|Max Sherman and William P. Hobby Jr.|
|Naomi Shihab Nye and Bill Wittliff|
|Ron Philo, Anne LeMaistre, and Light Cummins|
Check Out the Book Fair at Humanities Texas
Light T. Cummins, Bryan Professor of History at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, blogs about things related to Texas History. He served as the State Historian of Texas from May, 2009 to August, 2012. He teaches Texas history and writes about the history of the Lone Star state. This blog contains postings about his activities as he seeks to advance the cause of history and historical understanding across the state.
|Austin College Building, Huntsville, Site of|
first law school in Texas
|The DMA's Lisa Kays introduces my gallery talk|
|With Noggin by Dorothy Austin|
|McArdle's 1901 Battle of San Jacinto|
|(l. to r.) Atlee Phillips, James Crisp, Sam Ratcliffe, Ali James, Michael Grauer|
|(l. to r.) Michael Grauer, Victoria Cummins, Light Cummins|
photo by Morris Matson
|Milton Jordan Delivering the ETHA Presidential Address|
|Light Cummins "Sculpting Texas History in Bronze"|
|Victoria Cummins Speaking at the Carriage House|
|(l to r) Victoria Cummins, Light Cummins, Jean Stuntz|
|Richard E. Greenleaf with a group of his former graduate students|
|Three former students of Richard E. Greeleaf: Drs. Victoria Cummins, James D. Reily, and Eugene Harrell|
Many speakers paid tribute to Professor Greenleaf
The occasion marked the publication of a new book entitled The Inquisition in Colonial Latin America: Selected Writings of Richard E. Greenleaf, edited by James D. Riley, a former Ph,D. student who is an emeritus professor of history at the Catholic University of America. This book provides a survey summary of Dr. Greenleaf's extensive arrary of publications and historical analyses of the Inquisition in colonial Latin America.
During our recent trip though west Texas, Vicki Cummins and I visited the Museum of the Big Bend, which is located on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. We were interested in visiting the museum because it is one of the important museums of the state, but also because it was a Texas Centennial Project. The building which houses the museum was built in 1935 with a $25,00 grant from the Texas Centennial Commission along with about $50,000 in additional funds from the Federal Government. It was a state-of-the-art 1936 fireproof structure built entirely of native stone and equipped with ornamental iron window guards and outside doors of heavy steel. As a Texas Centennial project, the building was dedicated "to the pioneers of the area" and initially housed the offices for the West Texas Historical and Scientific Society, an organization that no longer exists. Former Governor Pat Neff dedicated the structure on May 1, 1937. Today the interior of the museum has been completely modernized in a sweeping series of renovations, although the exterior of the building still retains much of its 1936 centennial appearance.
Click Here to visit the website of the Museum of the Big Bend
My wife Victoria and I are spending much of the week at the Archives of the Big Bend, located in the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library on the Campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. This fine archive seeks to collect materials that relate to the history of the trans-Pecos region of Texas, meaning the area located to the west of the Pecos River and east of El Paso. Alpine is located in the heart of the Big Bend Country of Texas, and that area is the focus of the collection. There is also an effort made to collect materials that touch on the history of Mexico in the parts of that country that lay to the south of the Big Bend and the trans-Pecos. Its holdings have some 5,000 books in the Archives, mostly dealing with Texana, regional literature, and the history of the region. Important manuscript collections including the papers of Texas Ranger Roy W. Aldrich; Texas legislators Benjamin F. Berkeley, E. E. Townsend and Gene Hendryx; and border historians Harry Warren and Jodie P. Harris. The archives also contains the papers of many individuals associated with Sul Ross State University. It was such interests that brought us to the Archive of the Big Bend. We are writing a biographical study of Frances Battaile Fisk, the author of the 1928 book "Texas Artists and Sculptors." Mrs. Fisk was the sister-in-law of Horace Morelock, who served as president of Sul Ross from 1923 until 1945. During the final years of her life, Fisk lived in Alpine with her sister and Dr. Morelock. We found much useful information about Mrs. Fisk and the Morelocks, especially thanks to the Archive Director Melleta Bell and archivist Jerri Garza.
