After a two-year closure for a renovation project, the Balmorhea State Park pool in West Texas has reopened, offering visitors the opportunity for a refreshing dip into the spring-fed waters once again. In celebration of this Texas landmark, let’s dip into the collections at the State Archives for a look at historic images related to Balmorhea.
The popular summer swimming destination has been attracting travelers for decades. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the park and its structures, including the pool, as part of the federal government’s effort to provide employment and a reliable paycheck for Americans suffering poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Image: Swimming pool springs 4-miles out, Balmorhea, Texas, 1936. William Deming Hornaday Photograph Collection,1975/070-5412. TSLAC. View in TDA.
The State Archives has in its collections the CCC drawings for Balmorhea and other Texas State Parks. Explore the collection online through a searchable database specifically designed for these materials here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/apps/arc/CCCDrawings/
Texas State Parks Board records housed at the State Archives include images, promotional materials, correspondence and other items connected to the Balmorhea project. Though most of these records have not been digitized, several images below offer a glimpse of the kinds of research materials one might discover in these files.
In a 1944 letter, the district engineer for the Texas Highway Department seemed perplexed by a request from the Texas State Parks Board to “place a reflectorized sign at the entrance to Balmorhea State Park.” The sketch in the image below was provided as evidence of the work having been completed several years prior.
Would you rent a bathing suit at a swimming pool? According to this “notice to the public” about Balmorhea, bathing suits for sale or rental were available on site.
The State Archives library collections also have publications on Balmorhea State Park and related topics. Here are examples of titles with links to the records in the online catalog:
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.
Archival Collections Related to Disability Historyin 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).
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:
Every ten years, the United States Census Bureau conducts a census of population and housing. As the 2020 census begins, it is interesting to consider the variety of uses this accumulated data will have. The current Featured Collection focuses on the Census Bureau’s efforts over the years to retrieve, analyze, and distribute that data, as well as other institutions’ use of demographic information.
Our featured book display,”The U.S. Census,” includes questionnaires, signs, reports, guides, and maps from the Texas State Library and Archives collection. For information about the current census or pasts censuses, please visit www.census.gov.
U.S. Imports & Exports: Information Now Available on Compact Disks for Use on Your Personal Computer; TSLAC U.S. Document collection.
Although our reading room is currently closed to the public, a booklist of all featured titles is listed below. For more information about access to the titles on display, please contact TSLAC reference services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-436-5455.
Women-Owned Businesses 1972; TSLAC U.S. Document collection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you know that you can still visit us virtually from home during this period of social distancing? Not only is our reference staff ready to respond to your questions via email and voicemail, you may also access material through our digital collections and databases. For details about resources available to you from home, read on. For information about COVID-19 and the status of all TSLAC services please visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/services.
Reference Staff at the Ready
In addition to answering your reference questions at email@example.com and 512-463-5455, consider seeking assistance with your research through the following services and resources.
Directory Look Ups
We can search names or addresses in our collection of City Directories and respond with scanned results if a match is found. If we cannot find a match, we will provide referrals and alternative resource suggestions based on your area of research.
Statistics Look Ups
Staff can search up to five names in our collection of Vital Statistics indexes and report back the results over the phone or via email. In addition, staff can provide background and referrals on the availability of this information based on the time period of interest and your research goals.
2nd Saturday Workshop Topics
While our live presentations have been suspended, workshop content and links to relevant resource pages can be found on our website. Here are a few select topics:
Put away the gloves and magnifying glass, our staff has done the
heavy lifting. Learn more about our publications and original documents by
visiting the databases and information pages tailored to our collections.
TRAIL captures and preserves information
posted to state agency websites. Whether you are looking for a specific report
or simply want to see a state agency website as it existed at a certain point
in time, TRAIL can help.
Energize your research with a search through our online catalog. As a depository library for both state and federal documents, a home to archival collections, and an institution with roots dating back to the early years of our state, the range and depth of our material is substantial. See our Newly Added Titles and On Display pages for a slice of our latest collections. Contact reference at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about our records and access.
If your registration is current, TexShare services are still available to you via your TSLAC library account. With a library of databases covering everything from health news to craft tutorials, this is a resource to have on hand if you want to learn something new. Email email@example.com to confirm your current registration and receive the password to access this service.
We look forward to assisting you via firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-463-5455.
Unexpectedly find yourself spending some extra time at home?
Have you run out of library books and need something new to entertain yourself?
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has just the thing.
Did you know TSLAC has more than five million records online? Governors’ records, historic maps, drawings, photographs and much more are all available for viewing from the comfort of your home. Here are just a few of TSLAC’s collections that are available online now.
Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard Collection
Don Kelly was a community leader in Southeast Texas. He collected 1,473 postcards depicting notable scenes of the life, locale, and architecture surrounding the cities of Orange, Beaumont, and Port Arthur. These postcards also feature the Spindletop Oil Field, Sabine Pass, Sour Lake, the Sabine River, and the Neches River. Flip through the collection in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA): https://tsl.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/SO_65bc4475-f1f1-48f3-948e-f5184505306d/
Civilian Conservation Corps Plans and Drawings
The United States Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt as an emergency program devoted to the care of natural resources. The program provided jobs and income to young men and served as an instrument for preserving natural resources and developing state park lands. TSLAC has digitized over three thousand of these drawings that were created in the process of improving state parks. These beautiful images, like the one of Inks Lake pictured above, include plans and renderings of state parks across Texas. Browse the collection on Flickr: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits/ccc_flickr.html or search the CCC database here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/apps/arc/CCCDrawings/.
TSLAC Map Collection
Old maps are a window into the way people saw and thought of Texas long ago. This particular map was created circa 1720 and depicts New Mexico, the Louisiana Territory including Texas, and Florida. It includes geographic features like rivers and forests, man-made features like trails, forts and cities, as well as notes regarding Indians, explorers, topography, and French and Spanish battles and establishments. So if you’ve ever wondered what a part of Texas looked like on a map fifty, one hundred, or even 200 years ago, take a look here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/maps/introduction.
Other Online Collections
Many other collections can be accessed on our Online Collections webpage: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/onlinecollections. For example, if you had ancestors in Texas during the Republic era, you may be interested in the Republic Claims database, which includes records of payments made to Texas citizens by the Texas government between 1836 and 1845.
This particular document relates to a claim for George W. Cartwright and details his service in the Battle of Nacogdoches. Use the online search form to find more claims in the database by visiting here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/apps/arc/repclaims/.
This photograph features Barbara Jordan serving as Governor for a Day on June 10, 1972, during her tenure in the State Senate. You may notice that many of the examples we have given are part of the Texas Digital Archive. This is the primary location to find digital and digitized archival materials: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/.
We hope you and your families are staying safe and well, and
that our online collections spark some interesting conversations.
To celebrate the Texas Center for the Book’s 2019 Texas Great Read selection, “What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan” by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, our new featured collection focuses on the subject of that book, Barbara Jordan.
Jordan, a former Texas Senator and Representative in the U.S. Congress, was a skilled orator known for her deep, very recognizable voice. The video on the Texas Great Read page provides an excellent sampling.
Along with books about the notable Texan, the featured collection includes titles in which the authors have employed the use of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s diverse and fascinating collections, especially those with audiovisual components.
Take a look through the Visions and Voices of Texas titles below:
The featured collection display is on view in the Reference Reading Room in the Lorenzo de Zavala Texas State Archives and Library building at 1201 Brazos St. Austin, Texas 78701. For more information about the books and other materials available at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, contact the Reference staff at email@example.com or 512-436-5455.
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.
UPDATE (10/7/19) Due to work on the new library programming and event space, the Genealogy Collection will be temporarily unavailable from October 14-16, 2019. All other collections will be open and available.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has completed the remodel of the Reference Reading Room on the first floor of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building and welcomes visitors to explore the new configuration with the images below and in person during our regularly-scheduled hours.
Essential Genealogy resources like vital statistics indexes and city directories, along with a new Genealogy Reference section are now located on the first floor. Patrons will find all public computers, microfilm readers, photocopier and scanning equipment, and assistance from Reference Staff available in the Reference Reading Room.
Questions about our collections or conducting research at TSLAC? Contact Archives and Information Services at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquiries about improvements at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building may be addressed to: email@example.com.
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.