Happy 88th Birthday Dan Rather!

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Dan Rather is a Sam Houston State Teachers College Alumni, 1953, Distuingished Alumni, 1977, and of course, has a building honoring him named the Dan Rather Communications Building. He and his wife are also major donors and huge supporters of the University.

Thank you Mr. Rather for all that you do for Sam Houston State University!!

This newspaper photograph is from, The Houstonian, May 2, 1951.

Sandy Wilkenfeld, SHSU’s First Homecoming Queen,1969

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In 1969 Sandy Wilkenfeld was the first homecoming queen under Sam Houston State Colleges’, new name of Sam Houston State University.

A Senior English Major from Texas City, Texas, Sandy was also a member of the Who’s Who in American Universities, SHSU Panhellenic Association, president,  All College Beauty, 1969, Fraternity Bowl Queen, member of Alpha Delta Pi, a Delta Tau Delta Sweetheart, and the Delt Little Sisters.  She was also on the SHSU Dean’s List, Newman Club, and a member of Texas State Education Association. At the time, Sandy said she enjoyed creative writing and horseback riding in her spare time.

To learn more about Sam Houston State University Homecoming Queens and their history visit the Sam Houston State University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, room 400.  We are here M-F, 8-5.

 

 

HAPPY 140TH SHSU!

The 1st Faculty and Student Body of Sam Houston Normal Institute (later named Sam Houston State University) stand in front of the Austin Hall Building, 1879.

Happy 140th year of providing an education to students, Sam Houston State University! It was on this date, October 10, 1879, that 110 students arrived by train, horse and buggy, or walking, to climb the hill to attend the first State funded public school for teachers in Texas.

The Sam Houston Normal Institute was brought into being by a bill in the Texas Legislature in 1879. This bill read as follows: “An Act to Establish a State Normal School to be Known as the Sam Houston Institute at Huntsville, Texas.” The Act was signed by Governor Oran Roberts on April 21, 1879 and the doors to the new Sam Houston Normal Institute were opened 6 months later.

To learn or see more of 140 years of Sam Houston State history come visit the SHSU University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, Room 400. We are open Monday-Friday, 8-5.

Happy 50th Golden Anniversary to the Newton Gresham Library!

The images you see are two of  SHSU Archivist Barbara Kievit-Mason’s favorite early images of the new University library in 1969 and 1970.

Fifty years ago, the brand new three million-dollar University Library opened its doors to the students of the Sam Houston State College. It would be 4 months before the College would officially become, Sam Houston State University.

The University Library took its own sweet time to make its appearance. Waiting patiently as its sister buildings, AB-1 and the Business/Economics Building was built, the new library managed to go up stopping now and then for weather, building workers strikes, and moving of all the book shelves and books coming over from the older Estill Library.

Finally, on January 5, 1969, the doors opened and the sparkling new University Library started its time as the new temple of knowledge on the university campus. Decked out in the most up to date library equipment and furniture the students flocked to the new library.

Fifty years later, they are still flocking in for the most up to date library electronic equipment and trained staff and librarians. Some things remain the same, furniture, basic floor plans and elevators. However, many things have changed. These changes include: In 1985 the University Library was dedicated to Newton Gresham, SHSTC alumni, and friend of the University, the library catalogue is seen across the world, fancy coffee is bought and consumed within the library, books are checked out in a flash, computer are everywhere for the students to use, and nearly everything is electronic.

In addition, come 2020 another new era will begin for the NGL. There will be a major renovation going on for the first and second floor. The renovation will give the students even more reason to flock to the NGL for another 50 years.

Time Travel Stamps: one book set’s 120-year journey through four SHSU libraries

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It is not often that you find a title in the Sam Houston State University’s Newton Gresham Library that’s in the library collection since 1899.

In the above image of the book’s front, inner cover, you will see library book plates and stamps, like stamps on a passport or destination stickers on luggage, they tell the history of this title and the University libraries where it was used for the last 120 years of its life.

