The Southwest Collection Archive within the Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University acquires, describes, preserves, and makes accessible to scholars and the general public, archival collections of regional, national, and international significance.
The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library recently debuted a new exhibit entitled “¡Yo Creo en Pancho Clos!” Items in this exhibit come from the SWC’s Bidal and Olga Agüero Papers and the Robert Narvaiz Collection, with some artifacts are on loan from Olga Agüero.
Chicano music legend Lalo Guerrero recorded his song “Pancho Claus” in 1956. The tune was a Chicano adaptation of the famous “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and created a figure that Chicano and Latino children could identify with. In Lubbock, Pancho Clos has become an endearing West Texas twist on Santa Claus, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The figure highlights the Mexican American community’s desire to incorporate a bit of their own culture into the city’s landscape.
According to SWC oral histories and local media articles, the tradition began in 1971 after Agustín T. Medina, Sr., Jesse Reyes, and Bidal Agüero presented the idea to the Lubbock American G. I. Forum. The membership loved it. After a flurry of ideas and suggestions the beloved character was born. Pancho Clos would have a full black beard, wear a serape, and don a sombrero.
The first event was an instant success. 3,000 children posed with Pancho Clos and received a sack filled with candy and other treats. As local churches began clamoring for Pancho Clos, his joyful spirit spread across the region. Soon, Pancho’s giving nature appeared in San Antonio, cities throughout Texas quickly adopting their own iterations. Houston’s Pancho, for instance, adopted a Pachuco-like flair, wearing a flashy red zoot suit and delivering gifts by lowrider.
Over the years the event has relied on numerous volunteers, organizations, and people believing in Pancho Clos. Local bike and car clubs, the American G. I. Forum, Fiestas Del Llano, Girl Scout Troops, the Maggie Trejo Center-City of Lubbock, Los Hermanos Familia, and El Editor have stepped in to keep the tradition alive. Many have embraced the chance to wear the suit: Mike Torres (the first Pancho Clos), Edward Quirino, Gonzalo Garza, and Julian Perez are just a few.
Additional tales of Pancho Clos can be found not just in the collections mentioned above, but also in the SWC’s Hispanic Oral History Collection, including the oral history interviews of Robert Narvaiz, Christy Martinez-Garcia, and Gonzalo Garza.
The Southwest Collection has recently been processing new manuscript materials from Olga Aguero and the late Bidal Aguero. The materials, consisting of photographs, newspapers, business records, and correspondences, highlight the vital and lasting impact of Chicano publications and culture in Lubbock and its surrounding areas. The diverse collection will contribute to Bidal Aguero’s pre-existing Papers as well as other Southwest Collection holdings that include the Miss Hispanic Lubbock Papers, the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Records, the digitized run of El Editor—the South Plains’ Spanish-language newspaper—and other important bi-lingual publications such as the West Texas Hispanic News. Historical gems such as a letter from Bidal Aguero to the Fiestas planning committee in 1977 illustrate how Mexican-Americans organized to create culturally relevant events for the Lubbock community while navigating political ambitions.
A Chicano activist, publisher, and businessperson, Bidal Aguero graduated from Texas Tech University in 1972. While at Texas Tech he joined the student organization Los Tertulianos and later assisted in founding the Texas Tech chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán (MECHA). In 1972 Aguero was instrumental in founding COMA (Commerciantes Organizacion Mexicano Americano), the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, and he was heavily involved in political movements and community organizing in Lubbock and the surrounding areas. Moreover, he found and published the bilingual newspaper El Editor, a publication that highlighted and addressed issues related to the Latinx communities in the region. The newspaper has had a lasting impact in Lubbock and remains a cornerstone of Chicano cultural productions in the South Plains.
A native of Wilson, Texas, Olga Aguero is a Chicana activist and business owner. After high school, she worked with seasonal farmworkers in the Texas South Plains as well as for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. After this effort, she began working for El Editor. She also worked for the Texas Tech University Press, became the first female president of Lubbock’s LULAC chapter, and now leads El Editor. Moreover, she was a co-founder of the regions Hispanic Association of Women. Olga and Bidal’s Papers reflect their long history of activism, community engagement, and publishing in Lubbock and the surrounding South Plains region.
