The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) is offering in 2019 a series of professional development opportunities to equip those caring for archival materials with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience needed to prepare repositories for threats and recover damaged collections. THRAB has contracted with Cultural Heritage Preservation Consultant Rebecca Elder to teach two 90-minute webinars on emergency planning and two-day hands-on workshops in Austin and Houston. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), workshops are provided free of charge and available to those working in Texas repositories. Registration is now open for the webinars:
Hands-on workshops are scheduled for June 13-14 in Austin and in Houston June 27-28. Each will be a two-day event. The first day will focus on emergency preparedness, and the second day will focus on response, including a wet salvage exercise. Each workshop will be limited to 20 attendees working for a Texas repository. Registration will open in early May. Please note that THRAB may limit registration to one person per institution to allocate space equitably.
Rebecca Elder is a seasoned preservation consultant who works with the staff of cultural heritage institutions to care for their historical collections. Elder holds a Master’s in Information Science from the University of Texas and is a former field services officer for Amigos Preservation Services. She currently teaches preservation management at the University of Texas iSchool and courses online at Kent State.
Funding for THRAB workshops provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
In 1927, two years after Miriam “Ma” Ferguson became the state’s first woman governor, four years after Edith Wilmans entered the Texas House of Representatives as the first woman in the Legislature, and only eight years after Texas women’s suffrage rights were acknowledged and enforced by the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Margie Neal became, as Governor Allan Shivers said at Margie Neal Appreciation Day in Carthage in 1952, “the first woman to invade the masculine sanctity of the Texas Senate.”
Margie Elizabeth Neal was born in 1875 in Clayton, Panola County, Texas, to William Lafayette and Martha Anne Gholston Neal. Later in life, she recalled that her interest in politics was sparked at age ten, when she saw then-Governor John Ireland speak in Carthage in 1885 or 1886. She attended, but did not graduate from, Sam Houston State Teachers College.
In the spring of 1893, Neal earned a first-grade teaching certificate and began her career in the Mount Zion community in east Panola County. She subsequently taught in several schools, including in Forney, Scottsville, Marlin and Fort Worth, before returning home to Carthage in 1904 to be the primary caregiver of her mother, whose health was failing. However, this move also provided her a new professional opportunity. From 1904 to 1911, Neal was publisher and editor of the Carthage East Texas Register. A large portion of the newspaper’s content was editorial writing. Neal used its pages to champion the establishment of a Y.M.C.A. in Carthage, push for city clean-up and tree-planting projects, argue for the creation of a chamber of commerce and press for improvements to county roads. But the Register’s most consistent editorial interest was in public education. As editor, Neal argued for improvements to school facilities and sponsored scholarships to local business colleges.
her mother’s health worsened, and Neal was forced into semi-retirement for four
years. Despite these family obligations Margie Neal was also instrumental in
the founding and development of both the Carthage Circulating Book Club from
1907 and the Panola County Fair, first held in 1916. Her interest in women’s
suffrage also continued to grow, and she became secretary of the Panola County
Equal Suffrage Association.
In 1918, the
Texas Legislature recognized women’s right to vote in state primary elections.
In an effort to bolster women’s turnout in Panola County, Margie Neal ordered
professionally printed buttons reading “I have registered” and distributed them
among women. At the end of the 1918 voting drive, more than 500 women in the
county had registered. Margie Neal was, unsurprisingly, the first woman to cast
a vote in Panola County.
was the first woman to serve as a member of the State Teachers Colleges board
of regents (1921-1927) and the first woman to serve as a member of the State
Democratic Executive Committee in 1918. She was also a delegate to the 1920
Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. In 1922 and 1924, she turned
down first Governor Pat Neff’s and then Governor Miriam Ferguson’s offer to
appoint her Secretary of State.
as a regent was the primary impetus for her 1926 Senate run. She was a frequent
visitor to Austin during legislative sessions; in an interview later in life,
she recalled a specific visit during which she became concerned about the
direction certain legislation was heading, leading her to think to herself, “If
I had a vote… I might do more for education than I am doing as a college regent
sitting in the gallery.”
She returned to Carthage and sought advice from trusted colleagues, family, and
friends, then decided, in March 1926, that she would run for the Texas Senate
from District 2.
district included Panola, Harrison, Gregg, Rusk and Shelby Counties. Neal’s
only opponent in the Democratic primary was Gary B. Sanford of Rusk County, who
had prior experience as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Neal
launched her campaign on June 12 in the Carthage County Courthouse, followed by
five weeks of intensive campaigning in all five counties of the district. Her
platform consisted of four components: better public schools—especially rural
schools, to be achieved through an increased per capita apportionment; an
improved state highway system, to be achieved through a new gasoline tax; more
aid for farmers, labor, and capital; and a streamlining of laws for improved
law enforcement. In the end, Neal defeated Sanford in every county but his own,
and, facing no opponent in the general election, was elected to the Senate on
July 28, 1926.
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.
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.
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.
By Stephanie Andrews, Library Assistant, with contributions from ARIS staff
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.
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.
A History of the Women Marines, 1946-1977
U.S. Marine Corps
D 214.13:W 84/2
Air Force Women: A Heritage of Excellence
Air Force History and Museums Program
D 301.76/5:W 84
American’s Youngest Women Warriors
Brandt, Dorothy Hinson
Beyond the Latino World War II Hero
Rivas-Rodriguez, Maggie and Zamora, Emilio
ZUA 380.8 B468LA c.2
Breaking Codes Breaking Barriers
U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command
D 101.2:C 64
Department of Defense Celebrates: March 1997, Women’s History Month
Department of Defense
D 2.9:D 36/2/No.110
Finding Dorothy Scott
Rickman, Sarah Byrn
ZTT 422.8 R425fi c.2
Kate: The Journal of a Confederate Nurse
Cumming, Kate and Harwell, Richard Barksdale
973.776 C912k 1959
More than a Uniform: A Navy Woman in a Navy Man’s World
Collins, Captain Winifred Quick
ZN 745.8 M813 1997
Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II
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.
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.
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.
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:
ATTN: THRAB Archival Award of Excellence
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
P.O. Box 12927
Austin, TX 78701
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.