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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Postcards have always been a great way to remember places that you have been. The SHSU University Archives owns hundreds of postcards from all over the world.
The two postcards pictured above are recent additions to the SHSU Postcards Collection. (Click on the image to make the postcards easier to view)
The top postcard features the Center Motel and Chef Restaurant before the motel, restaurant, bowling alley, and the entire block was torn down in 2003/2004 to make way for the first new SHSU dorm in over 40 years, Sam Houston Village. Printed when SHSU was Sam Houston State College, this postcard would date from 1965-1969. Purchased for the view of the spires of the Old Main Building in the foreground it is a great addition to the collection.
The bottom postcard is a view of the SHSU President’s House from around the early 1950s or 1960s. The President’s House was located where the Alumni Garden, Clock Tower, and Presidents Tree are now. From 1912-1963 the various presidents of Sam Houston State lived in this house in the middle of campus. In 1963 after President Lowman died the house stood empty until 1964 when the Home Economics Department used it as a Demonstration Home. In 1970, the house was deemed unsuitable for the university and demolished. Later a park named President Park was dedicated on the site.
To see more postcards from SHSU and Huntsville,Texas visit the Special Collection Department and SHSU University Archives. These departments are open Monday-Friday, 8-5, and are located on the fourth floor of the Newton Gresham Library.
Belvin Hall, built 1935, was the first dorm built on the Sam Houston State University Campus. Built as the girls’ dorm, it was financed by a $150,000 loan and grant by the Depression Era New Deal program called the PWA, Public Works Administration. Click on the photograph at right to see the construction and vehicles of the early 1930’s.
Belvin Hall was named for Caroline Belvin who was an alumnus of Sam Houston Normal Institute (the original name of SHSU), class of 1882, and SHNI professor of primary and interpretative reading from 1903-1916, and Dean of Women on the Sam Houston State Teachers campus from 1917 until her retirement in 1929.
#TBT – In recent months the Newton Gresham Library has started to weed through the collection of books in the library.
This 1943 library stamp found in a book called, Stories for Men anAnthology 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
One of the most recent acquisition of the SHSU University Archives is this 68-year-old baseball program from March 18-19, 1949. The BearKats played their first two home games against the TCU Horned Frogs. The final score for the games was March 18, 8-5 to the Frogs and March 19, 9-8 to the Frogs.
Although they did not win, the BearKats were playing on a brand new baseball diamond. The Josey Vocational School dirt moving class who called the job, “Operation “fill-up,” constructed the field. This swampland turned baseball diamond later became Dewitte Holleman Field where the BearKats would play until the Don Sanders Baseball Complex was finished in 2006.
To find out more of the history of SHSU Baseball or Dewitte Holleman Field come visit the SHSU University Archives.
“Throughout the history of Sam Houston Normal she has been an institution of service-never has she failed to take part in any worthy movement or fallen down in any great undertaking.” From the The Alcalde, 1918. World War I was no different from 1917-1919 Sam Houston sent 200 of the finest young men “over there”; to Europe to fight for the great struggle of Democracy.
At home, the Sam Houston Normal Institute established a unit of the SATC, Students Army Training Course, where students could enlist as privates and continue their education. These soldiers/students bunked in the Austin Hall Building; sleep on mattresses bought from the Texas Penitentiary, and did drills and exercises as if they were in boot camp.
The above photographs shows the SATC on campus. Note the bottom right photograph of the campus. In front on the left is the Manual Training/Agriculture Building. In the middle with three floors is Austin Hall. In the back photograph, there are the spires of the Old Main Building. The top middle photograph shows the back of Austin Hall before the new columns and extra door, were added later as the college grew to the south.
To see more WWI materials in the archives come visit us in the Newton Gresham Library, room 400.