Many of the artifacts included in the Bidal and Olga Aguero Papers relate to El Editor and their other publishing endeavors with Amigo Publications,and illustrate the history of Chicano publications in Lubbock. The first edition of El Editor, along with announcements of publication for the newspaper and El Portovoz, a bi-monthly Chicano magazine, showcase Chicano printing culture in the 1970s. Volume One of El Editor, published on October 12, 1977, introduces the newspaper to its readers and features a story written in Spanish about the ordination of 14 priests, while detailing the adverse living conditions that the community of Barrio Arnett-Benson faced in English text. The bilingual edition invokes Mesoamerican iconography typical to Chicano publications during that time and speaks to some of the issues concerning Mexican-Americans in 1970s Lubbock. Furthermore, the announcements demonstrate the purpose and goals of such publications: El Portavoz and El Editor will “reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Chicano in the United States.”
The Bidal and Olga Aguero Papers also document the history of various Chicano, Hispanic, and Mexican-American organizations in Texas. It contains correspondence, photos, conference programs, political party platforms, and flyers for organizations such as the Hispanic Association of Women, La Raza Unida, and COMA. One interesting item is the directory from COMA, which explains that the item is “the first of its kind every printed in Texas or the nation. . . . The purpose of this directory is to promote the Mexican American businesses.”
Photos in the collection helped capture the moment in other ways, and include women such as Maria Mercado, Esther Zepeda, and Carmen Salazar. There is a conference program for the 3rd Annual Hispanic Women’s Conference held in 1984, an event that attracted hundreds of Hispanic women from Lubbock and area small towns. The conference schedule details workshops that addressed child abuse, accessorizing, trauma, financial planning, and strategies to navigate a patriarchal work place.
Other items highlight the political and economic impact of Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, and Hispanics. A program for the Raza Unida Party’s State Convention in 1976 serves as evidence or Lubbock Chicanos’ engagement in statewide political movements. The state convention included 6 delegates from Lubbock. In fact, the whole event was led by current Lubbock City Council member, Juan Chadis.
If you’d like to view the papers of Bidal Aguero, or these other treasures from our holdings, don’t hesitate to contact our Reference Department and they will get you set up!
Starting on September 1, 2020, the Southwest Collection reopened to all patrons. For the last month or so, we have been open to the Texas Tech research community, but we are happy to expand our operations to encompass all researchers needing access to our collections in person. However, our Reading Room procedures have slight modifications that we wanted to make everyone aware of:
All visits must be scheduled in advance. Walk-ins are discouraged due to limited staffing. Please contact Weston Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (806) 742-9070 to schedule your visit.
We have a small number of reference staff members working at any given time. Please have patience, be as precise with your request as possible, and contact as far in advance as possible to allow time for your materials to be pulled.
Masks are required and must cover the nose and mouth at all times while in the building.
Each service desk has a plexiglass partition installed. Please respect our staff’s space and observe social distancing!
We will be spacing researchers out in our Reading Room to encourage social distancing.
All surfaces and computers are sanitized daily.
Please take note of all signs and notices. Our reception area and Coronelli Rotunda remains closed at this time to the public. Once in our building, please enter our reading room area on the east side (see picture) and exit through the west doors.
If you requested research materials or duplications in the last six months but have not heard back from the Southwest Collection, please feel free to contact us again. Our staff have been working diligently to fulfill all requests, and we continue daily to tackle our immense backlog. We are looking forward to having you in our building once again.
Since our Reading Room is closed, we wanted to take a moment to provide an anchoring blog post for researchers interested in continuing their work remotely. Below are some links and general guidelines for accessing Southwest Collection materials from the comfort of your home.
Though our Reading Room may be closed, many archival materials can still be accessed on our digital repository.
Our digital repository contains materials from all special collections in our building: Southwest, University Archives, Crossroads of Music, Rare Books, the Sowell Family Collection, and Oral History. Click on any “community” to browse collections generally, and then there is the option to browse “sub-communities.” https://collections.swco.ttu.edu
Specifically regarding newspapers: Our dspace contains over 126 different newspaper titles from across West Texas that encompasses 264,000 text-searchable issues, with more added daily. The direct link for these newspapers is: https://newspapers.swco.ttu.edu (click the community “newspapers” for a full list of titles).
Tips for navigating dspace:
Each community will display the most recent submissions first at the bottom.
Sub-communities allow our departments to group archival material by collection or topic. They are incredibly helpful if you are trying to find specific thematic materials.
For more general research, the search bar on the right side allows you to search the entire digital repository. Once you click on any community, you can further narrow your search to the specific community you are currently browsing.
The search function crawls titles of files, as well as any text-searchable documents.
Further, the tool bar on the right allows you to filter or narrow the material you are viewing by author, subject, and date within the community.
