Raiders of the Lost Archives!

A new map of Texas BEST

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

Guitar-Sonny West

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

Tarahumara-Image67

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

Milton Fore-edge BEST-Gold+

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

GhostRider1941

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

John Lane Book-1

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

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

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

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The Southwest Collection’s 2015 Highlights

2015 is coming to a close, and the SWC is looking back at some of its favorite images of the past year. (Also, because no one is in the archive for the holidays, we shamefully admit to the necessity having to recycle content!) So here they are – the best of 2015!

The year is wrapping up, and so we bring the SWC’s favorite images from 2015!Back in July we noted that archives have nigh innumerable boxes. But when the Ag Movement tractors and I asked our Registrar to come up with a box-related joke, he replied “If they wanted us to use good grammar they should have made it more easier.”He stands by that statement to this day.

For example, back in July we noted that archives have nigh innumerable boxes. But when the Ag Movement tractors and I asked our Registrar to come up with a box-related joke, he replied “If they wanted us to use good grammar they should have made it more easier.” He stands by that statement to this day.

Less silly but equally entertaining is this footage of our Earth as seen through the first color satellite footage ever taken from space! Well, the footage of the earth is real. As a savvy user pointed out, however, the background and its immobile stars probably aren’t…

ranchers feed yard

Every other Wednesday around here is dubbed “Western,” y’all, but sometimes we eschew the rodeos, cowboys, and ranching for a classic Ford Fairlane station wagon.

title shot

In January, we installed an exhibit on Texas Tech’s Dairy Barn, a 90-year-old symbol of the campus, still preserved today just yards away from the Southwest Collection. Here’s a photograph of it today, surrounded by our crowded campus, and then, surrounded by…pretty much nothing!

Lubbockhistorichomes - need to chop up - 1988 for tumblr4

While every other Wednesday is “Western Wednesday” around here, all the remaining Wednesdays are “Map Day!” One of our most popular maps this year was, curiously, this 1988 map of historic homes and buildings in Lubbock, Texas, produced by the Lubbock Heritage Society and some of their partners.

keep on streakin

We see many bizarre advertisements in our newspaper collections, but few are like the one we found in the spring of 1974: an obsession with streaking in Texas Tech University’s University Daily. No one knows how it started. Some say that streaking had been popular on campus for years already. Others claim that Ray Stevens’ hit, “The Streak,” which debuted in March 1974, was responsible. All we know for sure is that by the time the campus got good and warm, t-shirts featuring the logo above were widely available.

3.l-54.80 female and baby in rebozo beside removable plank door- near village of Wawatzerare

Finally, we have an image from one of our favorite blogs this year. It described our photograph collection of the Tarahumara, a people of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico, who’ve weathered centuries of attention by Spanish, French, and Mexican governments. They still hold on to many of their original cultural traditions. In the village of Wawatzerare, for example, this woman still carries her baby in a rebozo. This shot was snagged by Father Luis Verplancken, a Jesuit who served in Chihuahua for decades, and who created all of these photographs.

So there you have it: a taste of our favorite images of the year. Keep an eye out for next year’s stuff. It’s bound to be as good (or even better!)

The Tarahumara Photograph Collection

3.l-54.80 female and baby in rebozo beside removable plank door- near village of Wawatzerare

The Tarahumara are a people who live in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico. Despite centuries of incessant attention by Spanish, French, and Mexican governments, they still hold on to many of their original cultural traditions. Basket weaving and maize cultivation, along with pastoral practices, for example, hearken back to their original ways.Their cave dwellings, some decorated with pictographs such as the ones below, attract the occasional anthropologist and tourist. The Tarahumara also happen to be some of the most excellent long-distance runners in the world. In short, they’re fascinating and the Southwest Collection is fortunate to have thousands of photographs of the Tarahumara–such as the one above of a woman near the village of Wawatzerare, holding her baby in a rebozo–captured by a local priest, Father Luis Verplancken, who worked closely with the Tarahumara for decades. And, as we often do, we intend to show them off right here!

