Posted by & filed under Rescuing Texas History.

The Portal to Texas History has recently announced the call for submissions for its most recent round of the Rescuing Texas History program. Rescuing Texas History 2016 is the ninth year of the program, which has brought to light over 45,000 items from 206 partnerships. Since the beginning of the program there have been over 5.1 million uses of materials hosted on the Portal to Texas History that were received in response to past call for submissions.

Now it is your turn.

Each project selected will be provided with up to $1,000 of digitization services to libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other groups (including individuals) that house historical materials. All materials accepted will be scanned at UNT Libraries and hosted on The Portal to Texas History. Deadline for receipt of applications is August 1, 2016.

For more information and to download the application: Rescuing Texas History Mini-Grant

Posted by & filed under General, Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

The celebration of Juneteenth in Texas on June 19th has marked the ending of slavery in the United States since 1865.  To celebrate this year, I’d like to share some items and collections I’ve found on The Portal to Texas History and the Gateway to Oklahoma History that are about African-American Texans whose lives have enriched Texas and the world.

From the late 19th-century, The Representative, published by Richard Nelson, was the first newspaper published and owned by an African-American proprietor.  Mr. Nelson was born in the Florida Keys in 1842, and he served in multiple federal posts, including postmaster in Virginia Point and federal customs office inspector.  In 1870, he served as Justice of the Peace for Galveston County, one year before he began publishing The Representative, which he started on May 22, 1871, stating, “[The Representative] will advocate the rights of all American citizens ‘without regard to color, race or previous condition of servitude.'”  According to the Handbook of Texas online, in 1901, Mr. Nelson “served as vice president for the Southern Negro Congress,” toward furthering education and economic prospects for the advancement of the African American community (Barr, 2010).  As I read through issues of Nelson’s first newspaper, I am most struck by his brave outspokenness.

The first African-American Aviator in the world was Bessie Coleman, and she came from Atlanta, Texas. Coleman graduated from the Caudron Brothers’ Aviation School in Paris, France, and she flew all over the world.  In Orange, Texas, in 1925, she thrilled audiences with her aviation skills, but she also received a death threat letter due to her race. While the death threat letter did not scare her out of performing, Ms. Coleman was killed in an airplane accident one year later, along with her mechanic and PR manager, William Willis.  The Gateway to Oklahoma History offers further detail into Coleman’s aviation background.

A modern-day hero we can learn about from the Portal is Barbara Jordan, who became the first African-American Texan in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, as well as the first African-American woman from the South to be elected to congress. Rep. Jordan was famous for her speeches, one of which became immortalized when she spoke in support of the Nixon impeachment in 1973 during the Watergate hearings.  Much of Jordan’s work can be found on The Portal to Texas History, in the Barbara C. Jordan Archives Collection.  This collection houses speeches, photographs, and newspaper clippings that document Jordan’s impact on Texas and the U.S., and the documents are freely accessible for worldwide research.

If you’d like to expand your education about the contributions of African-Americans in Texas and the south, you can find these people and more searching on The Portal to Texas History and the Gateway to Oklahoma History.

Photo of Woman barrel racing. Item from the Horse Country USA Archive.

Posted by & filed under General.

The UNT Libraries recently published Through the Lenses of Ray Bankston and Don Shugart, a captivating sample of the extensive collection of prints and negatives held in the Libraries’ Special Collections.

Ray Bankston and Don Shugart were two of the most prolific photographers of American Quarter Horses and horse show events in the South and Southwest during the last four decades of the twentieth century.

Their work is also featured in The Portal to Texas History’s Ray and Joyce Bankston Dalco Photography and Don Shugart Photography Collections.

Read more

Posted by & filed under General.

May 19, 2016
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Thanks for supporting the Portal to Texas History Endowment!

We asked you to donate and you did! Thanks to all those who helped contribute matching funds towards the Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment. We appreciate you!



recently added Collections …

Humble Echo

The Humble Echo was the primary newspaper for Humble, Texas The newspaper started in 1942, and it provides a window into Humble life through local news, ads for local companies, as well as personal memos from local townspeople to their loved ones fighting in the war. The Humble Museum has digitized the earliest… (more)


McFaddin-Ward House Museum

The McFaddin-Ward House Museum has provided photographs, documents, and historic postcards from the family’s collection. The mission of the McFaddin-Ward House Museum is to preserve and interpret… (more)


South Belt Ellington Leader

The South Belt/Ellington Leader has been publishing a weekly newspaper continuously since February of 1976. The Leader is free of charges and is distributed in stores and public places within its service area in southeast Houston. The Leader has always been owned by persons living and working in the South Belt area. The newspaper’s founding publisher is … (more)


Congratulations to the Texas Digital Newspaper Program!
4 Million Pages and Counting
As of May 2nd, we celebrate 4 million pages preserved in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program, and we have some tidbits for you to help us celebrate!

