New Mexico’s “Lincoln Independent” – 1890

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Did you know we have over 200,000 digitized volumes of newspapers from throughout Texas and New Mexico available online? Well, you do now! And one of this author’s personal favorites is the Lincoln Independent from Lincoln, New Mexico. The paper was founded in 1880, but the only run we’ve got our hands on is the entirety of 1890, beginning with the issue above dating from January 3rd. The remaining issues can be found here, but here are a few of our favorites below.

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With Halloween coming up, we chose the issue above from October 31, 1890. Sadly, although Halloween is a ‘holiday’ of sorts was celebrated in the 1890s, with pushes from various groups to make it a community-oriented celebration. But it didn’t resemble today’s celebrations, or even those of the 1920s and 30s. Also, Lincoln County was absolutely the U.S. frontier (New Mexico would not become a state until 1912), so costumed frivolity may not have been their top priority.

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One thing we were excited to find here at the Southwest Collection was this ad for the Angus VV Ranch. We have an archival collection related to the owners of the ranch, Charles M. and James E. Cree. It has been digitized and placed online, and contains information that the Lincoln Independent doesn’t share: a rash of cattle rustling that was occurring at the time!

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Another tidbit we enjoyed was this advertisement for the Agricultural College of New Mexico in Las Cruces. This would later become New Mexico State University. And we want you to know that, in our opinion, it still has a very good library.

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This all ends, as it probably should, with the final issue in our possession, dating from December 12, 1890. A comparison between the first and final issue reveals only one significant difference: the paper was begging readers to subscribe to the Independent. Here’s to hoping that their please worked.

If you’d like to read more of these papers, the many others we have from Eastern New Mexico, or the hundreds of thousands of others from throughout Texas, head over to our digital collections and dig in!

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!

The American Agriculture Movement: Part 2

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Last year, the Southwest Collection shared our American Agricultural Movement (AAM) Records in an exhibit entitled Tractorcade! commemorating the 35th anniversary of the AAM’s last great Tractorcade in 1979. It featured oral histories, photographs, newspaper articles, and artifacts that allowed our curators to tell this unique story of authentic U.S. grassroots activism.

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We told you back then about the AAM’s formation in Campo, Colorado, in 1977, and its focus on “Parity”—economic balance between agriculture, other industries, and the U.S. government. It organized farmer’s strikes throughout the U.S., using pamphlets such as the one above to get them going. And it worked: in 1977 around 5,000 farmers held a tractor rally in Lincoln, Nebraska. Farmers in other states soon followed with their own rallies.

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Unfortunately, the AAM’s activism sometimes led to violence. On March 1st, 1978, a large group of protesting farmers was trapped on the International Bridge south of McAllen, Texas. U.S. police and Mexican Federal troops tear-gassed and beat some of the protestors, later arresting and jailing 200 of them. But this wasn’t typically the case. At almost the same time, numerous farmers found themselves peacefully gathering in Washington, D.C., in opposition to the 1977 Farm Bill. All of these events and many others were chronicled in local publications such as the American Agricultural News, of which we have dozens of issues. The above article and poems are examples of such, written by supporters–but not necessarily protest participants–from Oklahoma and Kansas, not just Texas or the AAM’s birth-state, Colorado.

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Combinations of strikes, protests, and legal opposition would later lead to massive Tractorcades in 1978 and 79. January of the former saw around 3,000 farmers driving their tractors to Washington, D.C. 1979 proved even more successful on a second trip to D.C., although traffic across the nation found itself stuck behind slow moving tractors festooned with protest signs. Washington was practically shut down as they drove through the city, and when at last they stopped at the National Mall, the police quickly penned them in with squad cars and city dump trucks. Surprisingly, there were only a few scuffles between farmers and police. Most interactions were friendly, although national public opinion was split on the farmer’s stated issues. But the Tractorcade can, in some part, be summed up by their emotional visit to the Lincoln Memorial documented in the photo above. It was a peaceful affair, generating unity within the AAM and fond memories for all of the participants that they’ve shared with SWC staff during every visit.