14.d.2-07.48 Tarahumara pictographs- near village of Cusarare

(Tarahumara pictographs near the village of Cusarare.)

14.d.1.a-18.36 church at Batopilas

Although their current population now numbers in the scant tens of thousands, the Tarahumara (or Rarámuri, their traditional name, i.e. the one not given to them by the Spanish) numbered many more throughout Chihuahua in the 16th century. The arrival of the Spanish began to change this, as their interest in mining speckled the Sierras with mines, prompting the Tarahumara to move to more remote, mountainous areas. Sadly, they also enslaved some Tarahumara in order to obtain mine labor. This, in between sometimes-successful proselytizing by Christian missionaries over the next several decades, led to armed conflict in the 1670s and 90s; encounters that the Tarahumara ultimately lost. A side effect of this cultural clash was the creation of beautiful missions such as the one above, Batopilas. It was established by conquistadors in 1632, for religious (but mostly mining) purposes, and remains a well-preserved example of that architecture to this day.

3.b.2-09.71 cave dwelling interior with family preparing corn tortillas over a fire- near village of Basiwari

(Cave dwelling with a family preparing corn tortillas over a fire near the village of Basiwari.)

As we mentioned, these photos were taken by Father Luis Verplancken, but he was far more than just a photographer interested in documenting Tarahumara culture. Born in 1926 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Verplancken became a Jesuit missionary in 1943. A few years later he was assigned to Creel, Chihuahua, where he immediately devoted his life to aiding its residents. He arranged to have water piped into area towns, oversaw the digging of more than 50 wells, and even partnered with the nearby community of Arareko to create an artificial lake that remains a popular tourist destination to this day.

13.e.5-57.18 young males in contemporary attire in their dorm rooms at a boarding school- village of Gonogochi

(The boarding school at Gonogochi.)

Such infrastructure was perhaps the hallmark of his career. He also installed electricity wherever he could, and opened a medical clinic that saved hundreds of childrens’ lives every year. Along with this, he trained locals to provide medical aid at locations far from the clinic. Education was another focus, resulting in the founding of two boarding schools that taught in both the local dialect and Spanish, a photo from which can be seen above.He translated the Bible into Raramuri, built a museum dedicated to sacred art (both native and Christian,) and made a host of other contributions. And all the while he documented Tarahumara daily life in pictures, from ritual and religion to simple tasks such as basketweaving; from herding and farming to trap setting, as in the photo below.

6.c-09.305 male setting trap- near village of Basiwari

(Setting a trap near the village of Basiwari.)

A selection of photographs from this collection of nearly 25,000 are available among our digital collections. Of course, if you’d like to see any of the others, our Reference Staff is always happy to get them into your hands.

Texas Independence Day in the (19th Century) News!

Staunton Spectator_March 24, 1836-3

March 2nd : birthday of Mikhail Gorbachev, Jon Bon Jovi, Dr. Seuss, and the author of this blog. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game on March 2nd, 1962. President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of Texas, and later U.S. Senator Sam Houston was born on that day, too. That last one is fitting, because March 2nd is also Texas Independence Day, celebrated statewide since 1836. With that in mind, we’re once again sharing the best of our newspapers dating from that era!

Here’s page 3 of March 24, 1836’s Staunton Spectator, sharing all the news out of Virginia. They knew all about the Mexican army headed by former President of Mexico General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. But news traveled slowly back then: by the time this issue was published the Battle of the Alamo had occurred nearly three weeks earlier.

Albany Journal_April 15, 1836-1

Two weeks later in the Albany Journal of Albany, New York, related the tale of the Battle of the Alamo. 150 men killed, their bodies thrown into a heap! Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie: dead! Commander William Travis committing suicide rather than surrender! Every Texian inflamed with a passion to fight until “every Mexican east of the Rio del Norte should be exterminated!” (Texian, by the way, was the name for residents of Mexican Texas and, later, the Republic of Texas.)