The Texas Digital Newspaper Program would not exist without the generous support of many contributors, including those groups who provide newspaper content for inclusion and those who provide funding to add more newspapers every day. These groups include the National Endowment for the Humanities, who selected UNT Libraries as the National Digital Newspaper Program institution for Texas, for three… (more)


from the UNT Digital Library


Starting with the year 2000, this collection contains selected issues of The HEXAGON of Alpha Chi Sigma. This national professional fraternity was founded in 1902 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and now has over fifty collegiate and professional chapters across the United States. The collection includes the “Rediscovery of the Elements” sesquidecade… (more)



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Posted by & filed under General.

Texas Digital Newspaper Program icon

As of today, May 2nd, we celebrate 4 million pages preserved in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program, and we have some tidbits for you to help us celebrate!

The Texas Digital Newspaper Program would not exist without the generous support of many contributors, including those groups who provide newspaper content for inclusion and those who provide funding to add more newspapers every day. These groups include the National Endowment for the Humanities, who selected UNT Libraries as the National Digital Newspaper Program institution for Texas, for three contiguous cycles, and through which over 300,000 pages of historic Texas newspapers have been digitized in Chronicling America and included in the TDNP collection.  This also includes the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, who have been long-time supporters of TDNP through grant programs like TexTreasures.  From private foundations, the Ladd and Katherine Hancher Foundation have awarded newspaper digitization funding to libraries in communities with populations over 50,000, and as a result, have enabled such libraries as the Ellis Memorial Library and the Zula B. Wylie Library to add their newspapers to TDNP.

And one very special milestone also occurred today for the Tocker Foundation Grant Collection, which is that it has now reached over one million pages of newspapers digitized. The Tocker Foundation supports digitization of newspapers for community libraries supporting populations below 12,000, with a commitment to create worldwide access to rural Texas history, and their contributions represent a full quarter of the newspaper content available in the TDNP collection. To learn more about the Tocker Foundation digitization grants, you can visit their website. The Tocker Foundation’s generosity has supported rural public libraries in many endeavors, and our heartfelt appreciation and congratulations go out to them.

Multiple significant collaboration projects that have helped to grow this program have been with the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, who has partnered with us in many TexTreasures grants as well as in the National Digital Newspaper Program.  Another very important partnership has been with the Abilene Library Consortium, with whom we have partnered on many projects to make local history freely available and digitally preserved. The most recent collaborative project has been with the Texas Press Association, in a noteworthy collaboration with NewzGroup, to preserve PDF newspapers created by TPA member publishers. This body of newspaper content represents 457 paid-circulation newspapers.  In the cases of newspapers that have been scanned from microfilm or physical page, the PDF content caps an entire newspaper run, up to a date specified by the publisher.

The Texas Digital Newspaper Program is the largest, freely-accessible repository of newspapers in Texas, and it is among the largest in the U.S. As such, this collection represents a significant hub of research for UNT faculty and students. In 2015, in furtherance of its commitment to digital preservation, UNT Libraries completed a self-audit of their digital repository policies, documentation, and infrastructure in accordance with the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist (TRAC). The news content, including both digital newspaper and news video content, represents the largest single collection in the UNT Libraries’ Digital Collections. Full documentation and appendices are available here.

One additional milestone has also happened this month. The Portal to Texas History has released a beta design of the Portal that we hope you’ll visit. If you see a red “Feedback” flag appear in the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen as you’re perusing the beta, please don’t hesitate to click on it and tell us what you think about the beta design.

We also have a newspaper scavenger hunt for you. This hunt comes from all of the Digital Newspaper Unit staff.  We look at newspapers all day, every day, and we really enjoy finding new bits of trivia and new people to talk about in the TDNP blog.  We hope you find these puzzles as much fun to solve as we had putting them together.  Come back next month for the answers!

1)    This famous musician hails from Lubbock, and according to one newspaper, kept an opossum as a pet when he was a child.  Who is the musician, and what newspaper talks about this?

2)    What community is the home town of Big Tex?

3)    In 1946, future Archer City celebrity Larry McMurtry lost his dog.  How old was he when he lost his dog, and what kind of dog was it?

4)    What is Katherine Stinson famous for, and in what newspaper issue can we read about her?

5)    What city reported on a giant sea monster being turned over to Dr. Agustin Cabrera Diaz for research, and when?

6)    What is the oldest Texas newspaper on the Portal, and what is its date?

7)    What are the titles of the student newspaper published for what is now University of North Texas?

8)    Who is Floto?

9)    This easternmost Texas county documented its courthouse restoration in its newspapers. Which county is it, and in what years did the restoration take place?

10) This newspaper from March 24, 1836, documents what incredibly important event in Texas history?

Finally, thanks to all of the Digital Newspaper Unit staff and student assistants who have made this possible.