

State Records

Texas General Land Office Special Board of Review agenda, minutes, and exhibits – GLO I.11

Administratively attached to the Texas General Land Office, the Special Board of Review considers various aspects related to the development of real property belonging to Texas, the Permanent School Fund, or any other dedicated state fund. Records consists of agenda, minutes, and exhibits, dating 1995-1998.

Texas Governor Allan Shivers press files – GOV IV.08

Press staff of the Texas Governor’s Office were responsible for issuing press releases and media advisories on the activities and actions of the governor, writing speeches for the governor and collecting, copying, and distributing information about the governor and first lady. Records are the press files for Governor Allan Shivers and consist of clippings, press releases, speeches, notes, publications, proclamations, correspondence, and related records, dated 1937, 1941-1943, 1946-1957, bulk 1946-1957.

A portrait of Governor Allan Shivers,January, 1953. 1983/112 M-351-1, Texas Department of Public Safety photographs.Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Governor Allan Shivers scheduling files – GOV IV.09

As the chief executive of the State of Texas, the governor has many responsibilities and duties that require a full schedule to fulfill. The governor’s scheduling files document Governor’s Office responses to requests for the governor’s time as well as logistical organization of the governor’s attendance at local, state, national, and international events. Records are the scheduling files of Governor Allan Shivers and consist of correspondence, invitations, schedules, and related records, dated 1949-1964 and undated, bulk 1951-1957.

Continue reading

THRAB Offers Opportunity for Free Registration to Basics of Archives Online Course

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is pleased to offer an educational opportunity free of charge to individuals working with historical collections and who lack a background or formal training in archives. Through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), THRAB has partnered with the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) to reserve a select number of spots in their upcoming beginner’s course, Basics of Archives. Designed for those with little to no archival experience, the AASLH instructor presents modules online over five weeks, with lessons covering the essential components of archives work from acquisition to outreach.  For more information about applying for free registration, visit: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/workshops.

Applications due August 31.

THRAB initiatives supported through funding from the NHPRC. THRAB serves as the State Historical Records Advisory Board for Texas. Visit www.thrab.org for more information.

THRAB Seeks Nominations for Archival Awards

Call for Nominations for Archival Awards of Excellence, Advocacy, and Distinguished Service

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is pleased to announce an expanded awards program for 2020. In addition to the Archival Award of Excellence for an individual and institution, THRAB seeks nominations for the Advocacy for Archives Award and a Distinguished Service Award. Organizations, individuals, programs, and institutions are all eligible for the new honors. Send nomination packets to THRAB coordinator Jelain Chubb at the address below by August 10, 2020. THRAB announces award recipients as part of Texas Archives Month celebrations in October.

Advocacy for Archives Award acknowledges an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to ensure the preservation and availability of the historical record of Texas.

Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual, archival institution, education program, or nonprofit/government organization that has provided outstanding leadership, service or contribution to the archives profession in Texas.

Archival Award of Excellence recognizes significant achievements in preserving and improving access to historical records in any format by a Texas archival institution and individual achievements.

For institutions: All Texas institutions responsible for archival records that provide public access to at least a portion of their collection are eligible. Achievements include recent projects and/or on-going programs that build collections, enhance access to archives, develop effective digitization programs, or implement preservation strategies.

For individual: An archivist or individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the areas of management, preservation, access, advocacy, or use of historical records in Texas. Nominees must have accomplished the work within the state of Texas during the five years preceding the year in which the award is presented. Current THRAB members are not eligible.

Nomination Process: Submit a complete nomination packet to THRAB coordinator Jelain Chubb. Nomination packets include the appropriate award nomination form, a statement of work accomplished, two letters of support and any supporting materials. For more information, visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/archivalaward.

Nomination Forms:
Archival Award of Excellence
Advocacy for Archives
Distinguished Service


Send nominations via email thrab@tsl.texas.gov or U.S. mail to: Jelain Chubb / ATTN: THRAB Awards / Texas State Library and Archives Commission / PO Box 12927 / Austin, TX 78701

Submit Nominations by August 10, 2020

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board and its programs receive support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The Thomas Samuel Partlow U.S. Army Scrapbook Documents Liberation of Dachau

By Lisa Meisch, Archivist/Museum Curator

Dachau was the first regular concentration camp set up by the Nazi government. It was located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the northeastern part of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich, Germany. The internees were initially political opponents of the Nazi regime, such as German Communists, Social Democrats, and trade unionists. Over time, other groups including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, and Jews were also interned there. The number of prisoners incarcerated in Dachau between 1933 and 1945 exceeded 188,000, and the number who died there between January 1940 and May 1945 was at least 28,000. It is unlikely that the total number of Dachau victims will ever be known.