Staunton Spectator_May 12, 1836-2

Here’s May 12th’s Staunton Spectator, reminding its readers that the Texas Revolution was doomed. As we’ve seen two times already, 19th-century newspaper information had a habit of being out of date. Sam Houston’s army had defeated a portion of general Santa Anna’s forces at San Jacinto, Texas back on April 21st, forcing the end of the conflict. The most entertaining part of this article, however, is the lionizing of Davy Crockett. Check it out: “Crockett was found (within the Alamo)…on his back, a frown on his brow, a smile of scorn on his lips–his knife in his hand, a dead Mexican lying across his body, and twenty-two more lying pell-mell before him….” Wow.

Exeter News-Letter_May 31, 1836-2

Word finally caught up with the east coast by the end of May 1836, as we can see here in Exeter, New Hampshire’s Exeter News-Letter. We have the Battle of San Jacinto, the routing of Mexican forces, and the capture of Santa Anna, which came along with its own dubious tale. After over 600 Mexican troops laid down their arms, mounted riflemen began chasing a few attempted escapees. Only one continued to elude them, a chase that lasted 15 miles and ended when one pursuer guessed that “like a hard pressed bear, (Santa Anna might) have taken a tree. The tree tops were then examined when lo, the game was discovered snugly ensconced in the forks of a large live oak.” The captors allegedly didn’t even know who they’d nabbed until the Mexican troops began hailing their commander as his captors walked him through the camp.

Vermont Gazette_June 14, 1836-2

We’re ending this with a more sedate piece, free of the melodrama of Davy Crockett, generals in trees, and Texans hell-bent on exterminating every last one of their enemies. The Bennington Vermont Gazette instead describes events as they transpired from San Jacinto onward, culled from other news sources such as the New York Courier & Enquirer. Nope, no melodrama at all…oh, wait: “The poor devils…would hold up their hands, cross themselves, and sing out ‘me no alamo,’ but nothing could save them; the blood of our countrymen was too was too fresh in the memory of our people our people to let one Mexican escape, until worn down with pursuit and slaughter, they commenced making prisoners.” Perhaps the real magic of these papers was not so much facts about the Texas Revolution as it was the histrionics of 19th-century newspapers!

We have a vast newspaper collection here at the Southwest Collection, some of which can be found in digital form. We also have manuscript materials about the Texas Revolution and its participants, most notably the Temple Houston Morrow Papers    , a series of letters and documents collected by Sam Houston’s grandson, many of which were items composed by Houston himself. And, as always, our Reference Staff would be happy to help you peruse these or any of our other fine collections.

Lubbock, Texas’ El Editor Newspaper and the Bidal Aguero Papers

El_Editor_1st issue 10-12-1977-1

Today is Cinco de Mayo! If you’re the festive type, we encourage you to celebrate the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (if you live in the state of Puebla, Mexico) and America’s strong connections to Mexican heritage generally (if you live in the United States.) With that in mind, we’re taking a look at a long-time Lubbock, Texas (home of the Southwest Collection!) institution: the Spanish language newspaper, El Editor.

Possibly the longest running Hispanic newspaper in Texas, El Editor was founded by Bidál Agüero (1949-2009). Agüero helped found Lubbock’s Commerciantes Organizacion Mexicano Americano (COMA), the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce, in 1972. COMA disappeared when Agüero left town, but then reappeared when he returned. At that time, he also founded El Editor. The cover of Volume 1, Number 1, published in October 1977, can be seen above.

1980-12-19 la raza unida-1

Agüero was also heavily involved in local politics. He joined La Raza Unida Party and ran for local offices such as county commissioner, participated in organizing protests for injustices done against Mexican Americans, and was one of those who filed a lawsuit against the Lubbock Independent School District to change its method of electing school trustees. He even traveled to the Middle East to meet with members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. After the end of the Raza Unida, he joined the Democratic Party. The first page of the December 1980 issue of El Editor mentions both La Raza Unida, as well as one of Agüero’s other causes, the protection and support of recent Latino immigrants to the United States.

llano estacod page 9 1979-5-4-9

Agüero worked in several Lubbock- and West Texas-area social service organizations such as Defensa, Inc., Chicanos Unidos-Campesinos, and Llano Estacado Farmworkers of Tejas to help such groups as migrant workers. He also worked closely with governmental groups such as the South Plains Association of Governments, the State of Texas, and the City of Lubbock. You can see an extensive article about his work with the Llano Estacado Farmworkers of Tejas in this image from Volume 2, Number 25, in May 1979.

