Posted by & filed under Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

This week’s author is Calaine Maulden, a student assistant in the Digital Newspaper Unit, who is also a creative writing major. Cal is preparing for graduation this year and had a lot of fun preparing this story. Where could these paths lead?


As you and your brothers wrap up a day of fieldwork, you debate how to go about seeing the circus.  You head back toward the house, with a stop at the garbage heap to snag any of the past month’s newspapers–well-read and somewhat tattered by now from being out in the elements.

You’re pretty sure you can talk Papa around no matter what. It’s Mama you really have to convince.

Mark wants to show Mama and Papa one of the circus ads. He thinks telling them about the variety of what you’ll see and learn will be enough to convince them. Jed thinks you should show your parents a description from someone who actually went there, to let them know what you’ll see so they won’t worry. The idea of just sneaking out has also been tossed into the conversation.

How do you convince Mama?

  1. Show her the ad Mark found.
  2. Let her read someone’s first-hand summary of what they saw.
  3. Don’t bother Mama or Papa with details! Instead, you sneak out with your brothers to see what you can see.




Choice 1 – Show your parents everything you’ll see

You side with Mark, and you all agree to show them an advertisement. Mark and Jed talk on and on about the performing oxen and the Lady Dressed in Glass and more curiosities than any of you can count. After a whole dinner of badgering from the boys, and a promise from you to keep them safe, Papa gives in first, and finally Mama relents. You can go to the circus all day tomorrow!


















Choice 2 – Show her a first-hand description

You think Jed’s plan is the most likely to work. Between Mama and Papa, they’ll be worried but may be convinced by someone else. You show your parents the editorial about last night’s show. You point out it must be safe for the guests, especially with kids being a huge part of the audience. As you thought might happen, all three of you convince Papa first and, after a lot more talking, Papa helps convince Mama to let you go, on the condition you keep them safe. Tomorrow will be exciting, and even better, tomorrow will be something different!













Choice 3 – Sneak out to see the animal den wreck

After going over it again and again, you all decide it’ll be impossible to convince Mama to let you go. She’s worried herself sick about Grandma Thomas, and you know she’d say she can’t risk losing you three. You decide to sneak out after dinner and see the animals in their cages. Before you leave you read in Papa’s paper that some of the animal dens were destroyed, so you all agree you must get a glimpse of their cages. Time for an exciting night out!

Posted by & filed under Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

Over the next few weeks, the Texas Digital Newspaper Program will present you with a time travel adventure that gives you different choices over time and space. Through this, you’ll begin by imagining yourself as a teenager from Brenham, Texas, in the autumn of 1880s. You can visit the different links we provide, but the one you choose will take you to a different option.

Your Adventure Begins

As you pull the heavy pine door closed, a page of newspaper blows under your feet.  It’s hard to read the text beneath the huge portrait of Mr. Barnum, his curly hair and dignified suit belying everything you’ve ever heard about his famous show.

“Everything advertised will lie exhibited, every hoof, horn and feather, every animal, every novel attraction, and the full programme as presented in New York, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, .St. Louis and all the large cities and towns of the East, will lie exhibited here, Museum Menagerie and Circus in their entirety and positively without curtailment.”

Mama’s been so busy caring for Grandmother Thomas, you know she can’t get out to see anything.  You’re to mind your brothers all week, and you wonder if she could spare some coins to get all three of you in, so long as you promise not to lose the boys. They’re old enough now, anyway, that if you talk to them, they’ll help you get your way.

To convince your brothers to help you, do you:

  1. Show them the ad you found.
  2. Tell them they might get to see a stuffed giraffe (because you know how much these boys like those kinds of gruesome things!)
  3. Besides a giraffe, mention the other mystical creatures they might get to see if they listen to you…





You Chose #1: Show Them the Ad You Found

Your brothers get really excited, for no other reason but to relieve the boredom of a windy autumn–the adults have mostly put them to work pulling seeds out of cotton. But they also know there’re plenty of opportunities for mischief, and they think all three of you can convince Mama of anything under the sun, especially while she’s too distracted by Grandmother Thomas’ illness, and Papa’s busy with getting the cotton harvested.



You Chose #2: Tell Them about the Stuffed Giraffe

You’ve always known your brothers are a lot more interested in decay and dead animals than in all the trained horses or aerial-diving ladies in the world. They also love the idea of getting out of helping Papa with the cotton-picking–the most tedious work they have to do every autumn. They immediately agree to help you talk Mama around.





You Chose #3: Tell Them about Other Mystical Creatures at Barnum’s Circus

Your Mama and Grandmother Thomas spent a lot of time reading Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales to you, and your whole family pays attention when they hear anything about his stories.  Grandpa Thomas had gotten to see a parade in New Orleans a couple of years ago, and he regaled you all with stories. There’s nothing your brothers wouldn’t do to see a little more into the fairy tales. Jed, the oldest at 12, points out that even if he doesn’t see a mermaid, it’s something different from picking seeds from cotton all day.

