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!

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The Tale of Jim Bowie’s Log Cabin (Maybe)

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A couple of years back, the Southwest Collection acquired the papers of Texas Governor Coke Stevenson. While loading up archival boxes at the Stevenson ranch hidden back amongst the cedars near Telegraph, Texas, Stevenson’s daughter revealed to us a hidden treasure. Tucked into a barn on the property was a log cabin that, according to family lore, once belonged to Jim Bowie, inventor of the Bowie knife and hero of the Texas Revolution who died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

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The Southwest Collection staff are not only archivists, but also historians. Therefore we listened to the tale with a mix of hope for its veracity, but also our innate academic skepticism. Fortunately, over the years we had tackled similar archeological questions with help from two professors from the Texas Tech University Architecture Department’s Historic Preservation Program: Dr. Elizabeth Louden and Dr. John White. They didn’t just teach undergraduate and graduate students the basics of evaluating historic structures and planning for their preservation. They were prone to lacing up their hiking boots and working in the field, bringing their expertise to claims like Stevenson’s. Louden and White could get to the bottom of this.

stevensoncrosssection1And so they set to work in 2014, applying the standards of the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey to the “Coke Stevenson Ranch Log Cabin,” as the final report titled it. The images here depict some of the results of their survey. Although these are hand-drawn, the Southwest Collection houses many of the digital 3D models and architectural renderings that Louden and White created.

cabin-interiorSo what did they learn? A lot about the structure itself, for one thing. It measured 14’ by 16’, with no interior walls (a “single pen-type,” as they described it.) It had been moved 100 yards from its original site to the shelter of the barn where it still rests atop several vertical log supports. Its roof had been removed, leaving no evidence of its shape or how it had been joined to the rest of the cabin. It also sported an amusing set of painted ducks on its north side.

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But was it Bowie’s? Well, it is likely that Bowie owned more than one cabin during his itinerant days on the US frontier. It is not, however, certain what happened to them after 1836. And so we are sad to report to you that, as with so many archaeological questions, we still don’t have a definite answer. However, we’re happy to repeat the Stevenson family’s story and provide the results of Louden and White’s months of work, so that future researchers can take a crack at the tale of Jim Bowie’s log cabin.

Return of the Dime Novels!

 

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A few years back, we foisted upon you several examples of our dime novel collection from our Rare Books unit here at the Southwest Collection. Now we’re back, and ready to share some more! These selections date from the 1890s and early 1900s, and range from tales of college hijinks and old-timey baseball to two-fisted, gunslinging adventures in the Old West. Behold!

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Take for example this unquestionably true and correct and creepy chronicle of Frank Merriwell’s experiences at Yale, where he was pitted “Freshman against Freshman.” It is nigh impossible to tell what’s really going on here, but with a slew of masked devils, masked apron-wearers, and a guillotine, it’s probably not good. But it might be a one-of-a-kind read!

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Of course, no set of dime novels would be complete without stories from the American Revolution. These here Liberty Boys enjoyed a half-wave from George Washington that the caption proclaims a “salute,” but honestly looks like a case of “who are these guys?” Either way, for 5 cents in 1901 or a visit to our archives today, you could find out what exactly was up.

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Sports were a popular plot vehicle in dime novels. And what turn-of-the-century depiction of baseball would fail to contain a bevy of amazing mustaches? And if sports didn’t do it for you, there were always about one hundred stories of the Old West per square inch of shelf space in the local five and dime. Young Wild West, the fellow that headed up this blog, or stories of Pawnee Bill (below), were but two among a zillion characters gracing their pages.

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This is all good stuff. Great stuff, even. But we have a whole lot more of it to show off to interested researchers. Need a peek? Then contact our ever-watchful Reference Staff and they’ll see what they can do to get it into your hands.

“Narrative of the travels and adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora, and western Texas” (1843)

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This month we’re sharing excerpts from a title found among our many well-preserved old books: the fictionalized narrative of one man’s travels throughout the U.S. southwest entitled the Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas. Written in 1843 by Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848), Monsieur Violet was based loosely on Marryat’s own North American journey. He had been quite the world traveler before the book’s publication, however, serving in the British Royal Navy and sailing all over the globe for several decades.

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Marryat was a widely published novelist, and is credited with being one of the first to write “sea stories” (think Master and Commander, or Moby Dick), with his most popular being the semi-autobiographical novel, Mr Midshipman Easy (1836). His authorial popularity even landed him the acquaintanceship of Charles Dickens. Oh, and in his free time Marryat invented a maritime flag signaling system.

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In 1839, four years before Monsieur Violet, Marryat published his relatively-less-fictional Diary in America. It was replete with criticisms of nineteenth-century America’s alien–to his eyes–way of doing and looking at things. Suffice to say, in the U.S. it was not uncommon to see the book publicly getting burned alongside effigies of Marryat. If he was trying to capitalize off the popularity of Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 sensation, Democracy in America–and let’s be honest, he was–then he failed spectacularly.

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But back to Monsieur Violet. It was also written after Marryat’s stint in North America, and is fairly detailed in its descriptions of the southern and southwestern U.S., including the Native American tribes that inhabited those regions. We’d describe it further, but it’s not a bad read, and you may peruse it at your own leisure here: http://hdl.handle.net/10605/947. And if you’re adventurous, then perhaps you could search around the internets to see if you can locate it under its other title, The Travels and Romantic Adventures of Monsieur Violet among the Snake Indians and Wild Tribes of the Great Western Prairies.

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“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 Sowell Collection Conference – 2018

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It’s April at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, and that means that the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World is about to host its annual conference! Created through the support of former TTU Regent James Sowell, the Collection provides to researchers the archival papers of some of the country’s most prominent writers on the natural world. Writing with a profound respect for the grandeur and fierceness of the land, these writers are deeply engaged with questions of land use and the nature of community, the conjunction of scientific and spiritual values, and the fragility of wilderness. From Thursday, April 19, through Saturday, April 21, scholars and authors whose works explore these themes will be presenting in the Southwest Collection/Special Collection Library’s Formby Room.

One presenter at the conference will be discussing the work of David Quammen, whose papers the Sowell Collection holds. Quammen is known for writing concise and highly accessible articles and monographs on scientific topics. In The Kiwi’s Egg, for example, he uses the personal letters and notebooks of Charles Darwin to explore the scientist’s biography with a focus on the history of the Darwin’s most famous theory. So it should come as no surprise that Quammen served as the general editor of an illustrated edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the cover of which is above.

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Every year, it seems, a contributor to Orion Magazine speaks at this year’s Conference. That’s probably because the Sowell Collection preserves the records of the Orion Society, of which Orion Magazine is the official publication. A group of writers, environmentalists, and activists, the Orion Society believes that “humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.” Through a variety of methods, not the least of which is the magazine, they strive to find ways through which nature and communities might be healed.

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While marine biologist, nature author, and passionate environmental advocate Rachel Carson’s papers aren’t in the Sowell Collection, it does own first-edition, signed copies of all her works such as the one seen here.. One presenter at the conference is slated to speak about Carson’s Silent Spring, a book foundational to the environmental movement (and one that you should go read right now!)

Many other presenters will be sharing their scholarship at this year’s event. But if you’d like to use one of the Sowell Collection’s many other archival collections, contact the SWC’s Reference Department and they can get those into your hands.

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.