Daisy Smith Writings on Sam Houston, 1922

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Daisy Lauretta Smith was born in Kansas in 1893.  She was a student of Sam Houston Normal Institute, class of 1919.  She earned her B.S. degree from SHNI in 1922 and the M.A. from Peabody in 1934.  Daisy L. Smith went on to teach for over 43 years for Houston Independent School District.  She died in Houston, Texas in June 1979.

The Daisy Smith writings on Sam Houston (1922; one file folder) contain reminisces of General Sam Houston gathered from the citizens of Huntsville, Texas in February 1922.  The writings consist of 34 handwritten pages by Daisy Smith.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

Daisy Smith Writings on Sam Houston, 1922

WHOA! 90 Years of BearKat Orange and White

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SHSU colors 10 01 2014

After 18 years as the Sam Houston State University Archivist, there are very few things that will make me go, “WHOA”, anymore. But today with the turn of a page from a ledger of 1923-1937 faculty meeting minutes, the answer to one of my top five unanswered questions about Sam Houston State University history was revealed.

How and when did Sam Houston State University adopt the school colors of orange and white?

Today’s BearKats know our University colors as orange and white, but that hasn’t always been the case. Prior to early 1924 the colors of our school were yellow and white. Back then, we were the Sam Houston Normal Institute, “Normals”. When in early 1923 the Sam Houston Normal Institute changed names to the Sam Houston State Teachers College (SHSTC) it was decided by President Harry F. Estill and the Athletic Council that a change of school colors was in order.

In the SHSTC faculty meeting of December 13, 1923, the matter of school color was brought up by Mr. Earl Huffor, Professor of English, who recommended the colors of orange and white. Since the matter was supposed to be handled by the Athletic Council, the faculty decided to appoint their own special committee members to assist the Athletic Council with the problem. It was decided that Mr. Earl Huffor, Professor of English, Miss Anna Loring, Professor of Art, and S. C. Wilson, Professor of Agricultural Education would be the Color Committee members. So the College went on Christmas break and the matter was left to be decided in January of 1924.

In the next faculty meeting January 8, 1924 the matter of the College’s colors was brought up again and Mr. Huffor, speaking for the Color Committee, reported that the committee had decided on deep orange and white as the College colors.

And so as they say, history was made that day. Ninety years have gone by for the colors of ole’ orange and white so rest easy Professor Huffor the colors you picked were just BearKat right.

To see the original 1923-1937 SHSTC Faculty Meeting Minutes ledger the above image is from, come visit the University Archives, Newton Gresham Library, Room 400, M-F, 8-5.

Cars, Cars, and More Cars

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Parking 09 30 1970
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr was the first person to quote the saying, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” translated as: the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing. Or as we would say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Parking at Sam Houston State University is no exception. This newspaper clipping is from, The Houstonian, dated September 30, 1970. As you can see, 44 years ago they had the same parking woes we have today. In 1970 there were 8,500 students and in 2014 we have hit over 19,000 students. You do the car math. Too many cars; not enough space.

Note in the top photograph (front of AB-1) in 1970, Ave J went right through the mall area. It wasn’t until 1979 that this part of the Ave J was closed and became the mall area for the Centennial of Sam Houston State University.

The original paper copies of The Houstonian can be seen in the University Archives.

Criminal Justice Clipping Collection, 1864-2011

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Credit to the Huntsville Item

The Texas Criminal Justice Newspaper Clipping Collection (1864-2011; three boxes) contains newspaper clippings concerning criminal justice in the state of Texas.  The collection’s main focus is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and includes many articles from the Huntsville Item and various other publications.  The Texas Criminal Justice Newspaper Clipping Collection contains many Texas prison subjects including: death row, prison personnel, prison administration, facilities, escapes, convict labor, the prison rodeo, court cases, corruption, and female inmates.

The picture featured above is an article from the Huntsville Item concerning the possible ending of the Texas Prison Rodeo which was held in Huntsville, TX.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

Criminal Justice Clipping Collection finding aid

Botanical Display at Newton Gresham Library

Guest Column by Laurie Grawl

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Botanical Display by Laurie Grawl

I have always found there are events in life that can lead us into interesting opportunities, and this is one of those experiences. As a student majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Art History I grabbed onto this research idea of studying the historically significant trees and flowering plants on the Sam Houston State campus and the Sam Houston Museum and Park complex and tying their location to the campus walking trail and map.

The idea was originally was born out of the need to complete a Honors College contract during the Fall 2013 semester with Art Professor, Martin Amourous. He was well aware that Botanical Illustration was something I was interested in and that I had taken a previous online summer course summer with Cornell University. As with most projects they take on a life of their own and turn into to something much bigger than originally envisioned. The project is now a two semester Independent Study for the Academic Distinction Program.

Currently the beginnings of my research are being exhibited in the Dan Rather cases located on the Second Floor of the Newton Gresham Library. The cyanotype artwork was created using botanical plant specimens that are site specific from the Sam Houston Museum and Park complex located across from the campus. The scope of my research will take place in both locations. I want to expose these historical hidden treasures because sadly many do not know they exist. My goals consist of using an artistic approach to document these plants and their story, and then take my renderings, photos, artwork, and background information and create a published book that would interest Alumni, and other community members with a portion of the profits contributing to future Art and Honors scholarship awards.    For more information www.lgrawlbotanicalstudy.blogspot.com

Botanical Specimens collected from the Sam Houston Museum Complex Garden Area

Botanical Specimens collected from the Sam Houston Museum Complex
Garden Area

 

Charles Spear Collection, 1840-1851

Charles Spear was a Universalist minister in the mid-1800s who supported the abolishment of the death penalty in the United States. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1801 and worked toward social change throughout his life. Dismayed by the negative social view of the incarcerated, Spear began working to promote prisoner rights and prison reform. He worked with ex-prisoners and helped them to adjust back into society. Spear traveled the country speaking on the conditions of prisons and promoting new ideas and practices to reform both inmates and prison administration. He even traveled to England to seek support for the elimination of capital punishment in the United States.

