Setting the Texas Table: “Dishing” on the Artifacts Collection at the Texas State Archives

By Rebecca Romanchuk, Archivist

[Texian Campaigne plates, 1840-1850. ATF0031b, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]

Some of us are enjoying the cooler weather we’ve been having in Austin lately and the way it makes us feel the holiday season has really arrived. For most, the holidays are made more festive and meaningful by the foods we prepare and share with others: traditional dishes at family dinners, potluck parties with friends and coworkers, cookie exchanges, and volunteering for or contributing to organizations that provide meals to those in need. Food truly connects us all.

At the Texas State Archives, we’re putting the spotlight on the history of Texas agriculture and foodstuffs in our lobby exhibit Setting the Texas Table, on view through May 2019. You’re cordially invited to visit in person to see this diverse and professionally curated exhibit of original archival materials and selections from our library collection, or take a virtual tour through the online version linked in the logo below. Be prepared to have your appetite whetted!

Of course, you can’t set a table without dishes and various other tableware items. The State Archives’ Artifacts collection includes a number of such pieces, many with connections to the family of Texas Governor Elisha Marshall Pease. These are easily searched for in the Texas Digital Archive; go to the Artifacts collection main search page and enter keywords in the “search within” box, or begin filtering using the options on the left sidebar. You can search for soup bowls, saucers, coffee cups and teacups, demitasse and sake cups, coffee pots and pitchers, plates and platters, and even a chafing dish (anyone hungry yet?). Or, note the artifact number (ATF0###) of an item that interests you in the finding aid and use that as your keyword to go directly to digital images and description of that item.

Many of the Pease table items are of two different Victorian-era designs: floral flow blue and what may be pink Sunderland lusterware (described as “orchid pink and white” in the Artifacts description). Both are varieties of transferware pottery made in England and commonly exported to the United States in the 19th century. The designs were produced by inking a copper plate onto which the design had been engraved, pressing paper onto the inked plate, then applying the still-wet inked paper onto the ceramic piece to transfer the design to it. This process was much less expensive than hand-painting. Imagine the dining table at the Governor’s Mansion or at Woodlawn, the Pease family mansion, laid out with a full set of either of these designs. Victorians adored vibrant color!

floral flow blue soup bowls

[Floral flow blue soup bowls, 1850-1900. ATF0232, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]


floral flow blue covered tureen dish

[Floral flow blue covered tureen dish, 1890-1900. ATF0227, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]


coffee pot with lid

[Coffee pot with lid (possibly Sunderland lusterware), 1850-1900. ATF0236, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]

Take a close look at the transfer pattern on the pink dessert dishes below. This is the Mother’s Grave design, featuring a boy and girl, with an accompanying small child, gazing mournfully at a gravestone in a picturesque churchyard setting. Mourning pieces such as these were commonly used by Victorian households to memorialize a departed family member. These dishes honor the daughter of Governor and First Lady Pease, Carrie Augusta Pease Graham, whose children came to live at Woodlawn to be raised by their grandmother and aunt, after their mother’s death in 1882. Descendants of those children donated the Pease tableware to the State Archives. They said Carrie Graham’s children hoped that all these dishes would be broken so they wouldn’t have to eat from them any longer. It’s easy to empathize with that wish, though we’re lucky to have these objects survive to provide a glimpse into the personal experiences of the Pease/Graham family and the traditions of the time.

dessert dishes

[Dessert dishes (possibly Sunderland lusterware), 1850-1900. ATF0241, Artifacts collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]

You can learn more about one of the Graham children, businessman and prominent Austin citizen R. Niles Graham, and his extended family from his collection of papers and photographs at the State Archives. Several dozen items once belonging to the Graham family are also part of our Artifacts collection.

Enjoy exploring all the charming tableware in the Artifacts collection and setting your own table to welcome others during the holidays.

What’s New (and Revised) at the Texas State Archives?

By Rebecca Romanchuk, Archivist

The Zavala Building as seen from San Jacinto Street. Now easily accessible by scooter.

If you drive, cycle, scooter, ride the bus, or walk past the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building often enough, you might have noticed that this large, pink granite edifice stays the same size year after year, nestled in its spot next door to the Capitol. Next time you go by, think again. The Texas State Archives located within constantly grows and evolves, and the archivists at the State Archives continually receive historically valuable materials—primarily records from state agencies. We already provide online descriptions about our state and local records and our manuscript and photograph collections: Check out the finding aids we contribute to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) and view or download digitized and born-digital materials on our own Texas Digital Archive (TDA). But what if you want to know what’s been recently inventoried and described at the State Archives?

