Time Travel Stamps: one book set’s 120-year journey through four SHSU libraries


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.


Happy 60th Anniversary NASA!


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.

Holiday Greetings from the Special Collections & University Archives at the NGL

christmas 1922 1042

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.



1950 SHSTC Offical football program jpg 2

It’s time for the 101st season of BearKat Football!

Come this Saturday the BearKats will be back on Bowers Field to meet the Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies. This game will be the annual BearKat, “Orange Out,” so the stadium will be covered in a sea of orange, white, and blue.

The image above is from a recent donation to the University Archives. This football program is from the October 28, 1950 game featuring Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats vs. East Texas State Teachers College Lions.

The Sam Houston State University Archives collection of BearKats Football programs dates from the 1930s to the present. It you would like to look at these programs come visit the SHSU University Archives in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

#WBW – They called it, “The Giant.” Cybernetics comes to Sam Houston State College in 1967.

the Giant comptuer 1967

They called it, “The Giant.”

It arrived on campus in August of 1967. Its lair was room 107 in Sam Houston’s three year old Computer Center in the ACB Building (Academic Classroom Building- AB-1) where it sat purring all day long, absorbing information about the campus, its educational programs, its students and faculty. The price tag to feed this giant was $50,000 dollars per year in rental fees.

The “Giant” consisted of a room full of electronic equipment, storage, files and an IBM 360, Model 30, 25/19 data processing computer.

The University Library (now the Newton Gresham Library) would become one of the top users of The Giant. The Estill Library in 1967 was already using IBM automated typewriters and the tape produced by the IBM typewriters could be converted to tape readable data to be read by The Giant which would help the library in its automation plans.

If you worked on, “The Giant” or have photographs or materials about the early days of SHSU campus computing the archives would love to talk with you.

To learn more about the history of computers on the Sam Houston State University campus stop by the University Archives in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library. The University Archives is open m-F, 8-5.

Happy 180th Birthday Samuel L. Clemens, better known as “Mark Twain.”

Mark Twain 1874335 - Copy


“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work”- Mark Twain

Samuel L. Clemens was born in Hannibal, Missouri on November 30, 1835. The American author is overwhelming known by his pen name of Mark Twain. Born shortly after the appearance of Hailey’s Comet in 1835 Clemens said he came in with comet and would go out with it. His death came one day after the comet’s return on April 20, 1910.

His pen name of,”Mark Twain,” Clemens said came from Captain Isaiah Sellers who wrote down paragraphs of practical information and signed them Mark Twain and send them to the New Orleans Picayune. Clemens took up the pen name after Captain Sellers died in 1869.

The cover of the magazine featured in this post is from 1874 and was illustrated by R. T. Sperry. Note that the frog is reading the same title as the magazine.

The Special Collections Department in the Thomason Room of the Newton Gresham Library holds the Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection, 1874-2002. This Twain collection is said to be one of the best in Texas.

Click here to go to the finding aid in the NGL Finding Aids Online:

Happy National Library Week!


This gallery contains 3 photos.

  Over the years, the University Archives has seen a lot of photographs of the three buildings that were used or are in use as libraries here on campus. In honor of National Library Week the SHSU University Archives would like … Continue reading

Welcome Back BearKats! Throwback Thursday of ’76


1976 Wecome Back BearKats

Welcome back to a new semester, BearKats! This fierce looking BearKat graces the cover of The Huntsville Item’s, “Wecome Back BearKats,” special edition from August 22, 1976. For many years The Huntsville Item has published these special, “Welcome Back BearKats,” editions, with information and fun articles about Sam Houston State University for both new and returning students. You can see this entire 1976 special edition in the University Archives.

Quick fun fact: Founded in 1850, The Huntsville Item, is the second oldest publishing newspaper in the State of Texas. You can find the most recent editions in print in the second floor reference newspapers area of the Newton Gresham Library, on-line at http://www.itemonline.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Jim Willett talks about the History of the Walls Unit

Jim Willet talks to the crowd about the history of the Wall (Huntsville) Unit

Jim Willett talks to the crowd about the history of the Wall (Huntsville) Unit

On November 5, 2014, Director of the Texas Prison Museum and Former Warden of the Walls Unit Jim Willett spoke in the Thomason Room at Newton Gresham Library on the history of the Huntsville Unit a.k.a. the Walls Unit. Students, faculty members, and residents of Huntsville were regaled with stories that reflect the complex nature of the oldest prison in Texas. As an example, some escapees dug a hole under the Walls only to run into the wife of the warden who shot at them, leading to their capture. In another story, a judge gave directions that a prisoner be kept in solitary confinement in a cell painted black on the inside and outside without provision for exercise. Notably, the prison officials noticed that the prisoner’s health was deteriorating and made provisions to move the prisoner out of isolation. Willett did a wonderful job presenting the complex history of the Walls, giving the audience a better understanding of a building that looms large in the history of Huntsville, TX.

After his talk, Willett fielded questions from the audience that ranged from asking about his experience overseeing executions, the relationship between prisoners and his family, and the history of property owned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The event unfortunately only lasted an hour with Willett still having more stories and facts to detail. Hopefully we can have him back soon. If you could not attend, but would like to know the contents of the talk, you can view our Twitter account at @SHSUArchives or search #WallsTalk.



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Botanical Display at Newton Gresham Library

Guest Column by Laurie Grawl


Botanical Display by Laurie Grawl

I have always found there are events in life that can lead us into interesting opportunities, and this is one of those experiences. As a student majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Art History I grabbed onto this research idea of studying the historically significant trees and flowering plants on the Sam Houston State campus and the Sam Houston Museum and Park complex and tying their location to the campus walking trail and map.

The idea was originally was born out of the need to complete a Honors College contract during the Fall 2013 semester with Art Professor, Martin Amourous. He was well aware that Botanical Illustration was something I was interested in and that I had taken a previous online summer course summer with Cornell University. As with most projects they take on a life of their own and turn into to something much bigger than originally envisioned. The project is now a two semester Independent Study for the Academic Distinction Program.

Currently the beginnings of my research are being exhibited in the Dan Rather cases located on the Second Floor of the Newton Gresham Library. The cyanotype artwork was created using botanical plant specimens that are site specific from the Sam Houston Museum and Park complex located across from the campus. The scope of my research will take place in both locations. I want to expose these historical hidden treasures because sadly many do not know they exist. My goals consist of using an artistic approach to document these plants and their story, and then take my renderings, photos, artwork, and background information and create a published book that would interest Alumni, and other community members with a portion of the profits contributing to future Art and Honors scholarship awards.    For more information www.lgrawlbotanicalstudy.blogspot.com

Botanical Specimens collected from the Sam Houston Museum Complex Garden Area

Botanical Specimens collected from the Sam Houston Museum Complex
Garden Area