William R. Powell Health Services and Counseling Center



William Powell

The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved at the February 19 & 20, 2015, board meeting the naming of the Health Services and Counseling Center after the late William R. Powell. The new building will be named the William R. Powell Student Health Services and Counseling Center.

William Powell was the first African-American Administrator of Sam Houston State when he was hired in 1972. Dean Powell was instrumental in the development of the Student Judicial System and the original University Counseling Center. He also helped start the Theta Mu Chapter on the SHSU campus.

He retired from Sam Houston State in 1987. After his retirement from SHSU he went back to work at Jarvis Christian College as Vice President of Student Affairs until he retired yet again in 1993. William Powell died on March 12, 2013 and is buried in Brooke Cemetery, Walker County, Texas.

The Huntsville Item article above is from June of 1993 and it about Williams R. Powell and his wife, Doris, and how important education was to not only him but his entire family.

To learn more about William R. Powell come visit the SHSU University Archives.

The Huntsville Item article is courtesy of The Huntsville Item.

Human Soil Consumption Correspondence, 1960-1967


A zine on geophagy in prehistoric Iran

The Human Soil Consumption Correspondence (1960-1967; one legal folder) consists of correspondence and a newsletter concerning soil consumption.  The handwritten correspondence relates to soil ingestion in Southwest America.  The Coprolite News newsletter concerns the archeological discovery  of geophagy in Iran.  The correspondence also includes a letter concerning the collection’s acquisition.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page.


Miss Sam Houston 1965


Miss Sam Houston 1965

The Miss Sam Houston pageant has been crowning lovely ladies for over 50 years. This photograph from The Alcalde shows the Miss Sam Houston court from 50 years ago in 1965. Janet Melaun of Dallas, who was a music education major, was chosen from 19 candidates. The theme for the pageant was “007” from the James Bond movies which were very popular at the time.

Come visit the University Archives to learn about Miss Sam Houston pageant history and other SHSU beauty contests over the years. The University Archives is in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Chinese Archery


Here are some photographs of Jack Thomason, son of Col. John W. Thomason, practicing the Chinese form of archery. Jack spent 1930-1933 in China while his father was stationed at the Legation in Beijing. While not in school, Jack would participate in Dragon Patrol, a Boy Scout organization, where he and his classmates would explore outdoor activities in China.

To view more of the John W. Thomason photographs: click here


Citation A L’Ordre De L’Armee



This WWI poster comes from the collection of John Warren Smith. Smith’s uncle Boyce O. Smith was a solider in WWI and served in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and took part in the St. Michael Offensive and Meuse-Argonne Offensive as part of the 5th regiment. He received this citation for his service. After being discharged, he returned to Huntsville and worked as a teacher until his death in 1933.

The poster reads : 

Citation in the Order of the Army

5th Regiment of the Marines, American (Under the orders of Colonel Logan Feland)

“This regiment took a glorious part in the operations engaged in by the 4th (French) Army in Champagne, in October 1918. On October 3, 1918, it participated in the attack on the strongly intrenched German positions between Blanc Mont and the Medeah Farm, and pushing forward as far as St. Etienne-a-Arnes, made an advance of 6 kilometers. It took several thousand prisoners, captured cannon, machine guns and important war material. This attack combined with that of the French Divisions resulted in the evacuation of both banks of the Suippe, and of the Massif(high ground) of Notre-Dame-des-champs.”

Order No. 14.712 “D”-March 21, 1919

At General Headquarters

The Marshall

Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the East


View more of the John Warren Smith Papers, 1836-2009 : here

View Finding Aid for the John Warren Smith Papers, 1836-2009  : here

Mark Twain game

Guest Column by Trent Shotwell

Mark Twain's Memory-Builder

Mark Twain’s Memory-Builder

Mark Twain was one of America’s premier writers and his works have reached worldwide recognition for their humor and historical significance. SHSU Special Collections currently has a large and unique collection of the novels and writings of Mark Twain. The collection includes roughly 500 of Mark Twain’s books and even some of his personal correspondence. The books include many first editions and limited printings. This correspondence includes letters and postcards that are mostly thank you letters concerning travel accommodations for one of Mark Twain’s trips to Europe. The collection also has newspaper clippings and ephemeral booklets relating to Mark Twain. In addition, a complete memory training game created by Mark Twain is a featured item.