Click here for the web page of the Archives of the Big Bend
Over the last two years, my wife Victoria Cummins and I have spent considerable time doing historical research at the Bywaters Special Collections of the Hamon Arts Library at the Meadows School of the Arts on the campus of Southern Methodist University. We again spent the day immersed in its valuable collections of materials, which include the papers of Jerry Bywaters, E. G Eisenlohr, Velma and Otis Dozier, Octavio Medellin, Olin Travis, and other important Texas artists associated with the regionalist movement in the southwest during the twentieth century. In a related set of archival materials also touching on the fine arts, the Bywaters additionally holds the papers of the actress Greer Garson. The special collections archive carries the name of Dallas artist and arts administrator Jerry Bywaters, 1906-1989. He was a faculty member in the arts at SMU for many years while also serving as the long-time director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The director of the Bywaters Collection is Dr. Sam DeShong Ratcliffe, who is an accomplished Texas historian and an expert on the art of the Southwest. Among his publications are two important books, Painting in Texas History to 1900, and Jerry Bywaters: Interpreter of the Southwest. Bywaters Curator Ellen Buie Niewyk has a BFA from the University of North Texas and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. Her recent book, Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker, examines printmaking in the early years of the twentieth century and the role artist Jerry Bywaters played in that movement. She is also accomplished in the design of artistic jewelry. Emily George Grubbs is a more recent addition to the Bywaters staff, having received a BA degree from SMU in 2008. At present, she is researching an historical article on the art exhibitions at the Dallas Little Theatre during the regionalist era. The holdings of the Bywaters Collection are well-indexed by a computerized finding aid that is available in the reading room. The beautiful office suite and research room of the Collection displays an impressive group of paintings and statuary from the era during which Jerry Bywaters was active as an SMU faculty member.
Click here for the Bywaters Special Collections Web Site.
|Dr. Todd Kerstter speaks at the Teacher Institute, Fort Worth|
|Victoria Cummins Researching|
at the Grace
The second reason for my visit to the Grace was to conduct historical research on a project that involves joint research with my wife Victoria H. Cummins. We are writing a biographical article on the life of Frances Battaile Fisk, who was an Abilene woman who worked very hard to advance the appreciation of Texas art from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was the wife of publisher Greenleaf Fisk, who published the Abilene "Times" newspaper. Mrs. Fisk was born in Georgetown, Texas in 1881. She attended Southwestern University before her marriage, thereafter teaching school before she turned her attention to newspaper writing. She became a correspondent to a number of Texas newspapers and became active as a member of various women's clubs, especially the Texas Federaton. In that capacity, she wrote a 1928 book entitled "A History of Texas Artists and Sculptors," which has today become a classic of early Texas art.
Click Here for the Grace Museum Website.
Yesterday I spoke at the Daughter’s of the Republic of Texas Library located on the grounds of the Alamo in San Antonio. The 23rd Annual Texas History Forum was the occasion. The theme for this year’s forum centered on historiography. As the introductory material for the event noted, “Historiography is the history of historical writing, specifically the history of how scholars have interpreted historical topics over time. In order to understand this, historiography also necessitates the study of why historians have chosen to examine and describe the past in particular ways.
Dr. Gregg Cantrell of Texas Christian University and Dr. Jim Crisp of North Carolina State University also spoke at the Forum. I spoke on “Telling the Story of Old-Time Texas: The History of Texas History” In so doing I provided an overview of Texas historiography and some of the assumptions that have shaped its interpretations over time. I also noted some of the attributes of sound historical writing. Dr. Cantrell related his experiences in researchin and writing his award-winning biography of Stephen F. Austin. He highlighted some of the historiographical decisions he had to make in crafting that biographical analysis of Austin. Dr Crisp continued the theme of historiography by analyzing some of the primary and secondary sources from the actual 1836 battle of the Alamo the speak to the matter of Davy Crockett’s death. This analsyis is based on his new book “How Did Davy Die? And Why Do We Care So Much?”
For a more detailed synopsis of the three presentations, see the website of the Daughter’s of the Republic of Texas Library: Click Here.
Earlier tonight British musician and rock star Phil Collins visited the Hall of State in Dallas where he talked about his long-standing interest in the Alamo. The Dallas Historical Society sponsored this event, which took place because Collins accepted an invitation to visit the Hall of State from Dallasite Lindalyn Adams. She is a former president of the historical society. Collins has been a friend of the Adams family for many years. DHS President Diane Bumpas presided at the event by introducing Collins. Angus Wynne joined Lindalyn Adams on the stage of the Margaret and Al Hill Lecture Hall for an entertaining, informative, and informal interview with Collins about his interest in the Alamo and its history. Collins noted that he has gravitated toward the Alamo story since his own youth in London. In recent decades, he has developed a deep interest in the Alamo and its history. In the process, he has amassed what may be the largest collection of Alamo artifacts, memorabilia, and documents currently in private hands. He has also just finished writing a book about the Alamo that will be published next year. DHS Executive Director Jack Bunning and board member Joe Dealey presented Collins with replicas of the New Orleans Greys and the Alamo battle flags in honor of his being at the Dallas Historical Society tonight. It was my good fortune to meet Phil Collins and have the opportunity to talk with him about our mutual interest in the Alamo and its history. I will be speaking later this month at the Texas History Forum to be held at the Alamo, so I especially appreciated many of Phil Collin's insights.
More about the Dallas Historical Society. Click Here
Pegasus news article about the event. Click Here