Seventy-five years ago, on April 29, 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close in Europe, the Dachau concentration camp was liberated by the United States Army. In early May, Army medical corps units entered the camp to care for the ill and emaciated survivors, many of whom were suffering from typhus, tuberculosis, or other diseases. One of the first such units was the 116th Evacuation Hospital, to which Liberty, Texas, native Thomas Samuel (Sam) Partlow was assigned.

Sam Partlow compiled a scrapbook documenting his military experiences in Europe, including his unit’s time at Dachau. It includes numerous photographs along with details of his service and some clippings concerning the Nazi concentration camps. Entitled “Snaps and Scraps: My Life in the Army,” the scrapbook is one that was created especially for service members. This scrapbook is housed at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center.

Sam Partlow (center) with “Buzz” Volpin (left) and Janie Wilt (right) after arriving in Germany. Thomas Samuel Partlow U.S. Army Scrapbook. Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Continue reading

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 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. We close out the piece highlighting fresh uploads to the Texas Digital Archive, our repository of electronic items.

Front elevation, February 13, 1883,1994/083-8a, Architectural drawings and derivatives. Texas Capitol Building Commission administrative records and architectural drawings. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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 and 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

State Records

Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division records – HWY II.15 (these electronic records are available on the Texas Digital Archive)

These records include conveyances, maps, and titles for property owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Right of Way Division. The Right of Way Division coordinates the acquisition of land to build, widen, or enhance highways and provides relocation assistance when needed. The division also coordinates utility adjustments, and the disposition and leasing of surplus real property owned by TxDOT. The records document these land transfers and date from 1924 to 2017, and undated. The records are part of an ongoing digitization project by TxDOT that has begun with the Austin District; the project will continue with other major-municipality districts and finish with the less populous ones.

Right-of-way easement, 000006032, Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division records. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Board of Commissioners of Public Grounds and Buildings records – OAH II.022b

The 8th Texas Legislature (Chapter 40, Regular Session) created the Board of Commissioners of Public Grounds and Buildings in February 1860 to supervise the care, maintenance, and improvements of buildings and grounds upon the capitol square, including the Capitol, the Treasury Building, the Supreme Court Building, the General Land Office, and the Governor’s Mansion. The board was also tasked with directing and controlling the investment of all appropriations made by the legislature for the purchase of books for the State Library and establishing rules for the management of the library. Records date 1860-1876, undated, and include minutes, financial records, correspondence, reports to the governor, various inventories, and payroll records.

Texas Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds records – OAH II.022b (all of the records have been digitized and are available on the Texas Digital Archive)

The 14th Texas Legislature (Senate Bill 335, Regular Session) created the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds in 1874 to take charge of the public halls of the Capitol and State Library as well as the safekeeping and preservation of the Capitol grounds and State Cemetery. This office also briefly worked with the Governor’s Mansion, Treasury Building, and Comptroller Building. In 1879, the office came under the supervision of the Commissioner of Insurance, Statistics, and History (Revised Civil Statutes, Chapter 2, Title 76). The office was abolished in 1919 and its duties absorbed by the Texas State Board of Control (Senate Bill 147, 36th Legislature, Regular Session). Records date 1877-1916, undated, and include financial records, reports, various inventories, payroll records, bids, specifications, blueprints, drawings, and prints. These records have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

 Wire glass enclosure no. 118, 2019/118-8-14, Texas Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds records. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Continue reading

THRAB Offers Free Webinar Series: Creating an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) invites participants to develop an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for their archival repositories with a free webinar series launching May 20. Over the course of five weeks, professional consultant Rebecca Elder of Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation will guide participants through the step-by-step process of creating an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for their archival repositories. Each 90-minute webinar will focus on components of building a plan, with the final installment an opportunity to assess draft plans and review potential implementation concerns. The topics are as follows:

Week 1: Emergency Planning Basics and the Emergency Team

Week 2: Risk Assessment and Choosing a Plan Template

Week 3: Contact Lists and Salvage Priorities

Week 4: Procedures, Supplies and Implementation

Week 5: How Did It Go?

Registration is for the series. Please note that week two covers risk assessment, which would typically require access to the repository. Those not able to make on-site visits because of COVID -19 may need to address the more specific details of this module at a later date. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1539294695231443212

Support for this project provided by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the funding arm of the National Archives.

