New Hispanic and Latino Collections!

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!

1918 Influenza Pandemic on the South Plains

The past two weeks of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal’s Sunday series “Caprock Chronicles” have featured articles that outline the history of the 1918 influenza pandemic on the South Plains. Part one, written by Chuck Lanehart, provides an overview of the flu as seen in AJ articles. Yesterday’s article, written by this author (Elissa Stroman, AV department Unit Manager), highlighted some of the Southwest Collection’s oral histories that discuss the flu.

Little research has been done diving into the impacts of the flu on the South Plains, and so this blog is meant as a guide for SWC holdings that have been found thus far. If you know of other resources in our collections, or if you find this interesting and would like to add onto this, please let us know.

Newspapers

Our dspace has newspapers dating back to 1918 (and earlier). A careful search of issues from that time period uncover many stories of daily life in times of global pandemic. In addition to general reports about the flu across the world, these papers also have death notices, business/church/school closures, as well as advertisements purporting miracle cures.

It should be noted that for the city of Lubbock specifically, the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History has 18 issues of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal from 1918. Direct link to those issues here.

ColoradoRecord1918-10-25

On October 25, 1918 the Colorado Record (of Mitchell County) discusses lifting their quarantine. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12255/188426

StateLineTribune1918-12-20pg1

This small notice from the Texaco-Farwell State Line Tribune News, December 20, 1918 seems to suggest that news of the virus was often delayed in some areas of the South Plains. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12255/142075

Oral Histories

Many of the Southwest Collection’s earliest interviews include mention of the 1918 Spanish flu—it was a common question asked of early 20th century settlers to this region (in addition to questions about childhood traditions and home life, transportation, World War I, the Great Depression, Dust Bowl conditions, etc.) The flu became a milestone event much like subsequent generations who discuss their experiences of World War II, Vietnam, the moon landing, or 9/11. While I have found no interviews focused solely on just their flu experiences, some interviews discuss healthcare in greater detail. Particularly notable interviews are as follows. (Please note: these interviews have not been transcribed and are only available to listen to in our Reading Room.)

  • Mrs. W.W. Anthony and Annie Bailey were nurses during the pandemic.
  • Fern Cone and Dr. H.E. Cone, whose father was Lubbock mayor in 1918.
  • Mose Hood was a railroad worker in Amarillo who got very sick with the virus.
  • W. Hamilton Wright also worked on the railroad and saw the virus first arrive in Abilene.
  • Mrs. C.G. Bloom lived in Thurber at the time. Her husband was a doctor, and her entire family was ill (including her 6 month old infant). Similarly Thelma Sechrist Caudle gives insights into taking care of sick relatives at home.
  • Blanche Bean Wilson and Robert Bean separately tell their family’s 1918 experiences.
  • Edith Courtney Sanders, Floydada resident, tells of the particularly rough Christmas Day 1918.
  • A few interviews feature interviewees whose fathers were doctors and detail differing treatments: Mrs. George B Long and Harry Kelley.
  • Finally, an interview of Kurt and Margaret Keidel from Fredericksburg tells of an eerily similar 1918 scene to what was seen during the black plague and more recently in Italy: church bells had to stop tolling for the dead because it was panicking the community.

 

Healthcare on the South Plains

For researchers interested in medicine especially in Lubbock, a 1979 thesis by William Rush Dunnagan gives early history (including the suggestion that only five individuals died of the 1918 flu in Lubbock). The “Establishment and Growth of Lubbock, Texas as the Medical Center of the South Plains” can be found on the Texas Tech libraries’ digital repository for TTU thesis and dissertations.

Finally, thus far, one photo has been found that shows the first ambulance and first class of nurses in front of the new Lubbock hospital in 1918. It is found on our dspace in three iterations. Link in caption. If you know of any other images from this time period, or images relating to this region’s response to the 1918 influenza pandemic, please contact us!

 

Newspapers Update

Note: This week’s blog is written by Austin Allison, Section Supervisor of our Cataloging and Technical Processing department. Like last week’s blog on oral history remote work, he provides us an update on newspaper preservation efforts from home.

