Adventures of Hailey, Special Collections Intern, Part 2

Welcome back! To our guest blogger, Hailey from UNT, Spring 2020’s, SHSU Special Collection practicum intern. This week she is going to talk about Special Collection Departments and the librarians that work in them.

When most people think of special collections, they think of old, rare materials that need to be looked after, handled carefully, and preserved. One of the most important jobs for special collections librarians is to provide collection preservation so that the materials are available for patrons to access in many formats. Special collections librarians have many tasks besides preservation of materials.

Special collections departments in academic libraries also have a unique opportunity to use their materials to promote and support their institution. Librarians typically use outreach, social media, tours, and classroom instruction programs that help promote their collections to the university and community.

Many students can be intimidated by the special collections departments in their libraries due to the stricter rules and regulations that come with special collections. In reality though, special collections departments can provide some of the most important primary resources to university students. As most of us know, a majority of the assignments students have to complete in university are academic papers, essays, etc. In many cases, professors ask students to provide evidence by using primary sources which can be difficult to find. Special collections departments, however, have plenty. As special collections in academic libraries seek to support the faculty and students of the institution, a lot of the materials in the department pertain to the subjects being taught at the institution, which can be helpful to students by providing a starting place to begin their research. In addition to simply providing the primary sources, special collections librarians also aid in the instruction of how to use and conduct research with these materials.

In addition, special collections provide valuable resources to other researchers and scholars that are interested in rare books and materials. The students of the university that can access special collections, but also patrons from the community, and people from around the world can visit and utilize the collections.

Adventures of Hailey, Special Collections Intern

Welcome to our guest blogger, Hailey from UNT, Spring 2020’s, SHSU Special Collection practicum intern. She is going to tell us about her adventure in the Special Collections Thomason Room before the pandemic hit.

When researching sites to complete my practicum, I decided to see what Sam Houston State University could possibly have to offer in the field I wanted to peruse. SHSU was where I received my Bachelor’s degree from, so I was familiar with the library. Realizing that they had a special collections/archives department, which I have always been interested in as I am following the archival studies program for my degree. Special Collections libraries and Academic Libraries were both institutions that I was curious about but have never been able to experience firsthand. Luckily, I was told that they were interested, and I began my practicum experience in the Special Collections Department at the Newton Gresham Library during the Spring 2020 semester.

I was given my first task of creating a display for the library. I was told that it could be over anything and I could use any of the library’s resources to create it. I decided that since I would be working with the special collections department for most of my practicum, I wanted to use some of the materials they had, especially since these materials are not often seen by many staff and students.

First, I needed to browse through the collections in order to know what my options were. The Special Collections Department has a variety of collections ranging from a very large criminal justice collection to a collection of Mark Twain ephemera and books. After browsing through the finding aids online, I decided that I wanted to look at the Minnie Fisher Cunningham collection and the staff pulled the box so that I could look through it.

I was not familiar with Minnie Fisher Cunningham to begin with, but after looking through the materials they had on her, I acquired a greater knowledge of her as a person and an activist. She played a very big part in the second women’s suffrage movement, helping women win the right to vote. As this year is the centennial of the 19th Amendment, I thought she was the perfect person to create a display over.

After deciding my topic, I then dove head first into her collection in order to figure out which materials I wanted to showcase. I decided I would provide a summary of her achievements, and then select the materials that best represented them. She was a major player in getting women the right to vote, but she also ran to be a Texas senator and Texas Governor, so I wanted to represent that as well. Eventually, I decided to use nine materials in the display, most of which came from her collection but a few from other collections, as well as my summary panels.

It was a very good first task, in my opinion, because it allowed me to become familiar with the Special Collections Department and all of the collections they hold. I was able to learn how the Thomason Room was set up, how the finding aids were organized, and how the Special Collections Department promotes their collections. I finished my display in March 2020, which is also Women’s History Month.

The above photograph shows what the final display looked like when it was finished on the second floor of the Newton Gresham Library.

