Sam Houston State Teachers College All-Girl Orchestra


This gallery contains 3 photos.

The All-Girl Orchestra provided entertainment at collegiate dances, assemblies, and other social events around campus during the years of 1943-1946. The orchestra came into existence when a large portion of the Sam Houston male population went into service for WWII. … Continue reading

A Letter from George Pickett to Thomas J. Goree

















This is a letter from George Pickett to Thomas J. Goree of Huntsville, TX. George Pickett, famous for leading Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, wrote to Goree, discussing a disagreement the two had concerning the assignment of rifles to a certain battery.

It reads:


                        Your note of this date in reference

to the Rifle guns taken from Macon’s Battery is

received.  In reply I must state that I am

more than surprised at its purport and the

apparent censure contained therein.

       I had two conversations with the Lt Genl Comdg.

on the subject of the Batteries in this Division

in, which, he not only agreed with me about

the necessity of having the rifled guns in the Art’y

Battalion consolidated but feel confident that in

the first conversation suggested it.       In our last

conversation which took place the day before we

crossed the Blackwater, and while on the subject

of the Art’y on the Division I told him Blunt had

two rifled pieces and Macon two, he said he

thought it would be much more effective to have

them all in one battery.    I then said to him Genl

I will order those two pieces of Macon’s to Blunt

giving him then a Battery of Rifle guns to which

he replied yes. Without his acquiescence and advice

I should have made no change.  If an order

did not come directly from the Lt. General it was

virtually one.  Had he have had any objections

to it a simple word or intimation from him

would have been sufficient to have prevented its

publication.  On the contrary I thought I was

carring [sic] out his wishes distinctly and plainly

expressed.   I have ordered Maj Dearing to report

to Genl. Longstreet in person and should be happy

if the Lt. Genl. Will give him such instructions as he

may deem necessary for the efficiency of his Battalion.

The copy of the order referred to is enclosed and it does


not appear that the Lt. Genls name is mentioned.

                                                 I am Captain

                                                      Very Resply You Obt Serv

                                                                       GE Pickett

Captain T.J. Goree                                            Maj Genl

A.D.C.                                                                            Comg

Hd Qrs Dept N.C. & Va.

See a higher quality version here: Letter from G.E. Pickett to Thomas J. Goree

To see other examples of the Goree Collection, go here: Goree Family Papers

Innovative Instruction in Thomason Special Collections



Felicia Williamson and Trent Shotwell taking to Diana Dowdey’s ENGL 3361 class

We are excited to announce that we are teaching more students how to use archival resources in their research in Thomason Special Collections than ever before. Significantly, we have collaborated with several professors this semester to offer innovative, hands-on assignments that will engage students with primary source documents. For example, we are working with Dr. Lila Rakoczy and Dr. Diane Dowdey to have their classes transcribe primary source documents and then the students will use these experiences to write a response paper which will incorporate additional primary and secondary sources from the collections we maintain. This will enhance the students’ learning experience by engaging them first through the sometimes intense transcription process and second by the required research in our collections required by the paper. Many of the students in these courses have never worked with transcription nor have they held an archival document or rare book in their hands – this assignment requires that they truly engage with our materials.

After our time with these students they often return to Thomason Special Collections again and again and have a new understanding of how archival research can augment Google searching and database articles as their write their research papers. We look forward to many more interactions with SHSU faculty and students in the semesters to come.


ENGL 3361 looking at materials from Thomason Special Collections


James Williamson instructs ENGL 3361 on the transcription project

Live Long and Prosper! Birthday Greetings to Leonard Nimoy


NimoyAlcalde 02 20 1974


Forty years ago on February 20th of 1974, Sam Houston State University was host to Mr. Leonard Nimoy who presented a lecture in the LSC Ballroom (current site of the Barnes and Noble Bookstore) on, “Odyssey to the Borders of The Mind”. For those of you who only know Leonard Nimoy as the idol of Sheldon on The Big Band Theory, he originally played Mr. Spock in the TV series, Star Trek from 1966-1969, plus on many other Star Trek spinoffs and movies. He is also a bestselling author, lecturer, and recording artist.

Were you there? The SHSU University Archives would love to hear about the lecture, see photographs, or look at a lecture program.