Newspaper digitization still trudges along during the COVID-19 pandemic! Even though being unable to work from the office and limiting social contact has temporarily halted new digitization of historic newspapers, we are slogging through our backlog of already digitized newspapers that had been awaiting online publication. Over the past few weeks, we have been processing and uploading newspapers to several collections including The Big Spring Herald, The Midland Reporter-Telegram, The Floyd County Hesperian, and others.

Working from home to keep the newspapers rolling has been a relatively easy transition. The only thing we need is computers with Adobe Photoshop capabilities and a connection to the internet to transfer files and access our work computers to process the completed files. The bulk of newspapers being processed and uploaded these days are microfilmed newspapers, since we cannot scan physical, hard copies in the office. Fortunately, microfilm yields the largest volume of newspapers, so we are still making great progress on many of the projects we have been working on.

Of course, this remote arrangement presents new challenges to preserving West Texas history. Occasional slow connections, problems with monitoring remote processes, and other intermittent distractions top the list of things plaguing the current state of the project, but the transition to a work-from-home environment has proven to be effective at reminding us of the importance of West Texas newspapers. While we still are making a lot of progress on the projects we are focused on, being able to take a step back and actually read some of the newspapers is beneficial to understanding the context of their place in West Texas history.

While processing pages of The Floyd County Hesperian from the 1930s through the 1970s, I took note of the annual “Old Settler’s Reunions” that took place in Floydada, among other communities, to celebrate the history and residents of the county. Floydada often associated this celebration with the yearly rodeo, but these particular newspaper issues contain the names of many early residents of the county along with many local businesses that sponsored events. The May 25th, 1966 issue of The Floyd County Hesperian, soon to be available online, urges residents to adopt a “Western mode of dress” to get into the spirit, and the succeeding issue reported the winners of contests for Best Antique Window, Best Old Fiddler, and Oldest Man and Oldest Woman at the celebration. One of these issues is a great resource for researchers; a year-after-year collection of them available freely online is a treasure trove that documents not only the Old Settler’s Reunion celebrations but the history of the county through time.

newspapers-gray00021

The Floyd County Hesperian, May 25, 1966 issue

About the Project

From Spearman, Stratford and Pampa in the northern Texas Panhandle to Sonora, Ozona and Brackettville near the U.S.-Mexico border, the Southwest Collection digital newspaper project covers over 60 counties across Texas and includes over 120 different newspaper titles. Each of these individual, text-searchable newspaper issues is available to download in PDF format for free from the collection’s website, http://newspapers.swco.ttu.edu. As of April 2020, the project contains over 266,000 issues of newspapers with more becoming available online every week.

newspapers-DSpace

Our newspapers can be found on the SWC’s digital repository. Visit http://newspapers.swco.ttu.edu

Southwest Collection Digital Remote Resources Overview

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.

20200326_124312

Though our Reading Room may be closed, many archival materials can still be accessed on our digital repository.

Digital Collections:

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.

20200326_130243

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.

More information on how to use finding aids can be found in this previous blog post.

Manuscript Guide

The Southwest Collection also has many collections without TARO finding aids at this time. More general information about those collections can be found here.

Reference Files

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.

Oral Histories

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.

Catalog Generally

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.

 

As always, our Reference Staff is a phone call or email away with any questions researchers have. Feel free to reach out to them, as well as any employee of the Southwest Collection. Our contact information can be found here.

New Mexico’s “Lincoln Independent” – 1890

Lincoln_Independent_1890_01_03-1stissue_Page_1

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.

Lincoln_Independent_1890_10_31-helloween_Page_1

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.

Lincoln_Independent_1890_10_31-helloween_Page_4

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!

Lincoln_Independent_1890_10_24-onthisdate_Page_2

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.

Lincoln_Independent_1890_12_12-lastissue_Page_1

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!

The “American Agriculture News” – 1978 to 1983

AAN_1980-01-15_sacrifice_lettertopresident

 

Several years ago, the Southwest Collection began collaborating with members of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM) to document their, and other farmers’, decades of hard work and activism. We have received many archival items from AAM members, not the least of which was a couple hundred American Agriculture News volumes dating from 1978 to 1983. Those volumes can now be found among our digital collections.