Because of the variety of ways to describe archival materials, we highly recommend searching utilizing different keywords and terms. Alternative phrases might allow you to find information in multiple collections that you would not have anticipated. Also, sometimes it is helpful to just browse entire collections—with extra time at home, you never know what gems may be lurking in our digital repository!
Once you click on an item, click on the “view/open” link below the thumbnail to access the file. Most materials are either .pdf or .jpg format, and your browser setting will determine if the file opens in a new window or if you are prompted to download.
For more information and metadata on each file, scroll down on the page and click on “show full item record.”
The URI link on each item page provides a permanent web link if you need to access the file again. We recommend you use that link for any research citations.
Many empty tables await researchers for when our building reopens!
Digital Resources for Collections Accessible Only In-Person
If you want to jump-start your next research trip to Lubbock, here are a few places you’ll want to check out to get started.
TARO Finding Aids
The Texas Archival Resources Online provides finding aids for collections throughout the SWC/SCL. These materials will not necessarily have been digitized, but they do provide detailed inventories and general information on collections housed in our building.
The Southwest Collection also has many collections without TARO finding aids at this time. More general information about those collections can be found here.
The Reading Room has over 14,000 files with general information about West Texas and the greater Southwest region. These reference files contain news clippings, brochures, inventories, and oral history information. They can normally be photocopied in-house, and provide an excellent starting point for researchers.
More information on the Southwest Collection’s prodigious oral history collection of over 6,500 interviews can be found on our oral history wiki. These recordings have traditionally been abstracted, which are included on this site. If an interview has been transcribed, it will be housed on dspace.
The SWC also has donated oral history collections (with thousands of recordings); a preliminary list is found here. Any links to finding aids or other information are given when available.
If a more traditional card catalog is your preferred method of research, here is the direct link to the Texas Tech University Libraries online catalog.
Tip: if you want to search for just SWC/SCL materials, click the “advanced search” link to the right of the search bar. It will allow you to limit the scope of your search, and from there you can choose either “Southwest Collection/Special Collections” which focuses on physical materials in house (books, collections, oral histories) or “Southwest/Special Collections Digital Content” which focuses on our dspace holdings.
It’s Women’s History Month, and we have few collections more appropriate to that celebration than the papers of Hermine Tobolowsky. Sometimes called the “Mother of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment,” Hermine Dalkowitz Tobolowsky, among many other accomplishments, successfully coordinated the Equal Legal Rights Amendment (ERA) passage to the Texas Constitution in 1972.
Hermine was born on January 13, 1921, in San Antonio, Texas, and after her primary education attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, and the University of San Antonio (now Trinity University.) She went on to obtain her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Soon after graduation, despite repeated instances of facing blatant discrimination, she opened a private law practice in San Antonio.
After marrying Hyman Tobolowsky, a Dallas retail executive in 1951, Hermine moved to Dallas where she had to re-establish her legal practice. By 1957, she had begun to craft her statewide legacy of activism, becoming the leader of Texas’ campaign for equal legal rights for men and women. This culminated in passage of the Texas Equal Legal Rights Amendment (ERA) fifteen years later in 1972.
She didn’t slow down there, remaining active in the Women’s Rights Movement, delivering innumerable speeches and workshops on women’s issues. She also served as a legal advisor for numerous women’s organizations up to the time of her death on July 25, 1995.
Tobolowsky’s collection is replete with materials about the ERA, as well as pamphlets and directories from women’s organizations throughout Texas. There are also curious ephemera in there, such as this handwritten musical excerpt endorsing a favored political candidate. If you want to see more of Tobolowsky’s accumulated material, here you go! And if you want to take the next step and see them in person, give our ever-helpful Reference Staff a call.
In this blog entry, we’re taking a look at our Anne Watts Baker Papers, which you can find in their entirety over here: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ttusw/00458/tsw-00458.html. Baker principally collected diaries and other materials pertaining to the Reynolds and Matthews families of Shackelford County, Texas. But the choicest cuts come from the journals, letters, and scrapbooks of Samuel and Susan Newcomb, dating from the mid- to late-19th century. For example, the page above is from a handwritten draft of “A Journal of a Trip from Clear Fork in Stephens Co. to the San Saba River” by the Newcombs. It was later published, and we have that printed version in our collection as well.
Not all of Newcomb’s items revolved around the “Journal.” The two halves of the letter above, dating from February 6th, 1865, tell the tale of a hastily dashed off plan about a fort, an ‘indian rade’, and other events around the Fort Davis, Texas, area.
