Powell Family Papers, 1910-2007

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The Powell family were early East Texas residents that moved to Huntsville in 1896.  Benjamin Harrison Powell II married Eleanor Inez Meachum Powell and they had seven children.  Benjamin H. Powell II was a Montgomery County judge that later worked for the Huntsville law firm, Powell, Ball, & Randolph.  The youngest of the seven Powell children was Anna Irion Powell who later went on to receive the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Texas and taught High School in Brownwood and Cleburne, Texas from 1914 until 1918.  Anna Irion Powell then began teaching for North Texas Normal Institute and later in 1923 completed her Master’s degree at the University of California, Berkley.  In 1929 Anna Irion Powell received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas.  Anna moved back to Huntsville to live with her sisters Inez and Louise in the Gibbs-Powell home in 1963.  Louise Powell died in 1963 and Inez Powell died in 1971.  Anna Irion Powell died in 1983 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas.

The Powell Family Papers (1910 – 2007; .5 box) include family correspondence, newspaper clippings, biographical information, Sam Houston State Teachers College materials, and documents concerning the Powell family of Huntsville.  The correspondence in the collection is between SHSTC (Harry Estill and others) and Mrs. Ben H. Powell.  The Powell Family Papers also include the obituaries of several Powell family members and their funeral programs.  The collection contains the autobiography of Anna Irion Powell and documents relating to conferences and programs with which she was involved.  Much of the collection relates specifically to Anna Irion Powell.  The collection also includes a roster of Walker County men serving military service to the United States to be transported to San Antonio.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=89&q=

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Texas Department of Corrections Ephemera Collection, 1881-2013

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The Texas Department of Corrections Ephemera collection (1881-2013; one box) contains newspaper clippings and booklets concerning the state prisons of Texas.  The collection’s main focus is the Texas Department of Corrections.  The newspaper clippings in the collection come from the Huntsville Item newspaper and various other Texas publications.  The booklets in the collection are primarily informational materials printed and distributed by the Texas Department of Corrections.  The collection materials concern many Texas prison subjects including: prison personnel, prison administration, facilities, inmates, death row, and prison industry.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=79&q=

Alton Keefer Farris collection, 1907-2003

 

Selection from an Alton Ferris ledger

Selection from an Alton Ferris ledger

Alton Keefer Farris was born on November 6, 1931 to Alton Boone Farris and Erma Keefer Farris in North Zulch, Texas. He graduated from Huntsville High School and moved on to receive a degree in education from the Sam Houston State Teachers College. Mr. Farris served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was also a teacher and principal at the Pine Prairie and Huntsville school districts. His last job was as a Recreational Consultant for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He served as a deacon at the Chapelwood Missionary Baptist church and was a supporter of the Shriners organization. Mr. Farris also worked as a Notary Public and Justice of the Peace for the Huntsville area. He married Naomi Voyles and they had two children, Ruth and Alton Keefer Farris, Jr. Mr. Farris died on June 1, 2006.

The Alton Keefer Farris Collection consists of various financial records including checks, receipts and invoices. Also included are legal documents including subpoenas and property records.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=93&q=

Polo Players at the Beijing Legation

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The Legation Quarter of Beijing was an independent military zone belonging to the international community. Troops from America, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, and France were housed in this walled off area of Beijing. Each nation was responsible for its installation within the quarter, which contained restaurants, housing, shops, and other goods and services.

An outlying area known as the Glacis served as a place for sporting events. It contained a baseball diamond, a gridiron for rugby, and polo grounds. The polo grounds were mostly occupied by the French, but residents from other nations participated in matches.

A Huntsville, TX resident named John W. Thomason served at the Legation from 1930-1933 and participated in these polo matches. These photographs come from his personal papers and document the matches and the leisure activities of the legation inhabitants.

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 To view digitized material from the John W. Thomason collection, click on the link below.

John W. Thomason Collection

 

 

Robert Duncan

A picture of Robert Duncan. ("Robert Duncan." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.)

A picture of Robert Duncan. (“Robert Duncan.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.)

Robert Duncan was an important author in the San Francisco Renaissance and the Black Mountain School. He was born on January 7, 1919 in Oakland, California. His mother died in childbirth, and his dad, unable to support his newborn son placed Robert Duncan up for adoption. In August of 1919 Duncan was adopted. Duncan’s adopted parents chosen religion was theosophy, which greatly affected Duncan’s poetry. His poems drew on myth, occultism and religion. He wrote using projective verse and composition by field. Duncan chose to become a writer in his early teens after being encouraged by an English teacher who recognized his talent. Duncan attended the University of California, Berkeley for two years. He left California and went to finish his education at the Black Mountain School. Shortly after arriving at the school he got into a conflict with the faculty and moved to New York City.
During the 1960’s Robert Duncan won many awards. In 1961 he won the Harriet Monroe, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963, and in 1964 he won the Levinson prize from Poetry Magazine. In 1985 Duncan received the National Poetry Award.
Robert Duncan died in San Francisco in 1988. He had fought a long battle with kidney disease. After his death, many of his works continued to be published. Even today he remains an influential figure in poetry.
Robert Duncan’s poetry often expressed his anarchic political views. In addition, his use of projective verse makes many of his poems stand out. In Newton Gresham Library’s SHSU Special Collections there are two of his poems available to read. The first called The gift of tongues or the Imagination can be found in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, and Folder 3. The second which is called Melville after Pierre can be found in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, and Folder 4.

