Measles, War, Flu, and a Snowstorm too. 1918 at Sam Houston Normal Institute

We have received a few inquires here in the SHSU University Archives asking what the University was doing in 1918 when the worse flu pandemic recorded in the United States was happening.

1918 was a turbulent year around the world with World War I in full swing. Here at the Sam Houston Normal Institute 1918 brought a measles epidemic, WWI, flu and an unexpected snowstorm.

A quick read through The Houstonian newspaper for January 15, 1918, tells us that the campus was more concerned about an outbreak of measles. (See image) In the 1918, The Alcalde yearbook a calendar of the events that happened in Fall 1917-Spring 1918, this entry from January 6, 1918 reads, “Measles epidemic holds sway in Normal. Even the teachers have it.” the measles hit so many of the students, Lillian Sandel organized a, “That Measles-ly Club,” on February 1, 1918.

The first mention of the flu on campus comes in an article from The Houstonian for November 11, 1918.(See image) The article mentions that there was talk that President Estill was going to suspend the school until the flu subsided. This lead to a stampede of female students asking to go home. As 1919 rolled around the campus and Huntsville experienced more cases of the flu. With no infirmary on the campus, the school and the good people of Huntsville had to deal with the pandemic on their own. All of Huntsville came together and did not lose one of their flu patients.  Note the last three paragraphs of the, “Flu Flew Fluently,” page.

The unexpected snow storm began on January 11, 1918 and snowed through the night. Many students cut classes the next day to play snow balling, fighting and sleighing. It snowed yet again on January 28.

 

Kay Arendale McGar Kaough, Class of 1939

Kay Aderdate McGar Kaough

One of the SHSU University Archives most recent donation is a 1939 commencement announcement and program under glass.

This intriguing new donation came from a young lady BearKat who’s grandmother attended Sam Houston State and was constantly going to sales. When her grandmother was at the sales she would pick up, “treasures,” from Sam Houston State and present them to her granddaughter. This new donation was her Christmas gift from her grandmother last year.

 

 

This young BearKat is not related to this person on the name card so she decided to donate it to the SHSU University Archives.

The picture frame tray holds the 1939 commencement announcement, program, and a name card from Kate Arendale McGar. Her full name was Kathryn Arendale McGar. Born in Texas in 1911, she first attended Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1932. Kate graduated with a BBS in Elementary Education in August of 1939. In February of 1940, she married Louis A. Kaough and was listed as a teacher in Fort Bend, Texas in the 1940 US Census. She died in 1999 in Conroe, Texas.

Above is Kate McGar’s summer graduate photograph from the 1940 Alcalde.  Below is a image of the photo tray.

The Sam Houston State University Archives is open M-F, 8-5. It is located in the Newton Gresham Library, 4th floor, room 400.

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 140TH SHSU!

The 1st Faculty and Student Body of Sam Houston Normal Institute (later named Sam Houston State University) stand in front of the Austin Hall Building, 1879.

Happy 140th year of providing an education to students, Sam Houston State University! It was on this date, October 10, 1879, that 110 students arrived by train, horse and buggy, or walking, to climb the hill to attend the first State funded public school for teachers in Texas.

The Sam Houston Normal Institute was brought into being by a bill in the Texas Legislature in 1879. This bill read as follows: “An Act to Establish a State Normal School to be Known as the Sam Houston Institute at Huntsville, Texas.” The Act was signed by Governor Oran Roberts on April 21, 1879 and the doors to the new Sam Houston Normal Institute were opened 6 months later.

To learn or see more of 140 years of Sam Houston State history come visit the SHSU University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, Room 400. We are open Monday-Friday, 8-5.

Happy 60th Anniversary NASA!

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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.

Postcards from SHSU’s Past

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.

Moving History: The Roberts/Farris Cabin, Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and a few thoughts….

Standing by the Reynolds/Farris cabin on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Standing by the Reynolds/Farris cabin on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Putting together the pieces of the Cabin on the Square

SHSU students help in putting together the pieces of the Cabin on the Square, The Houstonian, 9/11/2001

On Sunday, my daughter, granddaughter, and your SHSU University Archivist headed to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Park to run off some of my 2-year old granddaughter’s energy.

Heading up the driveway by the Steamboat House there in front of us on a trailer was the Roberts/Farris Cabin; also known as, “The Cabin on the Square.” Fighting the crazy wind blowing I immediately walked towards the cabin and realized two things: I never knew just how small the 176-year-old cabin was and how sad I felt for the little cabin. Taken apart in pieces in 2001, than put back together by history students from Sam Houston State on the square where it finally found a new home only to move again 15 years later. Thankfully, all in one piece this time. Sitting there on a trailer besides the Woodland Home, Bear Bend Cabin, and the old Exhibit Hall, the cabin just looked tired and unhappy.

