The Adams Family Papers – No, not THAT Addams Family!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 randy.vance@ttu.edu and they’ll set you up.

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Texas Tech University – History in Pictures

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Presentation of honorary Texas Tech degrees to President

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.

These images are but the smallest sample of the treasure trove of Texas Tech history in our holdings. Need more? Then look no further than our University Archives digital collections or our other photograph collections!

Raiders of the Lost Archives!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

“Buddy Holly: Life, Legend, Legacy” – An Exhibit of the Crossroads Music Archive

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This summer, the Crossroads of Music Archive at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library is proud to present “Buddy Holly: Life, Legend, Legacy,” an exhibit celebrating the Lubbock-born rock and roll pioneer. The exhibit will be gracing the halls of the Southwest Collection until mid-October.

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Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley was born in Lubbock on September 7, 1936, to a musical family. He first performed at the age of five and learned various instruments, eventually settling on the guitar. In junior high Holly collaborated with Bob Montgomery as the duo “Buddy and Bob,” playing Western Bop at local functions, as well as KDAV’s “Sunday Party.” Buddy also teamed with area musicians such as Sonny Curtis, Larry Welborn, Don Guess, and Jack Neal. These early combos played at Lawson’s Skating Rink, teen clubs, and opened for touring musical acts.

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After seeing Elvis Presley perform at Lubbock’s Fair Park Coliseum on June 3, 1955, Holly switched to Rock and Roll. He then went on to record with Decca in 1956, but flourished with Norman Petty at his studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Holly, drummer Jerry Allison, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and guitarist Niki Sullivan formed The Crickets, who burst onto the rock and roll scene with numerous hits such as “That’ll Be the Day.”

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1958 saw many changes for Holly. He met and married Maria Elena Santiago in New York City, and began recording there. After splitting with Petty and The Crickets, and needing cash, Buddy signed on to the Winter Dance Party tour with the hottest acts of the day. After a show in Iowa, Holly chartered a plane to fly him, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper to the next venue. Shortly after take-off on February 3, 1959, the plane crashed, killing all three musicians and the pilot.

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Holly planned, but never completed, creating a record company and recording studio in Lubbock. A tribute statue graces the West Texas Walk of Fame, and he is celebrated at the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock, and in the Bill Griggs Collection at the Crossroads of Music Archive.

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Tessie Frank Dickeson: 60 Years of Photography

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In 1910 a young Tessie Frank Dickeson was given a box camera by her brother, which led to a profession she was to pursue for more than 60 years. Over 100 years later, the Tessie Frank Dickeson Collection resides at the Southwest Collection. Best of all, the photos and her notes are all available among our digital collections!

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As Mrs. Dickeson tells it, she was a school dropout at the age of 13, after which she began work in a millinery shop in Longview, Texas, as an apprentice. She did not know how to sew and turned out to be a poor hatmaker, but she was a top-notch salesperson, so they kept her on at the shop until it went out of business. By 1947 she had moved to Lubbock, Texas, where she worked at Koen’s (photography) Studio, at last putting her brother’s camera and her love of photography to good use. The photo below is of her ready to hit the streets in the early 1900s to snap shots everywhere she could.

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The collection is almost entirely glass negatives of photographs of people taken in Marshall, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, in the early 1900’s, primarily from 1905 to 1918. Her labels explaining who the photographs depict are a rare bonus in a collection containing photos this old, but the real unique element is her narration of the process she used to develop the photographs. The photograph above, for example, shows not only an excellent hat, but came with her brief notes on the “ground glass substitute” coating, and the fact that the background was added after the photo was developed.

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The photo above may not be the most flattering, but it also comes with a description of the dangers of working with glass plate negatives. We’re not surprised that some occasionally fell – when more than three or four of them are in a box, they are among some of the heaviest items we house at the Southwest Collection.

Once again, we encourage you to take a look at the rest of this unique journey into turn of the century photography over amongst our digital collections. It’s worth your time.

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.

The Marie “Mimi” Litschauer Papers at the Southwest Collection

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The Marie “Mimi” Litschauer Papers at the Southwest Collection showcase the creative process of Big Bend area plein air painter Mimi Litschauer. Born in Wisconsin in 1957, Litschauer developed an interest in art at a young age and later in her life relocated to West Texas where she immersed herself in the scenery of Big Bend. The Mimi Litschuaer Papers contain several of Litschauer’s journals, thumbnail sketches, and field sketches in various mediums including oil, pastels, Conté crayons, and charcoal.

 

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The papers group together photographs of the scenery Litschauer painted along with both Litschuaer’s initial thumbnail sketches and her field sketches in oil. As such, the papers allow researchers to observe firsthand the manner in which Litschauer refined and perfected her artwork. Furthermore, researchers can see how Litschauer captured the scenes around her at each stage of her process.