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There are many other tales of the Tractorcade and the AAM available at the Southwest Collection, many found in oral histories of participants and opposition members alike. They explain to interested researchers how the AAM metamorphosed into the guardian of farmers and lobby-er of politicians that it is today. These materials, and the many newspapers, documents, and artifacts in the AAM collection, are always available for research. And our helpful Reference Staff shows up when the rooster crows every day to make sure they can help you find them.

Mad Trends 2: Even Madder

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We love poring through old issues of Texas Tech’s student newspaper, The Toreador (or the University Daily, depending on the vintage.) We already told you a bit about this obsession not long ago, particularly about our love for vintage advertisements (not to mention the TTU student body’s obsession with streaking.) Truly the 1970s held a wealth of advertisory entertainment, and we’ve come across a few more to keep you entertained. Incidentally, these can all be found in an exhibit currently on display at the Southwest Collection. Come on by and check that out, too!

As for the mustache ad above…there’s very little to say about this ad that it doesn’t say for itself, so let’s move on.

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KTXT is TTU’s college radio station, and has been since the 1950s when it was known as KTTC on AM radio, and later KTXT at 91.9 FM. It’s now 88.1, and continues to “stick things in your ear,” primarily music and student talk radio.

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Town Draw seems like a fairly innocuous local bar, given this ad. Just look at the cheerful cartoon folk strolling its wood floors, blissfully unaware of how hard they’re violating copyright. And that wasn’t the only lawbreaking that went down at the Town Draw. In one interview (which we sadly haven’t been able to track down in the archive again before posting this,) a musician who long-since left Lubbock, Texas, claimed that “everyone (he) knew had a story about that they almost got killed there.” It is remembered fondly by some of the bands played there, however, so it couldn’t have been all that bad…

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We told the tale a while back of streaking’s tremendous popularity on the TTU campus in 1974. Some of the more diplomatic among the University Daily’s staff used this trend to defuse a growing controversy in 1974 over the first female Masked Rider (TTU’s black-clad horseman (or woman) who races the sidelines of every home game.) Why not discard the horse entirely, they proposed, and have someone streak the field before every game? A handy ballot was provided, and while we’re not sure what the precise tally was, the fact is the Masked Rider still rides today.

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In March 1976 some Red Raiders were getting excited about a TV show that had ended its run 7 years before: Star Trek. Its creator, Gene Roddenberry, was about to visit the Student Union Building (still called the University Center, or “UC,” at that time – hence the logo.) By all accounts, the room was packed.

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Yum-yum. Yum-yum. Yum-yum, yum-yum, yum-yum, yum-yum. That’s our attempt at a hamburger-y Jaws theme. It is not only a lesser copyright infringement than The Brittany’s September 1975 advertisement, it might also be a less-groan-worthy pun than “treat your jaws.” It might be…

So come on by the ol’ Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library and check out this exhibit (or any of its very fine neighbors.) And if you need to see some other newspapers, or just get some research done in general, our always-on-point Reference Staff would be happy to get you all set up.

“Mad Trends: Found Ads of the 1970s” – An Exhibit at the Southwest Collection

We love poring through old issues of Texas Tech’s student newspaper, The Toreador (or the University Daily, depending on the vintage.) In blogs past, we shared the phenomenon of streaking that overtook campus, and therefore its newspapers, during the 1970s. But naked folks weren’t the only entertainment on the Toreador’s pages. Newspaper advertisements got pretty innovative, and we’ve installed an exhibit full of examples to prove it. Check these samples out.

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In February 1974 The Comix Club bar was a popular institution. Students and locals gathered there regularly to drink and carouse, yea like unto the fallen warriors of Valhalla. Now, we won’t delve deep into the details of their storied parties, but we can confirm that Norse god of thunder and Marvel Comics staple, Thor, endorsed their neverending parade of ladies’ nights.

