Adventures of Hailey, Special Collections Intern, Part 2

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.

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

Happy 88th Birthday Dan Rather!

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Dan Rather is a Sam Houston State Teachers College Alumni, 1953, Distuingished Alumni, 1977, and of course, has a building honoring him named the Dan Rather Communications Building. He and his wife are also major donors and huge supporters of the University.

Thank you Mr. Rather for all that you do for Sam Houston State University!!

This newspaper photograph is from, The Houstonian, May 2, 1951.

Sandy Wilkenfeld, SHSU’s First Homecoming Queen,1969

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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.

 

 

Happy 50th Golden Anniversary to the Newton Gresham Library!

The images you see are two of  SHSU Archivist Barbara Kievit-Mason’s favorite early images of the new University library in 1969 and 1970.

Fifty years ago, the brand new three million-dollar University Library opened its doors to the students of the Sam Houston State College. It would be 4 months before the College would officially become, Sam Houston State University.

The University Library took its own sweet time to make its appearance. Waiting patiently as its sister buildings, AB-1 and the Business/Economics Building was built, the new library managed to go up stopping now and then for weather, building workers strikes, and moving of all the book shelves and books coming over from the older Estill Library.

Finally, on January 5, 1969, the doors opened and the sparkling new University Library started its time as the new temple of knowledge on the university campus. Decked out in the most up to date library equipment and furniture the students flocked to the new library.

Fifty years later, they are still flocking in for the most up to date library electronic equipment and trained staff and librarians. Some things remain the same, furniture, basic floor plans and elevators. However, many things have changed. These changes include: In 1985 the University Library was dedicated to Newton Gresham, SHSTC alumni, and friend of the University, the library catalogue is seen across the world, fancy coffee is bought and consumed within the library, books are checked out in a flash, computer are everywhere for the students to use, and nearly everything is electronic.

In addition, come 2020 another new era will begin for the NGL. There will be a major renovation going on for the first and second floor. The renovation will give the students even more reason to flock to the NGL for another 50 years.

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.

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

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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.

Belvin Dorm, October 1935

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.

Marines in WWI Display at the NGL

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. speccoll@shsu.edu