TSLAC Conservation Blog Moves to New Home

By Sarah Norris, Conservator

TSLAC Conservation is moving to a new digital home!  Please reset your bookmarks to https://www.tsl.texas.gov/conservation/  . E-mail subscriptions will continue as always, with no updates needed.  Come visit us at our new address for upcoming posts on a POW Journal; fragile, tracing-paper maps from Texas Supreme Court case files; our upcoming exhibit, “Setting the Texas Table”; and more.  See you soon!

Conservator Sarah Norris applies heat-set tissue with a tacking iron to a manuscript with iron gall ink.

Margaret Lea Houston’s Summer Spread

Summer spread, by Margaret Lea Houston, ca. mid-19th century [Cotton textile, 98 x 80 1/4. 1983.125.0007, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, TSLAC].

Margaret Lea Houston, the wife of famed Texas politician and war hero Sam Houston, is thought to have sewn this lightweight “summer spread” decorated with imagery from the   Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Similar to a quilt but without the batting, the spread consists of 45 hexagonal blocks and measures 80 1/4 x 98 inches long. Art historian Lynne Adele analyzed the imagery and determined that, since some of the symbols were removed from the Fraternal Order in 1880, the spread was made before that year.

Imagery included on the spread are a lamb, symbolizing innocence; three links of chain, indicating friendship, love, and truth; and the sun, representing God and the soul. The heart on the palm of the hand symbolizes sincerity and the cornucopia, abundance.

Close-up of  imagery used on the summer spread. Here we see the lamb, the chain links of truth, love, and friendship, and a bow and quiver. Edges of the hexagonal blocks are visible.

The interest in the Odd Fellows symbolism is unclear, as Sam Houston was a member of another fraternal organization, the Freemasons. The provenance of the spread has been attributed to Margaret through family history and now belongs to TSLAC’s Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, TX. Visitors to the Center may view the spread on display as part of a new museum exhibit through December 2018.

For more information on fraternal symbols in art, see the book As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society 1850/1930 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015) by Lynn Adele.

Governor Abbott Reappoints Malinda Cowen to the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB)

Governor Abbott has reappointed Malinda Cowen to serve on the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board. Cowen will serve as one of two public members appointed by the governor. The other public member, Bob Glenn, was appointed in 2017. Cowen is the director of Special Education at St. Mary’s Academy Charter School in Beeville and has served in several leadership positions, including chairman of the South Texas Library System Advisory Council, and president of the Bee County Library Board, Soroptimist Club, and the Rosetta Club.

The nine-member board includes the State Archivist, Jelain Chubb, and six members appointed by the Director and State Librarian Mark Smith. Smith recently appointed Melissa Gonzales, Director of Records Management at the Houston Community College System, to serve a three-year term beginning in 2018.

Visit the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board webpage for more information.

Celebrate Women Veterans Day with Books from Archives & Reference Services

By Stephanie Andrews, Library Assistant, with contributions from ARIS staff

books related to women veterans

Selection of books in honor of Women Veterans Day from the collection at the Texas State Library & Archives. The books are available for use in the Reading Room. See the list below for call numbers.

In honor of Women Veterans Day, ARIS has created a booklist for our readers. Our list features books about women in many service areas and over various periods of military history. In addition to representing women veterans, these titles also reflect the many ways women assisted military efforts in history before they could serve in an official capacity.

On June 12th, 1948 President Truman signed into federal law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, making it possible for women to serve as regular, permanent members of the armed forces. This year will mark the 70th anniversary of that signing. During the last Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 805 established Women Veterans Day as June 12th and was signed into law in June of 2017. This summer will mark the first observance of this day.

For more information about Women Veterans Day, visit https://womenveteransday.com. To learn more about the Texas Veterans Commission’s official opening ceremony events visit https://www.tvc.texas.gov/women-veterans/womenvetsday.

If you’d like to search for these books and more, check out our catalog at www.tsl.texas.gov/catalog. If you are interested in checking out a title from this booklist, please visit the Reference Desk in room 109. Below is the complete list of titles you’ll find in our Women Veterans Day booklist.

