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2017 Reports

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

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Austin History Center Director’s Report

Mike Miller is the Manager of the Austin History Center, a 14-person, $1.2 million division of the Austin Public Library, with responsibility for personnel, planning, and fiscal aspects. He represents the Austin History Center before library, city, and community groups. Writes, speaks and consults about Austin history, managing local history collections, and preservation of historical materials.


August 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • On July 16, the AHC hosted a reunion program with five members of the 1951 North Austin All-stars Little League baseball team, the only team from Austin to make the Little League World Series. A standing room only crowd was regaled with stories form these men about their experiences in Williamsport.
  • Mexican American Community Archivist Amanda Jasso and Processing Archivist Molly Hults planned and delivered a program on how to conduct property research on July 22. Many of our patrons have little to no experience researching properties, so this proved beneficial to the five community members who attended our workshop.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 9 collections, the Sunrise Optimist Club Records, the Texas Society of Sculptors Records, the Austin Waltz Club Records, the Capital City Men’s Chorus Records, the Doug Dyer Papers, the David Morris Papers, the Gail McDonald Papers, the Beck Runte Papers, and the Gerald Langford “O. Henry’s Austin” Photographs (800 items). The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired a donation dropped off by a refuse hauler who found a box of photographs dating from the 1930s-1960s of the Sauls family, an African American family originally from Round Rock that moved to Austin and lived on East 12th The AHC also acquired the DVD of an 8mm film of the Batman World Premier on Congress Ave.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in an upcoming documentary “GI Jews” for PBS, a new book titled “A War Remembered: The Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library,” news stories on KUT and KEYE about Stubb’s/Liberty Lunch, articles in CultureMap Austin and the State Comptroller’s Office newsletter, creating a new historic district for the Flower Hill area, and for display at the ACC Rio Grande Campus, Capitol Visitor’s Center, the new Mexican Consulate building, and the Steampunk bar.

Exhibits

  • In advance of the planned August exhibits on Dewey Mears and mid-century modern architecture, Archives Media Specialist Grace McEvoy completed a Fehr and Granger web exhibit: http://library.austintexas.gov/ahc/fehr-granger-mid-century-architects-381675. This online exhibit is a companion to the AHC exhibit “Fehr & Granger – Austin Modernists” on display at the Austin Center for Architecture. The exhibit opened on August 15, with over 150 people attending the opening reception.

Upcoming Events

  • August 29. 6:30 pm, AHC. Dewey Mears Exhibit opening reception/Night Crafters/Mobile making.
  • September 17. AHC. Austin Museum Day – “Families in the Archives”
  • October 17, 6:30 pm, AHC. The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, with James White, Ben Rodgers, and Donna Miller.
  • October 27, 700 Lavaca. Travis County History Day.
  • October 29, 1-4 pm, AHC. “Collecting Oral Histories” workshop (with AHCA).

July 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • African American Community Archivist LaToya Devezin organized and presented 8 Juneteenth Programs to 350 Travis County residents: Taste of Black Austin Traveling Exhibit on display at Little Walnut Branch (June 11th to 19th), 50 visitors; 2 Texas Gas Service Programs for staff (June 14th and 15th, 2017), 80 in attendance for both programs; Juneteenth Program at the Little Walnut Branch (June 16, 2017), 40 in attendance; South Austin Neighborhood Center Program (June 19, 2017), 15 in attendance; African American Heritage Network Juneteenth Event (June 19, 2017), 50 in attendance; Juneteenth Summer Camp (June 20, 2017) 60 in attendance; and Pflugerville Heritage House Program (June 20, 2017), 55 in attendance. Needless to say, it was a busy month for LaToya!

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 5 collections, the United States Work Projects Administration, Texas District No. 9 Records, the Edwin Miller Wheelock Papers; the Florence Ralston Brooke Papers; the Bradley Davis University Junior High School Photographs; and the Texas Fine Arts Association Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired periodical donations from Austin Bike Association and Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to help fill in gaps in those collections. The AHC also received the organizational records of Citizens for Airport Relocation (CARe) from the late 1980s-early 1990s regarding moving the municipal airport.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in displays and exhibits at the ESB-MACC, Austin-Travis County EMS, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the National Constitution Center; a story about Wooldridge and Republic Square Parks in the June issue of Tribeza; and three upcoming books: Doctors in Community: Training Interns and Residents at Brackenridge Hospital, Essential Austin: A guide to the History and Natural History of Texas’ Capital, and The Edge of Nothing (Texas A&M UP).