 

AAN_1978-02-28_oldestvolume-1

 

Published every other Tuesday in Iredell, Texas, for nearly a decade (and perhaps longer?) by Micki Nellis and a handful of others, the News first appeared in early 1978. Sadly, we don’t possess the first two issues. Our set starts with issue 3, printed on February 28th, 1978, with a front page proclaiming that the News had been endorsed by AAM delegates during one of their meetings in Washington, D.C.

 

AAN_1983-12-13_newestvolume-2

 

The most recent issue we own–volume 6, issue 22–dates from December 13, 1983, just shy of six years after the first one. The front page was run-of-the-mill news, but page 2, above, told a wilder tale: “Farm women will raise more hell and fewer dahlias.”

 

AAN_Tractorcade Special-1

 

One of the AAM’s finest moments came in 1979, when its “Tractorcade” set off for Washington, DC. The Tractorcade was a grassroots activism campaign demanding “parity” for farmers throughout the U.S. In 2014 we curated an exhibit about that event, and even wrote two more detailed histories of that watershed moment here and here, so be sure to check those articles out to find out a little more.

 

AAN_1980-01-15_SMALL_STILL

 

An inventory of the full archival collection of AAM materials covering the years 1968-1997 can be found among our other archival finding aids. We’ve also conducted many oral histories with AAM members over the years. To get your hands on any of those resources, please email or call our ever-helpful Reference Department and they’ll happily help you out!

Raiders of the Lost Archives!

A new map of Texas BEST

There are several archives in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library: The Southwest Collection (of course!), the Crossroads of Music Archives, Rare Books Collection, Texas Tech University Archives, and Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World. And every single one of us just contributed artifacts to the final SWC/SCL exhibit of 2018: “Raiders of the Lost Archives.” Below is a mere sample of what currently decorates our halls.

Guitar-Sonny West

The guitar above belonged to Sonny West, a rock-n-rollin’ Lubbock, Texas, native whose principal claim to fame was that he wrote “Oh, Boy!” and “Rave On” for another famous Lubbock musician: Buddy Holly. This item is found in our Crossroads of Music Archive, which is also the official repository for the archival collections of Michael Martin Murphey, the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Tommy and Charlene Hancock Family, Jesse “Guitar” Taylor, Odis “Pop” Echols, and over 100 other music collections.

Tarahumara-Image67

Some collections deal with the indigenous peoples of the Southwest and Mexico. Among them is the Tarahumara Photograph Collection, consisting of over 25,000 photographs of this isolated people. Taken over the course of fifty years by Jesuit priest Luis Verplanken during his work in southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, many of the photographs were digitized and placed online for all interested researchers.

Milton Fore-edge BEST-Gold+

Few collections in our building rival the over 35,000 books, journals, manuscripts, maps, and other items in our Rare Books Collection. They range from 3,000 year old Assyrian cylinder seals to contemporary artists’ books, including this 1851 early edition of the poems of John Milton. It is adorned with a fore-edge painting, which was created by first fanning the page block of a book, then painting an image on the stepped surface. Many times the illustrations relate to the subject of the book itself; in this case, the rustic scene of a pond with an unknown town in the background that might refer to one of Milton’s poems.

GhostRider1941

The Texas Tech University Archives is the second largest archival unit in the Special Collections Library, boasting over 5,200 linear feet of manuscript and published material produced by the university, its staff, and students. Not a few items pertain to the Masked Rider, TTU’s oldest and most popular mascot. The precursor to the Masked Rider, the Ghost Rider, is depicted in this logo found in a 1941 game program.