Show and Tell: Archives Style

Well it happened fellow BearKats, the Newton Gresham Library is closed and your University Archivist had to retreat to her humble double-wide outside of town. No worries, all of us here at Sam Houston State will keep going cause that is what BearKats do.

So I decided to do my idea of show and tell. Throughout this shelter- in -place, I will show you and tell you a little bit about digital materials I have squirreled away in what we call the NGLSpecialCollections drive. So come along and we will check it out.

For our first online show and tell, we have Sam Houston State postcards from different decades in the school’s past.

The top postcard is of the Lowman Student Center in the 1960s.  Built in 1964 to replace the original student union building the LSC is now just a vision of its former self.  With the recent and ongoing renovation to the LSC it truly has become, “The Campus Living Room.”

The next postcard down is of what most of us call, “Sorority Hill”. These 1959 era small houses have had many names and pantie raids over the years. They no longer service as student housing but now housing various departments and offices.

The third postcard down is an aerial view of the campus during the 1970s as seen by the fact that the Women’s Gym addition and the Agricultural Building are both still standing. Old Main is in the middle of the postcard standing tall.  All three of these building are no longer standing on campus.

Next week the Out of the Box blog will have a special guest author Hailey, Special Collection Intern.

Currently the University Archives and the Newton Gresham Library are closed.  If you wish to contact, the University Archives e-mail lib_bak@shsu.edu

Measles, War, Flu, and a Snowstorm too. 1918 at Sam Houston Normal Institute

We have received a few inquires here in the SHSU University Archives asking what the University was doing in 1918 when the worse flu pandemic recorded in the United States was happening.

1918 was a turbulent year around the world with World War I in full swing. Here at the Sam Houston Normal Institute 1918 brought a measles epidemic, WWI, flu and an unexpected snowstorm.

A quick read through The Houstonian newspaper for January 15, 1918, tells us that the campus was more concerned about an outbreak of measles. (See image) In the 1918, The Alcalde yearbook a calendar of the events that happened in Fall 1917-Spring 1918, this entry from January 6, 1918 reads, “Measles epidemic holds sway in Normal. Even the teachers have it.” the measles hit so many of the students, Lillian Sandel organized a, “That Measles-ly Club,” on February 1, 1918.

The first mention of the flu on campus comes in an article from The Houstonian for November 11, 1918.(See image) The article mentions that there was talk that President Estill was going to suspend the school until the flu subsided. This lead to a stampede of female students asking to go home. As 1919 rolled around the campus and Huntsville experienced more cases of the flu. With no infirmary on the campus, the school and the good people of Huntsville had to deal with the pandemic on their own. All of Huntsville came together and did not lose one of their flu patients.  Note the last three paragraphs of the, “Flu Flew Fluently,” page.

The unexpected snow storm began on January 11, 1918 and snowed through the night. Many students cut classes the next day to play snow balling, fighting and sleighing. It snowed yet again on January 28.

 

Kay Arendale McGar Kaough, Class of 1939

Kay Aderdate McGar Kaough

One of the SHSU University Archives most recent donation is a 1939 commencement announcement and program under glass.

This intriguing new donation came from a young lady BearKat who’s grandmother attended Sam Houston State and was constantly going to sales. When her grandmother was at the sales she would pick up, “treasures,” from Sam Houston State and present them to her granddaughter. This new donation was her Christmas gift from her grandmother last year.

 

 

This young BearKat is not related to this person on the name card so she decided to donate it to the SHSU University Archives.

The picture frame tray holds the 1939 commencement announcement, program, and a name card from Kate Arendale McGar. Her full name was Kathryn Arendale McGar. Born in Texas in 1911, she first attended Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1932. Kate graduated with a BBS in Elementary Education in August of 1939. In February of 1940, she married Louis A. Kaough and was listed as a teacher in Fort Bend, Texas in the 1940 US Census. She died in 1999 in Conroe, Texas.

Above is Kate McGar’s summer graduate photograph from the 1940 Alcalde.  Below is a image of the photo tray.

The Sam Houston State University Archives is open M-F, 8-5. It is located in the Newton Gresham Library, 4th floor, room 400.

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.