Women Who Shaped Texas Tech: 2015 Edition!

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Last March we told you about our Women’s History Month exhibit, “The Women Who Shaped Texas Tech,” celebrating several women whose influence on Texas Tech University is still felt today. The exhibit has received several new additions for 2015 who we’d like to share with you!

The first of this year’s celebrated women is Lucille Graves (above.) 40 years ago she sat down with one of our oral historians for an oral history interview to share her story as the first African American student at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University.) Having already received her bachelor’s degree in 1961, Graves tried to attend Texas Tech to receive her masters. Yet she was repeatedly refused entrance on the grounds that its charter stipulated that the university was established for white students only. With the help of the NAACP, she confronted the university and was at last admitted after a phone call from Texas Tech President R. C. Goodwin himself. Soon Tech saw a peaceful, non-violent integration of the traditionally white college. Graves was also the founder of Mary and Mac, the first black private school in Lubbock, Texas, in 1955. She chose the name of her school after the children’s nursery rhyme on the reasoning that “This poem depicts the act of boys and girls in their desire to become useful in this society.”

FayeBumpass-ADJ Faye Bumpass is also featured in the exhibit. She received her bachelor’s (1932) and master’s (1934) from Texas Technological College, then went on to teach Latin and Spanish in Texas high schools until 1941, serve as a visiting instructor in Spanish during the summer at Texas Tech, travel to Latin America to teach Latin and English as a second language (primarily in Lima Peru,) and acquire a Doctor of Letters (1948) from San Marcos University. Returning to Texas Tech in 1957, she became an assistant professor in both English and Foreign Languages, wrote several textbooks on bilingual education, and testified before Congress in May 1967 about bilingual education. In 1969, she became one of two women to acquire the Horn Professorship, TTU’s highest faculty rank and one previously held only by male professors.mary jeanne van appledorn2

Another Shaper of Texas Tech, Mary Jeanne van Appledorn, studied both piano and theory at the University of Rochester’s prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where each year she was awarded the George Eastman Honorary Scholarship, and in 1948 received her Bachelor of Music with Distinction in piano. She subsequently received her Master of Music Degree (Theory) from Eastman in 1950 and accepted a position at Texas Technological College that fall. She earned a Ph.D. (music) from Eastman in 1966 while teaching at Tech courses ranging from undergraduate music theory to graduate composition courses. Her list of chairmanships, composition commissions, and other honors are too many to list here. Suffice to say that in 1989 she received TTU’s prestigious Horn Professorship. Dr. van Appledorn held the distinction of being one of the longest serving faculty members at Tech (58 years!), and her papers are held in our University Archives.mina wolf lamb1Mina Marie Wolf attended the newly established Texas Technological College where she received her B.A. in chemistry in 1932. While in graduate school at the University of Texas, she was discouraged from pursuing a career as a chemist by a faculty member due to the difficulty of finding jobs in that field for a female. So she returned to Texas Tech in 1935 to get her M.S. in Foods and Nutrition, and, after a brief stint away from Lubbock, she returned to TTU in 1940 to serve as associate professor in the foods and nutrition department of Home Economics, picking up her Ph.D. in Nutrition and chemistry from Columbia University (1942) along the way. Mina married Arch Lamb in 1941, and together the couple left a lasting impression on Texas Tech through their support for the college and its students. Dr. Lamb was a member of numerous professional and local campus organizations, taught Red Cross nutrition and canteen courses during World War II, and also served on the Lubbock Food Ration Board. TTU honored her as a Piper Professor for her teaching and work with undergraduate students, and just before her retirement she donated $10,000 towards a new laboratory for assessment of nutritional status in humans. Yet in an interview in 1990, she stated that her proudest accomplishment was establishing the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program at the Lubbock Children’s Health Clinic where she had volunteered for 18 years.OpheliaMalone1964

Ophelia Powell-Malone is our final Woman Who Shaped Texas Tech. She holds a unique place in Texas Tech history as the first African American to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. After transferring from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, to attend Texas Tech shortly after the college integrated, she became a home economics major. Receiving her degree in 1964, Malone went on to become a teacher in New Mexico, then a dietitian at Langston University and at nursing homes in Lubbock and Houston. Mentor Tech chose Powell-Malone as one of two trailblazing individuals to honor in the naming of their program, which was established in 2002.

If you’re curious about the archival collections of these women, or of those honored last year, why don’t you give our helpful Reference Staff a call? They’d be happy to help you out!

by B. Lynn Whitfield, University Archivist

The National College Baseball Hall of Fame and the Southwest Collection – 2014 Edition!