Upcoming Events

  • August 15, 6:30 pm, Austin Center for Architecture. Opening reception for new exhibit, “Fehr & Granger, Architects – Austin Modernists.”
  • August 29. 6:30 pm, AHC. Dewey Mears Exhibit opening reception/Night Crafters/Mobile making.
  • September 17. AHC. Austin Museum Day
  • October 29, 1-4 pm, AHC. “Collecting Oral Histories” workshop (with AHCA).

June 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • Over 100 people attended the Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir event at the AHC on May 9. Eddie Wilson, joined by his co-author Jesse Sublett, shared stories about the famous Austin music landmark and signed copies of their book.
  • The AHCA held its annual meeting on May 13. The event honored the many people who have participated in the Association’s Oral History project over the past year, and 120 people attended the meeting.
  • On May 18, the three Community Archivists participated in the Thinkery event “Thinkery21: Texas.” They created a small exhibit about the Brown Berets and used that opportunity discuss the history of East Austin’s Latino population.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 6 collections, the Climate Incorporated Photographs, the Robert Harry Akin Papers; the Austin (Tex.). Mayor’s Office. Robert Harry Akin Records; the Austin (Tex.). City Council. Richard Goodman Records; the Mary Jane Bode Papers; and the Heritage Society of Austin Flower Hill Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired some architectural drawings of the Nagle House (renovation from 1983) and records of the Austin Waltz Club. The club has existed since 1944 and is still active so eventually there may be more records to come our way.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in news stories about the closing of Brackenridge Hospital and the bus stop at 12th and Chicon, exhibition at La Pena, upcoming books Hippies and American Grocery Stores and Higher Education in Texas (UNT Press), and upcoming documentaries “900 Thompson Street” and “Firsts.”

Upcoming Events

  • July 16, 2:00 pm, AHC. Reunion program with players from the 1951 North Austin Lions Little League team, the only Austin team to make the Little League World Series.
  • August 15, time TBD. AIA offices. Fehr & Granger Exhibit opening.
  • August 29. 6:30 pm, AHC. Dewey Mears Exhibit opening reception/Night Crafters/Mobile making.
  • September 17. AHC. Austin Museum Day
  • October 29, 1-4 pm, AHC. “Collecting Oral Histories” workshop (with AHCA)

May 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • On April 2, the AHC hosted the program “Miles and Miles of Texas” on the history of the Texas Highway Department (Department of Transportation). 23 attendees were regaled with stories about the agency’s history and how the book project came to be.
  • Asian American Community Archivist Phonshia Nie hosted 2 tour groups this month. On April 6 she hosted Cunningham Elementary School Vietnamese Dual Language program for tour and lesson in primary sources; April 20 she hosted UT College of Education Social Studies Generalist course for tour and lesson in immigration history.
  • On April 6, the AHC participated in the “Lights, Camera, Cocktails!” event at the thinker, with a small exhibit about Austin movie theaters, book signing of the AHC’s book Historic Movie Houses of Austin, and a photo booth with life-size images of Batman and Catwoman. More than 200 people came by the AHC’s table over the course of the evening. Just a couple days later, AHC Manager Mike Miller and curator of Archives Susan Rittereiser had a book signing event at Barnes & Noble (Sunset Valley) to promote the book and the AHC.
  • On April 22, African American Community Archivist Latoya Devezin organized and presented the program, “The Black Experience in Confederate Texas,” presented with the Carver Genealogy Center, Texas State Library and Archives, and Austin Independent School District. Program included 2 historical presentations, one genealogical presentation, and one presentation to inform public about best practices when teaching the Civil War to K-12 students.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 5 collections, the Lucy Baumgardner Photo Album, the Cochran Family Photograph Collection, the Henry Hirshfeld Family Papers, the Fred Thompson Papers, and the Forming the Future Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired two photographic donations of note: a donation from Jim Williams of work by Sharen Armstrong of 1970s-80s photos of music and events; and a donation from photographer Mark Goodman of his artist’s book Capital Improvements. Also of note this month was a donation of architectural drawings and magazine clippings for an underground solar home near Round Rock by Coffee and Crier, which was very unique for Texas. Bob Coffee was recently interviewed as one of our architectural archives oral history interviewees and we have very few drawings by him.
  • The AHC also acquired a rare O. Henry manuscript item from a Sotheby’s auction. It is a 1905 letter from O. Henry to R. A. Bankson and the first page of a draft of a short story to appear in Munsey’s Magazine. In the letter, O. Henry explains why he wrote most of his stories on the small pieces of scratch paper in pencil.

