Happy Holidays from the staff of Special Collections and University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library.
This image is from, The Houstonian, December 19, 1959.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Special Collections and University Archives would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and good wishes for the New Year!
This 1922 Christmas Greetings card is part of a two-card collection of greeting cards done by Albert Rutherston and published in London by the Crown Press.
Albert Rutherston was a British artist who painted figures, landscapes, illustrated books, posters, and stage sets. He was the author of a book called, “Decoration in the Art of the Theatre,” 1910. This title can be found in the main library collection at call number, PN2091 .S8 R89 1919.
You can find these greeting cards in the Special Collections, Thomason Room, under John Drinkwater Christmas Cards, 2016.S12, single item collection.
We look forward to everyone coming to visit the Newton Gresham Library Special Collections and University Archives at Sam Houston State University in the coming year.
This week’s blog post comes from Special Collections/Archives Intern this summer, Charlesetta Hubbard, History Major here at Sam Houston State. She used materials from the Special Collections/Archives to study WWI to create the blog post and display for the 100th anniversary of the Great War. The above image is from Charlesetta’s WWI display on the second floor of the Newton Gresham Library.
At least five centuries before the Christian era, the use of fighting men to complement ships engaging in war was common to the Phoenicians and to all costal states of Greece. Marines then were first to fight in naval engagements to protect their own ships, could capture and maintain occupation of the land by harbors, and were able to gather the fleet to execute offensive blows on land. The Marines of today are no different due to the Act of July 11, 1798 that established the foothold for the Marine Corps to grow and become their own operative branch. Although they lent combat aid in the Naval War with France and actively engaged in the War of 1812, the recognition of the tenacity will, and steadfastness of the Marines was not realized or given until they fought off the Germans and halted their progress into France during the Battle of Belleau Woods. Despite lacking an adequate supply of artillery, being outnumbered in manpower, and having a small likelihood of success, the 4th Marine Brigade came out victorious. Their contribution to the war effort in the Battle of Belleau Woods is significant because after its conclusion, the Marine Corps became a recognized member of the United States Armed Forces, it highlighted how essential their role in the war effort was, and it exemplified the reputation for the toughness and dedication that is associated with Marines today.
When the United States declared war on Germany, April 6, 1917, the Marine Corps consisted of 462 commissioned officers, 49 warrant officers, and 13,214 enlisted men on duty for only 13,725. Several weeks later, one-sixth of enlisted marines were sent overseas. This formed one-fifth of the first fleet of American troops for service in France. Later, they were joined by the 6th Regiment and the 6th Machine Gun Battalion and combined; they became the 4th Brigade under the 2nd Division of Regulars. General Pershing believed that American troops could win the war single-handed, but not without being trained in more than just the essentials of trench warfare. He wanted emphasis put on marksmanship and bayonet drill, open warfare, war of maneuver, and training behind enemy lines. The Marines were sent to boot camps located at Parris Island, South Carolina, and Mare Island, California where they completed eight- week courses in physical training, drill, close-quarters combat, and marksmanship. The Swedish system was also adopted as a part of the training and hardening process. Marines exercised with the nine-pound Springfield rifle. This included vertical and horizontal swings, lunges, rifle twists, and front swings. They shot from distances of 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 yards and practiced rapid fire shooting. After completing volunteer training, they were sent to Quantico, Virginia where they received more extensive training in skills acquired from the boot camps. The training was tough, but it gave the 4th Brigade the backbone they would need in France. It proved both purposeful and valuable, especially in the Battle of Belleau Wood.
Between March 21st and July 15, 1918, the Germans had launched no less than five major offenses to solidify a win for the Central Powers and to the dismay of the Allied powers, many of their offenses had been successful in achieving their objectives. In late April, General Ludendorff had approved Operation Blucher and continued the push to Paris. The rapid German push towards Paris, paired with French troops fatigue, lead to the immediate need of alleviation for the Allies. Not as experienced in real time war participation but eager to put what they had learned to use, the AEF deployed the Fourth Brigade.