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Since 2004 the Southwest Collection (SWC) has served as repository for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame (NCBHoF) on behalf of the College Baseball Foundation. We’ve been fortunate to receive a host of items documenting the event as well as the history of college baseball, from scrapbooks, photographs, and videos to media guides and artifacts. Recent donations include ball caps, bats, uniforms, and even cleats. Perhaps most impressive, the SWC downloads and archives nearly 700 emails per day during each baseball season from over 200 Division I and other schools. We’re an incredibly fortunate archive! William Clarence Matthews

As we mentioned last year, recording oral histories with Hall of Fame inductees, as well as current NCAA baseball award winners who also attend the event, are another method through which the SWC preserves the history of college baseball. To date, nearly 100 oral histories have been conducted with players and their families. The Southwest Collection is proud to claim these as part of its massive oral history collection currently comprised of thousands of interviews, with new additions every month.

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The 2014 Hall of Fame induction festivities will start early Friday, June 27th and run through late Saturday evening. This year will see the induction of seven new members:

  • Bill Bordley of the University of Southern California
  • Alex Fernandez of the University of Miami and Miami-Dade South CC
  • Mike Fiore of the University of Miami
  • Demie Mainieri, coach of Miami-Dade North CC
  • William Clarence Matthews of Tuskegee Institute and Harvard University (seen above in turn of the century gear!)
  • Gene Stephenson, coach at Wichita State University
  • Mickey Sullivan, former outfielder and coach at Baylor University

Hall of Famers’ careers are not the only ones celebrated. College baseball’s finest young athletes received awards for their on-the-field excellence. The 2014 season’s award winners are will be announced at the nationally-televised Night of Champions dinner on Saturday evening, but can also be found on their website for those who can’t attend. They and the Hall of Famers will enjoy the finest hospitality that the Southwest Collection and Lubbock, Texas have to offer. In fact, each year, both the Hall of Famers and the award winners heap praise on the commemorative posters and baseball cards produced by the Southwest Collection’s exhibit preparator Lynn Stoll. These items highlight the biography and always-impressive stats of each of the 2014 award winners.

Participation in the National College Baseball Hall of Fame festivities is but one of many ways in which the Southwest Collection preserves and makes available all aspects of sports history. Prominent among its many other sports-related collections are the records of the former Southwest Conference, the Big XII Conference, and the few remaining records of the former Big 8 Conference. For more information about the SWC’s sports and other collections please contact our Reference Staff who would be happy to guide you through them.

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Oral History 301: Understanding Recording Formats

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For this week’s blog post on the oral history collection at the Southwest Collection (see previous entries here  and here!), we want to give you a quick overview of the various recording formats that have been utilized in recording our interviews. Since our collection spans over 60 years and more than 6,000 oral histories, historians have recorded using the technology of many eras. Today, preservation is our highest priority, so all of the older media are being converted to digital format.

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The earliest interviews were recorded on ¼ inch magnetic audio tape or “reel to reel” format. Roughly 1,900 of our interviews are on this format, ranging from 1949-1985. Reels can come in a variety of sizes, but since most of our interviews were recorded at an incredibly slow speed (typically 1 7/8 inches per second), these interviews could fit on very small 3 inch reels. You can see an example of one of the portable recording devices likely used by our field historians here. These reels require extra care as we digitize them today because they tend to have tension issues on modern reel-to-reel players that are calibrated to play the larger commercial reels.

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Beginning in the mid-1970s, field historians also recorded to audio cassette. This format is utilized in about 2,000 interviews. Though many patrons are familiar with how to work a cassette player, we still ask two weeks advance notice in order to make a digital copy of an interview. The older the recording, the more likely there will be technical issues: the plastic casing might be cracked, or the springs or rollers might have quit working. Fortunately, our audio/visual staff is well versed in cassette tape repair.

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Luckily for our audio/visual department today, our oral history collection was primarily recorded on newer, more versatile audio formats. Occasionally we have worked with interviews on microcassettes, DAT tapes, and various small video tapes, but starting in the mid-2000s all oral histories are recorded on digital audio recorders, or as we phrase it, they are “born digital.” This allows us to copy the files to our servers, make patron-use copies on compact discs, and edit audio files much more easily. Our current recorders save files in .wav format, with a 44.1 kHz sample rate and 16 bit depth (which is compact disc quality). In the upcoming years, we will likely upgrade our equipment with portable recorders capable of 96 kHz/24bit and better quality microphones. It seems the future will bring us higher fidelity digital recordings, but luckily (fingers crossed!) no more unique and proprietary formats.

