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The e-newsletter of UNT’s Portal to Texas History| May 2010

New Collections 
What’s in the lab now?

Grant Opportunity
Focus on . . . Picnics!

Students making a Difference . . .
TDNP: Fort Worth Daily Gazette and Houston Daily Post now online

UNT Digital Collections 

Railroad survey crew
Railroad Survey Crew, Irving Archives, 1902

computer graphical element

New Collections

Lower Valley School is not forgotten

With support from the Summerlee Foundation, the Northeast Lakeview Community College digitized hundreds of photographs and documents of the Lower Valley School (1877-1966), a rural two-room German schoolhouse which served the Cibolo and Schertz communities for 89 years.Lower Valley SchoolThe public school opened in 1877 when German immigrants settled in the Central Texas area to start farms, ranches, and trading centers along the railroad line. The school had one teacher who taught all grades until the early 1900’s. When the Lower Valley schoolhouse closed in 1966, Lutrell and Maxine Watts, who taught at the school for 25 years, purchased and eventually donated the schoohouse and its archives to Northeast Lakeview Community College.

Picturing the Mexican Revolution

El Paso Public Library digitized over 500 photographs from its Otis Aultman collection. Working in El Paso as a commercial El Paso Villistasphotographer for International News Service and Pathe News, Otis Aultman documented the Mexican Revolution as it crossed the border into El Paso and surrounding areas. His gruesome photographs of the dead or fleeing refugees portray a chaotic and dangerous borderland.refugees fleeing mexicoThe images signify the historic impact that the Revolution had on the United States with over 890,000 persons immigrating to the U.S. during the war. As one of the few American photographers that General Pancho Villa would pose for, Aultman spent much of his time following Villa and his soldiers. El Paso Library will use images from this collection for its upcoming exhibit commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.

Early Republic of Texas Sesson Laws

To the delight of many researchers, the following volumes of the Laws of the Republic of Texas are now available on the Portal thanks to funding from the Texas Historical Foundation. Finding that elusive amendment or resolution will be much simpler using the Portal’s full-text searching capability.

Bee County Historical Commission 
Bee County CourthouseHistoric homes, buildings, schools, churches and leaders of the community are featured in Bee County Historical Commission’s collection. Images of the “Confectionary” in Skidmore, the first plane to fly in Beeville, and the Skidmore Float in the 1916 Beeville parade along with hundreds of other photographs provide a glimpse into historic Bee County. When applying for the “Rescuing Texas History” grant, the Commission stated that in addition to preserving the photographs, it wanted to make them available on the Portal so students and the community could learn more about their local history.

Port Arthur Public Library 

Port Arthur was founded in 1898 by Arthur Stilwell who dreamed of turning the barren marshland into a thriving seaport. He built the first railroad from Kansas City southward to the Gulf CoastPort Arthur Sabine Lake. Decades later Port Arthur would become a major site for petrochemical industries and global trade. Aerial photographs of the city show the Gulf Oil Company and Texaco plants, detailed images of refineries and technology, and an overview of Port Arthur’s business district, while images of recreational scenes such as fishing on Sabine Lake (right), the Seascout (boyscout) troop, and herding “Gulfaloes” add local color.


What’s in the Lab now?

River Valley Pioneer Museum

Photographer Julius Born took thousands of photographs of the people, land and community in Hemphill county located in the Texas panhandle. The Portal team is in the process of digitizing 2,700 photographs for the River Valley Pioneer Museum, to add to the 1,100 already available on the Portal. young woman, river valley pioneer museumyoung man, river valley pioneer museum
The Museum states, “In thousands of portrait photographs taken during the first half of the twentieth century, Born forever documented our past, our heritage, our humanity.  In his images of cowboys and businessmen, well-composed ladies, and fidgety children, Born shows us the pioneers and early residents who made Canadian what it is today. For decades, Born operated his photography studio from the back of his variety store.  It was here where all types of people stepped into his curious world of cameras and backdrops, costumes and mood lighting.  Over the years, thousands sought out this self-taught photographer and curiosity shop owner to record their most important moments.” The portraits are so compelling that it’s hard to stop looking! Preview the collection.


Texas Cultures Online Opportunity

The Portal to Texas History recently received grant funding from the Amon Carter Foundation for its proposed project Texas Cultures Online. In response to educators’ need for more multi-media materials that support the teaching of the many cultures of Texas, the Portal proposed a project to digitize cultural heritage collections that represent various racial, ethnic and religious groups. This summer the Portal will make an official announcement inviting partners and institutions to apply for a Texas Cultures Online grant. Depending on the project the award allocations will range from $500 -$20,000. The criteria for the mini-projects will include several factors: 1) historical significance of the collections; 2) ability of the materials to help close the thematic gap: Texas Cultures; 3) potential of the partner to raise additional funding or contribute staff time towards the work; and 4) and condition and age of the materials. Please spread the word if you know of a collection that would be a good candidate for this project.

Focus on … Picnics!

Buffalo Clover Fields family picnic
In the Buffalo Clover Fields of Texas, Postcard, 1908, Joe E. Haynes Collection Family picnic, Abilene Photograph Collection
Group of people at a picnic Picnic at Marshall Public Library
Group of People at a Picnic, Heritage House Museum The 1980 summer reading program at Marshall Public Library finishes with a picnic.

