Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Book Documents Austin College’s 160 Year History

A new pictorial history book written cooperatively by Austin College faculty members and students examines the rich 160 year history of the school. This book, Austin College, is the culmination of a collaborative learning project led by professor Light T. Cummins, with the assistance of college archivist Justin Banks.

This book marks the presidenital transition of Austin College from the leadership of Dr. Oscar C. Page to that of Dr. Marjorie Hass. It is scheduled to be released by the Arcadia Publishing Company on November 9. Advance copies will be available for purchase at the Austin College campus store beginning on Thursday, November 5 as part of the festivities marking the inauguration of Dr. Marjorie Hass as the fifteenth president of Austin College.

“This volume tells the story of Austin College in photographs,” Cummins said. It uses pictures to document the history of Austin College from the era of the daguerreotype to that of the digital image.

Eight students in a history class taught by Light Cummins during the spring of this year wrote the text for the new book. Four archival students under the direction of archivist Justin Banks selected the pictures used in the volume.

The student authors are: Elizabeth A. Elliott of Arlington, Texas; David C. Loftice of Van Alstyne; Trang Ngo of Amarillo; Joshua Pollock of San Antonio; Paige Rutherford of Amarillo; Victoria Sheppard of El Dorado, Arkansas; William Weeks of Euless; and Jacqueline M. Welsh of Greeley, Colorado.

The student archival assistants who selected the images contained in the book are: Gunjan Chitnis of Irving; Susan Le of Garland; Rebeka Medellin of San Antonio; and Ayesha Shafi of Mansfield, Texas.

The archival students chose the 200 images in the book from thousands contained in the college’s extensive collections. College archivist Banks prepared the images for publication. The student authors then wrote the narrative, linking it to the photographs. The text explains what appears in the pictures while it also provides a full chronological history of the college. Light Cummins edited the volume and provided continuity for the narrative.

“Most college history books are written by historians,” Cummins said. “This is one of the few that has been written by students, and, as such, it offers a student perspective about the history of the college.”

The book highlights the history of student life, the academic program, athletic activities, and the growth of the campus. It also examines how the college has responded to changes in American life from before the Civil War to the present day.

"Austin College has a unique history,” Cummins noted in that regard. “One of the school's greatest historical qualities is that it can adapt positively as it changes with the times.”

Click Here for More Information

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Father of Texas Banquet at the Brazoria County Historical Museum

Me with Descendants of Emily Austin Bryan Perry
Last night in Angleton, Texas, the Brazoria County Historical Museum hosted its fourteenth annual Father of Texas Awards banquet. This museum is one of the most active and professionally managed county historical museums in the state. In addition to its exhibits, it operates a series of public programs, guest speakers series, and other activities designed to advance historical awareness. The museum’s Lois Brock Adriance Library and Archives has a rich collection of materials dealing with the history of the lower Brazos River valley and the Gulf Coast.

The museum, under the leadership of its director Jackie Haynes, annually presents three awards at this annual banquet. The Father of Texas Award honors an individual who has demonstrated in modern times the leadership qualities that were embodied in the life of Stephen F. Austin, who not only founded Anglo American Texas, but who was also a resident of what is now Brazoria County. This year’s Father of Texas Award was bestowed on J. P. Bryan of Houston, who has been a long-time supporter of historical causes in Texas. He is a native of Brazoria County. Mr. Bryan is also a member of the Austin/Bryan/Perry family that descends from Moses Austin. He is a champion of all things historical in Texas.

The Catherine Munson Foster Award for Literature memorializes the memory of a Brazoria County native who had an outstanding career as a folklorists and author. I was given this award at the banquet for my book “Emily Austin of Texas, 1895-1851.” This book examines the life of this important Texas woman and also provides a history of her Brazoria County home, Peach Point Plantation. It was a special honor for me to have this award presented by Marie Beth Jones, a high respected journalist and authority on the early history of Texas and the lower Brazos River.
Me and director Jackie Haynes
The museum awarded its Jane Long Pioneer Spirit Award to the Brazosport Archeological Society. Its president, Johnney Pollan, accepted the award for the society. Mr. Pollan is an active avocational archeologist and is also an archeological steward. The society has conducted a number of archeological investigations throughout Texas. At present, many of its members are involved in the investigations currently taking place at the Bernardo Plantation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Texas Regional Art Symposium, Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

Anne Royer, Victoria Cummins, Lonn Tayler, and me at the Symposium

The Heard-Craig Center for the Arts in McKinney, Texas hosted a one day Texas Regional Art Symposium on October 10, 2009. Several hundred people attended in addition to almost a dozen paper presenters and panelists. It brought together historians, curators, collectors, and local artists at the Heard-Craig Hall to discuss new research on early Texas art. It also sought to foster new Texas art of a regional nature. Artist and art historian Anne Royer coordinated the event and served as master of ceremonies, along with the active participation of Barbara Johnson, director of the Heard-Craig. The Art Club of McKinney Art also helped organize and staff the conference. The Frank Reaugh Art Club and the Frank Klepper Art Club sent representatives to attend this conference.