Now it’s time to ask our readers (especially you oral historians!): what formats have you seen oral histories recorded on? Sadly, our collection does not go far enough back to include transcription discs or wire recordings. Have you used video recordings with video backups? Our field historians began this practice almost a decade ago, but we still rely heavily upon audio recordings. Many of the unique audio formats we encounter come from small oral history collections donated by individuals in our surrounding communities. In a future blog post, we will give an overview of the work others have done to promote oral history cultivation on the South Plains. And, as always, if you’d like to listen to these oral histories or view any of our other collections, don’t hesitate to contact our Reference Staff.

by Elissa Stroman

Oral History 201: Oral History Processing

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In our last Oral History blog post, we gave a brief overview of the holdings of the Southwest Collection’s oral history program (of which there are thousands!) This week we would like to show you what our oral history department has diligently been working on lately. The SWC Audio/Visual Department curates all of the new interviews currently being conducted by our field historians, and after almost 2 years of work we are proud to unveil our new transcripts that debuted on the SWC’s DSpace this month!

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Our transcripts are the culmination of a lengthy project dedicated to creating the best product possible for researchers. Within these transcription documents you’ll find an interview summary, a general synopsis/table of contents, keywords, and a transcript of the entire interview. For our style and formatting, we are indebted to the Baylor Institute for Oral History’s style guide, which helped build the foundation of our work. These transcripts will provide researchers all over the world access to our newest oral histories, and we are eager to hear from researchers who use these documents.

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To process our oral histories, we start with our student assistants transcribing each interview (which typically takes roughly 8 hours per hour of interview). The transcript then undergoes at least three reviews by both A/V staff and the interviewer to ensure accuracy (especially of proper names and idiosyncratic language). The A/V staff then sends the interview to the SWC’s cataloging librarians, who place it on Worldcat where other libraries can discover the interview. Finally, we upload the transcript onto DSpace.

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Some of the first interviews cataloged with the new transcript template include a set of eight conducted with members of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM). We are highlighting these interviews to coincide with the exhibit that is on display through mid-June in the Southwest Collection.

The interviews conducted by Andy Wilkinson and David Marshall deal with all areas of AAM: from the original tractorcades and protests, to later political involvement in Washington, and their ongoing work with Farm-Aid. The Southwest Collection is dedicated to preserving the history of these hard working farmers and will continue interviewing all interested parties of the American Agriculture Movement. If you would like your story heard and preserved, please call Andy Wilkinson at (806) 742-3749 or email andy.wilkinson@ttu.edu. And if you’d like to hear the stories already gathered, our Reference Staff is always happy to see what they can arrange in that regard.

by Elissa Stroman

Just in Time for the Super Bowl!

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This Sunday the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLVII will be broadcast to eager fans throughout the world. Most folks probably won’t be conducting archival research during the game, but if they wanted to (and if the archive was open on a Sunday,) then they might stop by and take a look at some of the interesting things we have at the SWC. In the past we’ve shared info about our college football collections (hyperlink SWC and to NCAA) but today we’re all about our NFL goodies.

Above is something that comes, strangely enough, from our Southwest Conference Records. Created by long-time donor Bo Carter, this list documents the 1977 season of the Denver Broncos. In those days it was more difficult to keep track of the specifics of win/loss records and final scores. Even local newspapers might not provide more than information about only the local team. Carter documented this information for each NFL team from 1976 through 1980.

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Artifacts are a great way to understand a collection. Tangible, physical items that aren’t just printed words on a page can bring the whole collection to life. Take this New Orleans Saints umbrella, found within the 14 box John Mecom, Jr. Papers. Mecom was a Houston, Texas oilman who owned the Saints for 18 years, eventually selling them in May 1985 to current owner Tom Benson. Umbrellas are present at many New Orleans festivities, with a history that is far too long to share here. Suffice to say that the New Orleans Saints fans, and particularly current owner Tom Benson, are never afraid to sport their gold and black umbrellas similar to the one we see here.

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Umbrellas aren’t the only sports artifacts we preserve. Check out this football signed by former NFL defensive back Jerry Gray. A graduate of the University of Texas, Gray went on to play professional football for the L.A. Rams (as you can see from the signature on this ball,) Houston Oilers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers until his retirement in 1993. Gray currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Because he played football at Lubbock Estacado High School (Lubbock is the home of the Southwest Collection, by the way,) he was generous enough to donate some of his materials to us. And so we have an awesome autographed football!

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Printed material and artifacts are not the only way the SWC has been able to preserve the stories of the NFL and its players. Over the past 60 years, historians at Texas Tech have conducted over 6,000 oral history interviews found both here and here (and of course by visiting the SWC, where boxes upon boxes like those seen above await the attention of eager researchers.) Some of the earliest interviews in our holdings date from the late 1940s. One such was conducted with retired running back Duane Thomas. From 1970 to 1974 he toted the rock for the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins. Much of the interview concerns his thoughts about being an African American professional football player both in the NFL and at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon, TX.

