On January 10, 1901, the Spindletop well in Beaumont, Texas blew into history and started the modern oil industry in Texas. Spewing out into the East Texas sky at a rate of 200 feet high and 70,000 barrels per day, this huge gusher keep going till the 19th of January when it was finally brought under control.
This 1902 photograph of the Spindletop field is part of the Sam Houston State University Archives, J. L. Clark Collection. Dr. Joseph L. Clark was a History Professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College. Dr. Clark acquired a copy of this photograph from the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce to possibly use in his 1955, 4 volume book set, “The History of the Texas Gulf Coast; its History and Development.” This photograph never made it into his book.
In his book, Dr. Clark says that the most important product of Spindletop was men. The Spindletop Oil Field was the training ground for the oil industry at the time. From drillers to geologists to financers, most learned their trade from their experiences at Spindletop.
You can read more about Spindletop (in chapter 30 of volume II) and Texas related history in Clark’s multi-volume title. The main collection of the Newton Gresham Library has a set you can check out at call number F392.G9, vol.1-4.
On December 14th, 1959, during a basketball game the first ever Sammy the BearKat mascot costume was unveiled. In the years since then Sammy has undergone many changes to his appearance to morph into the Sammy the BearKat we know today.
This article from The Houstonian, 10/7/2003, gives a good overview of the various Sammy’s over the years.
To find out more about Sammy the BearKat come and visit the University Archives in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.
“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work”- Mark Twain
Samuel L. Clemens was born in Hannibal, Missouri on November 30, 1835. The American author is overwhelming known by his pen name of Mark Twain. Born shortly after the appearance of Hailey’s Comet in 1835 Clemens said he came in with comet and would go out with it. His death came one day after the comet’s return on April 20, 1910.
His pen name of,”Mark Twain,” Clemens said came from Captain Isaiah Sellers who wrote down paragraphs of practical information and signed them Mark Twain and send them to the New Orleans Picayune. Clemens took up the pen name after Captain Sellers died in 1869.
The cover of the magazine featured in this post is from 1874 and was illustrated by R. T. Sperry. Note that the frog is reading the same title as the magazine.
The Special Collections Department in the Thomason Room of the Newton Gresham Library holds the Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection, 1874-2002. This Twain collection is said to be one of the best in Texas.
This Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats football program from 1950 is a colorful example of the artwork that went into the football programs in the 1930s-1960s. All the colorful animal cartoon figures represent the team mascots of football teams that Sam Houston State had played up to that point. This cover was done by Ed Dillion.
In this 1950 game, Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats played the University of Corpus Christi Tarpons. The game was a blow out with the BearKats winning 46-0. The BearKats have a 6-0 and 201-32 points scored record against the Tarpons from 1950-1965. Two school records were also set in these games. The first in 1954 for the 11th longest pass of 81 yards for a touchdown thrown by quarterback Allen Boren to Bobby Baldwin. The second record was the 9th longest punt return of 70 yards for a touchdown set by Tommy Luker in 1964.
The University of Corpus Christi Tarpons started playing football in 1947 with the mascot of a tarpon. In 1966 the University of Corpus Christi football program was ended. In 1994 Corpus Christi State University was incorporated in the Texas A&M system and the student body then voted to become the Islanders but their mascot was known as Tarpy the Tarpon until 2004.
Special thanks to the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Special Collections Department, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for the history of their football program and Tarpy the Tarpon.
To see this program and many other BearKat football programs from the past 100 years come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.
Here in the University Archives we have looked at or scanned what seems like thousands of football related newspaper articles, photographs, and yearbooks during the 100th season of BearKats football.
So in this post the University Archives decided to pull out some favorites of the images and put them in one posting. See below for details about the images.
Top Row 1 – Left – Showing team spirit in 2003
Right – A mockup of Sports Illustrated magazine from The Alcalde, 1978
Row 2 – Members of the Sam Houston Normal Institute first football team in 1912 line up to reenact their formations. Among them is Len Baldwin who is said to have made the first touchdown in University history.
Row 3 – Left – Frank “Foxie” Fox jumps for joy as the Kats score against Concordia in the NAIA National Playoffs in 1964. Also showing excitement are cheerleaders Janet Miller and Rick Stowers. The game was a tie at 7-7.
Right – Go Sam Houston! The BearKats run for a touchdown in 1969.
Row 4 – Left – In 1983 Senior Ricky Beck gives his opinion of the BearKats chances in the game.