The answer: Go to Archives: Finding Aids (New & Revised) to browse a list of all archival materials we’ve created a new finding aid for or that have been updated in the last 90 days. This list is pulled from our online public access catalog, and each item has a can’t-miss-it red link that goes directly to the TARO finding aid. The blue title link takes you to the full item information and catalog record, both of which also feature the TARO finding aid link. And if any of the materials are available in the Texas Digital Archive, a link for that will be there, as it is in the TARO finding aid (we do our best to make sure you really can’t miss these links!). We also maintain a list of anything new and updated in the TDA, if your focus is on the digital world.

Say you already knew that the State Archives has Texas Supreme Court records from the earliest days of the court in the 1840s through the 20th century. That’s true, but we’ve recently revised our description of these records to include cases through 2004. And you might be excited to learn that we’ve begun digitizing the earliest cases, which are becoming available here on the Texas Digital Archive, along with Supreme Court indexes and registers. The image below is an example of an early court document now available online and is the first Texas Supreme Court case that concerns a murder.

So keep checking back to keep up with the latest additions to the Texas State Archives!

M is for Murder: The first Texas Supreme Court M case file that concerns a murder is a charge made against a man named Pleasant I. Slaughter in 1848. M-275, M case files, Case files, Texas Supreme Court records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. (Click the image for zoom features offered in the TDA.)

Electronic Records Day and the TDA

Archival repositories must preserve electronic records along with materials in physical formats. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission established the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) to handle the enormous amount of electronic files contained in the papers of the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry. The TDA manages, preserves, and facilitates access to an increasing number of “born digital” electronic records accessioned with the archival collections transferred by state agencies.

The TDA also provides an access point to items that have been converted to electronic form through digitization. Researchers will find photographs, film, and recordings from state agencies and the Texas government available online. Some wonderful examples of this reformatting are the The Texas State Department of Public Highways and Public Transportation (now the Texas Department of Transportation) films their tourism division created to promote the use of roads and highways. The TDA also includes materials from historical collections like the Mabel H. Brooks photographs digitized from scrapbooks.

Capitol in the snow, about 1920. 1932/005-1, Mabel H. Brooks photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Learn more about the TSLAC materials in the TDA and how to search for records by taking on this scavenger hunt on “Texas Governors and the Capitol” we created for the occasion. Happy Electronic Records Day!

The Texas State Library and Archives division for State and Local Records Management (SLRM) has compiled a list of Electronic Records Day activities, events, and sites on their blog, The Texas Record.

Throwback Thursday: The Lorenzo de Zavala Building, Home of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

By Steven Kantner, Digital Asset Coordinator

Austin neighborhoods around the Texas State Capitol changed tremendously since the 1950s as homes and businesses made way for various state office buildings and parking garages. Here are some before-and-after views of the areas surrounding TSLAC’s Lorenzo De Zavala building. These 1950s photographs were found in the Department of Public Safety Photograph collection, an ongoing digitization project at TSLAC.

View of the Lorenzo de Zavala Building from Brazos Street

View from the Corner of 13th Street and Brazos Street

View from the Corner of 13th Street and San Jacinto

View from San Jacinto Street

View from San Jacinto Street and 14th Street

View from San Jacinto and 12th Streets

View from San Jacinto and 14th Streets, Looking South

View from 13th and San Jacinto Streets

These and other photographs from the Department of Public Safety Photograph collection can be seen at: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/texas-state-agencies/dps/photographs/

 

Monday Mystery – Terry’s Texas Rangers

We’re back with another Monday Mystery post. All of the images from this feature are available on the Texas Digital Archive (TDA), and we welcome folks to browse through all of the images available on this site. We’re looking to our community of patrons, which includes academic researchers, genealogists, photography historians, and Texas enthusiasts, to help us identify some of our photographic treasures.

This Monday Mystery is aided by the research of Dr. David Gracy II, former State Archivist here at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Dr. Gracy has helped staff identify and confirm the identities of many of the veterans in this image as a part of his research on George W. Littlefield. Archives staff are grateful for his perseverance and meticulous citations.

Terry’s Texas Rangers reunion panorama photograph, 1908.

Terry’s Texas Rangers reunion panorama. 1961/053-1, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

View or download this photograph on the TDA at: tsl.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/digitalFile_479a53ee-f6d4-4ee2-804f-c3b721407cfc/

Question: Can you help further identify some of the veterans in this image? Review the list of men already identified, get more information about this panorama, and read a brief history of the Terry’s Texas Rangers at the online finding aid: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/50140/tsl-50140.html.