Not to worry little cabin, you are in BearKat country now. Here we take our motto seriously, “The Measure of a Life is It’s Service.” The people, who work at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, know how to treat historic buildings big and small. They will have you settled in no time and once again, there will be all kinds of visitors to come visit you to ooh and awe over your simple beauty.

To see more history about the Roberts/Ferris cabin come and visit the Special Collection Department in the Newton Gresham Library.  You can also read, Cabin Fever: The Roberts-Farris Cabin: A Campus, A Cabin, A Community.” A brief account of the Life and Times of the Builders and Residents of a Small Log Cabin in Walker County. This title is available at call number: F392 .W24 C75 2002.

Outlaw Raymond Hamilton and the Barrow Gang.

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Raymond Hamilton was a notorious outlaw and member of the Barrow Gang in the early 1930s. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Dallas, Hamilton later fell in with the infamous Bonnie and Clyde of the Barrow Gang. He was well-known for participating in the murder of Sheriff Eugene C. Moore in Stringtown, Oklahoma. But it was his escape from the Eastham prison farm in Texas that eventually put Hamilton in Old Sparky, the Texas Electric Chair.

In 1935, Raymond Hamilton was sentenced to death in Walker County, Texas for the murder of Major Crowson, a Texas prison official. Crowson was shot during Hamilton’s escape from the Eastham prison farm. Hamilton and Joe Palmer escaped with the help of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hamilton claimed that Joe Palmer, another notorious Barrow Gang member killed Major Crowson. The jury determined that there was no way to distinguish which man had killed Crowson during the escape and sentenced both men to die in the electric chair. Above are the official court documents from Walker County on Hamilton’s death sentence.

Stop by SHSU Special Collections in the Newton Gresham Library if you are interested in more information on Raymond Hamilton and other famous Texas outlaws.

Thanks to Trent Shotwell, MLIS, Library Associate for Special Collections in the Thomason Room for contributing this week’s posting.

“The Most Important Product of Spindletop was Men.”

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spindle top 1902

On January 10, 1901, the Spindletop well in Beaumont, Texas blew into history and started the modern oil industry in Texas. Spewing out into the East Texas sky at a rate of 200 feet high and 70,000 barrels per day, this huge gusher keep going till the 19th of January when it was finally brought under control.

This 1902 photograph of the Spindletop field is part of the Sam Houston State University Archives, J. L. Clark Collection. Dr. Joseph L. Clark was a History Professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College. Dr. Clark acquired a copy of this photograph from the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce to possibly use in his 1955, 4 volume book set, “The History of the Texas Gulf Coast; its History and Development.” This photograph never made it into his book.

In his book, Dr. Clark says that the most important product of Spindletop was men.  The Spindletop Oil Field was the training ground for the oil industry at the time. From drillers to geologists to financers, most learned their trade from their experiences at Spindletop.

You can read more about Spindletop (in chapter 30 of volume II) and Texas related history in Clark’s multi-volume title. The main collection of the Newton Gresham Library has a set you can check out at call number F392.G9, vol.1-4.

Powell Family Papers, 1910-2007

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The Powell family were early East Texas residents that moved to Huntsville in 1896.  Benjamin Harrison Powell II married Eleanor Inez Meachum Powell and they had seven children.  Benjamin H. Powell II was a Montgomery County judge that later worked for the Huntsville law firm, Powell, Ball, & Randolph.  The youngest of the seven Powell children was Anna Irion Powell who later went on to receive the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Texas and taught High School in Brownwood and Cleburne, Texas from 1914 until 1918.  Anna Irion Powell then began teaching for North Texas Normal Institute and later in 1923 completed her Master’s degree at the University of California, Berkley.  In 1929 Anna Irion Powell received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas.  Anna moved back to Huntsville to live with her sisters Inez and Louise in the Gibbs-Powell home in 1963.  Louise Powell died in 1963 and Inez Powell died in 1971.  Anna Irion Powell died in 1983 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas.

The Powell Family Papers (1910 – 2007; .5 box) include family correspondence, newspaper clippings, biographical information, Sam Houston State Teachers College materials, and documents concerning the Powell family of Huntsville.  The correspondence in the collection is between SHSTC (Harry Estill and others) and Mrs. Ben H. Powell.  The Powell Family Papers also include the obituaries of several Powell family members and their funeral programs.  The collection contains the autobiography of Anna Irion Powell and documents relating to conferences and programs with which she was involved.  Much of the collection relates specifically to Anna Irion Powell.  The collection also includes a roster of Walker County men serving military service to the United States to be transported to San Antonio.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=89&q=