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The Mimi Litschauer Papers also include several of Litschuaer’s journals, providing further insight into her creative process.

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The journals contain several sketches by Litschuaer, cutouts of noteworthy poems and quotes, and pages of handwritten notes by Litschauer regarding her artistic technique as well as her philosophical observations about the world around her.

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Want to see the Litschauer Papers in their entirety? Contact the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library’s Reference Department and they will arrange to get them into your hands.

“From Here It’s Possible: West Texas Goes to the Stars” – A New Exhibit at the SWC

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The Southwest Collection has created a new exhibit entitled “From Here It’s Possible: West Texas Goes to the Stars,” featuring items from our many aerospace collections, as well as oral histories conducted with astronauts and NASA employees with West Texas and Texas Tech connections. This blog shares a few examples of featured individuals, but the exhibit displays many more. It will be installed by mid-February, and will be up until mid-June. Make sure to stop by and check it out!

William “Willie” McCool (above) was a graduate of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. From there he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1983. During his naval tenure he earned a master’s in computer science from the University of Maryland, and in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Commander McCool served as a test pilot for the U.S. Navy, flying over 24 different types of aircraft. He joined NASA in 1996, and was the pilot of the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

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Ginger Kerrick was born in El Paso, Texas, and spent her youth dreaming of a future career in space and athletics. A knee injury early in her college years led her to focus full-time on science education, and she transferred to Texas Tech where she earned her B.S. in 1991 and M.S. in 1993, both in the field of physics. She has now been employed for over two decades with NASA, holding multiple positions, most notably the first non-astronaut capsule communicator in 2001 and flight director in 2005, making her the first Hispanic female to hold that position.

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Bernard Harris was an Astronaut, Mission Specialist, and EVA space walker on Space Shuttle Missions STS-55 and STS-63. He received his medical degree from Texas Tech School of Medicine in 1982, then later served on the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University.

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Albert Sacco was an Astronaut and Payload Specialist on Space Shuttle Mission STS-73. He is currently Dean of the College of Engineering, Texas Tech University.

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Rick Husband graduated from Texas Tech in 1980 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Soon after, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he flew F-4 Phantoms, served as an instructor pilot and academic instructor at postings in the U.S. and Great Britain, and became an accomplished test pilot, flying over 40 different types of aircraft during his career. In 1994 NASA selected Col. Husband as an astronaut candidate, eventually assigning him the role of pilot on the space shuttle Discovery during its 10-day journey to the International Space Station on the STS-96 mission in 1999. He served as Commander of the space shuttle Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

But y’all – there are so many more West Texans and Texas Tech alumni featured in the exhibit. We encourage you to visit us and learn all about them!

“President Grover E. Murray: A Decade of Progress” – An Exhibit at the Southwest Collection

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The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library is proud to be the home of former Texas Tech University President Grover E. Murray’s archival collection. We’ve recently installed an exhibit honoring his professional and personal accomplishments entitled “President Grover E. Murray: A Decade of Progress.” Below are some images from the exhibit, but we encourage y’all to come out and take a look at it yourselves!

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This 1966 image is the swearing in of the National Science Board (NSB) members in Washington, D.C. Dr. Murray is fourth from the left.

Grover Elmer Murray was born in 1916, in Maiden, North Carolina. After receiving his undergraduate degree in geology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he attended Louisiana State University where he completed his Ph.D. in 1941. Dr. Murray worked in exploration with the Magnolia Petroleum Company, but in 1948 he was asked to return to LSU as a professor. He remained in Baton Rouge for 18 years in the Department of Geology and also served as the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs.G Murray top+ newspaper

On November 1, 1966, Dr. Grover E. Murray was inaugurated as Texas Technological College’s eighth president, with a host of dignitaries in attendance, such as Stewart Udall and Governor John Connally. During his tenure, he oversaw the transition of Texas Technological College to Texas Tech University. He also brought about the creation of the International Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Land Studies (ICASALS). Both the medical and law schools were formed during his presidency, and he oversaw the construction of numerous campus buildings. Yet, Dr. Murray remained humble and gave credit to all involved. He stepped down from the presidency in 1976.

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Dr. Murray continued to teach, participate in his academic discipline, and remained active in a host of other endeavors. He served on various boards, as a consultant, and won numerous awards. Aside from the SWC’s Grover E. Murray Papers, our University Archives holds papers from his tenure as president. Dr. Murray passed away in May 2003. At his memorial tribute, Dr. Idris Traylor referred to him as a Renaissance man “who was always ‘doing,’ and his great legacy to us is what has been ‘done.’”

G.Murray + Georgia OKeefe BESTMurray with artist Georgia O’Keeffe.