Check out the finding aid to this collection, here: https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=80&q 


Mark Twain Memory-Builder board and pieces

Mark Twain Memory-Builder board, game pieces, and fact sheet

Mark Twain Memory-Builder fact sheet

Mark Twain Memory-Builder fact sheet

Don Sanders Stadium 10th Year Celebration.



Baseball stadium 10th year

The BearKat Baseball team’s first game on February 13th at 6:30 will open their 10th season of playing at the Don Sanders Stadium. Come out and help celebrate this complex’s 10th year of operation.

Head over to the SHSU Athletics Department, Don Sanders Stadium 10th Season webpage for information on the history of the stadium and it’s namesake.

To see this complete 2006 Baseball & Softball Commemorative Program or other materials about SHSU BearKat Baseball come visit the University Archives, room 400, in the Newton Gresham Library.

Arleigh B. Templeton and SHSU Football



Arleigh B. Templeton was Sam Houston State University’s 8th president from 1965-1970. Under Templeton’s leadership, Sam Houston transitioned from Sam Houston State Teachers College to Sam Houston State College and then finally to Sam Houston State University. He would eventually leave Sam Houston to serve as the first president of University of Texas-San Antonio.

Here are pictures of Templeton as he watches the SHSU football team practice in 1969.


Welcome Back BearKats! Throwback Thursday of ’76


1976 Wecome Back BearKats

Welcome back to a new semester, BearKats! This fierce looking BearKat graces the cover of The Huntsville Item’s, “Wecome Back BearKats,” special edition from August 22, 1976. For many years The Huntsville Item has published these special, “Welcome Back BearKats,” editions, with information and fun articles about Sam Houston State University for both new and returning students. You can see this entire 1976 special edition in the University Archives.

Quick fun fact: Founded in 1850, The Huntsville Item, is the second oldest publishing newspaper in the State of Texas. You can find the most recent editions in print in the second floor reference newspapers area of the Newton Gresham Library, on-line at http://www.itemonline.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.

John W. Thomason visits Hearst Castle


Front Row (Left to Right): Adolphe Menjou, William Randolph Hearst, John W. Thomason, Lawrence Stallings , Dick Powell
Bottom Row: Marion Davies, Henry Roosevelt, Joan Blondell Ruth Gordon

From 1934 to 1936, John W. Thomason served as a junior Marine aide to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Henry L. Roosevelt (of the Oyster Bay Roosevelts). Thomason joined Roosevelt at parties in Washington, family getaways to Oyster Bay, and on his trips to review US Navy installations.

In May and June of 1935, they visited the navy installations on the West Coast and in Honolulu. It was during their time in California that Roosevelt and his entourage (which included Thomason) were guests at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, California. Hearst Ranch was the large extravagant home of American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. In its heyday, invitations to the castle were prized. Entertainers such as Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Clark Gable as well as politicians like Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge were just some of the famous guests at Hearst Castle.

While on their visit, Roosevelt and Thomason toured the grounds and enjoyed the hospitality of their hosts Mr. Hearst and his famed mistress Marion Davies. The Sunday evening of their visit, Hearst threw a party with Roosevelt and his entourage as guests. The party was going to occur on Mother’s Day, a fact which had slipped Thomason’s mind. In a message to his mother, he wrote that Ms. Davies had reminded him, but unfortunately Thomason did not write his Mother’s Day message until late June.
The party was one of Hearst’s Hollywood affairs. The guests at the party included actor Adolphe Menjou (A Woman in Paris, The Front Page), playwright Lawrence Stallings (What Price Glory), actor Dick Powell (Footlight Parade), actress Joan Blondell (The Public Enemy, The Blue Veil) and Broadway actress Ruth Gordon (Rosemary’s Baby, Harold and Maude) and many others. You can see Thomason (top row, middle) along with Roosevelt (bottom row, second from the left) in the large group photo.

After leaving Hearst Castle, Roosevelt and Thomason continued their tour of Navy installations before returning to Washington because of Roosevelt’s poor health. Thomason remained an aide to Henry Roosevelt until Roosevelt’s death in 1936.