Striking a Balance: Preserving Delicate Documents while Providing Access

by Caroline Jones, Reference Archivist

An essential component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s (TSLAC) mission of providing Texans access to the information needed to be informed, productive citizens is preserving the archival record of Texas. But what if archival materials are too fragile to be regularly handled? How do we balance preservation with access to the information? Efforts to both preserve records and maintain public access to them has changed over time as technology advances. In celebration of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week (April 26-May 2,2020) we are highlighting one of our collections that exemplifies this balance: Texas Adjutant General’s Department Civil War military rolls.

The Texas Adjutant General’s Department Civil War military rolls include muster rolls, payrolls, rosters, returns, and election returns of Confederate States Army, Texas State Troops, and Army of the United States units that were stationed in Texas during the Civil War. A typical military roll includes the soldiers’ names and ranks, their commanding officer, a description of the organization, enlistment and discharge data, descriptions of individuals, when and where they were stationed, and arms issued. Much of this information can be seen in the muster roll for Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops included below. Because of the level of individual information contained within the military rolls, researchers and genealogists consider this a highly valuable resource.

Figure 1: #101, Captain John W. Bone, Captain J.J. Harrison, Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops, July 24-August 6, 1863. Image accessed through the Texas Digital Archive (TDA).

Preserving Original Documents with Conservation Treatments
Many of the military rolls are extremely fragile. The more the paper is handled, the more likely it is to tear or curl. In addition, inks, like iron-gall ink, eat through paper and can make the rolls illegible, while also destroying the stability of the paper. In the early-to-mid 1900s many of these rolls underwent a common conservation treatment of the time called “silking.” Silking was a process of adhering a thin piece of silk to the front and back of the paper to support it. Despite best intentions, archivists and conservators now know that the silks’ acidity causes the paper to become more brittle and discolored over time. Between 2010 and 2019, TSLAC Conservation tackled this collection and addressed these issues in the military rolls. The oversized Confederate military rolls were conserved by removing the silk, deacidifying the paper, stabilizing the iron gall ink, and mending tears. This extensive project has allowed for more access to the physical rolls and prepared them for the digitization process.

Figure 2: A “de-silked” military roll in the conservation lab.

Enhancing Access through Digitization
These Civil War military rolls are currently being digitized to preserve the original records while still making them available to the public. Digitized military rolls are available online through our Texas Digital Archive (TDA) at: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/texas-state-agencies-homepage/tmd/#civilWarRolls Researchers can view and download watermarked versions of these military rolls on the TDA.

Prior to the conservation and digitization of these military rolls, their information was only accessible through transcriptions. In the early 1900s almost all of the Civil War military rolls were transcribed onto three by five inch index cards. These cards provided researchers with a way to find the information included within the military rolls without having to pull the rolls out of archival storage. There are three different sets of index cards: “Abstracts of Muster Rolls,” “Captains,” and “Units.” The largest of these is the “Abstracts of Muster Rolls” which fills 65 drawers of the card catalog in the Archives Reading Room. An example of a typical abstract card is shown below.

Figure 3: Abstract card file for 2nd Sergeant Isaac Stewart, Civil War Index- Abstracts of Muster Rolls, Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900. Image accessed through Ancestry.com

This abstract card is for 2nd Sergeant Isaac Stewart of Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops. Below is a closer look at the Texas State Troops muster roll from Figure 1, showing Stewart’s rank, age, and enlistment information.

Figure 4: Portion of roll #101, Captain John W. Bone, Captain J.J. Harrison, Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops, July 24-August 6, 1863.

Not only do these transcriptions help preserve the original rolls, they allow researchers to search by name without needing to know what unit an individual served in. These cards are regularly consulted instead of pulling the original military rolls. This has helped to preserve these documents for future generations of researchers. For those unable to visit our location in Austin, there has always been an option to contact our Reference team to have up to five names searched in the card index.

The Civil War military rolls index cards became accessible online through Ancestry.com within the database “Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900.” The digitization of these cards not only preserves these heavily used reference materials for future use but allows for greater access to them. The database gives researchers the opportunity to browse the cards as well as search by name, date, location, or keyword. This database is accessible to all Texas residents through our website at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/ancestry

TSLAC continues to fulfill its mission to preserve archival records while maintaining public access to them. As shown by the history of our Civil War military rolls, methods of preservation and access evolve as new technologies become widely available.

More information on conservation at TSLAC can be found in our blog “TSLAC Conservation” at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/conservation.

More information on our Civil War military rolls can be found in the online finding aid at: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/30073/tsl-30073.html.

Learn more about Preservation Week at www.ala.org/preservationweek.