Title Author Call No. Collection
A History of the Women Marines, 1946-1977 U.S. Marine Corps D 214.13:W 84/2 USD
Air Force Women: A Heritage of Excellence Air Force History and Museums Program D 301.76/5:W 84 USD
American’s Youngest Women Warriors Brandt, Dorothy Hinson 355.0082 A512 MAIN
Beyond the Latino World War II Hero Rivas-Rodriguez, Maggie and Zamora, Emilio ZUA 380.8 B468LA c.2 TXD
Breaking Codes Breaking Barriers U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command D 101.2:C 64 USD
Department of Defense Celebrates: March 1997, Women’s History Month Department of Defense D 2.9:D 36/2/No.110 USD
Finding Dorothy Scott Rickman, Sarah Byrn ZTT 422.8 R425fi c.2 TXD
Kate: The Journal of a Confederate Nurse Cumming, Kate and Harwell, Richard Barksdale 973.776 C912k 1959 MAIN
More than a Uniform: A Navy Woman in a Navy Man’s World Collins, Captain Winifred Quick ZN 745.8 M813 1997 TXD
Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II Rickman, Sarah Byrn ZN 745.8 R425NA TXD
Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist Winegarten, Debra L. ZUA 380.8 W725ov c.2 TXD
She Rode with Generals Dannett, Sylvia G.L. 973.781 D233 MAIN
Survey of Female Veterans Veterans Administration VA 1.2:F 34/5 USD
Texans and War: New Interpretations of the State’s Military History Mendoza, Alexander and Grear, Charles David ZTA 475.8 M522te c.2 TXD
The Women’s Army Corps, 1945-1978 Morden, Bettie J. D 114.19:W 84 USD
United States Women in Aviation: 1940-1985 Douglas, Deborah G. SI 1.42:7 USD
WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds Rickman, Sarah Byrn ZN 745.8 R425wa c.2 TXD
Women are Veterans, too! Department of Veterans Affairs VA 1.19:10-109/990 USD
Women Doctors in War Bellafaire, Judith and Graf, Mercedes Herrera ZTA 475.8 B414wo c.2 TXD
Women in Civil War Texas Liles, Deborah M. and Boswell, Angela ZN 745.8 W842 c.2 TXD
Women in Defense – DoD Leading the Way Department of Defense D 1.2:W 84/6 USD
Women in the Military: A Proud Heritage Department of Defense D 2.9:D 36/2/No.63 USD
Women Marines in the 1980’s U.S. Marine Corps D 214.2:W 84/5 USD
Women Pilots of World War II Cole, Jean Hascall 940.54 C675W MAIN
Women who Spied for the Blue and the Gray Kinchen, Oscar A. 973.785 K574 MAIN

2018 Archival Award of Excellence Nominations Are Open

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board’s 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-year preceding the year in which the award is presented. Current THRAB members are not eligible.

Nomination Process:

Submit an Archival Award of Excellence Nomination form, a Statement of Work Accomplished, 3 Letters of Support and any supporting materials.  For more information, visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/archivalaward.

Send nominations via email or U.S. mail to:

                Jelain Chubb

                ATTN: THRAB Archival Award of Excellence

                Texas State Library and Archives Commission

                P.O. Box 12927

                Austin, TX 78701

                Email: thrab@tsl.texas.gov

 

Nominations must be received by July 31, 2018.

Meet the Staff: Brianna Cochran

Meet the Staff is a Q&A series on Out of the Stacks that highlights the Archives and Information Services staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Brianna Cochran

In 50 words or less, describe what you do.

As a new Library Assistant, my day is split between orientations and training, staffing reading rooms, and working on stacks maintenance projects. Eventually, I will be trained to assist patrons with locating research resources, and I will take on more complex stacks maintenance projects.

Why did you choose your profession?

I have always felt at home in libraries. When my single mother could not find a babysitter, she used to take me to the library with her while she studied for her associate’s degree. She studied in the adult reading room while I entertained myself in the children’s reading room. There, the children’s librarian taught me how to use an out marker and I enjoyed the satisfaction of placing a book on the shelf in its correct location. My childhood enthusiasm for libraries carried over to my home life. Enthusiastically, I created library check out cards on scraps of colored construction paper, for my personal collection of books and VHS tapes.

What is your favorite document, photo, or artifact in TSLAC’s collection?

At this point, I have a limited exposure to our vast collection, so I will probably discover new favorites as I work with more materials. However, my current favorite is our collection of newspapers on microfilm. I have selected the Houston Post from November 1, 1919, as an example.

Before working at TSLAC, I needed access to the Houston Post for personal research. The only places I could find that provided access to the out-of-print the Houston Post were Rice University in Houston and paid newspaper subscription sites, so I was not able to access the materials I needed for my project. I was excited to find out the Houston Post is at TSLAC, and I have enjoyed learning how to use microfilm.