John Lane Book-1

Although we don’t have a photo of it here, the Sowell Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World contributed a large wooden paddle used by John Lane during his travels, some of which led to writing Chattooga. In his words:

“. . . Silver Creek wooden paddles, made from local North Carolina mountain woods, were used by many great kayak and canoe paddlers all over the country. They are flexible, long lasting, tough, and just feel so right in your hand, like you are paddling with a living thing. I bought this one in 1984 and paddled with it for 20 years. I cracked it twice . . . . Once I was driving out I-40 to paddle in Colorado and the bungee holding the paddles snapped and they flew off the car.  The Silver Creek somehow survived. Another time I somehow got a blade of it lodged under a rock rolling in the middle of a rapid on the Chauga River in South Carolina and it was ripped out of my hands. It took up an hour but we were able to recover it.”

The Sowell Collection contains the personal papers not only of Jon Lane, but also some of the country’s most prominent writers, all of whom are deeply engaged with questions of land use, the nature of community, the conjunction of scientific and spiritual values, and the fragility of wilderness.

The Papers of Captain Robert G. Carter: Frontier Soldier

4pageDescriptionbyGuy

The Southwest Collection is located on the Llano Estacado, also known as the South Plains. Folks have been visiting the region for more than a century in a half, which in those early years resulted in no small amount of conflict. One, the Battle of Blanco Canyon near the Brazos River in 1871, occurred between U.S. Soldiers and a Comanche raiding party. A survivor of that conflict, Captain Robert G. Carter, was awarded a Medal of Honor for his conduct in the fight. The Southwest Collection is fortunate to have his correspondence and related materials dating from the years after the fight, and we’re going to share some of it with you in this very blog!

The image at the top of this post is of a letter from Carter’s extensive correspondence with fellow veterans of the “Indian Wars.” Carter had served under Ranald Mackenzie both in that conflict and later along the Mexican border at the end of the 19th century. So, too, did this letter’s recipient, Col. R. P. Smyth. In this letter, Carter regales Smyth with some of the facts. Sadly, we do not have Smyth’s original or subsequent letters.

jevettsHaley

Carter became well-known through his published memoirs, such as On the Border with Mackenzie (1935). He also sold maps of the conflict, such as the one referenced by renowned Texas historian J. Evetts Haley in the letter above. In another collection, we even have a copy of the map, which you can see below.

3 - Main frame

 

clippingHeadofIndianWars

History was Carter’s passion, and he promoted it not only through his publications, but also through participation in various organizations dedicated to preserving it. The 1932 newspaper clipping above (culled from a newspaper we unfortunately haven’t been able to identify) celebrating his elevation to commander of the Order of Indian Wars, an organization serving veterans of that conflict.

angryatBank

And yet some of his papers are banal. Here we have a dispute with a bank over miscalculated interest. It rings as true then as it does for some of us today. In fact, Carter’s papers contain at least 14 pages of his back and forth with the Union Trust Company, full of pithy responses to their incorrect claims: “According to the mathematics taught me, two items of the same amount, one subtracted from the other, leaves 0.” Carter, telling it like it is!

The Robert G. Carter Papers comprise only a single archival box, but are packed with unique material like this, documenting Carter’s recollections of service, as well as his day-to-day life in the years following. They’re available in their entirety among our digital collections, and we’d love for any interested researchers (or the generally curious) to take a look through them.

Dirk West: Sports Cartoonist

d-west-book-more-best-of-frontback

It’s time for a new exhibit at the Southwest Collection! This fall we’re sharing a tribute to Dirk West, a Texas Tech alum and famed sports cartoonist of the Southwest Athletic Conference (among many other accomplishments.) On the evening of Friday, October 14th, we’ll be hosting a reception celebrating the exhibit’s opening. Come on by and visit! Or at least check out some of the exhibit’s fabulous images below.

dirk-west-fixed-2

Gerald Glynn “Dirk” West (October 23, 1928-July 26, 1996) was a businessman, television personality, and former mayor of the City of Lubbock, Texas. Shortly after his birth in Littlefield, Texas, Dirk’s family moved to Lubbock, Texas. There, while attending Lubbock High School, Dirk created “Westerner Willie” for the school’s Westerner World. Dirk’s widow, Mary Ruth West, recalls Dirk stating that this was also the beginning of his nom de plume. After graduating high school Dirk continued cartooning at Texas Tech University (TTU).

