The Coronelli Globe!

2AFL1380The Southwest Collection/ Special Collections Library is home to a variety of incredible artifacts, but none compare to our most prized possession: the historic Coronelli Globe. The only one of its kind on permanent display outside of the Library of Congress, the globe was first purchased in Italy during the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst. In the 1950s Dallas oilman Robert Moody acquired the globe, and through the efforts of Texas Tech President Grover Murray and Library Director Ray Janeway the globe became the Texas Tech Library’s one millionth acquisition in 1968. The globe was then displayed in the Library foyer until 1996, when it underwent conservation. Finally, in 1997 the globe was installed in the Southwest Collection’s rotunda where it remains on permanent display.

Franciscan monk and cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli, from whom the globe takes its name, designed and created this artifact in the 1680s. Coronelli spent most of his life in the city of his birth, Venice. At the age of twenty-eight, he constructed his first globe in his Venetian workshop in 1678. By the time of his death in 1718 he had designed more than twenty different globes with diameters ranging from less than two inches to over thirteen feet. At forty-two inches, the Southwest Collection’s globe is an example of Coronelli at the height of his powers, combining a keen artistic sense with his extensive knowledge of astronomy and geography.

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The globe is also a window into the late seventeenth century world, illustrating the extent of European exploration. For example, while the coasts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas are depicted in great detail, the continents’ interiors include regions with fanciful drawings rather than geographical features. It also contains errors, such as Australia’s inaccurate size, blank east coast, and illustration of an elephant as an inhabitant of that continent.

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One of the more glaring misrepresentations is in regard to California. Although earlier maps had correctly depicted the region as a peninsula, descriptions given by several early seventeenth century explorers mistakenly claimed that California was an island. These tales soon became widely accepted, and as a result Coronelli depicted the North American west coast as separate from the mainland.

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Another interesting detail is the placement of the Mississippi River. On the globe, it lies far to the west of its actual course. This may result from the documentation by French explorer Robert de La Salle, who had explored the river in 1682. His confusion as to the river’s exact location would soon result in more than incorrect maps, for in 1684 La Salle attempted to form a French colony at the mouth of the river but located it instead on the coast south of present day Victoria, Texas. For years historians have portrayed La Salle as veering off course and shipwrecking on the Texas coast. Some cartographic scholars, however, believe that the globe shows that La Salle arrived precisely where he thought he was going. Either way, the settlement lasted only until 1688 when Karankawa-speaking Indians massacred the last remaining colonists. In the meantime, relying on La Salle’s information, cartographers such as Coronelli depicted the Mississippi’s location inaccurately.

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The Coronelli globe underwent conservation in 1996. This required an often difficult decision process. All repairs were undertaken only when they would stabilize and strengthen the artifact. The globe’s surface is covered in some fifty paper sections called ‘gores.’ As these—as well as the globe’s layers of dirt, varnish, and overpaint—were removed to reveal its true beauty, part of its history was also erased. For example, two layers of material existed: the original dirty top layer and a foundation layer of coarse burlap. In order to properly preserve the globe, some portions had to be permanently removed. Fortunately, such decisions did not always result in historical tragedy. The globe’s installation also revealed another layer of engraved paper inside the outer one. Hidden for centuries, this layer is evidence that this globe might have been Coronelli’s own experimental working model, making it of enormous importance to research.

If you ever visit the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, you would be well-served to take a look at the Coronelli Globe. And, as always, give our many archival collections a look, too!

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Football Season Part 2: The Southwest Collection’s Big 12 and NCAA Records

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These figurines are actually whiskey bottles molded into the likeness of mascots of former SWC schools that are now members of the Big 12 Conference. From left to right: the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, and Baylor University

A couple weeks back we told you about our Southwest Athletic Conference (SWC) Records; over 300 boxes of material documenting that organization’s more than 80 year existence. After the SWC disbanded in 1996, many of its schools moved on to other conferences, the largest of which was the newly-created Big 12 Conference. The Southwest Collection is also proud to make its records available to our patrons. These two collections dovetail with our National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Records, which date from the 1930s until the late 1990s, to provide a thorough picture of collegiate athletics in Texas and its neighboring states for nearly 100 years.

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This set containing a commemorative pitcher and glasses were crafted shortly before the demise of the SWC in 1996.

Why did the SWC disband? Most would agree that money was a leading factor. A new conference such as the Big 12 would give the new members more media coverage and therefore more revenue for their individual schools. Another theory claims that politicians had a role in its breakup by pressuring schools, other politicians, and university representatives to consider a new outlook for collegiate sports in Texas and neighboring states. Either way, four SWC schools, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and Baylor University, united with the Big Eight Conference to create the Big 12. The legacy of the Southwest Athletic Conference remained tangible in the many rivalries that persist to this day in the Big 12 in all sports.

