Two Collections, Two Perspectives

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Both collections also contain a whole lot more about the rest of their lives and careers. You can find Tobolowsky’s finding aid here, while Hickey’s materials have been digitized in their entirety over here.  Take a look through them, and if you see something you want to see more of, give us a call!

The “American Agriculture News” – 1978 to 1983

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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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!

Women’s History Month – with Hermine Tobolowsky and the Texas’ Equal Rights Amendment of 1972!

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March is Women’s History Month! And we didn’t have to think twice about sharing one of our favorite archival collections on that topic: the papers of Hermine Dalkowitz Tobolowsky. Known as “the Mother of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment,” Tobolowsky coordinated the Amendment’s passage in 1972. Her papers document not only the years of hard work that went into that triumph, but also her involvement with other facets of the women’s movement.

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Hermine Tobolowsky was born January 13, 1921, in San Antonio, Texas. She attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and the University of San Antonio (now Trinity University). She went on to obtain a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. After facing blatant discrimination, she opened a private law practice in San Antonio and became ever-more involved with women’s groups that were interested in tackling the same issues she had faced.

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By 1957, she had become the leader of the Texas-wide campaign for equal legal rights for men and women. The Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women had asked her to spearhead their causes, such as a bill empowering married women to own property separately from their husbands. By 1959, this had evolved into the Texas Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). After its passage 15 years later, Tobolowsky didn’t rest on her laurels. She continued her work in the Women’s Rights Movement, presenting speeches and workshops on women’s issues and serving as a legal advisor for numerous women’s organizations right up to her death on July 25, 1995.

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But what was the ERA? A look at the fact sheet above gives you a sense of its original conception, but in its final form it “simply” amended the Texas Constitution to ensure that equality under the law couldn’t be denied due to sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. Its passage was a struggle, facing opposition at various times by the State Bar of Texas, private groups and lobbyists, and numerous legislators. After its inception, however, it was used time and again by Texas attorneys general, legislators, and women’s organizations to strike down laws, refine existing laws, or generally lobby for ongoing social and political change on behalf of women.

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Tobolowsky’s collection is replete with correspondence, pamphlets, women’s organizations’ directories and newsletters, and even drafts of speeches and articles written by Tobolowsky and other women in the movement. A handful of her scrapbooks contain a wealth of information about her life and career as well. All of this great stuff can be found here at the Southwest Collection, so come on in and visit with our ever-helpful Reference staff to get your hands on it!

The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad – Through Architecture!

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For decades, the SWC has been home to dozens—nay hundreds!—of architectural renderings of structures along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. And now many of these have been digitized and placed online for your viewing and/or researching pleasure. Take for example the plans, above, for a hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drafted in 1953.

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A little background: chartered in 1859 as the Atchison and Topeka Railroad Company by Cyrus K. Holliday, the organization’s rail lines eventually extended to Los Angeles, California, by 1887, after breaking ground in Texas in 1881. The Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railway was added in 1886 to obtain a connection to the Gulf of Mexico. Construction of new buildings along the line proceeded well into the 20th century, such as the Dodge City car icing house, above, constructed in 1929.

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By 1888 the Texas Panhandle was well-integrated in the railroad’s service lines. The historic Round House in Slaton, Texas (above) is a Lubbock-area testament to its influence. The organization was renamed the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) Company in 1893 when its lines became part of the Santa Fe Railroad system. The company remained active in land colonization, town-site development, and transportation throughout its history.

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Our ATSF records don’t just consist of plans for dormitories on the rim of the Grand Canyon, such as the one above. They also contain early 20th century correspondence between local businesses and various local, state, and regional divisions of the ATSF, most prominently those in Abilene, Lubbock, and San Angelo, Texas. Other correspondence and financial documents cover various subjects and hail from small, scattered towns throughout the ATSF’s area. And, as with any railroad collection, we have reams of timetables, train order slips, annual reports, and other such goodies.

So if you’re interested in seeing more ATSF materials, head over to our digitized plans or look over the collections’ finding aids. Then give us a call, and we’ll get them into your hands!

Now Online: Our Civil War Graves Survey of Texas

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The Southwest Collection recently received thousands of files of grave surveys documenting the final resting place of Civil War veterans throughout Texas, and portions of Oklahoma and New Mexico. The project was conducted voluntarily by Texas’ Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) chapters as a part of their efforts to document such data throughout the United States. The surveys of cemeteries document the interment of Confederate and Union veterans, as well as able-bodied men at the time of the Civil War whose military affiliation is unknown. Many of these records have been digitized and can be found among our digital collections.