Posted by & filed under Featured, Grants, National Digital Newspaper Program, Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

Today begins a series of blog posts highlighting titles digitized in Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’s repository of historic American newspapers, by the UNT Libraries’ Digital Newspaper Unit from 2016-2018. The Digital Newspaper Unit has received National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to work with the Library of Congress in building access to historic Texas newspapers. The 2016-2018 award cycle focused on non-English newspaper content. El Regidor is also available on the Portal to Texas History as part of the Texas Digital Newspaper Program.

This essay was prepared by our own Sarah Lynn Fisher, Texas-NDNP project coordinator, and Brooke Edsall, Digital Newspaper Unit Imaging Lead.

El Regidor

In 1888 Pablo Cruz founded El Regidor (also available on the Portal), a weekly Spanish-language newspaper, with Cruz serving as both publisher and editor. El Regidor reported on issues concerning Tejano people in San Antonio, giving first-person, eyewitness accounts of Texas politics. In his editorials, Cruz detailed the Mexican immigrant’s struggle to obtain United States citizenship. Cruz, himself a naturalized Mexican immigrant, used El Regidor as a platform to publicize his social and political goals for the Mexican immigrant community (Orozco 2019).

In 1893 El Regidor measured 13 inches by 20 inches, typically published four-page issues, and aligned itself with the agrarian populist People’s Party (Barnes 2019). The Party’s support of small landowners and opposition to centralization of power resonated with Cruz and his immigrant readers. However, following the Party’s attempts to limit the voting rights of Mexican immigrants in Texas, which culminated in the pivotal 1897 civil rights case In Re Ricardo Rodríguez (Acosta 2019), Cruz abandoned the Populist movement. El Regidor remained independent until 1906, when it declared itself to be Republican. Its circulation grew from a modest 1,200 in 1896 to nearly 10,000 at the end of its run in 1915 (Kanellos & Martell 2000). The paper included national and international newswires, focusing on the politics of Mexico in particular. The last page of every issue from 1904 to 1915 is dominated by advertising for medicines and local merchants.

Cruz used his paper to voice discontent with those who questioned and violated civil rights of barrio residents by encouraging them to unite against behavior such as educational segregation of children of Mexican ancestry (Menchaca 2011). In 1901, Cruz started a campaign through El Regidor to raise funds for the defense of Gregorio Cortez, a Mexican man charged with the murder of Sheriff Morris of Karnes County. Cruz, convinced the murder of Sheriff Morris was justified, advocated for Cortez in the pages of El Regidor. The campaign was a success – funds were allocated to hire Judge B. R. Abernethy of Gonzalez and Samuel Belden of San Antonio to conduct the defense and Cortez was eventually pardoned in 1913 (Martinez 2003).

Cruz died in 1910. His wife, Zuelma P. de Cruz, edited and published the paper, suspending publication in 1915. After Cruz’s death, El Regidor’s masthead still credited “Fundador, Pablo Cruz.” (Orozco 2019). Col. Francisco A. Chapa, who published El Imparcial , took Cruz’s place as an activist in the community, particularly in the effort to defend Gregorio Cortez. Cruz’s son, Pablo Cruz, II, was a founding member of a Mexican American fraternal organization that eventually organized as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

For more information about the National Digital Newspaper Program, you can visit the NEH NDNP page.

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Acosta, T. P. (2019). IN RE RICARDO RODRIGUEZ. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

Barnes, D. A. (2019). PEOPLE’S PARTY. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

Kanellos, N., and Martell, H. (2000). Hispanic Periodicals in the United States, Origins to 1960: A Brief History and Comprehensive Bibliography. Houston: Arte Publico Press.

Martinez, A. L. R. (2003). The Voice of the People: Pablo Cruz, El Regidor, and Mexican American Identity in San Antonio, Texas, 1888-1910. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from

Menchaca, M. (2011). Naturalizing Mexican immigrants: A Texas history. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Orozco, C. E. (2019). CRUZ, PABLO. In Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from

A Twentieth century history of southwest Texas. (1907). Vol. 1. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co. Retrieved from

For more information about the National Digital Newspaper Program, you can visit the NEH NDNP page.


Posted by & filed under Rescuing Texas History.

Congratulations to our awardees of the 2019 cycle of the Rescuing Texas History program!

In May 2019, The Portal to Texas History announced the latest call for applications to our Rescuing Texas History program, in two tracks: for newspaper and non-newspaper applications. This program is intended to offer up to $1,000 worth of digitization services by the UNT Libraries’ Digital Projects Unit to build access to partners’ local materials. We’re proud to announce that we’ve selected 49 total projects this year. We are thrilled for these partners and wanted to provide everyone a sneak peek of where the new materials are coming from.