The collections of records reflect this in numerous ways. For example, some material pertains to the annual October football match-up during the Texas State Fair between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. The Big 12’s records include a large number of member universities’ media guides, as well as Conference-wide media guides.  The media guides cover baseball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, and volleyball. The Big 12 continues to deposit media guides and other publications with the Southwest Collection. Office files and printed materials promoting the Big 12, such as handbooks and directories, are also present.

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This is a whiskey bottle cast in the likeness Raider Red, one of the mascots of Texas Tech University, the home of the Southwest Collection. In 1958 Texas Tech University was the second to last school to join the Southwest Conference, but was a founding member of the Big 12 in 1996.

The NCAA itself, of which the Southwest Conference was a member and to which the Big 12 still belongs, needs little introduction. It monitors athletic programs from virtually all   collegiate athletic programs. Among other things, they assess schools’ compliance with academic regulations; student and media relations; and recruiting, sports, officiating, and championship regulations. Our collection of their records consists of a variety of material. Manuals, convention programs and artifacts, annual reports, yearbooks, directories, periodicals, and committee handbooks are the most common items. Perhaps most interesting are the historic and descriptive documents, studies, surveys, and analyses that relate to the NCAA’s oversight of recruiting, compliance, student athletes, faculty members, and media relations. Finally, there are a number items to championships in all sports, as well more general documentation related to baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

As with all of our collections, our Reference Department  would like nothing more than to arrange for researchers to peruse these records. Don’t hesitate to contact them!

– Robert Weaver

– Photos by John Perrin

Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s Quarterly Meeting Hosted at the SWC!

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Two weeks ago we wrote about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) exhibit “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide.” The Southwest Collection is proud to host the exhibit from October 3rd through November 7th, and is equally excited to announce that we are also hosting the THGC’s Quarterly Meeting on October 24th and 25th!

If you don’t know about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission already, here’s their story. The THGC was established by the Texas Senate to ensure that resources are available to students, educators, and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. Education is not its only goal. Imbuing individuals with a sense of responsibility to uphold human value, especially in the face of genocidal travesty, is also one of its primary aims. The Commission also facilitates recognition of the horrors of genocide, as well as the people who strove instead to preserve human sanctity throughout these tragedies.

An excellent example of this is the Texas Liberators Oral Histories project. Oral history programs are present in many archives, including the Southwest Collection, but the THGC’s is particularly poignant. Conducted in conjunction with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, this project gathered oral histories from several Texas World War II veterans in order to celebrate their service and their efforts to free survivors of concentration camps. This project not only furthered the THGC’s educational mission, but also preserves in perpetuity the personal stories that recall atrocities of the Holocaust. Even better: these aren’t simply transcripts or audio recordings that patrons must request from an archive. Many were videoed and have been made available online!

One of the best examples the interviews they conducted is this conversation with a Dachau liberator. This Mauthausen liberator’s interview and this second Dauchau-related oral history are incredible as well.

Finally, the THGC worked with the Texas legislature to set aside the month of April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. In their words: “genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them.  Genocides in the last two decades have emphasized the pertinence of this issue, and the threat of further atrocities remains alive in the world today.” The THGC not only wants to share the stories of the past, but ensure that the world prevent such tragedies in the future.

Those interested in finding out more about the THGC, their many projects, or their Quarterly Meeting at Texas Tech University, should contact them at (512) 463-8815 or via their website. As always, we at the SWC are always happy to answer any questions as well.

-by Robert Weaver, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and the Texas Historical Commission

It’s Football Season: Time to Read about the Southwest Athletic Conference Records!

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These figurines are actually whiskey bottles molded to resemble the mascots of former Southwest Athletic Conference schools. From left to right: back row: the University of Texas Longhorns, Southern Methodist University Mustangs, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. Center row: Rice University Owls, University of Arkansas Razorbacks, and Baylor University Bears. Front row: University of Houston Cougars and Texas Tech University Red Raiders.>

NCAA universities throughout the U.S. are now deep into 2013’s football season. The Southwest Collection has close ties with this yearly phenomenon, as well as all other NCAA sports, by virtue of being the archive of record for the now-disbanded Southwest Athletic Conference (SWC). Former SWC teams now populate the Big 12 Conference, Southeastern Conference, and others.