Here is another letter dating from around the beginning of the Civil War, which was not at all affecting the life of Mr. Newcomb. He was more into having dinner, then heading on out to hunt for more game, perhaps for a second dinner. The man was hungry, no question.
This letter is virtually impossible to read in this image (although you can get a larger version of it among our digital collections over here: http://hdl.handle.net/10605/352417) But what’s interesting about it is that the parts that are water stained have made the rapidly-fading ink more legible. The peculiarities of paper and ink could, and often do, make up entire college courses.
Susan E. Reynolds Newcomb left plenty of her materials in the collection as well. This is a diary entry from New Year’s Day, 1896. She expresses a positive outlook for the new year, despite the “perfect gale from the northwest” that was “very disagreeable.”
And to add something completely different to the collection, the Newcombs created a scrapbook full of poems and odd little cartoons like this one. There’s a 100% chance that the baby went ahead and at that food anyway, y’all.
Want more Newcomb books, letters, and diaries? Have at them over here among our digital collections: http://hdl.handle.net/10605/352417 And if you’d like to see the real deal, contact our ever helpful Reference Staff and they’ll see what they can arrange.
Did you know we have over 200,000 digitized volumes of newspapers from throughout Texas and New Mexico available online? Well, you do now! And one of this author’s personal favorites is the Lincoln Independent from Lincoln, New Mexico. The paper was founded in 1880, but the only run we’ve got our hands on is the entirety of 1890, beginning with the issue above dating from January 3rd. The remaining issues can be found here, but here are a few of our favorites below.
With Halloween coming up, we chose the issue above from October 31, 1890. Sadly, although Halloween is a ‘holiday’ of sorts was celebrated in the 1890s, with pushes from various groups to make it a community-oriented celebration. But it didn’t resemble today’s celebrations, or even those of the 1920s and 30s. Also, Lincoln County was absolutely the U.S. frontier (New Mexico would not become a state until 1912), so costumed frivolity may not have been their top priority.
One thing we were excited to find here at the Southwest Collection was this ad for the Angus VV Ranch. We have an archival collection related to the owners of the ranch, Charles M. and James E. Cree. It has been digitized and placed online, and contains information that the Lincoln Independent doesn’t share: a rash of cattle rustling that was occurring at the time!
Another tidbit we enjoyed was this advertisement for the Agricultural College of New Mexico in Las Cruces. This would later become New Mexico State University. And we want you to know that, in our opinion, it still has a very good library.
This all ends, as it probably should, with the final issue in our possession, dating from December 12, 1890. A comparison between the first and final issue reveals only one significant difference: the paper was begging readers to subscribe to the Independent. Here’s to hoping that their please worked.
If you’d like to read more of these papers, the many others we have from Eastern New Mexico, or the hundreds of thousands of others from throughout Texas, head over to our digital collections and dig in!
It is time once again to dig among our little-used collections to find something to share with y’all. This time it’s a handful of turn-of-the-century (nineteenth to twentieth centuries, that is!) photographs from Horace F. Adams and his family. Adams was a farmer, carpenter, and certified “public weigher,” as well as one of the first settlers of Terry County, Texas. If you’ve never been out that way, it’s the home of scenic Brownsville, cotton farms, and a good stretch of highway that points you toward New Mexico. The Adams family used a plain old “F” as its cattle brand, which it continued to use well after Horace’s death in 1925.
Papers include financial records such as promissory notes, bills of sale, deeds, and receipts, all filed alongside genealogies of the “Franklin and Hull families” from 1798 to 1883. But most interesting are its photo albums, where we found the man in military uniform that headlined this blog. It is unlabeled, so his identity remains a mystery, but the photo of a snowy home, above, has the words “My first yard a four of us! Feb. 6 1923” scrawled on the back.
Sadly, many of these photographs are mysterious. The family in the snow, below, are identified as “front of my home. My wife and Kiddies. Feb 6. 1923 – J. K. Knight.” Clearly they are the same folks from the other wintry photo. But the baby in a car, above? We have no caption or notes, even on nearby papers in the collection. The kiddos on the bull, below, are described as “Roy & Ethel, a bull, and Babie Ethel.” Are there two Ethels? Is that the same child from the car? We can’t tell, and they didn’t say.
Our final image is no mystery. Adams was a livestock weigher, so he had a large number of calendars provided, we assume, compliments of the cattle industry. This 1913 example extols the success of the National Live Stock Commission Co. They just had just sold the highest priced drove of cattle ever shipped out of Washington County, Iowa!