The documents, artifacts, and recordings shared above represent a small fraction of our football-related materials. Give our Reference Staff a shout and they will help you get your hands on anything else!

African American Collections at the SWC!

Daniel BensonThis Monday, January 20th, the nation celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. With that in mind, we’d like to share a little about our collections documenting African American history. The Southwest Collection (SWC) houses a tremendous amount of material on this topic, including books, oral histories, photographs, newspapers, and the papers and records of people and organizations. In fact, because we preserve so many items, we’re going to highlight this week only items related to the Lubbock, Texas area (where the SWC lives, in case you didn’t know yet!)

The SWC contains more than two-dozen manuscript collections that refer to African-Americans from the slave era until the present day. As an example, the image above is an excerpt from the Daniel H. Benson Records, documenting the career of the titular Lubbock area lawyer. The subject of this material was described as a “class action suit on behalf of all Black and Mexican American citizens in the City of Lubbock…(challenging) the at large election system [then] used to elect council men to the City Council.”  The original suit was filed in 1976 and the ruling was appealed in 1979. The summary shared above is just one of nearly 1,000 pages of documentation that can be viewed not only in our Reference room, but also among our digital collections.

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In our files are well over 130 professionally conducted oral history interviews relating to African Americans throughout Texas spanning nearly 45 years! In addition, photographs of African Americans appear in numerous collections. The photo shared here is of a cook who worked at the College Inn, a Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) women’s dormitory.

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Our newspaper collections are vast. In addition to the general run of dozens of regional and local newspapers available on microfilm and digitally, the SWC maintains a virtually complete set of issues of the West Texas Digest, published since September 1977 by Eddie Richardson and T. J. Patterson. Its goal was, among other things, to inform the world about the African American community of Lubbock, Texas, and the surrounding region. The publication went through many titles (such as the Lubbock digest, as the above image shows,) but what any researchers really needs to know is that regardless of title we have nearly 1,600 images of the publication spanning 1977 to 2010.

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There was another African American newspaper in Lubbock, this one active during the 1960s. The Manhattan Heights Times was created by Scott and Norman Williamson, and it began publication in 1961. The first African American newspaper in town, it briefly ceased its run in 1965. It didn’t take long for it to return with a new title, appearing as The Manhattan Heights and West Texas Times that same year. This iteration of the paper ran until the late 60s.

We can’t overstate how many materials we have on this subject. Fortunately, our Reference Staff can help any interested researcher navigate through them. Don’t hesitate to give them a shout!

Oral History 101 – A Basic Introduction

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Over the past sixty years, historians at Texas Tech have conducted over 6,000 oral history interviews that now reside permanently at the Southwest Collection. Some of the earliest interviews in our holdings date from the late 1940s and were conducted by the Texas Tech History Department’s Dr. William Curry Holden, who spoke with local businessmen and ranchers about life on the South Plains. While our recording technologies have adapted beyond analog devices into digital voice recorders and video cameras, we continue to capture the stories of people in this region. Today we carry on the tradition established by historians like Holden, Fred Carpenter, Richard Mason, and David Murrah. Our field historians reach out to persons of interest all across the Southwest and are especially interested in politics, the histories of minorities, cultural heritage (specifically the arts and creative processes), Texas Tech history, sports, science and technology, and agriculture. These interviews are an invaluable tool for researchers interested in primary documentation and personal accounts. Field historians frequently go into interviewees’ homes, allowing the interview to be conducted casually; stories of major historical events are told first-hand, by eye-witnesses in their own words.

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In the Fall of 2010, the Southwest Collection began a massive re-evaluation of our oral history holdings. One of the biggest concerns was preserving our “reel-to-reel” recordings. Consequently, for the protection of the original recordings we now require patrons who wish to access such interviews to make their requests at least two weeks in advance. Upon receiving the request, the Audio/Visual department digitizes each recording, performs any sort of audio restoration that is required for audibility, and then burns the recordings to optical disc for patron use. We hope to have all of our 6,000 interviews in a digital format within the next three years, which will allow patrons easier access and less wait time. In future blog posts in the upcoming months, we will discuss further the various formats and preservation issues that we have encountered with this massive collection.

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Digitally transferring one of our oral history recordings on a reel-to-reel tape player.

If you are interested in our oral history holdings, at this time you can access information on the interviews conducted from 1949-2001, as well as search the collection by keyword, on the Southwest Collection website. Interviews from 2001-2011 are found in our dspace holdings. We are in the process of creating a new web portal for our oral history collection that hopes to go live by the end of 2013. Continue checking back on this blog for updates on this exciting new chapter in the history of the Southwest Collection’s oral history collection!

-by Elissa Stroman, SWC Audio/Visual Department