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.

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

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“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:
https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=80&q=

An introduction, Interning at the archives, and a summer Sports History Project

Hello! I am Amanda Chang, and I am the summer intern for SHSU’s Thomason Room and the University Archives. I am a graduate student at Sam, working toward earning my master’s degree in History. My interests within the field include the history of the Western U.S., as well as women and gender in American history. I hope to continue my studies by earning a Master in Library Science and ultimately want to work in academic or public libraries.

Now that you know a little about me, I’ll introduce my summer project and also talk a little about what I’ve learned during my initial few weeks in the archives. The project I have been tasked with for the summer is the organization, research, and design of a display that will showcase Sports History at Sam. This includes sorting and scanning dozens of old SHSU News Bureau slides, dating mostly from the 1970s-1980s, as well as digging through old yearbooks and newspapers in order to begin to piece together the story of the teams pictured in these photographs. Before beginning this project I knew almost nothing about the history of sports at SHSU, but this project has shown that through the years many accomplished athletes have made their mark inside our stadium and coliseum (and before they were built, on our fields and in our gyms), and their achievements certainly deserve preservation and commemoration. I’ve only just begun the research stage of this project, so I’m very excited to learn more.

For most of my time so far I’ve been working with Barbara Kievit-Mason in the Archives, sorting the slides from random boxes, listing them on spreadsheets, and placing them neatly in binders. While in the archives I’ve learned a lot about the history of the University, the inner workings of the archive, and have had a lot of fun looking at old documents, unique books, and the miscellaneous items of interest that have found their way into the archives over the years. Now that I am in the research phase of the project I’m splitting time between the Thomason Room and the archives while going through old Alcaldes (the SHSU yearbook) and issues of the Houstonian (SHSU’s newspaper) to gather as much information as I can on the teams pictured in the slides (of which there are approximately 450 total, focused mainly on Football and Basketball).

Before: Photo Slides in Boxes

After: Neatly stored and organized

As I progress on the project I’ll be posting updates here, and I’ll continue to share my experiences as an intern with you all. Thanks for reading!

William J. Breitenbach puppets

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   William J. Breitenbach, a Professor of Art at Sam Houston State University, traveled all over Mexico collecting Mexican masks for his personal collection (William J. Breitenbach Mexican Mask Collection). What some people might not know is that he created … Continue reading

John W. Thomason in China

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As a colonel in the United States Marines, John W. Thomason, a former Huntsville, TX resident, traveled all over the world. When not performing his military duties, Thomason explored his passion for drawing. He used every opportunity to draw and capture what he saw around him. He would draw on whatever he could find: paper, napkins, or scraps. He would even draw on his own drawings! These drawings are just a small sample of his artwork found in the John W. Thomason collection which has over 1,600 pieces. The individual illustrations presented above and below document Thomason’s time stationed at the Legation in Peking in the 1930s as he documented the China horse marines in his sketches during his time as the commander of the 38th Company in China.

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Give the Thomason Room a Second Look

When you enter Thomason Special Collections on the fourth floor of Newton Gresham Library with its impressive wood paneling cases full of historic materials, you can feel like you are walking back in time…

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And in fact, many of the furnishings and decorations inside Thomason Special Collections have come together over time from across campus and time to create a space that celebrates our history but is also comfortable for research and study.

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In just one example, this photo of a group of students studying in the Estill Library circa 1940 is from the 1940 Sam Houston State Teacher’s College Bulletin found in SHSU Archives. The photo clearly shows an example of both a library table and shelf of the kind currently housed in the Thomason Room. The shelves here pictured came first from the Peabody Library (the first library on campus), were then moved to the Estill Library) and we have one set on display behind the Peabody Charge Desk in the Thomason Room (pictured below.)

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Though library furnishings change (we’ve gotten new carpet and upholstery this very year!), and library materials change even faster than that (hello Ebooks!) it is wonderful to be able to house and actively use furniture and furnishings that date from the very early years of campus history.

Thomason Special Collections is an Educational Excursion

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Thomason Special Collections has been as busy as ever this spring, hosting several groups of students and visiting scholars. The First International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought was held on Sam Houston State University campus April 4-6. Organized by … Continue reading