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Most surveys consist of a record of the veteran’s birth and death dates, as well as the county in which the veteran was interred. For example, on the form above James Adams Brandon was identified as buried in Nolan County, Texas, in 1894. Some records also contain the deceased’s service record, albeit using numerous abbreviations. Brandon was a private in Company F, 2nd Arkansas Infantry Battalion.

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Some surveys were conducted at the Military Unit level, rather than at the level of an individual Veteran. In the image above a surveyor has documented William Alva Phipps as a member of Company E, 12th Missouri Cavalry, in the Union. The form also notes that Phipps was buried in East Texas, at Wills Point in Van Zandt County. Phipps, among many other veterans, appears twice in the archive, once by personal name, and again as a member of a military unit.

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Some surveyors went the extra mile, photographing the burial site as well as providing written documentation. This is the headstone of Henry Eugene Bradford of the Texas Infantry. Not all photos are as clear as this one, but they all provide visuals that bring the otherwise dry documentation to life.

As with all our collections, this archive is available in its physical form in the Southwest Collection. But we encourage you to peruse it online. Although only around two thousand records are online at present, it will soon number more than 6,000. Check it out.

Preserving the Past: Celebrating 20 Years in our New Home

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20 years ago, the Southwest Collection moved out of the depths of the Texas Tech University Math Building and into its current palatial home at 15th and Detroit. From September 2017 through February 2018, we’re exhibiting photographs and artifacts from that journey in an exhibit entitled “Preserving our Past: Celebrating 20 Years in Our New Home.” It also chronicles the many exhibits created over those decades that showcased the many amazing archival treasures housed here.

It all started with the architectural plans above. Drafted in 1994, they were the first step taken toward building our state-of-the art facility.

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The rapidly deteriorating TTU Speech Building occupied some of the space where the SWC now stands. Although the Agricultural Pavilion remains, the Speech building’s foundations were transformed into one-part exterior flower bed, and one-part eastern SWC Rotunda.

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The photo above documents the 1995 groundbreaking. SWC Director David Murrah, as well as the TTU President, members of the Board of Regents, and other luminaries attended the event. By late ’95 and early ’96, the land had been scraped clean. By the summer 1996, the skeleton of the building had risen over the site, as you can see below.

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This final photo is of the ribbon cutting that officially opened the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library in 1997. Director Bill Tydeman, long-time archivist Janet Neugebauer, and TTU’s President, Chancellor, and other officials all took a swipe at the ribbon with ceremonial scissors. Directly behind the bow stands Frances Holden, whose husband William C. Holden was a professor at TTU for many decades. Our Reading Room, where the ribbon cutting took place, is named after her and her husband.

So, y’all, drop on by and check out our exhibit, please! There are many other excellent photos to look over, including some of moving day, when thousands of boxes were laboriously transported to the new building to be housed in perpetuity.

The Papers of Captain Robert G. Carter: Frontier Soldier

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Colonel Margaret M. Henderson, USMC

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March is Women’s History Month, so with that in mind we’re sharing the story of USMC Colonel Margaret Henderson (whose papers we are fortunate to house) and the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.

Faced with manpower shortages in 1918, Marine Major General Commandant George Barnett asked the Secretary of the Navy’s permission to enlist women for clerical duties. That August, Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marines, with 305 eventually joining in 1918 and taking over stateside clerical duties from battle-ready Marines needed overseas. The women were nicknamed “Marinettes.” The vast majority of USMC Headquarters personnel—almost 85% in fact—were women by the end of World War II. The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was officially established on February 13th, 1943. The MCWR was often referred to as the “Lady Marines.”

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Women held over hundreds of jobs: radio operator, photographer, parachute rigger, driver, aerial gunnery instructor, cook, baker, quartermaster, control tower operator, motion picture operator, auto mechanic, telegraph operator, cryptographer, laundry operator, post exchange manager, stenographer, and agriculturist. Soon they numbered over 800 officers and 17,640 enlisted troops, although by July 1946 only around 1,000 remained in service. Regardless, in 1948 Congress made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps, and thousands of active and reserve soldiers served actively in the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf conflicts.

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Margaret M. Henderson was one such Marine. Born in Cameron, Texas, on February 6, 1911, she received a degree in business administration from the University of Texas in 1932, and taught in Lubbock, Texas, until 1942 at which time she enlisted in the USMC. Her career began as a second lieutenant, and although her service officially ended in 1946 so that she could teach at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University), she returned to the Corps in 1948. Ultimately, her time in the Marines spanned 21 years. She reached the pinnacle of her career when she was named the Director of the Women Marines, a post she held from 1959 to 1964.

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If you want to look deeper into Henderson’s papers, our Reference Staff would be happy to help you with that.

The Tale of Thomas “Red Tom” Hickey

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.