The commander of the French XXI Corps ordered Brigadier General James Harbord’s 4th Marine Brigade to retake Belleau Wood. This task seemed impossible because of the 461st German Infantry’s strategic location on top of Hill 142 and their locations throughout Belleau Wood. They could carry out assaults without exposing themselves to the enemy and dug in to secure these locations. When the battle broke out June 6, 1918 at 3:45 a.m., the Fourth Brigade was welcomed with machine gun fire from all around. The trek through the wheat fields to get to Belleau Wood left them open to enemy fire and the machine gunmen of the German Infantry took full advantage of the opportunity. The 4th Brigade suffered over 1,000 causalities in dead or wounded after the day. Despite heavy losses, they still secured the hill. Next was the task of clearing the woods and pushing the Germans back east. On June 9, 1918, after the heavy artillery bombardment, the marines pressed hard into the woods despite having their allies retreat. The protection provided by Belleau Wood made it difficult for the 5th and 6th Regiments to locate and attack the Germans. They had to launch offensives against an enemy that they could not see. They fired artillery into the woods with no clear site of their target. The leveled trees hindered the rate of marine progress into the woods but also provided the perfect protection. When enemy machine gunmen fired off shots, they gave up their positions allowing American snipers to pick them off.
By June 11th, the 5th and 6th Regiments were tired and under-strength but launched an aggressive attack into the middle of Belleau Wood. This attacked changed the tide of the war in in the favor of the Allies and most importantly the Marines. They pushed deeper into the woods changing the fighting into close combat. Here, the Marines showed their advantages in weapon skills, small unit leadership, and morale. By June 15th, the 4th Brigade had secured the southwest side of Belleau Wood. The 7th Infantry was sent to relieve the 5th Regiment, but after failing to clear the remaining portion of Belleau Wood, on 23 June, the 5th and 6th Marines were ordered to go back and finish the job. By June 25th at dawn, 3/5 held all edges of Belleau Wood that faced the enemy and the Germans fell back. On June 26th, Belleau Woods was completely free of German troops.
The 4th Brigade proved that they were a force to be reckoned with. They continued to display fortitude and determination despite losing a large portion of troops during the first day, being given sporadic orders by their generals, and engaging in close quarter combat with a formidable opponent. They came out victorious with a win for the Allied forces and a win for the Marine Corps. The Fighting Devil Dogs of World War I embodied the Marine motto, “First to Fight”.
For a complete list of footnote references, contact the Special Collections/Thomason Room at the NGL. firstname.lastname@example.org
This 1943 library stamp found in a book called, Stories for Men an Anthology by Charles Grayson, 1925, played an important part in the history of Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, and Walker County.
The seventy-four year old library stamp was used to identify books that were from the library of the Station House Hospital in the Enemy Alien Internment Camp, Huntsville, Texas. Commonly known as the Huntsville Alien Internment Camp or the Huntsville Prisoner of War Camp. Built in 1942 the camp held German POWs and later on Japanese prisoners of war. POWs and servicemen who were there were allowed to borrow books from the library while they were in the hospital.
In 1946, the camp was closed and then SHSU President Dr. Harmon Lowman acquired the camp, later reopening it to house returning veterans who would receive the G.I. Education Bill that enabled them to go to college or vocational school. Renamed, “Country Campus,” in 1946 the camp became a small city and housed classes for the Josey Vocational School. The “CC” had its own post office, church, baseball diamond, and food facilities.
The University owned the, “Country Campus,” until 1993. Country Campus was than purchased by a SHSU alumnus whose family was one of the original landowners who sold the land for the internment camp to the US government in 1942. A small plot of land donated by this same family to SHSU holds the university’s observatory used by students to observe the stars and night sky events. #SHSULibrary
On Sunday, my daughter, granddaughter, and your SHSU University Archivist headed to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Park to run off some of my 2-year old granddaughter’s energy.
Heading up the driveway by the Steamboat House there in front of us on a trailer was the Roberts/Farris Cabin; also known as, “The Cabin on the Square.” Fighting the crazy wind blowing I immediately walked towards the cabin and realized two things: I never knew just how small the 176-year-old cabin was and how sad I felt for the little cabin. Taken apart in pieces in 2001, than put back together by history students from Sam Houston State on the square where it finally found a new home only to move again 15 years later. Thankfully, all in one piece this time. Sitting there on a trailer besides the Woodland Home, Bear Bend Cabin, and the old Exhibit Hall, the cabin just looked tired and unhappy.
Not to worry little cabin, you are in BearKat country now. Here we take our motto seriously, “The Measure of a Life is It’s Service.” The people, who work at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, know how to treat historic buildings big and small. They will have you settled in no time and once again, there will be all kinds of visitors to come visit you to ooh and awe over your simple beauty.
To see more history about the Roberts/Ferris cabin come and visit the Special Collection Department in the Newton Gresham Library. You can also read, Cabin Fever: The Roberts-Farris Cabin: A Campus, A Cabin, A Community.” A brief account of the Life and Times of the Builders and Residents of a Small Log Cabin in Walker County. This title is available at call number: F392 .W24 C75 2002.