The Houston Post. (1919, November 1)

The Houston Post. (1919, November 1)

[TSLAC also maintains institutional memberships to the Newspaper Archive and Newspapers.com Texas Collection, both available for free on-site in our Reference Reading Room located in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Library and Archives Building in Austin.]

When you’re not busy what do you like to do for fun?

I like to be in nature. Beaches are my favorite, but in Austin I like to hike nature trails. I am learning to practice mindfulness, which is accepting and noticing the present moment without judgment. Therefore, my hikes look more like walking slowly and marveling at water droplets sparkling in the sun, rather than hiking quickly for exercise. I find mindfulness helps manage stress, because it gives me a sense of power. Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, I can make decisions about what to do in the present.

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/

 

Archives à la Carte: Staff Picks Exhibit Opening

Archives à la Carte: Staff Picks

Join us for an informal evening of music, archives, discussion, and networking at our Archives à la Carte exhibit open house. Free and open to the public. RSVP on our Eventbrite event page or send your RSVP via email at rsvp@tsl.texas.gov.

The evening will include

  • Exhibit: Let archivists be your guide as you examine some of the state’s most fascinating historical records. Archives à la Carte: Staff Picks looks at how the Texan identity is captured and perpetuated through items selected by state archivists and librarians. This “behind-the-scenes” tour of the State Archives features surprising historical finds–including items for music lovers and nature buffs. See a letter from Samuel Morse offering Texas exclusive rights to his telegraph machine, Clyde Barrow’s convict record, Sam Houston’s passport, and much more!
  • Performance: Musician Billy Traylor and the Austin Baroque Orchestra will perform the historic Texian Grand March and other selections from the State Archives historic sheet music collection.
  • Tours: Visitors will be able to tour the lobby, see our famous Texas mural, and visit the recording studio of the Talking Book Program. The volunteer recording studio celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
  • Q&A with Archivists & Librarians: Hear it from the experts, as members of our professional team share insights and the back story of some of the items you will see on exhibit.

Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP if you are planning to attend.

Archives à la Carte: Staff Picks logoWhen: March 6, 2018 | 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Where: The Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building, 1201 Brazos Street, Austin, 78701

Parking: Capitol Visitor’s Parking Garage, 1201 San Jacinto Boulevard. Free 2-hour parking.

More information: www.tsl.texas.gov

 

Archival Animals

By Caroline Jones, Reference Archivist

Enjoy watching cat videos? Follow any cute pugs on Instagram? It feels like every day we see friends posting selfies with their pets or videos of their pets, and even creating social media accounts for their pets. It is clear we love our animal friends, and based on some finds in our archival collections, it appears that we have always loved them. Here are a few highlights from our collections that are cute, funny, and simply adorable images of some pets in the archives:

Before they ruled the internet, cats stole our hearts in these family albums:

Robert Jasper Hunnicutt, Elizabeth H. Stroud (center), and sitting on a porch holding kittens

Robert Jasper Hunnicutt, Elizabeth H. Stroud (center), and sitting on a porch holding kittens. Citation: 1968/029-75, J.R. Hunnicutt collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Doris Ruth Hunnicutt, crouching holding a cat. Citation: 1968/029-340, J.R. Hunnicutt collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Mary Lowry with cat, Black Bess

Mary Lowry with cat, Black Bess. Citation: 1946/1-38, Reynolds Lowry – Thomas F. McKinney Collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Man seated on porch in rocking chair with cat.

Man seated on porch in rocking chair with cat. Citation: 1995.112-60, Clyde and Thelma See glass plate negatives collection. Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]

Man’s best friend has always been like a member of the family:

Unidentified young child with bulldog

Unidentified young child with bulldog. Citation: 73.2222.122, Samuel Bell Maxey photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Woman posing with dog

Woman posing with dog. Citation: 1964/306-1675, Photographs, Graham (R. Niles) collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Dog sleeping on porch

Dog sleeping on porch. Citation: 1964/306-1676, Photographs, Graham (R. Niles) collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

A couple of children with a couple of dogs

A couple of children with a couple of dogs. Citation: 1976/031-10, William Deming Hornaday photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

A little girl and a dog

A little girl and a dog. Citation: 1976/031-16, William Deming Hornaday photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Child with dog

Child with dog. Citation: 2011/348-20.95, Miscellaneous photographs, Photographs, Richard Bachman collection. Archives and Information Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

3 puppies in front of the J.T. Young Home

Three puppies in front of the J.T. Young Home. Citation: 1970/101-156, Fannie Ratchford photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Couple with small dog

