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

Mystery Film Box and the Institute of Contemporary Corrections and the Behavioral Sciences, 1968

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Los Alamos Label 1968

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.

Miss Sam Houston 1965

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Miss Sam Houston 1965

The Miss Sam Houston pageant has been crowning lovely ladies for over 50 years. This photograph from The Alcalde shows the Miss Sam Houston court from 50 years ago in 1965. Janet Melaun of Dallas, who was a music education major, was chosen from 19 candidates. The theme for the pageant was “007” from the James Bond movies which were very popular at the time.

Come visit the University Archives to learn about Miss Sam Houston pageant history and other SHSU beauty contests over the years. The University Archives is in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Beijing in the Snow

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On September 3, 1930, Col. John W. Thomason arrived in Beijing, China to take a position as a commanding officer of a machine gun company within the United States Legation Guard. The Legation Quarter, which was created in 1861, was the area of Beijing that housed several nations’ diplomatic officers. The area had its own banks, hotels, stores, and security forces, as well as a baseball diamond and polo grounds. The area was independent of Chinese control and approximated a defended military zone.

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Thomason would spend 3 years in China. He documented his time through his drawings and photographs. Many of these photographs capture the Legation and its inhabitants during the winter months. These photographs show members of the United States Legation Guard marching in formation in the snow.

We are currently digitizing the John W. Thomason collection, so hopefully we will have more pictures to show you in the future.

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Snow on the Hill

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Snow 1982

Yes Virginia, it does snow on the SHSU campus. When it does it brings out the BearKitten in our BearKats. In this Houstonian newspaper clipping from January 19, 1982, SHSU students are “sledding” down the Old Main Hill. At the top of the hill you can see the Old Main Building which stood where the Old Main Memorial or the “Pit” is now. In less than a month the Old Main Building would be lost to a tragic fire on February 12, 1982.

For more information on the Old Main Building or snow on the SHSU campus come visit the University Archives.

Axmen Invade BearKatland!

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Houstonian 1928 Lumberjacks

This headline from The Houstonian, November 28, 1928, announces the arrival of our rivals the Stephen F. Austin Lumbarjacks. The BearKats beat the Axmen 19-2 in what was described in the next issue of The Houstonian as the most brilliant game of the season.

To see the entire issue of this, Houstonian, come visit the SHSU University Archives in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Cars, Cars, and More Cars

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Parking 09 30 1970
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr was the first person to quote the saying, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” translated as: the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing. Or as we would say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Parking at Sam Houston State University is no exception. This newspaper clipping is from, The Houstonian, dated September 30, 1970. As you can see, 44 years ago they had the same parking woes we have today. In 1970 there were 8,500 students and in 2014 we have hit over 19,000 students. You do the car math. Too many cars; not enough space.

Note in the top photograph (front of AB-1) in 1970, Ave J went right through the mall area. It wasn’t until 1979 that this part of the Ave J was closed and became the mall area for the Centennial of Sam Houston State University.

The original paper copies of The Houstonian can be seen in the University Archives.

The SHSU Athletics Display

The display.

The display.

During my last weeks as the Archives and Special Collections intern, I spent time designing and putting together a physical display that is located on the second floor of Newton Gresham Library. The physical display is called “SHSU Athletics: A Winning Tradition” and features prints from the Sports Slides Collection, as well as some older photographs, SHSU Alcaldes from the 1920s, 40s, 60s, and 90s, and a selection of sports history books from the main library collection that are available for check-out.

With this display I intended to showcase just a few of the many achievements accomplished by SHSU student athletes, as well as showing how far back most of our sports programs go and the many changes that have taken place over the decades. I also wished to highlight the diversity in our athletics department, showing as many different sports as I could with the space and materials that were available to me, as well as the many different athletes from diverse backgrounds that have played for Sam over the years. I also pointed out challenges that athletes faced at Sam, including participating in college sports during wartime in the 1940s, and the new opportunities that Title IX introduced for female athletes in the 1970s.

I really enjoyed putting this display together and seeing the results, and I hope you do too! I also feel I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the summer while working in the Special Collections, Archives, and Digital Resources departments. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow through this experience, and I hope that others also get some use and enjoyment from the results.

Huntsville Newspapers react to D-Day

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This gallery contains 5 photos.

  On June 06, 1944, the largest amphibious landing in history occurred off the beaches of Normandy, France. News of the landing traveled throughout the US in radio broadcasts and newspaper headlines. This is how people in Huntsville, TX received … Continue reading