As our archives staff work on an ongoing basis to arrange, preserve, describe, and make available to the public the materials under our care, we spotlight new additions to the website in a regular feature from Out of the Stacks. The column lists new and revised finding aids recently made available online, along with fresh uploads to the Texas Digital Archive, our repository of electronic items. For a comprehensive list of all recently added and updated finding aids visit Archives: Finding Aids (New & Revised).
New Finding Aids
Texas Department of Human Services History Files
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) ensured access to a comprehensive array of aging and disability services in local communities. In 2004, as a newly formed agency, DADS began a project to document the history of the Texas Department of Human Services. Records are composed of project files for this history project, dated 1946, 1949, 1954-1955, 1986-2008, and undated, bulk 2004-2008, and contain interviews (audiovisual and transcribed), printed ephemera (such as records from agency conferences and semiannual updates), manuscript drafts, audiocassettes, VHS, microcassettes, an open reel audiotape, and notes for a proposed book on the history of welfare services in Texas.
The DeBat family papers document the lives of some members of the DeBat family of Liberty, Liberty County, Texas, and various related families from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The collection also documents the Travelers Hotel in Liberty, of which Martha E. Palmer DeBat was the proprietor from about 1882 to 1905. Materials consist of photographs, business ledgers, a diary, a family Bible, a scrapbook, and a postcard album. Dates are 1816-1976, with the bulk dating 1880s-1910s.
George Gordon Papers (one manuscript diary has been digitized and is available on the Texas Digital Archive)
George Gordon lived at Moore’s Bluff, Liberty County, Texas, where he farmed and worked on steamboats that plied the Trinity River. The George Gordon papers document the lives of Gordon and his family during the 1870s as well as the steamboat trade on the Trinity River during that period. Materials consist of George Gordon’s diary, dating between 1873-1879; an 1862 document appointing Gordon to carry dispatches from the British Consulate in Galveston, Texas, to their consulate in Richmond, Virginia; transcribed Bible records on the Gordon family; a 1938 Houston Post clipping containing excerpts from the diary; and a book of poetry by Robert Burns, possibly dated around 1786, that belonged to Gordon. Materials date about 1786, 1862-1879, 1938, 1975, with the bulk dating 1873-1879. The manuscript diary of George Gordon described in this finding aid has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Liberty Woman’s Club Collection
The Liberty Woman’s Club was organized in March 1955 in Liberty, Texas, and affiliated with the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs the same year. The Liberty Woman’s Club collection documents the civic and social activities of the club and consists primarily of yearbooks, scrapbooks, correspondence, membership rosters, minute books, manuals, pamphlets, programs, and reports on club programs and projects. Materials date 1954-2010, with the bulk dating 1955-2004.
Vernon F. Poole served as chairman of the Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District (CLCND) from 1961 to 1972. The Vernon F. Poole collection consists primarily of correspondence, legal and financial documents, minutes, reports, government documents, publications, and maps pertaining to the activities of the CLCND during Poole’s tenure as chairman. The collection documents the district’s efforts to improve the Trinity River for navigation and includes materials pertaining to the Port of Liberty development, construction of a cut-off or diversion channel in the river, the Livingston Reservoir project, and the Wallisville Reservoir and saltwater barrier project. Materials date 1930-1979, bulk 1967-1971.
Joseph Franklin (J.F.) Richardson was a retail merchant and rancher in Liberty, Liberty County, Texas. The J.F. Richardson papers consist primarily of correspondence, financial and business documents, certificates, deeds, military records, and notebooks documenting the lives and activities of various members of the Richardson family of Liberty County. Materials date 1858-1953, with the bulk dating 1872-1919.
Christine Moor Sanders Collection
Christine Moor Sanders is the author of the book, Spindletop: The Untold Story, published in January 2001, which relates the history of the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company and the role it and her great-grandfather George Washington O’Brien played in the discovery of oil at the Spindletop oil field in Beaumont, Texas. The Christine Moor Sanders collection consists of copies of files of the Gladys City Company and other research materials collected by Sanders over a 50-year period pertaining to the company and the individuals who founded it, including George Washington O’Brien, George W. Carroll, and Pattillo Higgins. The majority of the materials are photocopies or transcribed documents, much of which was used as resource material for her book. Dates are about 1930-2000, with the bulk dating about 1990s-2000. Information dates 1719-2000.