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Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels were hugely popular in the 1960s and 70s. It’s unsurprising therefore that stores such as Gandalf’s Staff would take advantage of that popularity to sell items that featured prominently in the books. Such as…water beds? Note also that, just in case you struggle to identify wizards on sight, or were confused by the name of the store, they captioned the picture of Gandalf.

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King Kong debuted in theaters in 1933, and after a two-decade hiatus got an original, uncut screening in February 1974 at Lubbock’s Backstage Theater. We love that the woman is screaming the title of the movie, rather than for, you know, help. Stylistically, though, it made sense, as the poster was drawn in the style of Robert Crumb’s Zap Comix of the late 1960s. Those were the cartoons that proclaimed “Keep on Truckin’” – another fad appropriated by the Toreador from time to time.

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In 1974, you could rest assured that the universe was safe from Ming, Mars, and planets full of outlaws. Featuring “the latest in modern electronic space equipment,” the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers films had been wowing audiences for over 40 years, and did so again in December 1974 at the Backstage Theater. Buck and Flash were true heroes, the kind that save maidens from deaths worse than fate! Whatever that means. Heroes don’t have time to keep clichés straight.

Enjoy these? You might also enjoy the rest of our exhibit, which features 1970s mustache products, Gene Roddenberry, plagiarism from Jaws intended to sell hamburgers, and a Martian death ray! Or just check out issues of the University Daily/Toreador among our digital collections. Either way, you’ll be entertained.

2nd Year Anniversary!

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The Southwest Collection’s blog, Tumblr, and Facebook have been around for a full 2 years now. Thousands of blog visitors later (not to mention 8,500 Tumblr followers! Thank you all!) we are still going strong. It’s an honor (and really, really fun) to share all sorts of oddities from our interesting collections. To celebrate this accomplishment (and to give us time to dig up more cool stuff…) for the next two weeks (June 8 through June 19) we’re going to be sharing one highlight per day from our last year of entertaining you. There’s some good stuff, from parakeet-powered cars to Texas Tech football victories, maps of Snake Country to the itinerant toy tractors that roam our archival stacks (and every other place they can devise that might annoy us.)

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Thanks for all your support! And don’t hesitate to click around through all our images weeks, months, and years to see if there’s something in there that enlightens you. Or, more likely, holds your interest long enough to look it over. That’s why we do this!

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Ads Laid Bare: Streakin’ through TTU’s “University Daily”!

keep on streakin UD_1974_03_01-1We see many bizarre stories and advertisements in our newspapers here at the SWC, but few are as wacky as the obsession with streaking we observed in Texas Tech University’s University Daily during the spring of 1974. No one knows how it all started. Some say that streaking had been popular on campus for a few years already. Others claim that Ray Stevens’ hit, “The Streak,” which debuted in March 1974, was responsible. All that we know for sure is that by the time the campus got good and warm, t-shirts featuring the logo above were widely available. full color streaker shirt ad - also van heusen UD_1974_04_17-4Illicitly sold t-shirts weren’t the only clothes to cover up streakers before their antics, or so this April 1974 ad for Van Heusen dress shirts would have you believe. “For revealing your colors in a most original way, streaking can hardly be overlooked!” But go ahead and buy a stylish, daring, and adventurous Van Heusen anyway. Perhaps to look good for your court date. streaker burger brittany UD_1974_03_15-5According to this ad from The Brittany, there was even a 1974 Streak Week from March 14th to the 17th. Although University Daily accounts are spotty on that matter, they didn’t shy away from letting The Brittany advertise its Streaker Burger, a hamburger with “just ‘Meat and Buns.’” We’re not sure about the quality of their burgers, but the litany of puns in their description are fairly tasteless. That’s right, Brittany – we can pun, too! streaker punch UD_1974_04_24-4Sometimes streakers needed to build up some courage, and warmth, before they could run the streets. Fortunately, Montezuma tequila had the solution: Streaker Punch, made by mixing their booze in a wash tub with some fruit, then chugging it out of a paper cup. Whatever works, we suppose? Anyway, these freewheeling issues of the University Daily (also sometimes called The Toreador or The Daily Toreador) can be found among our many digital collections. Head on over and browse through them!