The Charles Spear collection contains a signature book carried by Charles Spear and his brother during their travels and contains signatures of prominent people of the time including Julia Ward Howe, Samuel Fessenden, George Peadody, Robert Rantoul, John Jay, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Arthur Tappan, Charles Barnard, Josiah Quincy, Thomas Starr King, Edward Everett, Jared Sparks, George Bliss, Marshall Wilder, Freeman Hunt, Lydia Sigourney, Henry Longfellow, Horace Greeley, George Copway, David Wilmot, Salmon Chase, William Seward, Henry Clay, Charles Sumner, Thurlow Weed, General Winfield Scott, and Jenny Lend. The book also contains copies of the signatures of Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton.

The collection also includes Charles Spear’s original correspondence, prison journal notes, and his book, Essays on the Punishment of Death. The Charles Spear collection is located in Thomason Special Collections at the Newton Gresham Library, the finding aid can be accessed here:

Charles Spear Collection, 1840-1851

 

Grover McCormick, Sr. Papers, 1886-196

Back in June of this year, the Marketing Department at SHSU highlighted one of our recently donated collections: the Grover McCormick, Sr. Papers, 1886-1968. The collection was donated by faculty member Cutty Gilbert and her family and contains correspondence, pictures, and other ephemera from her grandfather Grover McCormick, Sr. who was a lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee.

McCormick argued before the Supreme Court in Ashcraft v. Tennessee which dealt with self-incrimination and laid the foundation for Miranda v. Arizona and the establishment of Miranda Rights. McCormick was also the lawyer for Jerry Lee Lewis during his marriage to 13 year old Myra Gale Brown.

If you are interested in the Grover McCormick Papers, take a look at this wonderful video that the Marketing Department made for us about the donation of the collection and check out the accompanying article.

If you want to know exactly what is in the collection, click here for the finding aid: Grover McCormick, Sr. Papers, 1886-1968

BearKat Football Fun from 1951

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In honor of the first BearKat football game of 2014 a little cartoon fun from 1951. The BearKats took on the Howard Payne Yellow jackets and won 27-19. This material can be seen in the University Archives.

J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

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Notes on Texas cattle brands from the J. Frank Dobie Collection

J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

James Frank Dobie was born on September 26, 1888 in Live Oak County, Texas, to Richard J. and Ella Dobie. At the age of sixteen he went to live with his Grandparents in Alice, Texas where he completed high school. He enrolled in Southwestern University where he was introduced to English Poetry and met Bertha McKee, whom he married in 1916. After graduating in 1910 Dobie worked for the Galveston Tribune and the San Antonio Express, before attaining a high school teaching job in Alpine. He moved on to teach at the Southwestern Preparatory School and later earned his M.A. from Columbia University. In 1914 he joined the University of Texas faculty and as well as the Texas Folklore Society. He left the University and served for two years in field artillery during World War I.

After returning to Texas, Dobie published his first articles as a newspaperman in 1919. He made the decision to resign from his position at the University of Texas in 1920 in order to manage his Uncle Jim Dobie’s ranch. It was during his time on the ranch that Dobie’s passion for describing aspects of Texas lifestyle and culture was developed. Dobie was named the secretary of the Folklore Society in April of 1922. His first book, Vaquero of the Brush Country, was published in 1929. His other publications include: The Voice of the Coyote, The Mustangs, Tales of Old Time Texas, Up the Trail From Texas, I’ll Tell You a Tale and Cow People. He also wrote for the Southwestern Review and a Sunday newspaper column. Dobie died on September 18, 1964. Several schools and other buildings were named in Dobie’s honor and he was posthumously inducted into the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor.

The materials that make up this collection portray J. Frank Dobie’s interests in and contributions to the Texas Folklore Society. The predominant themes are Texas folklore and culture, cattle branding, Dobie’s time in England as a professor at Cambridge and his World War I experiences.

Significantly, there is also a file of illustrations of cattle brands which were sent back and forth between SHSU faculty members Frances McMinn and Emma Normand and, we believe, J. Frank Dobie. These illustrations were eventually used to create a quilt depicting cattle branding as art.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

J Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

Digitized materials from the J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

The SHSU Athletics Display

The display.

The display.

During my last weeks as the Archives and Special Collections intern, I spent time designing and putting together a physical display that is located on the second floor of Newton Gresham Library. The physical display is called “SHSU Athletics: A Winning Tradition” and features prints from the Sports Slides Collection, as well as some older photographs, SHSU Alcaldes from the 1920s, 40s, 60s, and 90s, and a selection of sports history books from the main library collection that are available for check-out.

With this display I intended to showcase just a few of the many achievements accomplished by SHSU student athletes, as well as showing how far back most of our sports programs go and the many changes that have taken place over the decades. I also wished to highlight the diversity in our athletics department, showing as many different sports as I could with the space and materials that were available to me, as well as the many different athletes from diverse backgrounds that have played for Sam over the years. I also pointed out challenges that athletes faced at Sam, including participating in college sports during wartime in the 1940s, and the new opportunities that Title IX introduced for female athletes in the 1970s.

I really enjoyed putting this display together and seeing the results, and I hope you do too! I also feel I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the summer while working in the Special Collections, Archives, and Digital Resources departments. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow through this experience, and I hope that others also get some use and enjoyment from the results.