el editor most recent-1

Here is the cover is of the most recent issue of El Editor that we have digitized and placed among our online digital collections. You can see how the style and layout changed over the preceding 7 years, but the content remained the same. The newspaper is still being published, and we have a nearly complete set of them. Recent issues can also be found all over Lubbock. If you can read Spanish (although many articles are also in English) you might give it a look. In the meantime, we’ll keep working to digitize and make them available online. Please get in touch with our Reference Staff if you’d like to see the other issues in hard copy.

Texas Independence Day: In the News in 1836!

Staunton Spectator_March 24, 1836-3

Last Sunday, March 2nd, was a date that many hold dear. Among other things, it is the birthday of Mikhail Gorbachev, Jon Bon Jovi, Dr. Seuss, and the author of this blog. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game on March 2nd, 1962. One-time President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of Texas, and later U.S. Senator from Texas Sam Houston was born on that day as well. That last one is fitting, because March 2nd is also Texas Independence Day, celebrated statewide since 1836. With that in mind, we’re sharing many of our newspapers dating from that era!

For our first example we have page 3 of March 24, 1836’s Staunton Spectator, the newspaper of record for Staunton, Virginia that ran almost continuously from 1823 to 1916. This brief snippet reports the arrival in south Texas of the Mexican army headed by former President of Mexico General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. News traveled slowly back then, as by the time this issue was published the Battle of the Alamo had occurred nearly three weeks earlier.

Albany Journal_April 15, 1836-1

This article, published two weeks later in the Albany Journal of Albany, New York, relates the tale of the Battle of the Alamo. This report doesn’t shy away from melodrama: 150 men killed, their bodies thrown into a heap! Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie dead! Alamo commander William Travis committing suicide rather than being captured! Every Texian inflamed with a passion to fight until “every Mexican east of the Rio del Norte should be exterminated!” (Texian, by the way, was the name for residents of Mexican Texas and, later, the Republic of Texas.) It’s doubtful that anyone in Albany could verify these claims, nor were they aware of the fact that the town of Goliad, mentioned toward the end of the article, had fallen on March 27th. Regardless, as we read these we often wonder what images were conjured in reader’s minds about events transpiring over 1,600 miles away.

Staunton Spectator_May 12, 1836-2

The next article, once again appearing in the Staunton Spectator, portrays the Texas Revolution as a slowly-losing cause. As we’ve seen two times already, 19th-century newspaper information had a habit of being out of date. Sam Houston’s army had defeated a portion of general Santa Anna’s forces at San Jacinto, Texas back on April 21st, forcing the end of the conflict and freeing Texas from Mexican control. The most entertaining part of this article, however, is the lionizing of Davy Crockett. Check it out: “Crockett was found (within the Alamo)…on his back, a frown on his brow, a smile of scorn on his lips–his knife in his hand, a dead Mexican lying across his body, and twenty-two more lying pell-mell before him….”

Exeter News-Letter_May 31, 1836-2

Word finally caught up with the east coast by the end of May 1836, as we can see here in Exeter, New Hampshire’s Exeter News. It details the Battle of San Jacinto, the routing of Mexican forces, and the capture of Santa Anna. The latter event contains more of the entertainment that we’ve come to expect. After over 600 Mexican troops laid down their arms, mounted riflemen began chasing a few attempted escapees. Only one continued to elude them, a chase that lasted 15 miles and ended when one pursuer guessed that “like a hard pressed bear, (the fugitive might) have taken a tree. The tree tops were then examined when lo, the game was discovered snugly ensconced in the forks of a large live oak.” The captors allegedly didn’t know who they’d nabbed until the Mexican troops began hailing the prisoner as Gen. Santa Anna when his captors walked him through the camp.