Work Cited
“Robert Duncan.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
“Poet Robert Duncan.” Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
Christensen, Paul. “Robert Duncan’s Life and Career.” Robert Duncan’s Life and Career. Modern American Poetry, 1999. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
Mlinko, Ange. “The Unconquered Flame: On Robert Duncan.” The Unconquered Flame: On Robert Duncan. The Nation, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection, 1874-2002

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri to John and Jane Clemens.  The Clemens family moved to Hannibal, Missouri near the Mississippi River when Samuel was 4 years old.  His father died in 1847 leaving the Clemens family financially unstable for years to come.  After completing the fifth grade, Samuel left school to work as a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper.  By the age of 18, Samuel Langhorne Clemens had traveled to New York and Philadelphia writing articles for several newspapers.  He worked as a riverboat pilot beginning in 1857 and spent several years traveling the Mississippi River.  Later, Clemens was in the Confederate army for a short time and then moved to Nevada where he began writing under the pen name Mark Twain.  He toured Europe by steamboat and his collection of travel letters was later reworked into his first popular book, The Innocents Abroad, released in 1869.  Samuel Clemens married Olivia (Livy) Langdon in 1870 and the couple had three daughters.  Clemens wrote most of his popular works from his family home in Hartford, Connecticut.  These works included: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Clemens family moved to live in Europe in 1891.  Samuel later lost two daughters and his wife before his death on April 21, 1910.  Mark Twain was one of America’s premier writers and his works have reached worldwide recognition for their humor and historical significance.

The Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection contains original correspondence from Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  The letters and postcards consist mostly of thank you letters and correspondence concerning travel accommodations for a trip to Europe.  The collection includes original photographs and postcards of Mark Twain.  The collection also has numerous newspaper clippings and ephemeral booklets relating to Mark Twain.  In addition, a complete memory training game created by Mark Twain is a featured item.  The Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection is associated with the SHSU Special Collection’s Mark Twain rare book collection which includes approximately 500 volumes.

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View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=80&q=

Philip Whalen

Philip Whalen ("Philip Whalen." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.)

Philip Whalen (“Philip Whalen.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.)

Part of our continuing series on the Wild Dog Collection by SHSU Special Collections intern Kara Stafford

The third member of the West Coast Beats was Philip Whalen, although he was better known as being a major figure in the San Francisco Renaissance. He was born on October 20, 1923 in Portland, Oregon. His family left Portland when he was four to go live in The Dalles. His family could not afford to send him to college, so when Whalen returned to Portland in 1941 he worked as a laborer in shipyards and airplane factories. In 1943 he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was trained to teach radio operations which kept him stateside and allowed him to read and write poetry. In 1946 Whalen, thanks to the G.I. Bill, was able to enroll in Reed College. While attending Reed College, Whalen met Lew Welch and Gary Snyder. These three men would become key figures two related literary movements, the Beat Movement and the San Francisco Renaissance. In 1951 Philip Whalen graduated Reed College. Between 1951 and 1955 Whalen worked odd jobs, including a fire-spotter in Mount Baker National Forest, to support his writing. In 1955 with some pushing and nudging from Gary Snyder, Whalen read at the historic Six Gallery reading.
Unlike most of the other Beat poets Whalen’s poetry was not very political. He showed a reverential treatment of the mundane and used self-deprecating humor. A good example of this can be found in the Wild Dog collection in. Whalen published four of his poems in issue 17 of the Wild Dog magazine. The poems are called: Fragment of Great Beauty and Stillness, Doukhobor Proverb for Oskar Heiserman, Disgust with a Poetical Evening at Miss Q’s House, and Grand Historical Ode, To a Certain Lady who has praised my poems. These poems express nature and the ordinary in an extraordinary way. They can be found in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, and Folder 2.
Philip Whalen, like Gary Snyder, practiced Zen Buddhism. In 1973 he became a Buddhist monk. Although he would spend the rest of his life as a monk, he continued to write poetry and in 1985 he was awarded the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award. In 1991 Whalen became the Leader of the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco. He served as Hartford Street’s leader until his health forced him to retire and on June 26, 2002, Philip Whalen passed away.

Miscellaneous Artwork from the Wild Dog Collection. Series 2, Subseries 2, Box 6, Folder 20.

Miscellaneous Artwork from the Wild Dog Collection. Series 2, Subseries 2, Box 6, Folder 20.

To view and read Philip Whalen’s poems and The Wild Dog Papers visit Newton Gresham Library’s Special Collections on the fourth floor of the Library.

