We see many bizarre stories and advertisements in our newspapers here at the SWC, but few are as wacky as the obsession with streaking we observed in Texas Tech University’s University Daily during the spring of 1974. No one knows how it all started. Some say that streaking had been popular on campus for a few years already. Others claim that Ray Stevens’ hit, “The Streak,” which debuted in March 1974, was responsible. All that we know for sure is that by the time the campus got good and warm, t-shirts featuring the logo above were widely available. Illicitly sold t-shirts weren’t the only clothes to cover up streakers before their antics, or so this April 1974 ad for Van Heusen dress shirts would have you believe. “For revealing your colors in a most original way, streaking can hardly be overlooked!” But go ahead and buy a stylish, daring, and adventurous Van Heusen anyway. Perhaps to look good for your court date. According to this ad from The Brittany, there was even a 1974 Streak Week from March 14th to the 17th. Although University Daily accounts are spotty on that matter, they didn’t shy away from letting The Brittany advertise its Streaker Burger, a hamburger with “just ‘Meat and Buns.’” We’re not sure about the quality of their burgers, but the litany of puns in their description are fairly tasteless. That’s right, Brittany – we can pun, too! Sometimes streakers needed to build up some courage, and warmth, before they could run the streets. Fortunately, Montezuma tequila had the solution: Streaker Punch, made by mixing their booze in a wash tub with some fruit, then chugging it out of a paper cup. Whatever works, we suppose? Anyway, these freewheeling issues of the University Daily (also sometimes called The Toreador or The Daily Toreador) can be found among our many digital collections. Head on over and browse through them!
This April 16th through 18th, the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library will host the Sowell Collection Conference. Created through the generous support of James Sowell, the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World contains the personal papers of some of the country’s most prominent writers who are dedicated to documenting the ways in which we interact with our world and creating new ways of examining our world and our place within it. In 2001, the work of Rick Bass, William Kittredge, Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, Doug Peacock, David Quammen, Pattiann Rogers, and Annick Smith comprised the core of this collection. Writers recently added include Susan Brind Morrow, John Lane, and Sandra Scofield. In addition to published books, materials available for research purposes include correspondence; drafts of manuscripts; research notebooks; diaries and calendars; and photographs, computer files, and film.
Barry Lopez, for example, is an essayist, author, and short story writer. The relationship between physical landscape and human culture lies at the core of his nonfiction work, while his fiction frequently addresses issues of intimacy, ethics, and identity. His books include Arctic Dreams, the cover of which can be seen above. It received the National Book Award, and another of Lopez’ works, Of Wolves and Men, was a National Book Award finalist. Lopez has received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Burroughs Society, the Orion Society, and other institutions.
Roland “Ro” Wauer is another prominent author well-documented in the Sowell Collection. An internationally acclaimed expert on the birds and butterflies of North America, Wauer is also a thirty-two year veteran of the National Park Service. As chief park naturalist for Big Bend National Park and chief of the Division of Natural Resources, National Park Service, he is the author of some two dozen books and two hundred articles. Ro writes on topics that reflect his distinguished career, with titles that include Birder’s Mexico, Butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and Naturalist’s Big Bend. For All Seasons, seen above, chronicles a year of his life in Big Bend in an effort to share both the beauty of and his passion for that park.David Quammen is known for writing concise and highly accessible articles on scientific topics. His book, The Song of the Dodo (Scribner, 1996), in which he investigates the rate of species extinction in island ecosystems, won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing and several other awards. Quammen is a frequent contributor to Outside magazine and his work has also appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, and Rolling Stone. He has received a Lannan Foundation Fellowship as well as the National Magazine Award and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. The human drama and scientific basis of Darwin’s twenty-one-year delay constitute a fascinating, tangled tale that elucidates the character of a cautious naturalist who initiated an intellectual revolution. In The Kiwi’s Egg (above) Quammen uses the personal letters and notebooks of Charles Darwin to explore the biography of Darwin with a focus on the history of the scientist’s most famous theory.Rick Bass is a writer and environmental activist. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1958, but spent much of his youth in Houston. He graduated from Utah State with a degree in geology and then worked as a petroleum geologist in Mississippi. In 1987 Bass moved to Montana and began writing full-time. He is the author of numerous short stories, novels, memoirs and essays. Much of his work focuses on the reasoned benefits of preserving wilderness areas, such as the Roadless Yaak Valley of Montana. Our Rick Bass papers include almost all of his early work, as well as drafts of short stories and essays, correspondence and Yaak Valley Forest Council material, and over 100 letters from Rick Bass to James Linville, editor of the Paris Review.
– Diane Warner, Librarian for the Sowell Collection