Exhibits

  • The “Store Bought” photo exhibit, previously on display in the Holt Photo Gallery, is now on display at Faulk Central on the 2nd We also loaned items from the Tim Kerr collection for a display at the Yarbrough Branch to accompany their program and exhibit of his work as part of the West Austin Studio Tour.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in an upcoming documentary from People’s History in Texas, the 2017 edition of the Austin Environmental Directory, an article for an upcoming issue of the Texas Co-op Power Magazine, and for public display at the O. henry and Lone Star Flight Museums.

Upcoming Events

  • July 16, 2:00 pm, AHC. Reunion program with players from the 1951 North Austin Lions Little League team, the only Austin team to make the Little League World Series.
  • August 15, time TBD. AIA offices. Fehr & Granger Exhibit opening.
  • August 29. 6:30 pm, AHC. Dewey Mears Exhibit opening reception/Night Crafters/Mobile making.
  • September 17. AHC. Austin Museum Day
  • October 29, 1-4 pm, AHC. “Collecting Oral Histories” workshop (with AHCA).

April 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • The mini-documentary, “Austin History Center, Community Archives” featuring the Community Archivist program at the Austin History Center premiered at the Faces of Austin SXSW Community Screening on March 13. The film, produced by Tatiana Gonzales of AOPP, was one of 14 films, out of more than 60 entrants, chosen to screen at this event.
  • On March 21 the AHC hosted the program “Women in Action,” highlighting the contributions of women of color’s leadership and influence in Austin. Featuring a roundtable discussion with longtime Austin community leaders, Women in Action explored past challenges and obstacles of political organizing and advocacy and shares strategies to help women today meaningfully engage in politics and/or social change.
  • Latoya Devezin was a guest speaker at the SXSW Victory Grill event on March 15. She gave a presentation on the history of East Austin and the Victory Grill.
  • Phonshia Nie hosted a UT College of Education Class in Bilingual Elementary Education for tour and taught a lesson plan on U.S. immigration history up to 1965 on March 30.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 4 collections, the Terry Allbright and Michael Rush Political Posters, Power, Money & the People: The Making of Modern Austin Research Materials, Mary Harriet Graham Family Papers, and the Dewitt Clinton Baker Family Papers. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired multiple manuscripts (30) written by UT RTF students (undergrad and graduate) related to Austin movie production, movie houses and communications from UT RTF professor emeritus Dr. Janet Staiger. The donation came after she was given a copy the AHC book Historic Movie Houses of Austin. The AHC also received the papers of Tom Spencer (clippings, writings, scrapbooks, journals, correspondence, etc.) of his career at KLRU and his civic involvement. Spencer is perhaps known best as the “Central Texas Gardener,” one of the longest running shows on KLRU.

Exhibits

  • On March 28, the AHC opened its newest photograph exhibit in the David Earl Holt Photo Gallery. “Play Ball! Austin and the Great American Pastime” is an overview of Austin’s love affair with the game of baseball and explores the sport in 22 photographs from the AHC collections. The exhibit runs through August 13, 2017.
  • The traveling exhibits program continues to move around the branches. The AHC installed “Austin’s Majestic Palace: The Paramount Turns 100” at the Manchaca Road Branch on March 15.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in an upcoming documentary film about education in Texas, a Fox-7 news story about Oakwood cemetery, public display at the Rosewood-Zaragoza neighborhood center, an upcoming book The Edge of Nothing from Texas A&M University Press, and a project to restore 1970s Glastron Skiflite boat.

Upcoming Events

  • April 29, 3:00-5:00 pm, AHC. AHCA Open House and Art Sale.
  • May 9, 6:30 pm, AHC. Book talk with Eddie Wilson about his new memoirs, with a guest musical performance by Jesse Sublett.
  • May 13, 2:30 pm, AHC. AHCA Annual Meeting.
  • August 15, time TBD. AIA offices. Fehr & Granger Exhibit opening.
  • August 29. 6:30 pm, AHC. Dewey Mears Exhibit opening reception/Night Crafters/Mobile making.