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn (Creeley, Robert. "About Paul Blackburn." About Paul Blackburn. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.)

Paul Blackburn (Creeley, Robert. “About Paul Blackburn.” About Paul Blackburn. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.)

Paul Blackburn is best known as a Black Mountain Poet, because of his work as editor and distributor of the Black Mountain Review. Black Mountain poets are poets who had some loose affiliation with the Black Mountain College, usually through their work with the Black Mountain Review. The Black Mountain Review was started to highlight the literary accomplishments of Black Mountain College.
Blackburn was born in Vermont in November 1926 to William Blackburn and Frances Frost. His mother Frances Frost a poet and children’s author herself, encouraged Blackburn to write in his teenage years. Most of Blackburn’s early life was spent living with his sister and strict grandparents on their farm in St. Albans, Vermont. At the age of fourteen Blackburn moved to his mother’s house in Greenwich Village. It was during this time that Blackburn’s mother started to encourage him to write poetry. In 1945 he started at New York University but left after one year to join the Army. His service in the military was spent as a laboratory technician in Colorado. When he returned to college he started reading Ezra Pound. He managed to get in touch with Pound and a mentor-student relationship began between the two poets. Blackburn supported himself through jobs at print-shops, editorial jobs, translating, and free-lance writing. In the 1960’s he started to get offers to teach at colleges and universities. In 1967 he received a fellowship that allowed him to go to Europe to work on translations and poetry.
Blackburn was married three times and had one child. Paul Blackburn died in 1971 of esophageal cancer.
Paul Blackburn’s was an amazing poet and worked hard to help up and coming poets develop. His poetry had a musical quality. He was published in many smaller literary magazines. Including the Wild Dog magazine. Newton Gresham Library’s SHSU Special Collections house the Wild Dog collection, which consist not just of the Wild Dog magazine issues but also manuscripts and correspondence of the authors and editors. Paul Blackburn published a total of six poems in the Wild Dog magazine. Three of the poems occur in issue nine on page six. The poems in volume nine are: Hark, Hark…, The Unemployment Bureau, and Hot Afternoons Have Been in the West 15th Street. They can be found in the Wild Dog collection in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 8, and Folder 9. The second set of poems are in issue 19 page 35. They poems in issue 19 are: Collage, “ancer Ejaculations, and Who Nneedds Legs? We Do. They can be found in the Wild Dog collection in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, and Folder 4.

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To view and read Paul Blackburn’s poems and The Wild Dog Papers visit Newton Gresham Library’s Special Collections on the fourth floor of the Library.

James Bennett and the United Arab Republic

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These pictures show James Bennett, second director of the Federal Bureau of Prison, visiting the United Arab Republic sometime during the late 1950s. He was there to take part in a review of this short lived political union between Egypt and Syria’s prison system.  Bennett made a name for himself as a penal reformer and advocate for the improvement of inhumane conditions in prisons.

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The James V. Bennett Collection contains a number of photographs and documents related to prisons and prison reviews from around the world. To see the photographs, view the James V. Bennett photographs in our Digital Collections by clicking the link below.

James V. Bennett Photographs

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971

Joanne Kyger

Joanne Kyger ("Joanne Kyger." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.)

Joanne Kyger (“Joanne Kyger.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.)

Joanne Kyger’s poetry had hints of Zen Buddhism, Black Mountain, San Francisco Renaissance, and Beat poetry. Even with her diverse set of influences, she is most often associated with poets of the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat movement.
Joanne Kyger was born on November 19, 1934. She studied at the University of Columbia and almost got her degree, but instead she moved to San Francisco in 1957. Once in San Francisco she moved into a communal housing establishment for students of Zen Buddhism and Asian studies. Not long after moving to San Francisco Kyger became involved with the poetry scene around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. These two poets were best known for their involvement with the San Francisco Renaissance. In 1958 Joanne met Gary Snyder. In 1960 she went to Japan with him, and on February 28, 1960 the two married. She travelled to India with Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky. Ginsberg and her husband were both Beat poets. In 1965 Joanne Kyger and her husband Gary Snyder got divorced after being separated for a few years. Later in 1965 Joanne Kyger married Jack Boyce, the two separated in the early 70’s.
The Newton Gresham Library has a few of her poems in SHSU Special Collections Wild Dog collection. Places to go and Stump Island, along with Kora Grown Old, a poem dedicated to Kyger, can be found in Series one, Subseries 1, Box 1, Folder 44 of the collection. Places to go can also be found with the manuscripts in Series two, Subseries 1, Box 5, Folder 18, and as the final version in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, Folder 4. She come up can be found in Series 2, Subseries 4, Box 9, Folder 4. Joanne Kyger still writes some today. In addition, she also teaches at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics on occasion.

To view and read poems by Joanne Kyger and The Wild Dog Papers visit Newton Gresham Library’s Special Collections on the fourth floor of the Library.

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