Postcard from SHSU


A postcard of the steps leading to Old Main in 1929. The postcard was created for the 50th anniversary celebration of the college.

A postcard from the S.C. Wilson Collection that was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sam Houston Teachers College in 1929. The school was founded in 1879 when it was called the Sam Houston Normal Institute. It became the Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1923. From 1965-69, it was Sam Houston State College. In 1970, it became Sam Houston State University.


Goree Family Papers, 1833-1996

Goree-BlinksThomas Jewett Goree was born in Alabama on November 14, 1835.  The Goree family moved to Huntsville, Texas and lived on a plantation near the Trinity River.  Goree went to war in 1861 and served under General James Longstreet.  Thomas J. Goree promoted to Captain and served as aide to Longstreet throughout the war.  He and Longstreet became good friends and remained in contact with each other after the Civil War ended.  In 1868, Thomas J. Goree married Eliza Thomas Nolley and moved to Midway, Texas to run a mercantile business.  Thomas and Eliza returned to Huntsville in 1873 where Thomas J. Goree practiced law in Huntsville until 1877 at which time when he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Texas Prison at Huntsville.  Later, Thomas Jewett Goree became Superintendent of Penitentiaries.  Thomas Jewett Goree died in 1905.

The Goree Family Papers consists of documents, correspondence, articles, and photographs concerning the Goree family of Walker County, Texas.  The majority of the collection is the original correspondence of Thomas Jewett Goree who served as aide to General James Longstreet during the Civil War.  The collection also includes the correspondence of Eliza T. Nolley and E.K. Goree.  Eliza Thomas Nolley was an early settler of Walker County and was one of the first teachers at Andrews Female College. The Goree Papers contain transcribed correspondence of Thomas J. Goree, Eliza T. Nolley, and various other members of the Goree family including a transcription of Thomas J. Goree’s brother-in-law Dr. Pleasant Williams Kittrell’s private journal.  The Goree Papers hold numerous photographs and negative images of members of the Goree family.

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.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat


Watch as this guy rows his way across a river in a John W. Thomason drawing. This gif was a huge hit on Tumblr and has received over 1,700 notes. We were also featured on Tumblr Radar because of the gif. Needless to say, We were honored and surprised.

See the whole (non-gif) collection at : John W. Thomason drawings

Happy Birthday to John W. Thomason!

 self portrait

The namesake for our Special Collections department was born on this day  in 1893. John W. Thomason, Jr. was born into a prominent family in Huntsville, Texas. He was the eldest of nine children. His forebears were doctors, plantation owners, and military officers. A love of the land was no doubt a major part of Thomason’s ethos; had not World War I led him into his military career, the life of a southern squire with cultured avocations would have satisfied his artistic and literary inclinations.

After several years of higher education at Southwestern University, Sam Houston Normal Institute, and the University of Texas, interspersed with brief stints of teaching school, Thomason persuaded his mother to endorse a year of study at the Art Student’s League in New York in order to develop his obvious talent. He then returned to Houston to teach in a private school. A family friend, Marcellus E. Foster (“Mefo”) who was editor and owner of the Houston Chronicle offered him a job as a reporter, affording him a boost to his writing career.

When the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, that same day Thomason crossed the street to the Rice Hotel to enlist in the Marines. The years of indecision were over, for Thomason had found his niche. He had a distinguished career as a Marine officer (his book, Fix Bayonets!, is still a revered work to Marines and World War I enthusiasts). His military postings took him to Cuba, Nicaragua, and China, as well as to Washington, D.C. and some shorter assignments.

The exotic locales are reflected in the vivid writings that made him one of the best-known authors of this day; he is also immediately recognizable as a talented artist by the sketches that adorn his numerous books, as well as books of other authors who sought out his illustrative skills. Colonel Thomason died March 12, 1944.


Salt Winds and Gobi Dust


Salt Winds and Gobi Dust draft cover


Final cover of Salt Winds and Gobi Dust

Salt Winds and Gobi Dust was a collection of short stories by Col. John W. Thomason Jr. who is the namesake of our Special Collections department. The short stories were inspired by his time spent in China and Central America.

The top image is a draft of the cover artwork that would be used in the 1st edition of Salt Winds and Gobi Dust. You can compare it to the final cover below it.

Notice any big changes?