Spooky Scenes and Stories from the Stacks: Halloween Edition

Haunted House on West Avenue, Austin, Texas, n.d. William Deming Hornaday photograph collection, 1975/070-197. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

With Halloween on the horizon, we searched the collections with the filter set to “spooky” to see what mysterious and frightening historical items emerged from the stacks. Our Texas Digital Archive features a couple of haunted houses that appear creepy enough for the title, even if supporting evidence and/or a dramatic backstory are left to the imagination.

Murrell Place, Haunted House, near Paris, Texas, n.d. Fannie Ratchford photograph collection, 1970/101-1083. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

Ask anyone about haunted spots in Austin and the historic Driskill Hotel on the corner of Sixth and Brazos will be mentioned in short order. The legendary hotel still attracts tourists and locals alike. Tales of chairs rocking on their own, the smell of cigar smoke attributed to the original owner Jesse Driskill, and ghostly visions of women who took their own lives are some of the experiences that have become part of the lore.

The Driskill Hotel, 1894. Art Work of Austin, Chicago : W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894. View catalog record.

Another Austin site where, over the years, residents and visitors have reported interactions with the supernatural is the Governor’s Mansion. Located across the street from the Texas State Capitol, the Greek Revival style structure is home to the state’s executive and his or her families. Stories have included eerie incidences with lights and sounds and a wandering apparition bearing a resemblance to Governor Pendleton Murrah.

Governor’s Mansion, front view, about 1919. Places Collection,1/103-80, Prints and Photographs. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

The State Archives houses papers related to the Texas Governor’s Mansion, including the Jean Houston Daniel Texas Governor’s Mansion Collection, which is comprised of the materials the authors of the book, The Texas Governor’s Mansion: A History of the House and its Occupants compiled in the course of their research. Jean Houston Daniel, the wife of former Texas Governor Price Daniel, was the great-great-granddaughter of Sam Houston and worked on the book with her husband and the writer Dorothy Blodgett.

Search our library catalog for books with ghost stories from Texas:

Haunted Texas : famous phantoms, sinister sites, and lingering legends

Ghost stories of old Texas

Black cats, hoot owls, and water witches : beliefs, superstitions, and sayings from Texas

Ghost lore : a collection of ghost, phantom and legendary mysteries, chiefly of Texas and of old Mexico

Legends & lore of the Texas Capitol

Chills in the night : tales that will haunt you

El Rinche : the ghost ranger of the Rio Grande

Texas ghost stories : fifty favorites for the telling

Ghost lore : a collection of ghost, phantom and legendary mysteries, chiefly of Texas and of old Mexico

More spooky Texas tales

For more information about the collections held at the Texas State Library and Archives contact ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455.

Celebrate Juneteenth: Emancipation Day in Texas

By Stephanie Andrews, Library Assistant

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission joins Texans across the state in celebrating the holiday known as Juneteenth. The state holiday honors the anniversary of June 19, 1865, which was the day Texans were officially notified that slavery had ended in the United States.

While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was in place as of January 1, 1863, Texas did not consider itself under the United States’ control and, therefore, considered itself exempt from the proclamation. It wasn’t until General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with a force of federal troops and General Order Number 3, that Texas slaves were officially freed. The general order states that the “people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

General Orders, No. 3. U.S. House, 54th Congress, 1st Session (H. Doc. 369, Part 2). “General Order Number 3,” 1896. U.S. Documents Collection. Y 1.1/2: SERIAL 3437

Juneteenth is an opportunity for Texans to participate in the various celebrations that take place across the state every year. Over the generations, Juneteenth has been celebrated with parades, picnics, and dancing. To honor this historic occasion, we have gathered resources from our collections to help enrich Texans’ knowledge of the holiday.

Newspaper articles and library resources related to Juneteenth.

Newspaper articles and library resources related to Juneteenth.

To find out more about Juneteenth’s history and celebrations over the years, visit our webpage from the About Texas section of our website. If you would like to find more resources in our collections pertaining to Juneteenth, search our catalog or visit our Archives and Manuscripts webpage to learn more about our archival materials.

Resources Available Include:

U.S. House, 54th Congress, 1st Session (H. Doc. 369, Part 2). “General Order Number 3,” 1896. U.S. Documents Collection. Y 1.1/2: SERIAL 3437. GeneralOrders3_Juneteenth

Let’s Pretend: Mae Dee and Her Family Join the Juneteenth Celebration, 1978. Ada DeBlanc Simond. Main collection. 976.431 SI56J.

Juneteenth at Comanche Crossing, 1983. Doris Hollis Pemberton. Main Collection. 976.400496073 P369J.

Juneteenth Texas: Essays in African-American Folklore, 1996. Francis Edward Abernathy. Texas Documents Collection. Z N745.7 T312f No.54.

Juneteenth!: Celebrating Freedom in Texas, 1999. Anna Pearl Barrett. Main Collection. 394.263 B275j.

Texas Monthly, “Texas Primer: Juneteenth,” 1988. Chester Rosson. Main Collection. 976.4005 T312mo V.16 No.1-6.

Subject Vertical File, “Juneteenth Celebrations,” various dates. Main Collection. Vertical File Index.