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.

Advertisements

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

Homecoming Old School: 1966 Homecoming Images

These images of the SHSU Homecoming in 1966 are from the University Archives.

Fifty years ago rain poured down on Pritchett Field as the BearKats battled in the mud to defeat the East Texas Lions. The BearKats fell to the Lions 17-14.

Scroll down and enjoy a look at the past….

firefest-1967-0001

 


The traditional bonfire was followed by a pep rally. (later it would become known as FireFest!)

1966-homecoming-rain196-umb

 

 

 

Rain, Rain, go away,                    Nothin’ can stop a                   BearKat Game Day.

 

judy-robbins-homecoming-queen1966-670001

 

1966 Homecoming Queen, Judy Robbins, a senior Elementary Education major from Dallas. She was also a cheerleader, in Who’s Who;  Alpha Chi; Orange Keys; Kappa Delta Pi; Alpha Delta Pi; Inter-House Council, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Sister of the Golden Heart.

Now that’s one busy BearKat!

 

sammy1

 

Sammy the BearKat like most Kats doesn’t like the rain. Note how much difference 50 years makes in the image of our beloved Sammy BearKat.

 

 

ZZ Top takes over the SHSU-LSC Ballroom, 1971

zz-top-alcalde-1971-jpg

On August 24, 1971, 45 years ago, ZZ Top, the hottest super-group in Houston at the time, came to Sam Houston State University. They came to play their breed of hard-rock in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom. (the room where the Barnes and Noble Bookstore is now).  The images above are from the 1971 The Alcalde and The Houstonian.

The LSC Ball Room was the site of many 1970s concerts featuring groups or singers such as Cheap Trick, CowSills, Manhattan Transfer, Climax, Mac Davis, Mel Tillis, and more.

For more information come visit the SHSU University Archives in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

GROW THE GROWL! BEARKAT FOOTBALL IS BACK!

Image

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.

Life off Campus – Sam Houston Avenue & 16th Street just off Campus, 1976.

sam houston ave Alcalde 1976

Hello 1976! This is Sam Houston Avenue & 16th Street just off the main campus which was captured in this photograph from The Alcalde, 1976.

A lot has changed in this area since 1976. Some of the building you see in this photograph are gone. Gone are the Center Hotel, restaurant, and bowling lanes, Gulf Station, Sam Houston Hotel (which had two restaurants in it), bus station, Ward Furniture Building, and City Lumber. Tasty Freeze Big Tee Burger is now a storage building for Heartfield Floral across the street. The Center Motel block is now Sam Houston State University’s dorm called Sam Houston Village.

You can find more photographs of life off campus in The Alcalde. In University Archives there are copies of the Alcaldes from 1910 to 2007, excluding 1932-1935 (Depression years), 1944 (World War II), 1999-2001 (ceased printing in 1998 and started printing again in 2002 for the 125th anniversary of the University).

Happy 40th! Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum

Johnson Colisieum 75 76 jpg
 

 

The University Coliseum was completed and opened in December of 1976. Designed as a spectator facility where various sports and special events could be scheduled the coliseum is basically an open arena with a playing/performing court with 5,000 fixed seat and 3,200 other sides with folding bleachers or temporary seating. A circular concourse level surrounds the arena.

Designed by Fort Worth Architect Preston M. Garen and constructed by Waco Construction the new Health and Physical Education Building contract was let for $3,589,000 dollars. The new University Coliseum received awards for design excellence and was published in many professional journals.

Here are a few facts about the building when it opened:

1. There are 19 sections of seats labeled A through S with 18 entry ways.
2. There are 56 doorways.
3. 12 water fountains
4. 4 trophy cases
5. Four ticket offices
6. 36 cigarette urns
7. 24 trash cans that weigh 44 pounds apiece.
8. The press room was in the concourse.
9. The Coliseum contain 11, 752 square feet in the concourse area, 44, 666 square feet outside the concourse area, and about 78, 000 square feet in total.
10. The plastic seats alone are worth $178,000.
11. The building houses a 16,000 square foot playing floor made of a synthetic material called “sportstred.”
12. The glass, called “windowwall” decorates 6, 384 square feet of the Coliseum’s outside walls. It is bronze tinted with the aluminum around the glass having a bronze finish.