The Texas Art Collectors Organization also participated in this event. Speakers included me, Lonn Taylor, who is a retired curator of the Smithsonian Institution, Victoria Cummins, and Sam Ratcliff of the Jerry Bywaters Collection. Dr. Francine Carraro, director of the Grace Museum in Abilene also spoke, along with Carol Roark of the Dallas Public Library. Bob Reitz, an expert on Frank Reaugh, participated as well. A panel of art collectors also talked about their experiences in collecting Texas regional art. This panel included Mark Kever, Morris Matson, Marc Bateman, Bruce Covey, and George Palmer. A reception held at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios at 207 S. Tennessee followed the symposium. The Patricia B. Avery Art Show ran concurrently with the symposium, bringing together the work of current artists.

Click here to learn more about the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

Click here to learn more about the Art Club of McKinney

Monday, October 5, 2009

Robert S. Weddle Receives the H. G. Dulaney Award

Robert S. Weddle
Robert S. Weddle, esteemed author and revered Texas historian, received the H. G. Dulaney Award in Bonham at a gala banquet held on October 1, 2009. This award honors H. G. Dulaney, a Bonham native who was closely associated with Congressman Sam Rayburn. Mr. Dulaney began his career with Mr. Sam by becoming a member of Congressman Rayburn’s staff over sixty years ago. In 1956, Mr. Dulaney became the founding director of the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum in Bonham, Texas. He held this position until his retirement, continuing his work on behalf of the library until his passing last summer.
Carol Stanton and Patrick Cox
The Dulaney Award is presented by the Friends of Sam Rayburn to someone who have advanced the ideal, goals, and vision embraced in the lives of both H. G. Dulaney and Congressman Rayburn. It also recognizes someone who has advanced Bonham.

Bonham Mayor Roy Floyd

Robert S. Weddle is a native of Bonham who attended Texas Tech University in the 1940s. He thereafter became a professional journalist and Texas newspaper editor. It was while he was the editor of the Menard, Texas paper that Weddle became interested in the Spanish colonial history of Texas. The ruins of the San Saba presidio and the site of the Mission San Saba were near Menard. He began researching these places and wrote a book that has become a classic of Texas historical writing, Mission San Saba: Spanish Pivot in Texas. Over the decades since, he has written over a dozen additional books, mostly on the history of Texas during the Spanish colonial period. It is not an understatement to note that he is currently the “Dean of Spanish Colonial Historians” writing about Texas.

Anthony Champagne and me

Mayor Roy Floyd of Bonham hosted the awards dinner. I spoke on the theme of Bob Weddle’s public service, while Anthony Champagne talked about H. G. Dulaney. Barbara Gore of the Friends of the Sam Rayburn Library presented the award. Patrick Cox of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, along with Carol Stanton, Director of the Sam Rayburn House, also spoke at the dinner.

Bob Weddle with his son and daughter

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sam Rayburn Symposium

Anthony Champagne, Nancy Beck Young, Jackie Moore,
and Fred Buettler on their panel

The Austin College Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies hosted a symposium on the history of Texas political leadership, highlighting the work of Congressman Sam Rayburn, on October 1 in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall. The conference was co-sponsored by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History of the University of Texas at Austin, which maintains the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum in Bonham, Texas. The keynote speaker was Dr. Fred W. Beuttler, deputy historian of the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to the Washington position, he spent seven years as the associate university historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He directed the university’s oral history project and researched the history of the university. Earlier, he was an assistant professor at Trinity Christian College near Chicago, where he taught American history and government. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree from Trinity International University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. An afternoon panel conducted by Dr. Jackie Moore featured Dr. Beutter, Nancy Beck Young, and Anthony Champagne discussion the nature of congressional leadership in the era of Sam Rayburn. I led a panel discussion regarding important Texas congressional leaders. Patrick Cox, Kenneth Hendrickson, and Michael Collins participated in this panel.

Patrick Cox, Light Cummins, Kenneth Hendrickson,
and Michael Collins on their panel