We end with a bit of trivia that had us laughing. Before they moved to Brownfield, the Adams family lived in Gomez, Texas. You can’t make that up. Anyway, this is a small collection, filling only one archival box, and it is infrequently used. But if you want to take a look at it, or any of the rest of our treasures, contact our Reference staff at email@example.com and they’ll set you up.
It’s that time of year again at Texas Tech University when students old and new make their pilgrimage back to campus. Because TTU is approaching its hundredth year (in 2025! So close!), we thought we’d share a few photographs from its early decades. The photo above, for example, is a shot of the laying of the cornerstone for Tech’s Administration Building in 1924.
This photo is not just a house on the Texas Technological College campus. You see, it was supposed to serve as the home of then-Texas Technological College (TTC) president, Paul W. Horn. But he rejected it, then removed it from campus to make way for a residence he found more suitable. The structure was removed to what is now 1611 Avenue Y where it stood until 2018, when it burned down.
Texas Technological College initially focused heavily on agriculture education. Some of its student body raised livestock (typically dairy cows) on campus to pay their way through school. And some of their beasts spent time in the Agriculture Livestock Pavilion–otherwise known as the Aggie Pavilion–seen above shortly after its opening in 1925. It now rests not a half-dozen yards from the Southwest Collection itself!
But you know what else went on in the Ag Pavilion? Basketball! There were no other facilities in which to play the game, so the 1927 basketball squad (seen here in a composite photo made for the La Ventana yearbook) had to handle their business Pavilion-style. Their first game, in 1926, ended in an 18-9 victory over West Texas State Teachers College (now West Texas A&M University, just up Interstate 27 in Canyon).
This bucolic scene dates from 1925, with cattle grazing in a fenced pen near the Dairy Barn and Silo. Also featured: the Administration Building, the Agricultural Pavilion, the Agriculture Building, and in the far distance the Home Economics Building.
In the spirit of the upcoming football season, we also dug out this photo of the University’s first football team in 1926. Then known as the “Matadors,” they had played their first game the previous year against McMurry College at the South Plains Fairgrounds in Lubbock. Final score? 0-0.
The Red Raiders only had to play across town for one season and one game before a small field and bleachers were built on campus. Then, in 1947, the Clifford B. and Audry Jones stadium was completed. Its first bleachers are seen in this photo. The stadium could seat 16,500 students, although it boasted that it could do a full 20,000 if portable bleachers where wheeled in.
The Jones wasn’t the only sports facility on campus in the 40s. Above you can see the TTC gymnasium and field house circa 1945. There was clearly something going on inside when this photo was taken, because these taxi drivers weren’t waiting around for nothing.
This aerial shot of the campus was taken in 1950. The photographer was looking northeast across Memorial Circle, with the Administration Building to the right and what was soon to be the West Texas Museum (and is now Holden Hall) on the center-left. It’s fair to say that things have changed just a little bit.
Our final photograph shows TTU President Grover Murray conferring honorary degrees upon President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. Congressman George Mahon, who represented the region in Congress for over forty years, is standing behind President Johnson.
Today we’re contemplating two new-ish, seemingly unrelated collections that each portray wildly opposite views on the same topics. In this case: socialism and communism. One collection–the papers of early 20th-century activist Thomas Hickey–was chock full of cartoons like the one above, as well as pamphlets and letters advocating for labor unions, socialism, and similar propositions.
The other collection came from Texas women’s rights activist Hermine Tobolowsky. Her primary focus was on the Texas Equal Legal Rights Amendment for women. 99% of the boxes and folders in her collection are had nothing to do with Hickey’s raison d’etre. But that 1% was anti-communism through and through. Items such as the image above suggest she was dead-set on educating the population against the communists.
Hickey was the private secretary to Eugene V. Debs, who was a founder of the IWW, found himself before the Supreme Court on one occasion, and more than a few times ran for the office of U.S. President. As a result of their close connection, Hickey’s papers contain many pamphlets published by Debs, his family members, and others.
It’s a fairly safe bet that Tobolowsky would not have been a Debs fan. While socialism and communism are two distinctly different philosophies, Tobolowsky’s papers don’t bother with the distinction. Teaching materials for K-12 students, anti-communist mailings and pamphlets, and a host of other items testify to that fact. The above warning from J. Edgar Hoover is the most classic of its kind, however. Vintage Red Scare!