Couple with small dog. Citation: 2001078_005_70_080_023ac, Fields, Farms, and Landscapes, Texas Department of Agriculture photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Even these unlikely animal friends have gotten into the spirit:

Governor O'Daniel and Cuero turkey

Governor O’Daniel and Cuero turkey. Citation: 1976/008-593, Photographic and film media, Texas Department of Public Safety records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Cowboy with parrot

Cowboy with parrot. Citation: 1991077_704_084ac, Attractions, Activities, and Events, Audiovisual material, Texas Tourist Development Agency. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Couple with peacock outside Mission San Jose

Couple with peacock outside Mission San Jose. Citation: 1991077_105_041ac, Forts, Parks, and Historic Sites, Audiovisual material, Texas Tourist Development Agency. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Our photograph collections include original photographs, born digital images, and digitized versions of original photographs. Many of the images included in this post are digitized and accessible through the Texas Digital Archives, the Texas State Archives Flickr, and our online exhibits page. For more information on accessing images currently unavailable through the web, please contact the Reference Desk by phone or email at 512-463-5455 or ref@tsl.texas.gov.

As a bonus, here are some more recent images of a familiar face with some unusual guests at the Texas Capitol!

Governor Perry with penguin

Governor Perry with penguin. Citation: Penguin2, Photographs, Texas Governor Rick Perry Press Office media files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.]

Governor Perry with snake

Governor Perry with snake. Citation: Snake, Photographs, Texas Governor Rick Perry Press Office media files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

In Remembrance – Tony Black

By Jessica Tucker, Archivist

On September 21, 2017, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) lost of one of its greatest treasuresTony Black, longtime archivist, coworker, and friend, following a brief illness. Tony faithfully served the state of Texas for over 35 years. Beginning in 1981 as a typist and receptionist in the Library Development Division, Tony eventually became an appraisal and processing archivist at TSLAC, dividing his time between assessing the historical value of state agency records (such those of the Texas Adjutant General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, and the Secretary of State) and arranging and describing a wide variety of archival records ranging from the Howard Hughes estate litigation papers to the gubernatorial records of Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry. In addition to Tony’s extensive work with the records of the Adjutant General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, and the Department of Human Services, there are finding aids written by Tony on Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) for the records of over 30 other state agencies. (These finding aids are available online at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_tslac1.html.)

Tony Black with an unidentified group of students touring the State Archives, 2017, Archives and Information Services Division records.

Tony Black with an unidentified group of students touring the State Archives, 2017, Archives and Information Services Division records.

Tony was always a bright spot in the halls of TSLAC, known for his good nature and humor. When named Employee of the Quarter in 2012, one coworker described him as “…one of the nicest, most helpful individuals I have ever met… He is not the type of person to ever make you feel that your question is silly, or not important, or that you are bothering him with it. This consideration and warm approachability extends to everyone in the agency, including members of other divisions and patrons.” Others commented on “the amazing depth and breadth of his knowledge of [TSLAC’s] records.” Another colleague remarked that the only time she had ever seen Tony angry was when he was accidentally locked in the stack for a few hours on a Friday afternoon over a decade ago. Tony frequently recounted this cautionary tale to new employees with a laugh, throwing up his hands in his characteristic gesture of amused bafflement.

Tony Black with other State Archives staff members during a disaster recovery exercise, 2006, Archives and Information Services Division records.

Tony Black with other State Archives staff members during a disaster recovery exercise, 2006, Archives and Information Services Division records.

Born in Roswell, New Mexico, and raised in El Paso, Texas, Tony’s passion for history began early. Tony received a B.A. in history from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1968, and followed by an M.A. in medieval history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1970. After a year in Spain, researching the socio-economic structure of Vic (a Catalan city) during the 1390s, Tony returned to El Paso to teach United States history, where he met and married his wife, Carole. Tony never lost his love of teaching. After the couple returned to Austin, Tony began teaching U.S. History at Austin Community College, which he continued to do while employed full time at TSLAC. Tony began work at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the Library Development Division in 1981. He then worked briefly in the Secretary of State’s office, administering one of the ethics laws for the Campaign and Ethics section of the Elections Division, followed by a job editing the Texas Administrative Code for the Texas Register Division, but he returned to TSLAC in 1984.

Tony was devoted to his wife Carole, sister Pam, and his much-discussed dogs. He was also known for lovely cello playing during the annual TSLAC holiday fundraiser.

Justifiably proud of his work at TSLAC, Tony once exclaimed to a researcher, “I have the perfect job!” His legacy is clear in his many processing and appraisal projects, the archivists he mentored, and the researchers he helped.