It remained the University Coliseum until the Texas State University System at its meeting of August 21, 1987, voted to name the coliseum in honor of former regent of the TSUS, Bernard G. Johnson of Houston, Texas. At the December 12, 1987 commencement program Bernard G. Johnson was the commencement speaker. During this commencement Johnson was also awarded an honorary Ph. D, as a Doctor of Philosophy and the University Coliseum was dedicated as the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

This year the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum will celebrate their 40th year of service. In that time changes in the building and the events that are held there have been varied from musical groups, commencements for the University and area high schools, basketball games, volleyball games, hurricane storm shelter, to a new sparkling cooper roof and a brand new floor.

The featured photograph is from, “The Presidents Report of 1975-76,” The completed building photograph shows the new building with a grassy area across the street from the building. Today that grassy area is across the street on Bobby K. Marks Drive and Bowers Boulevard and is a parking lot in front with intramural fields in the back.

Please come visit the University Archives in room 400 of the NGL to see more about the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Also be sure to visit the Johnson Coliseum for a special exhibit on the history of the building.

Football Fun Fridays! The lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.

Alcalde 2003 20041978 00011949 Alumnus 1912 football1965 alcaldeAlcalde 1971 aalcalde 1937


Ricky Beck 1983138_2014a001_slide_undated_fl

 
Here in the University Archives we have looked at or scanned what seems like thousands of football related newspaper articles, photographs, and yearbooks during the 100th season of BearKats football.

So in this post the University Archives decided to pull out some favorites of the images and put them in one posting. See below for details about the images.

Top Row 1 – Left – Showing team spirit in 2003
Right – A mockup of Sports Illustrated magazine from The Alcalde, 1978

Row 2 – Members of the Sam Houston Normal Institute first football team in 1912 line up to reenact their formations. Among them is Len Baldwin who is said to have made the first touchdown in University history.

Row 3 – Left – Frank “Foxie” Fox jumps for joy as the Kats score against Concordia in the NAIA National Playoffs in 1964. Also showing excitement are cheerleaders Janet Miller and Rick Stowers. The game was a tie at 7-7.
Right – Go Sam Houston! The BearKats run for a touchdown in 1969.

Row 4 – Left – In 1983 Senior Ricky Beck gives his opinion of the BearKats chances in the game.
Right – In 1937 BearKat football was a welcome reprieve from the end of the Depression. In this picture from the 1937 Alcalde, the athletics photographer gets creative with the image. Note the Old Main Building spires in the background. This game was played at Pritchett Field.

Row 5 – In the 1980’s the BearKats played many games in the Astrodome in Houston. The Astrodome is now a shell but the BearKats will not forget playing in what was called the, “8th Wonder of the World.”

To see more football related materials come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400 of the NGL, open 8-5, M-F.

Camels, Pyramids, and the Sphinx: A look inside a WWII scrapbook to celebrate Veterans Day!

Vet Day 1941

Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Thank you to all our veterans for keeping American safe and free.

Sam Houston State University has a long history of men and women joining the armed services in times of war and peace. From the Spanish-American War to the current conflicts Sam Houston State students and alumni have always stepped up to do their duty.

The above photograph and letter comes from a page out of a scrapbook of World War II newspaper clippings and photographs that relates to Sam Houston State Teachers College students, faculty, staff, and Walker County community members who served during the war. This oversize scrapbook has no information as to who gathered the materials or created the scrapbook.

The young man on the far right camel is Lt. John H. Jenkins who graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in August 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree. This photograph was taken in Egypt as evident from the camels, pyramid, and the Sphinx in the background. It too has an unknown date and photographer.

To see more of this scrapbook and other items relating to veterans come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library. The archives are open M-F, 8-5.

Football Fun Fridays! The lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.

 

Houstonian 10 24 1959 jpg

It’s the annual “Pink Out” game this weekend. Everyone wear pink and support the search for a cure for breast cancer.

Deciding what to wear to the Sam Houston vs.Texas A&M Commerce game on Saturday will be a no brainer. But back in 1959 The Houstonian decided to give female football fans a few helpful hints on the latest football fashion. This clipping is from The Houstonian, October 24, 1959.

To see more football fashion in the SHSU yearbook, The Alcalde, or copies of The Houstonian come visit the University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library.