On May 6, 1914, several universities’ representatives met to discuss the future of regional sports among local schools. Baylor University, Southwestern University, Texas A&M College, Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), Louisiana State University, the University of Texas, and the University of Arkansas participated. That December, representatives from the Rice Institute (now Rice University) and the University of Oklahoma also met with the group at the Rice Hotel in Houston. With the exception of Louisiana State, all participants became charter members of the Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

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The Southwest Conference Records contains programs and pre-season guides for all sports. Most numerous are football Roster & Record books like these.

The SWC saw ten universities join or leave their league during its over 80 year run. Rice left for a short spell from 1916-1917. Southern Methodist University joined in 1918, Texas Christian University hopped on in 1923, Texas Tech University joined in 1958, and the University of Houston signed up in 1972. Southwestern left in 1917, Oklahoma dropped out in 1920, Oklahoma A&M departed in 1926, and the University of Arkansas left in 1991. For one year, 1920, Phillips University of Enid, Oklahoma, was a member of the conference.

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Southwest Conference football teams have appeared in numerous bowls, most frequently the Cotton Bowl. Above are commemorative artifacts from some of those games, most notably a clock celebrating 1988 Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and Notre Dame.>

It was not until 1938 that the SWC would elect an Executive Secretary (later renamed Commissioner in 1982.) Dr. P. W. St. Clair served from 1938-1945 as a part-time employee. Others who served were the following: James H. Stewart (1945-1950), Howard Grubbs (1950-1973), Cliff Speegle (1973-1982), Fred Jacoby (1982-1993), Steve Hatchell (1993-1995), and finally Kyle Kallander (1995-1996).

The Southwest Conference also spawned such sports legends as Carl Lewis (track), Doak Walker (football), Sheryl Swoopes (women’s basketball), Darrell Royal (football, coach), Teddy Lyons (baseball), Earl Campbell (football), and Andre Ware (football) to name only a few.

So what SWC records does the Southwest Collection have? Over 300 linear feet of material! There are boxes full of day-to-day business records such correspondence, memoranda, financial materials, and memorabilia. Among its copious printed material are media guides, game programs, news clippings, and record books from each of the member universities. But that’s not all: included are 343 sound recordings, 854 video tapes, 10 reels of microfilm, 538 oversized items, and 12 linear feet of photographic material. Oral histories of numerous individuals involved with the Conference are also available.

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This is the memo sent to all Southwest Athletic Conference university presidents regarding the dissolution of the Conference 1996.

Sadly, on June 30, 1996, the Southwest Athletic Conference disbanded. Its teams departed for other conferences such as the Big 12…the records of which the Southwest Collection also houses!

But that’s a story for a future blog…

By Robert Weaver
Photos by John Perrin

“Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit visits the SWC

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The image above is one of the many photographs displayed in the “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit. This one depicts the remains of several victims of the genocide that were not discovered until over a decade later.

This October the Southwest Collection is proud to host the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) thirty-four panel, “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit. Through this exhibit, the THGC hopes to educate citizens about the circumstances that lead to the Bosnian Genocide.

Genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them. According to the Genocide Watch organization, genocides and mass murders led to the killing of more than 170 million people, more than the sum of the deaths in all 20th and 21st century wars combined. The exhibit, Prijedor, tells the story of genocide in the Bosnian city of Prijedor between 1992 and 1995. The exhibit honors both the memory of the lives lost in the Prijedor genocide and the experiences of the survivors whose stories are told within the 34 panel series.

The exhibit will visit eight Texas venues over the course of the next two years. Prior to its stop in Lubbock, the exhibit was displayed at the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown. Following Lubbock, the exhibit will travel to Midland College in January 2014.

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The final panel of “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” acknowledges the contributions of the residents of Prijedor whose donations of time, photos, and artifacts helped make the exhibit possible. More poignantly, it thanks the survivors whose stories the exhibit tells, often in their own words. Their names can be seen in the top-right.

The THGC’s mission is to increases awareness of genocide and the Holocaust through educational programs, advice, assistance, and coordination of groups, events, and volunteers. Chaja Verveer, THGC commissioner and a Holocaust survivor, says, “Our kids need to be taught to recognize and fight bigotry, to stem hatred and prejudice, and learn about living together, embracing diversity.”  The “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” exhibit is open to all. College students, middle and high school students, and educators are particularly encouraged to attend.

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The text of “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide” is a narrative guided by the stories of the survivors. As you can see here, many of those survivors emigrated to St. Louis and later graciously made themselves available for oral history interviews so that this tragedy could be documented for all time.

Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs include teacher workshops providing guidance in teaching the Holocaust and other genocides, the recording of concentration camp liberator oral histories, and the enhancing of social studies curriculum through requiring the teaching of genocide-related content in school classrooms. For more information regarding Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission programs and Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month (April), please do not hesitate to contact them.

–   Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

–   Photo by John Perrin