Vermont Gazette_June 14, 1836-2

We’re ending this with a more sedate piece, free of the drama of Davy Crockett, generals in trees, and Texans hell-bent on exterminating every last one of their enemies. The Bennington Vermont Gazette instead describes events as they transpired from San Jacinto onward, culled from other news sources such as the New York Courier & Enquirer. Nope, no melodrama at all…oh, wait: “The poor devils…would hold up their hands, cross themselves, and sing out ‘me no alamo,’ but nothing could save them; the blood of our countrymen was too was too fresh in the memory of our people to let one Mexican escape, until worn down with pursuit and slaughter, they commenced making prisoners.” Perhaps the real magic of these papers was not so much contemporary takes on the Texas Revolution as it was the histrionics of 19th-century newspapers!

We have a vast newspaper collection here at the Southwest Collection, some of which can be found in digital form. We also have manuscript materials about the Texas Revolution and its participants, most notably the Temple Houston Morrow Papers, a series of letters and documents collected by Sam Houston’s grandson, some of which were items composed by Houston himself. And, as always, our Reference Staff would be happy to help you peruse these or any of our other fine collections.

The Merchant of Eagle Pass, Texas

debona1888010

A couple of weeks ago we shared several of our small collections (link to that blog) with you, but we withheld a couple of them because we felt they merited a more detailed story. One such was the Leonard de Bona Papers, a small box full of 100-year-old correspondence. At first glance it seems a little dry—a pile of receipts and letters spanning just under 20 years. A closer look reveals much more: a story of the tiny border town of Eagle Pass, Texas and its economic connection to a much larger mercantile world.

Leonard de Bona was a businessman in Eagle Pass, Texas, who ran his company, Eagle Pass Hardware and Supply Store of Texas, for nearly 20 years. During that time he sold dry goods and sundries throughout the Rio Grande Valley and nearby Mexico. Look at these receipts above: milk might be a common enough import, but bananas? Several pounds of those ran $13.91 according to this bill, and that was in 1888. Although comparing dollar values across 126 years is difficult at best, that amount would be at the very least several hundred dollars today. Mr. de Bona was a man who could acquire the finer things (if you consider bananas a finer thing, of course.)

debona1889typd011

Next up is a leaf of correspondence between de Bona and his long-time supplier, A. B. Frank and Co. of San Antonio, Texas. The item in question this time was sugar. Always in demand, particularly in remote areas of the United States, sugar even more valuable than bananas! It would be nice to discover to whom de Bona was selling train-car loads of the stuff. Perhaps just over the border in Piedras Negras, Mexico? To outlying farmers and ranchers in the Rio Grande valley? It’s also possible that he sold it to the soldiers at Fort Duncan, which had been founded forty years earlier to protect one of the first U.S. settlements on the U.S.-Mexico border. Either way, this is more evidence that de Bona was the man to see for relatively rare commodities.

debonaitaliancombo

When we mentioned “a much larger mercantile world” earlier, we didn’t just mean San Antonio and south Texas. Take a look at this letter from importer Emilio de Stefano in Chicago, Illinois. Written entirely in Italian, it concerns the relationship, both business and personal, between de Stefano and de Bona. De Bona may himself have been an Italian immigrant, although that fact is not clear in these records. De Stefano refers to him here somewhat familiarly as ‘Leonardo,’ but gravesite records list de Bona—and his father’s—name as ‘Leonard.’ Chicago and Italy—de Bona was bringing it in from all over!

debonamexico014

Lastly, we have this letter from one Mr. Wadsworth, an American abroad in Mexico. Unable to acquire necessities such as corn starch, black pepper, and “No. 8 Brogan Shoes,” he was forced to turn to Eagle Pass Hardware and Supply Store of Texas to meet his needs. Whether or not the order was met is impossible to say as documentation is not present in the Papers. Nevertheless, it’s clear that de Bona did in fact coordinate trade across the nearby border.

The Leonard de Bona Papers offer a rare peek into the affairs of a borderlands merchant. Who knows how many such towns sported similar businessmen? It wouldn’t hurt a researcher to answer that question via a further look through our archive. After all, our courteous Reference Staff can always arrange for a look at this collection or any other materials with similar stories to tell.