The title of this set is, “Confederate Military History, Vol. 1, A Library of Confederate States History, In Twelve volumes, written by Distinguished Men of the South.” Edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans of Georgia, and published by the Confederate Publishing Company in 1899.

This 12-volume set was first used in the Reference Library of the Sam Houston State Normal School, which was officially known as the Sam Houston Normal Institute. In this time period the library was, “a large and beautiful room,” in the Main Building, which later became known as Old Main. The above top image is of the Old Main Building Peabody Library room where the title was first used in 1899.

In 1901, The Peabody Memorial Library was finished and the book received its next book stamp. From 1902-1928, the book was used as reference material in the Peabody Memorial Library. In 1928 the new and vastly larger, Sam Houston State Teachers College Library. (Which would soon become the Harry F. Estill Library), was opened and the book received it next stamp.

In 1965, the Sam Houston State Teachers College was renamed Sam Houston State College. The book received another new stamp that lasted until 1969 when Sam Houston State College was renamed Sam Houston State University.

In 1969, the four floors, 3 million dollar, University Library (which would become the Newton Gresham Library) was finished and opened for the spring semester.

The 12-volume set was now 70 years old and had traveled through four libraries. The new University Library featured a brand new Special Collections Department that was perfect for all 12 volumes of this title.  The set was placed in the Special Collection’s Thomason Room of the new University Library without a new, “Sam Houston State University,” stamp. Special Collection items are not stamped owing to the fact they are rare and can be damaged by the stamping.

Once again used as a primary reference source the set will be celebrating its 120th anniversary along with the Newton Gresham Library, which is celebrating its own 50th anniversary.

Sam Houston State University Special Collections in the Thomason Room, is open from 8-5, Monday-Friday.

Mystery Film Box and the Institute of Contemporary Corrections and the Behavioral Sciences, 1968

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Los Alamos Label 1968

The SHSU University Archives is currently processing nearly 3,000 pieces of older format audio-visual materials received from the Criminal Justice Media Center which included fifty-one 16mm motion picture films.

Within these fifty-one motion pictures we discovered three empty film boxes. The film box pictured above, (post marked December 27, 1968) caught our eye here in the Archives because of the return address combination of Los Alamos Research Labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This box came originally from the Los Alamos Scientific Labs Library and was probably sent to MIT many times. Note the multiple stickers from both places.

Seeing this label presented an intriguing mystery. What happened to the film that was in the box, what was the title and content of the film, was the film something top-secret, and how did the empty box end up here in the older Criminal Justice audio-visual materials. So far we have found no documentation to explain the empty case.

The answer to this mystery is likely much simpler. Back before VHS, digital streaming, or Red Box, there was 16mm films and services that rented out motion pictures films across the country. Generally educational in nature, you would request a certain film, view it and sent it back and then the service would send it out again to the next requester.

So the mystery box may not be a mystery at all. (Or is it?)

Come visit the empty film box or tour the SHSU University Archives. We are open Monday through Friday, 8-5.

Old Main Fire, February 12, 1982

 

The charm of the campus of SHSU changed forever on February 12, 1982, when the “Queen of the Hill,” the Old Main Building caught on fire. Today the Old Main Memorial, “The Pit”, is all that is left of the original building.

Built to show the footprint of Old Main, it serves as a reminder of a once great building that was lost too soon.

Above is a photograph of the aftermath of fire taken from the bottom of the Old Main Hill.

The SHSU University Archives holds many Old Main Fire photographs. We are always looking for more photographs, of the interior of Old Main, fire, aftermath, or other memorabilia from the building.

The University Archives has also Included two of our favorite photographs of the Old Main Building.

Happy 60th Anniversary NASA!

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NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is 60 years old this year! To celebrate the occasion the Newton Gresham Library, Special Collections, Thomason Room, would like you to visit the NASA Collection Materials, 1964-2011. The NASA Collection of Materials were donated to the Special Collections, Thomason Room, in part by Mrs. Robert Everline. Her husband, Robert Everline, worked with NASA from 1961-1982.