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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Conan: The Exhibit!

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A few months ago we told the tale of the Robert E. Howard westerns that were published in his hometown newspaper, the Cross Plains Review. But to be honest, Howard wasn’t really famous for his westerns. The world knew him for his fast-paced tales of sword and sorcery, and among those one character stood above the rest: Conan the Cimmerian. The Southwest Collection has installed “Robert E. Howard: Creator of Conan the Barbarian,” an exhibit curated by our favorite cataloger and metadata librarian, Rob King. It describes the many materials the SWC holds related to the author and his world-famous barbarian, and will be on display through the first of the year.

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Who was Robert E. Howard? A writer, of course. An avid boxer. A West Texan, too. But one young woman, Novalyne Price Ellis, kept extensive diaries about her years with the author that she later used to write One Who Walked Alone (the cover of which can be seen above.) Her insights into the man are wroth a read. Price was a school teacher who moved to Cross Plains, Texas, in 1934. She wanted to become a writer, and became interested in Howard both as an author and some-time partner. In the words of her Howard biography, she and Robert enjoyed “a unique, if often tempestuous, relationship.” Still, in between her teaching, his writing and boxing, and their quarreling, they rode horses across the countryside while discussing politics, Texas history, and the difficulties of living in West Texas during the Great Depression. They remained very close until Howard’s suicide in 1936, when he was only 30 years old.

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Conan wasn’t the only character that Howard (seen here wearing a stylish hat) wrote to life. The young man spun yarns about Solomon Kane, a 16th century English adventurer; Bran Mak Morn, king of the Picts; and Kull of Atlantis, who we have some more to say about later. But really, Conan is what Howard’s legacy is all about, so here’s the short, short version of the barbarian’s story. Having traveled south from Cimmeria to seek his fortune in southern lands, Conan “trod the jeweled thrones of the earth under his sandaled feet” until he rose to become king of the ancient land of Aquilonia. There, as many know, he wore its crown upon his troubled brow. Our exhibit features compendiums of the Conan (and other Howard) stories, accounts of Howard’s life as both an author, amateur boxer, and lover of the American West, and analyses of the Conan phenomenon, such as…Conan the Phenomenon (the awesome cover of which can be seen at the beginning of this blog!)

Oh! Also, we have Conan comic books!

Garden of FEAR

Conan had many forerunners in Howard’s fiction. Take for example Hunwulf the wanderer and his adventures in the “Garden of Fear.” This tale’s narrator reveals that he has lived countless past lives. During one particularly Conan-esque lietime many millenia ago, he traveled as Hunwulf, a barbarous fellow who, as barbarians often do, became mired in high adventure. Assaulted by mammoths! Beset by a black-winged demon-man! Rescuing a damsel in distress! And what a lady she was: Gudrun. “Not for a millennium of millenniums have women like (her) walked the earth. Cleopatra…Helen of Troy, they were but pallid shadows of her beauty….” Yeah, Hunwulf had fallen pretty hard.

Kull

Another Conan precursor can be seen posing, axe in hand, on this cover. Kull the Conqueror (aka Kull of Atlantis) only saw 3 short stories published in Howard’s lifetime, but another 9 were published posthumously. Other Kull adventures were also rewritten into Conan tales by Howard over the course of his career. There’s a lot we could say about Kull, but “By This Axe, I Rule,” the title of one of his short stories, pretty succinctly sums him up. Fun fact: Conan wasn’t the only of Howard’s creations to make it into the movies. Kull was the titular character of a film starring Kevin Sorbo in 1997. It might be wiser to stick with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian (1982) for a host of reasons, though, if you’re forced to choose between the two.

So come check out this new exhibit! Also, if you’re interested, read some of Howard’s stories in our digital copies of the Cross Plains Review. And for anything else Howard related at the Southwest Collection, our Reference Department would be happy to help you find it.