Botanical Display at Newton Gresham Library

Featured

Guest Column by Laurie Grawl

botanicaldisplayatngl001

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

Image

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

s01b01f03_001_2013s015_brandnotes_1934a

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.

Diamonds in the Rough

Image

Alice in Wonderland Book
Sometimes when you are working on a large project for archives in a different area of the library you find diamonds in the rough where you least expect them. This edition of, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass”, was a surprise find in the Loyce Adams Graduate Reading Room here on the 4th floor of the Newton Gresham Library.

There is no visible publishing date but an inscription on the inside cover reads, “May Adelaide’s birth days to come be as full of pleasure as was her 10th, Peyton Dec 7th 1913.”

The ten year old Adelaide mentioned in the inscription grew up to be the wife of S. Calhoun Wilson, Jr. who was the son of S. Calhoun Wilson, Sr.

S. Calhoun Wilson, Sr. was the Head of the Sam Houston State Teachers College Department of Agriculture from 1910-1939. S. C. Wilson, Sr. is credited with growing the Sam Houston State Department of Agriculture to one of the largest agriculture departments in the South at the time. He was known as, “The father of vocational agriculture in Texas”. He was also responsible for acquiring large amounts of aid for his department and the university in 1917 under the Smith-Hughes Act.

This book is now a part of the S. C. Wilson Collection in the SHSU University Archives.

Creating Sports @ Sam, Building a physical display, and wrapping up as the Archives/Special Collections Intern

All of the Sports slides have now been digitized, and some of them are already appearing on the Sports @ Sam tumblr (shsusportscoll.tumblr.com), which will continue to update twice a week with more photos. While creating Sports @ Sam, I learned a lot about the different ways that institutions can use social media outlets such as tumblr, facebook, and twitter to connect with other institutions, patrons, and the community. Making collection-specific social media sites, such as the Sports @ Sam tumblr page, can create interest and promote the institution (both the Archives and the University) while also providing examples of what students or researchers can find in the special collections and University archives, so that the next time a student has an assignment or a researcher/faculty is considering a new topic, they might be reminded to come by the Thomason Room or the Archives department and see what is available.

Moving forward for my final week here as the Special Collections and University Archives Intern, I have been preparing a physical display which will also draw heavily from the Sports slides collection, much like the Sports @ Sam tumblr. The display will showcase SHSU Sports history, using prints from the Sports color slides and also incorporating some older photos, dating back to the 1910s. The bulk of the preparation went into creating a poster for the display and writing captions for all of the prints. Next week I’ll provide photos of the display and provide more details about all of the different elements as they come together.

As my summer internship draws to a close I have been thinking about all of the skills I’ve acquired and all I’ve learned through the experience of processing and displaying this collection, and I feel that I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about the different departments (Special Collections/Thomason Room, Archives, and Digital Resources) which work together to preserve and provide access to all of the rare and unusual documents and items that we have here at Sam. I feel that the experience I’ve had here will be very valuable for me in the future, and I also hope that the work I’ve done will be useful to others as well.

 

 

Introducing Sports @ Sam

sportsatsamscreenshot

We are proud to announce a new Tumblr webpage created by the SHSU Special Collections and University Archives Departments’ intern Amanda Chang, which spotlights SHSU Sports teams from seasons past. The “Sports @ Sam” Tumblr updates each Monday and Friday with a new photograph showcasing athletes from the 1980s, ‘70s, ‘60s, and beyond. Many of the photographs come from a recently digitized collection of color slides dating from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, which feature mostly baseball, basketball, football, golf, and softball photographs. The slides were originally created by the Sam Houston News Bureau in 1970s and the Sam Houston Public Information Office in the 1980s. Along with these photographs, older archived photos will also be posted.

Athletes have been playing for Sam Houston State for over 100 years, starting out as the “Normals” when SHSU was known as a Normal Institute, and later switching to the “Bearkats.” Throughout the years our sports programs have developed into the strong teams which represent our University today. Our sports programs have grown along with the University, and this is reflected in many of the photographs that will be posted on Sports @ Sam. Not only do these photographs feature the athletes themselves, but also the fields and gymnasiums, and later stadiums and coliseums, that each team called home.

Sports @ Sam offers an opportunity to look back on the teams that created a solid foundation for today’s student athletes. Sports @ Sam can be found at shsusportscoll.tumblr.com or, and the Special Collections and University Archives Departments’ Tumblr can be found at nglspecialcollectionsandarchives.tumblr.com.

Putting things together

marchingwithflags

A side by side comparison of a Thomason photograph with a Thomason drawing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image on the left is a photograph from the John W. Thomason collection. It is of soldiers marching with the American flag. John W. Thomason was stationed at the Legation in Beijing in the 1930s, so this is possibly the location of this picture.

The image on the right is a sketch by John W. Thomason. It seems to have been inspired by the picture on the left.

Even before leaving Huntsville, Texas, Thomason developed a habit of recording his surroundings in his drawing notebooks or on whatever scrap of paper he had nearby — which accounts for the large collection of diverse drawings held at Sam Houston State University.

See the original here: Marines marching, carrying flag

See the whole  collection at : John W. Thomason drawings