Right – In 1937 BearKat football was a welcome reprieve from the end of the Depression. In this picture from the 1937 Alcalde, the athletics photographer gets creative with the image. Note the Old Main Building spires in the background. This game was played at Pritchett Field.
Row 5 – In the 1980’s the BearKats played many games in the Astrodome in Houston. The Astrodome is now a shell but the BearKats will not forget playing in what was called the, “8th Wonder of the World.”
To see more football related materials come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400 of the NGL, open 8-5, M-F.
Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Thank you to all our veterans for keeping American safe and free.
Sam Houston State University has a long history of men and women joining the armed services in times of war and peace. From the Spanish-American War to the current conflicts Sam Houston State students and alumni have always stepped up to do their duty.
The above photograph and letter comes from a page out of a scrapbook of World War II newspaper clippings and photographs that relates to Sam Houston State Teachers College students, faculty, staff, and Walker County community members who served during the war. This oversize scrapbook has no information as to who gathered the materials or created the scrapbook.
The young man on the far right camel is Lt. John H. Jenkins who graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in August 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree. This photograph was taken in Egypt as evident from the camels, pyramid, and the Sphinx in the background. It too has an unknown date and photographer.
To see more of this scrapbook and other items relating to veterans come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library. The archives are open M-F, 8-5.
This booklet featured above is called, “From Coach to You,” and was done by new Director of Athletics and football Head Coach Paul “Red” Pierce in 1952 to introduce himself and the athletics program to the freshman students. Coach Pierce came to Sam Houston State in 1952 from his alma mater Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine, Texas.
While at Sam Houston State, Red’s BearKats won or tied for four conference championship in 1955, 1956, 1961 and 1964 and played four bowl games. In 1964, the BearKats shared the NAIA National Championship title with Concordia College with a final score of 7-7. The bowl games the Kats won during his tenure as head coach were the Shrimp Bowl, and two Refrigerator Bowls in 1953 & 1956. They also played in the 1958 Christmas Bowl but were upset by Northwestern State.
Coach Pierce left Sam Houston State in 1967 to return to Sul Ross State.
In 1978 Coach Pierce was inducted into the BearKat Athletics Hall of Honor.
It’s the annual “Pink Out” game this weekend. Everyone wear pink and support the search for a cure for breast cancer.
Deciding what to wear to the Sam Houston vs.Texas A&M Commerce game on Saturday will be a no brainer. But back in 1959 The Houstonian decided to give female football fans a few helpful hints on the latest football fashion. This clipping is from The Houstonian, October 24, 1959.
To see more football fashion in the SHSU yearbook, The Alcalde, or copies of The Houstonian come visit the University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library.
Homecoming Week! Since the mid-1940s Homecoming as we known it today has been a big deal on the Sam Houston State University campus. With all the festivities, electing the Queen and King, and most importantly THE BIG GAME there will be fun for all. This year we take on Nicholls State and have a record of 6-0 against the Colonels.
This week University Archives would like to introduce you to the cutest BearKat Homecoming fan. His name is Chris Gilstrap. Chris was destined to be a BearKat from an early age. His father Michael was a student (alum 1968 and life member of the SHSU Alumni Association) and his mother, Barbara, worked for Dr. George Killinger, who was involved in starting the Criminal Justice program at the same period of time this photograph was taken at the 1967 Homecoming game between Sam Houston State College and Texas A & I. Sad to say we lost that game 48 to 6, but gained this adorable photograph to feature in this post 48 years later.
The game was played at Bedrock Bowl or Old Bedrock, also known as Pritchett Field. Little Chris was getting bored so his father decided to take him out of the stands and entertain him on the sidelines. Chris’s picture was shot by a Houstonian photographer and he appeared in the November 14, 1967 issue of The Houstonian.
Just a quick 22 years later in 1989, Timothy “Chris” Gilstrap, now a BearKat of the 1980s, graduates from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Mass Communication/Media Studies continuing the Gilstrap Family BearKat tradition. Chris was also a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.
Many thanks to Michael Gilstrap for letting the University Archives use this picture.
To learn or see more materials on Homecoming activities come visit the University Archives in the NGL, room 400.
Over the years, The Houstonian, has featured many cartoons within the pages of the 102 year old newspaper.
This football fun cartoon from the September 26, 1972, Houstonian, is an example of the work of the cartoon artist known only by his or her signature of Rowland. Rowland’s many cartoons throughout the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 issues of the Houstonian feature an accurate caricature of the people and attitudes of the day on the Sam Houston State campus.
Come and see more of Rowland’s cartoons in the University Archives in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.