Students making a difference …

Meet Sashenka Lopez, Graduate Library Assistant (GLA) in the Digital Projects Lab. She has been a part of our team since spring 2009. Sashenka was born and raised in dynamic Denton, Texas but also spent quite a lot of time in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico with her relatives. Her mother is a UNT alum, with three degrees from the school.photograph of sashenka lopezSashenka plans to graduate with her MS in Library and Information Sciences in August 2010. She states, “The library sciences are noble. Librarians take up the battle for accessibility and the freedom to use information. Information professionals also work to preserve cultural history and foster future greatness in communities worldwide. Library science will…increase in value as the age of information defines itself.”

Sashenka is working on our Resources4 Educators and Resources4 Students initiatives through the Portal to Texas History. Resources4 Educators offers educational resources to enrich students’ knowledge of Texas History by providing exciting materials that correspond to multiple aspects of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for teaching Texas History. She feels that these resources will have a positive impact on teachers and students throughout the state of Texas. Her goal is to to foster a fun, engaging experience in order to encourage the use of primary sources within the Portal

Her passions lie with reaching out to under-served populations, working with cultural preservation and food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is the “right” of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces. She is also in a band, Orange Coax, and will be going on tour with them after graduating.

Sashenka has been a creative, self-motivated GLA and we enjoy her contributions to the Digital Projects Lab and appreciate all her hard work on the Portal to Texas History.

banner for the Texas Digital Newspaper Program

The Fort Worth Daily Gazette
and the 
Houston Daily Post

The Portal recently added the Fort Worth Daily Gazette, 1880-1889, Fort Worth Weekly Gazette, 1890-1899, and the Houston Daily Post, 1890-1909, which comes to a total of 3,321 issues. The newspapers are an indispensable research tool for students and scholars and are just a lot of fun to browse. An editorial in the Fort Worth Daily Gazette sums up the state of affairs in Fort Worth on May 4th in 1885:Fort Worth Daily Gazette

“On the theory that variety is the spice of life, Fort Worth is certainly blessed with a good deal of “spice” just now. Seduction cases on trial, a red-hot revival meeting in full blast, horse racing sports, a prohibition convention, its incomparable White Elephant Saloon, etc, altogether constitute a programme sufficiently diversified, it would seem, to satisfy the tastes of even the most fastidious. Such is Fort Worth, where more people get off and on the cars than in all other leading towns in Texas combined.”

The UNT Libraries is one of 22 state partners, and the only partner from Texas, to receive National Endowment for the Humanities funding to digitize newspapers from the late 1800s and early 1900s for the National Digital Newspaper Program, “Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.”

The National Digital Newspaper Program, or NDNP, is a long-term effort from NEH and the Library of Congress to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with select digitization of historic papers. NDNP will create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Highlights from the UNT Digital Collections

Miniature Book Collection
UNT Libraries’ Rare Book and Texana Collections presents a small selection of tiny treasures from the holdings of the UNT Libraries Rare Book Room. These miniature books, 4” (10 cm) tall or smaller, include both contemporary and historical works. In some cases, only the covers have been digitized.

mini book 3 mini book 1 mini book3

The book in the center titled De 7 werewonderen is 3 and 3/8 inches tall and was created 1965-1973 by Franco-Suisse. It is an overview of the “seven wonders of the ancient world, and various other structures and monuments that could be considered as equally important.”


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picture of hand raising in classroom

Visit our Resources 4 Educators web site. We’ve updated the Primary Source Adventures and added a search box so you can now search for a lesson plan by topic.

Hot Comments 

“Greetings: I’m thrilled to have found this site. As one who was raised in Abilene, it’s great to see images of places that are no more…”
– C.Jones 

“Thank you so much for sharing this photo! This is the first photo my family has seen of Joseph McMurry… I have been doing family research on the 15th Texas Infantry and was overwhelmed to see this photo….Thank you again!!” – M.P

“I have just today spent a long, long time enjoying the ‘Sutherlin Family Collection.”    The Portal to Texas History is superb – there are no words to describe the website.    I could spend hours and hours checking it all out.”
– Y.Sutherlin

Image of the month

Woman with guitar

Signed portrait of singer Lydia Mendoza with her guitar from the Rose Marine Theatrecollection, 1945.

Mission Statement
The Portal to Texas History offers students and lifetime learners a digital gateway to the rich collections held in Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies and private collections.

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It’s Online!!

Poster, Love Field Airport

Dallas Love Field Album and Photographs Collection from the Dallas Municipal Archives features images of the daily life and flight training at Love Field in 1918 and development of Love Field as a major commercial airport in Dallas from the 1960’s. The image above is a sign used during airport renovations.

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If you are on Facebook, join the Portal to Texas facebook iconHistory page to be the first to hear the latest Portal news and stories.

Who knew? you can find anything on the
Portal, really . . . 

A search for flying finds a whopping 5,646 items. Here are a few.

airplanes flying

AT-11s flying in formation, Childress County Heritage Museum

postcard of man flying down the stairs

“I Will Be Up as Soon as Possible” Postcard, Joe E. Haynes Private Collection

Flying Crow train in Texarkana

The “Flying Crow” arriving in Texarkana, Texas, Museum of the American Railroad

flag flying and cadets

Flying Cadets at Retreat, Tarrant County College Northeast

flying instrument panel

Flying instrument panel, Tarrant County College Northeast, Heritage Room

World's Fair 1968 model

Image of model of the “Los Voladores” Flying Indians of Mexico at the 1968 HemisFair.

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Portal to Texas History

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Dreanna Belden, Editor:
Tara Carlisle, Editor
Nancy Reis, Editor:
Ann Howington, Contributor

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Denton, TX 76203

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