The image you see here (which oddly resembles a Star Wars movie poster) was part of an information packet given out at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in the mid 1970s. The Johnson Space Center opened in Houston, Texas, on November 1, 1961.

This information packet is one of the many interesting items you will find in the NASA Collection. Click here to see the finding aid for the entire collection: https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=114&q=

The Special Collections, Thomason Room, is on the fourth floor of the Newton Gresham Library and is open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm.

1897 Sam Houston Normal Institute Class Pin

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The Sam Houston State University Archives has many interesting small items in the collection. Pictured here is an example of a 1897 class pin. This class pin is example of various class pins in the University Archives collection.

In 1940, Dr.J.L. Clark, Professor History and Chairman of the Museum Committee, and the Sam Houston Museum put out a call to alumni of the Sam Houston Normal Institute and Sam Houston State Teachers College to donate their class pins to the college. “The Museum Committee is desirous of securing a class pin of every graduating class of the college,” said J.L. Clark in the December 1940 issue of the Ex-Students’ News Letter.

In December of 1940, three pins arrived at the museum including the pictured pin above. Mr. Robert Ernst, Sr. of the Ernst Jewelry Company of Huntsville presented this 1897 pin. According to Mr. Ernst, the pin was designed by SHNI’s fourth President H. Carr Pritchett and ordered for the students of Sam Houston Normal Institute by the jewelry firm of Randolph and Ernst. Made by McRae and Keele in Attleboro, Massachusetts, this pin was the last of the store’s stock.

The pin, which is only 1/2 x 3/4” inches, is in the form of a shield with a purple bar bearing the letters S.H.N.I. over a maroon bar with figures “97”. The shield is partially surrounded by a gold wreath.

Ernst Jewelers is still open here in Huntsville and is celebrating the stores’ 125th Anniversary this year.

To see this pin any many other class pins come visit the Sam Houston State University Archives in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Mosby’s Rangers in the Civil War

 

 

 

Cpt. John Singleton Mosby

 

 

Welcome to guest blogger, Special Collections History Intern Joshua Kane.  Today he presents a book review of, “Mosby’s Rangers.”

This book, “Mosby’s Rangers” is a compilation of information from James J. Williamson about the exploits and methods of John Singleton Mosby. This book has information as well about the men he was commanding.

John Singleton Mosby, a Confederate States of America Army Calvary Battalion commander, was the Ranger who “made the first circuit around the Federal army while in front of Richmond, thereby enabling General (J.E.B) Stuart to make his celebrated raid around the entire army of General McClellan.” (Page 15) This book gives detailed information on both Mosby and his Rangers’ deeds and hardships.

There is an entry that shows Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee giving Special Order No. 82 to Mosby. These orders gave Mosby the rank of Captain in light of his exploits and deeds. With this, they mention at the very start men that had joined Mosby after their exchange as prisoners. These men were volunteers and started the term “Mosby’s Men”. The men he had been given by upper command were sent back after he gained enough volunteers. His first detail of men had been 15, names of which are given on page 18.

Many other interesting things had been written down, including how these men set up while off duty. They had no tents and so they would use the farm homes and other structures that were near the Potomac River. When they needed to meet, they had rendezvous at set locations. If none were set, then couriers would be sent out as needed when they saw an opportunity for an operation. When it was done, they would scatter, making it difficult to catch them! From the Union side, it was “like chasing Will-o’-the-wisp.” (Page 19)

You can find this book (E581.643d.W5) and others, “Mosby’s War Reminiscences and Stuart’s Calvary Campaigns” by John S. Mosby (E581.643d.M51887a), (E581.643d.M5) (two versions), and “Partisan Life with Mosby” by John Scott (E581.643d.s41867a), at the Special Collections Thomason Room on the 4th floor of the Newton Gresham Library.

To view more Civil War materials come visit the Newton Gresham Library Special Collection in the Thomason Room.  The Thomason Room is opened M-F, 8-5.