And, as always, if you find an image on the TDA that you’d like to submit for a future Monday Mystery post please email archinfo@tsl.texas.gov and include “Monday Mystery” in the subject line.

Monday Mystery – June 2017

We’re back with another Monday Mystery post. All of the images from this feature are available on the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) and we welcome folks to browse through all of the images available on this site. We’re looking to our community of patrons, which includes academic researchers, genealogists, photography historians, and Texas enthusiasts, to help us identify some of our photo treasures.

Portiate of a couple, man standing and woman sitting in front of a backdrop

Image: 1995.112-58

Description: Portrait of couple, man standing and woman sitting in front of backdrop, about 1905 to 1920

TDA link: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/file/sdb%3AdigitalFile%7Cd200bac6-7685-4b26-81f8-9c91f6634889/

Collection: Clyde and Thelma See glass plate negatives collection

Question: Can you identify this dashing couple? We’re interested in any information about the pair and if they are from the Batson and Saratoga, Texas area. Or at the very least, admire their serious sense of style.

And as always, if you find an image on the TDA that you’d like to submit for a future Monday Mystery post, please email mailto:archinfo@tsl.texas.govand include “Monday Mystery” in the subject line.

Monday Mystery – May 2017

We’re back with another Monday Mystery post. All of the images from this feature are available on the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) and we welcome folks to browse through all of the images available on this site. We’re looking to our community of patrons, which includes academic researchers, genealogists, photography historians, and Texas enthusiasts, to help us identify some of our photo treasures.

black and white image of woman and boy sitting in a cart pulled by goats.

Image: 1995.112.11

Description: “All Aboard,” woman and boy in cart pulled by goats, about 1908

TDA link: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/file/sdb%3AdigitalFile%7Cbffc5faf-26a8-4957-9068-ff67a42b3e2e/

Collection: Clyde and Thelma See glass plate negatives collection

Question: This is one of the few images in the See collection with an identified photographer – Fletcher Photo Company. We’re interested in any additional information about this photographer. Was his studio in a nearby town in Texas? Was he a traveling photographer of the day? And can we credit him with creating some of the other images in this unique glass plate negative collection?

And as always, if you find an image on the TDA that you’d like to submit for a future Monday Mystery post, please email mailto:archinfo@tsl.texas.govand include “Monday Mystery” in the Subject line.

 

Monday Mystery – April 2017

The Monday Mystery posts continues the success of our posts with the Traces of Texas Facebook page on the new Out of the Stacks. We’ll be posting one image every month from our Prints and Photographs Collection in hopes of answering a new photo mystery. All of the images will be available on the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)  and we welcome folks to browse through all of the images available on this site. We’re looking to our community of patrons, which includes academic researchers, genealogists, photography historians, and Texas enthusiasts, to help us identify some of our photo treasures.

Black and white photograph of a group of people standing in front of a two story building.

Image: 1997.108-18

Description: “The Round Up,” Batson, Texas, about 1890-1910

TDA link: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/file/sdb%3AdigitalFile%7C1e486043-df23-4c03-80f5-c044a5221519/

Collection: L.J. Whitmeyer glass plate negatives collection

Question: We’re curious to know more about Batson, Texas and the Crosby House that is so prominently featured in the “Round Up” photo. What type of event would have drawn so many folks to gather for this image – was there a special event or just a normal market day in town? Or was the photograph itself the spectacle needed to gather such a crowd.

If you find an image on the TDA that you’d like to submit for a future Monday Mystery post please email archinfo@tsl.texas.gov and include “Monday Mystery” in the Subject line.

Let Their Voices Be Heard!: Working with the Texas International Women’s Year Coordinating Committee Records

By Rebecca Romanchuk, Archivist

Mary Murphy is a Master of Arts in history candidate at Texas State University, specializing in women, gender, and sexuality. She recently completed an internship at the Texas State Archives to arrange and describe records of the Texas International Women’s Year Coordinating Committee. These records document a crucial period in the women’s rights movement in the late 1970s as the push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment gathered strength and then failed to achieve its goal.

Romanchuk: Mary, tell us why you were interested in working with the Texas International Women’s Year Coordinating Committee records at the State Archives.

Murphy: My interest in women’s studies and desire to work with an assorted set of records and media was a good match for this collection. It was also an opportunity to learn about a subject I had surprisingly never come across in my formal education.

Romanchuk: What was International Women’s Year and how was this committee involved with it?

Murphy: The United Nations declared 1975 as International Women’s Year to draw attention to efforts by women around the world to achieve equal status as a human rights issue. The first international conference to discuss women’s status in the world occurred in Mexico City from June 19 to July 2, 1975.

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