Lois M. Short taught United States history classes at Liberty High School in Liberty, Texas, from 1925 to 1951. The Lois M. Short collection consists of clippings and notes pertaining to Short’s former students who served in World War II, school papers, and photographs. The collection originally included issues of a locally produced newsletter, “News and Chatter”, that was sent to Liberty-area World War II servicemen and women; these newsletters were transferred to a separate collection at an unknown time. Materials date 1931-1950 and undated, with the bulk dating 1932-1946.
United States National Weather Service Trinity River Weather-Related Materials
In 1903 the U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) authorized and installed a river gage station for the Trinity River at Liberty, Texas, to record and compile meteorological data. The bureau engaged volunteer observers to assist in this process. The United States National Weather Service Trinity River weather-related materials consist of clippings, news stories, correspondence, memorandums, reports, maps, and graphs pertaining to the Trinity River gage station at Liberty and Trinity River flood events and other meteorological data in Liberty County. A portion of the materials were created by the Weather Bureau/National Weather Service (NWS), and another portion consists of files from Liberty radio station KPXE-AM/KSHN-FM, which acted as an observer for NWS beginning in 1978. A few materials were created by other federal government agencies. Materials date 1914-1990 and undated, with the bulk dating 1963-1978.
Revised Finding Aids
Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division Records (these electronic records are available on the Texas Digital Archive and have a new custom search page)
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, dating 1913 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.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Battleship Texas Ships Plans and Records (most of the original ships plans, as well as all of the reproductions, prints, posters, and audiovisual materials, have been digitized and are available on the Texas Digital Archive)
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) manages the conservation of the state’s natural and cultural resources, conservation education and outreach, and interpretation of cultural and historical resources. The USS battleship Texas served in both World War I and World War II and was decommissioned in 1948 in Texas to become a memorial and exhibit. The ship was first managed by the Battleship Texas Commission, then in 1983 administration transferred to TPWD with input from the Battleship Texas Advisory Board. In 2019, the ship closed to the public for a major restoration effect. These records document the ship during both active duty and as a memorial and exhibit. Materials consist of original ships plans and plans reproductions, prints, posters, audiovisual materials, and records of the Battleship Texas Commission and the Battleship Texas Advisory Board. Records are dated 1900-1990s, undated. Most of the original ships plans, as well as all of the reproductions, prints, posters, and audiovisual materials have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Texas Comptroller’s Office Claims Records (Confederate pension applications digitized by Ancestry are being incrementally added to the Texas Digital Archive)
The Office of Comptroller of Public Accounts was initially created by the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas on December 29, 1835, for the purpose of examining and approving or rejecting any monetary claims presented to him by the Auditor. These functions continued under the governments of the Republic of Texas (1836-1845) and the State of Texas (1845 onwards). These records document the claims (including pensions) that were audited and either accepted or rejected by the government of the Republic of Texas, and by the government of the State of Texas for civil and (especially) military service to the Republic of Texas, as well as for Confederate service, and for service in the Texas Rangers. Types of records include claim files, pension applications files, pension registers and indexes, public debt registers and indexes, drafts for payment, and associated records. They comprise more than 951 cubic ft. of loose records, plus 61 volumes, dating 1835-1990 and undated. A portion of these materials has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Texas Secretary of State General Correspondence (one letterpress book volume has been digitized and is available on the Texas Digital Archive)
The Texas Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor’s term. These records consist of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, of the office of the Secretary of State, dating 1846-1932, undated, bulk 1860-1930. Most of the 19th-century correspondence is incoming, and most of the 20th-century correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, usually filed together. This correspondence covers the wide variety of duties of the Secretary of State, including the following: appointments and resignations of notaries public, oaths (particularly during Reconstruction years, 1867-1870), the filing of bonds, state printing contracts, distribution of state laws (both copies of individual bills and sets of bound volumes), distribution of Texas Reports (opinions of the Texas Supreme Court), elections (e.g., certificates of election, reporting of election irregularities, requests for election supplies, etc.), claims for rewards, requisitions for extraditions and the capture of fugitives, the filing of corporate charters (including railroad charters), commissions and certificates of qualification for appointed and elected officials, franchise taxes, statements on the condition of banks, and lists of cases on civil and criminal dockets. A portion of these materials has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-463-5455 with questions about using TSLAC’s archival resources at the Lorenzo de Zavala building in Austin and SamHoustonCenter@tsl.texas.gov or 936-886-9821 regarding collections at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty.