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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sam Houston State University Archives has many interesting small items in the collection. Pictured here is an example of a 1897 class pin. This class pin is example of various class pins in the University Archives collection.
In 1940, Dr.J.L. Clark, Professor History and Chairman of the Museum Committee, and the Sam Houston Museum put out a call to alumni of the Sam Houston Normal Institute and Sam Houston State Teachers College to donate their class pins to the college. “The Museum Committee is desirous of securing a class pin of every graduating class of the college,” said J.L. Clark in the December 1940 issue of the Ex-Students’ News Letter.
In December of 1940, three pins arrived at the museum including the pictured pin above. Mr. Robert Ernst, Sr. of the Ernst Jewelry Company of Huntsville presented this 1897 pin. According to Mr. Ernst, the pin was designed by SHNI’s fourth President H. Carr Pritchett and ordered for the students of Sam Houston Normal Institute by the jewelry firm of Randolph and Ernst. Made by McRae and Keele in Attleboro, Massachusetts, this pin was the last of the store’s stock.
The pin, which is only 1/2 x 3/4” inches, is in the form of a shield with a purple bar bearing the letters S.H.N.I. over a maroon bar with figures “97”. The shield is partially surrounded by a gold wreath.
Ernst Jewelers is still open here in Huntsville and is celebrating the stores’ 125th Anniversary this year.
To see this pin any many other class pins come visit the Sam Houston State University Archives in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.
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.
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.
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.