When you enter Thomason Special Collections on the fourth floor of Newton Gresham Library with its impressive wood paneling cases full of historic materials, you can feel like you are walking back in time…
And in fact, many of the furnishings and decorations inside Thomason Special Collections have come together over time from across campus and time to create a space that celebrates our history but is also comfortable for research and study.
In just one example, this photo of a group of students studying in the Estill Library circa 1940 is from the 1940 Sam Houston State Teacher’s College Bulletin found in SHSU Archives. The photo clearly shows an example of both a library table and shelf of the kind currently housed in the Thomason Room. The shelves here pictured came first from the Peabody Library (the first library on campus), were then moved to the Estill Library) and we have one set on display behind the Peabody Charge Desk in the Thomason Room (pictured below.)
Though library furnishings change (we’ve gotten new carpet and upholstery this very year!), and library materials change even faster than that (hello Ebooks!) it is wonderful to be able to house and actively use furniture and furnishings that date from the very early years of campus history.
Everywhere we go Sam is watching. I am not sure if that is good or bad.
From May 23-25, the writers of Out of the Box and members of the Thomason Room Special Collections team attend the annual conference of SSA (Society of Southwest Archivist) in Austin, TX. We used the opportunity to visit the Texas State Archives in Austin even daring the pouring rain to do so. The Texas State Archives’ current building was established in 1962 and named after Lorenzo de Zavala whose granddaughter was Adina Emilia De Zavala, a Sam Houston State Alumni and preservationist. We were given a behind the scenes look at how a large archives works. We viewed multiple levels of storage space, which house everything from books to av material to large manuscript collections documenting the history of the state of Texas and the actions of its various government agencies. We also toured the processing area where they work to process all the incoming collections. The real highlight was a tour of their conservation lab where a lone worker tries to repair material damaged by weather or time. You would not believe some of the before and after things we got to see. Needless to say, we were impressed! I think most archival organizations would turn a green eye of envy towards this state of the art in-house conservation lab. If you go to the reading room, you can actually watch her work from behind clear glass. Overall it was a wonderful experience. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission does a number of wonderful things for the archival community in Texas by providing training seminars and providing assistance with digitization projects like microfilming. It was nice to see them at work on their home turf.
This letter comes from Brigadier General John Gregg, a confederate general who fought in a number of battles including the Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of the Wilderness, and Battle of Cold Harbor. Gregg commanded the famous Hood’s Texas Brigade at … Continue reading →
Every day the Texas Department of Criminal Justice houses, transports, and supervises over 150,000 inmates making it the second largest prison system in the nation. The inmate population exploded in the early nineties due to stricter laws and stiffer penalties in Texas courts. Penitentiaries are undoubtedly a big business in Texas and the average person can be unfamiliar with life on the inside. Fortunately, Prison 101 by Mark Bull is just the book for anyone who may be interested in Texas prison life and culture. Mark Bull graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University an Associate Degree in Industrial Security from the Community College of the Air Force.
Bull was a supervisor for The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and has been a consultant for jail and prison management. Prison 101 was designed as a pre-incarceration orientation for soon to be big house residents and covers many penitentiary topics both expected and unexpected. This interesting and hard-to-find paperback addresses prison survival, including inmate tricks and games, dangerous situations, and hoosegow terminology. Even if someone is not on their way to the penitentiary, Prison 101 gives insight into the dangers lurking behind those razor wire fences. The book provides vital information for the prison bound and even covers what to expect if you have family that may be incarcerated.
Prison 101 can be found in the Thomason Room CJ Special Collection.
Trent Shotwell is a Library Assistant in Thomason Special Collections at the Newton Gresham Library. He previously worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 3 years and the Texas Prison Museum for 9 years.
Today is the first day of the General Sam Houston Folk Festival and I am excited. The festival runs from May 3-5 and is hosted by our great friends at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. The festival was created in 1988 as a way to celebrate the Houston family and the life that they lived in 1800s Huntsville, TX. The festival will be held on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum which sits on the land inhabited by Gen. Sam Houston and his family.
Members of the staff, volunteers, and others will bring the 1800s to life through re-enactors performing short theater pieces, wearing elaborate costumes, and storytelling. There will be lots of food, dancing, crafts, demonstrations and ,of course, great folk music. Musicians and performers cover a wide range of folk styles from Americana, gospel, county, Scottish and Irish tunes, and maybe even Native American music.
The admission for Friday is $3 for all ages. Two-day passes for the weekend will also be sold for is $8 for students, $10 adults. The price for children ages 5-11 is $3 per day, and admission is free for children under 5 years old. Group rates are also available. For more information and to view the complete entertainment lineup, visit http://samhoustonfolkfestival.blogspot.com/ or find the Gen. Sam Houston Folk Festival on Facebook. You can also call the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.1832
This is my first year living in Huntsville and I am glad to have the opportunity to attend — I hope to see you there!
President James Buchanan (1857-1861), sometimes known as the “bachelor president,” celebrates his birthday today, April 23. Buchanan entered an increasingly divisive political climate that eventually led to the civil war.
We have one item in our collections relating to the former president. A letter to Sam Houston discussing the capture of an American ship captain. The Texas Senator and two time Governor Sam Houston was his contemporary and sometime correspondent.
A picture of the first faculty and student body (1879-1880) at the Sam Houston Normal Institute which would eventually become Sam Houston State University.
Here is a copy of the Catalogue of the Sam Houston Normal Institute, 1879-1880. This document list the students by year and gender and provides some useful information about the people in the picture above. Enjoy!
Thomason Special Collections has been as busy as ever this spring, hosting several groups of students and visiting scholars. The First International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought was held on Sam Houston State University campus April 4-6. Organized by … Continue reading →
On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, Dr. Jack Horner, Regents Professor of Paleontology at Montana State University, will be speaking here in Huntsville as part of Sam Houston State University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series. Dr. Horner is a renowned paleontologist. He is the first to discover dinosaur eggs in the western hemisphere and has identified some of the first dinosaur embryos. He has discovered and even named a few species, such as the Maiasaura. Not to diminish any of those accomplishments, but he may be best known for serving as a technical adviser for all three Jurassic Park movies and was the inspiration for the Dr. Alan Grant characters in the novels and subsequent movies. Needless to say we are very excited to be hosting Dr. Horner on campus NEXT WEEK!
Dr. Jack Horner and SHSU Distinguished Lecturer Series
Dr. Horner’s speech will be on “Where are the Baby Dinosaurs”. It will be held in the Lowman Student Center, Theatre from 11:00-12:00 on Tuesday, April 2.