toreador-1953-03-31

At TTU, Dirk created an oafish character named “Smedley” (above) for the Toreador, the Texas Tech student newspaper. Mary Ruth believes “Smedley” served as the precursor to “Ol’ Red,” the grizzled version of Raider Red that decorates the image below. The figure graced the Toreador’s pages until Dirk’s graduation in 1954 with a degree in Advertising.

dirkwest-ttu2-sm

Some years later Burle Pettit, sports editor of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, asked Dirk to consider drawing a Southwest Athletic Conference (SWC) cartoon for the paper. And so it was that on September 24, 1964, the first SWC cartoon appeared therein. It featured Texas Tech Football Head Coach J. T. King and his men preparing for the arduous task of playing the defending National Football Champions, the Texas Longhorns. He would go on to develop the mascots of all the SWC schools into recognizable caricatures, such as UT’s Bevo, below.

9-d-west-ut16x18

So come on by and check out our exhibit! And if you’d like to see more of Dirk West’s work, as well as his archival papers, don’t hesitate to get ahold of our Reference Staff. They’re always ready to help you out however they can. We also hold the records of the Southwest Conference, the Big XII Conference, and a host of other sports organizations. They too are available to interested researchers.

The Tale of Thomas “Red Tom” Hickey

SocialistMassMeeting

Thomas Hickey’s papers aren’t the only records of early 20th-century socialism that we house at the Southwest Collection, nor are they the first we’ve talked about on this blog, but they have proven to be some of the most colorful. Situated among correspondence, financial records, and similar items are several periodicals and posters that we hadn’t yet seen anywhere else.

Thomas Aloysius Hickey was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1869. In the 1890s he emigrated to the U.S., and within a year he had joined the Socialist labor Party, eventually serving as private secretary to none other than notorious International Workers of the World (IWW) founder Eugene V. Debs. Hickey left the east coast after being blacklisted by the bosses, and soon found work in Montana on behalf of its miners. That failed to pan out, too, so he ambled off to Texas in 1904. That’s where, from humble Hallettsville, he arranged speaking engagements on behalf of the Socialist Party all over the state, such as the one promoted in this bill.

johndavisSenate_1916

In 1916 Hickey supported Dallas U.S. senatorial candidate John Davis. Trounced in the election by former Texas governor and Senate incumbent Charles A. Culberson by a margin of 8 to 1, Davis nonetheless fared better than every other socialist who ran for office at the state or federal level in Texas that year. This was small consolation to Hickey, who was about to face still more adversity. In 1911 he had become editor of The Rebel, a weekly newspaper published in Hallettsville. “The great appear great to us only because we are on our knees. Let us arise,” was its slogan, which was adopted by Texas’ Socialist Party. That may have had something to do with the government’s suppression of the paper in 1917 via the Espionage Act.

wilshire

Hickey was one to collect national socialist publications, as well. Wilshire’s was among them, and Hickey’s Papers teem with issues of the periodical. Gaylord Wilshire, after whom the Boulevard in Los Angeles is named, was a nationally prominent socialist. Before being chased from California as an outspoken Red, he began publication of Wilshire’s (previously known as The Challenge, Wilshire’s Monthly Magazine, and Wilshire’s Magazine) in 1900. When he moved to New York, the magazine grew in circulation, eventually evolving into a tabloid newspaper (and, subsequently, discontinuing publication in 1915.) Check out the covers of Wilshire’s above and below: top-notch examples of early 20th century political cartoonery!

wilshires2

 

thesuffragistBasement

Not least among Hickey’s causes was women’s suffrage. In the poster that began this blog, you might have noticed that women were encouraged to attend his lectures. This was by design. Hickey had copies of (and may well have facilitated the distribution of) numerous magazines about women’s enfranchisement. New York’s The Suffragist and Chicago’s The Progressive Woman are just two among several in the Papers.

TheProgressiveWoman

Hickey passed away in 1925, but not before publishing his own Tom Hickey’s Magazine for several years. We have more than a few of those in our holdings, each a fascinating look into an often-forgotten aspect of Texas political thought. Those, as well as all of Hickey’s other papers, are made available to visiting patrons by our excellent Reference Staff.