Private Collections of TB Willis Private Collection of the Ritchie Family University of Dallas
Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead Moody Medical Library at UTMB Brownsville Historical Association
Tarleton State University Interurban Railway Museum City of Quanah
Friench Simpson Memorial Library Lone Star Flight Museum Kerr County Historical Commission
Murphy Historical Society Private Collection of the Curtis Estate McCulloch County Historical Commission
Texas Lutheran University Private Collection of the Litzler Family History of West Museum
Dr. Pepper Museum Fannin County Historical Commission Rosenberg Library
Austin History Center, Austin Public Library Ben E. Allen Real Estate Solar Engineering Magazine
Dallas Firefighters Museum Dallas Municipal Archives Melissa Public Library
Mexic-Arte Museum Mineola Landmark Commission Fannin County Museum of History
Private Collection of Mike Cochran Private Collection of JK Johnson Private Collection of the Koenig Family
Fort Davis Historical Society – Overland Trail Museum Travis County Historical Commission Private Collection of MM Davis
St. Mary’s Louis J. Blume Library San Antonio College Library Carrollton Public Library
Denton Public Library Erath County Genealogical Society Ennis Public Library
Forney Historic Preservation League Port Arthur Public Library Smith County Historical Society
Southwestern University Gillespie County Historical Society Tarrant County Archives
Temple College-Hubert M. Dawson Library Montgomery County Library


Among this year’s new Rescuing Texas History projects are photos from the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas, and insights into the evolution of solar energy from the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally you will have access to The Junior Ranger, the student newspaper from San Antonio College Library with issues dating back to 1926, along with 14 years of the Carlton Citizen from Erath County. This is just to name a few, so keep your eyes peeled for new and fascinating Texas history materials!

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

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas passenger train, eventually called the “Katy train,” the “Katy Flyer” or the “Texas Special,” first crossed the Red River from Oklahoma to Texas in 1872. After this crossing, the city of Denison was established on September

Missouri - Kansas - texas Railroad's beautiful Spanish Mission style depot in the "Alamo City" in May 1962. This was the San Antonio home of the KATY's famous trains, the "Texas Special", "The Bluebonnet" and "The Katy Flyer"

MKTR’s home of the KATY’s famous trains, the “Texas Special”, “The Bluebonnet” and “The Katy Flyer.

23, 1872, according to Folklore in Motion. The Katy train is mentioned frequently in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program collection, in newspapers ranging from 1891 to 2009, and it served Texas as a passenger train until 1965, at which point passenger service ended due to air and car transportation, according to this KXAS-NBC 5 news clip, digitized by UNT Libraries’ own Special Collections.

According to the Texas Historical Commission Marker for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad: “On Christmas Day 1872, over 100 passengers rode the first Katy train into Denison, a new townsite named for M-K-T Vice President George Denison. The construction and acquisition of branch lines soon extended the Katy east to Greenville, west to Rotan and Wichita Falls, and south to Galveston and San Antonio. By 1904, the system had over 1,000 miles of track in Texas. The railroad transported cattle, cotton, and other crops to market. It also carried passengers on such trains as the ‘Texas Special’ and the ‘Katy Flyer’ before passenger service ended in 1965.”

Mentioned in newspapers from across Texas, the Katy Flyer featured prominently in daily life, as these excerpts from 1919-1920 newspapers demonstrate. In August 1919, one-hundred years ago, the Katy train resumed full service after having been briefly suspended during World War I for fuel savings. For North Texans, the resumption of the Katy train’s passenger schedule, even with one trip per day, was extremely important news in trade, agriculture, and travel, as these excerpts illustrate!

July 28, 1919, Bonham News: “Board of Trade and Katy Train: Organization still going after this train. Train promised August 1. The Board of Trade through its secretary, has been right in after the Railroad Commission about the Katy train, discontinued some time since. The following telegram is given exactly as received, and the public is invited to read it, and draw its own conclusions.

Photograph of "Katy Flyer" rolling down the railroad tracks in Denison, Texas.

Photograph of “Katy Flyer” rolling down the railroad tracks in Denison, Texas.

Austin, Texas, July 28, 1919 C.R. Inglish, Bonham Texas: Your letter Friday, train matter. Full hearing has alredy been held and commission’s order requiring reinstatement goes into effect August first. Nothing now before the commission indicating that order will not then be complied with, hence see no necessity for further hearing. Earle B. Mayfield, Commissioner. It has been whispered around that an effort would be made to postpone this train service, but the above does not sound like it. The Board of Trade did not ask for the full service enjoyed before, but a train down from Denison in the afternoon and back in time to catch the Texas Special north.”

The Bonham Board of Trade rejoiced when the Katy train resumed service to their city, on August 8, 1919: “Katy Train is Put on Again: For some time the Bonham Board of Trade has been working on the proposition to get the train on the Katy back. It was abandoned during the war. This train, known by many as the Fannin County Flyer, made two round trips from Denison to Bonham every day. However, it seems it will make only one now.” (Bonham News, August 8, 1919)

Better late than never, the first day the Katy train was back in business, it reached Denison a few hours after midnight on August 1, 1919: “Katy passenger train No. 4 scheduled to arrive in the city at midnight Thursday was delayed several hours in reaching this terminal. The slipping of tires on the engine caused more than three hours delay just north of Dallas Thursday evening.” (Denison Herald, August 1, 1919)

In our next post, we will step back in time to ride the Katy Flyer with the people who rode in the fall of 1919 to early 1920!