March 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • LaToya Devezin had a busy Black History Month. She was a guest speaker at the 2/7 CapMetro Community Feedback meeting, the 2/8 Austin Black Lawyers Association program, the 2/22 Texas Gas Service program, and the 2/25 Interfaith Small group. She also presented “I AM the Change” at Dessau Middle School for their Black History month program on 2/18 and a genealogy workshop on 2/25 at the Carver Genealogy Center.
  • Phonshia Nie presented “Asian American History in Austin” for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UT on 2/1.
  • Nancy Toombs gave a presentation about the Treaty Oak for a local Boy Scout troop on 2/5, with about 20 in attendance.
  • The AHC hosted a program, “Celebrating The Rag,” on 2/21 about the 50th anniversary of the underground newspaper, The Rag, started at UT in 1966. The program included a panel discussion with the editors of the 50th anniversary book about the newspaper and a screening of part of an upcoming documentary film about The Rag. Over 75 people attended the event and were regaled with stories of the underground newspaper movement and the counterculture in Austin.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 8 collections, the Mark Goodman “Capital Improvements” Photographs, the Austin (Tex.) Mayor's Office. Jeffrey M. Friedman Records, the William Robert King Drawings, the Texas Wesleyan Foundation Records, the Pauline A. Pinckney Papers, the Mark Goodman "Capital Improvements" Photographs, the Gloria and Mel Pennington Papers, the Tellez Family Papers, and the Tommy Vasquez Papers. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC recently acquired records of the Austin Kwill Klub, a women’s literary and social club from the 1920s and 1930s. The acquisition included early meeting minutes and membership rosters of the club and other ephemeral pieces. This acquisition joins an earlier donation of the club’s early scrapbooks.

Exhibits

  • The AHC opened its newest exhibit “Finding Refuge in Austin, 1848-1980” on 2/21. Over 150 people attended the opening event and were treated to a specially designed menu, designed by Chef Uyen Pham of the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, with foods from the refugee communities featured in the exhibit.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in television news stories on KXAN and KEYE, a People’s History in Texas documentary and one other documentary, an interpretive plan for the downtown public squares, an Austin Chronicle story about the Big Boys, a story in
    Authentic Texas
    about Scholz Garten, and upcoming Texas A&M UP books On the Edge of Nothing and the autobiography of William Trenckmann..
  • The critically acclaimed documentary I Am Not Your Negro made use of the AHC’s collections, licensing the use of the iconic picture of Mandy, the mammy to Eula Amelia (Caldwell) Nagle.
  • The AHC recently signed a contract with Arcadia Publishing to support the publication of another book in their series Images of America. This new book will tell the story of the Austin Dam and its impact on the history and development of Austin. More than 100 images were provided for the publication (as well as research support for the author), and this is the fifth book the AHC has partnered with a local author and Arcadia to share the story of Austin with a broader audience.

Upcoming Events

  • April 1. 2:00 pm, AHC. Miles and Miles of Texas book signing and author event
  • April 29, 3:00-5:00 pm, AHC. AHCA Open House and Art Sale.
  • May 9, 6:30 pm, AHC. Book talk with Eddie Wilson about his new memoirs, with a guest musical performance by Jesse Sublett.
  • May 13, 2:30 pm, AHC. AHCA Annual Meeting.

February 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • On January 10 the AHC held a special screening of the new documentary film The Last of the Moonlight Towers. Early interest in the program threatened to overwhelm the AHC, so a 2nd showing was arranged for the same evening. 250-300 people showed up and both showings were standing room only.
  • On January 14, Susan Rittereiser and Mike Miller had a book talk and signing at Book People for the new book, Historic Movie Houses of Austin. One attendee commented, “Very interesting presentation. I learned a lot and enjoyed the format. [Susan] and Mike obviously know [the] material and have a comfortable, pleasant back and forth manner.”
  • All three Community Archivists spoke on a panel at the Diversifying the Digital Historical Record: Integrating Community Archives in National Strategies for Access to Digital Cultural Heritage Forum in New Orleans, LA on January 25.
  • On January 29th Amanda Jasso and LaToya Devezin presented on East Austin history at a Texas Appleseed sponsored event at the Texas Society of Architects. They talked for nearly 2 hours, specifically about Latino and African American Settlement in East Austin.
  • The AHC partnered with the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce and local chefs to present a historical celebration of African American foodways in Central Texas. LaToya created a mini-exhibit using foodways to explore African American economic development in Travis County, TX. The event, called “Taste of Black Austin,” was held on January 31 with over 200 people in attendance.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 7 collections, the Goeth, Etnyre, and Tips Families Papers, Jackie Goodman City Council Records, Richey, Cunningham and Douglass Families Papers, the Greeting Cards Collection, Larry Murphy Photographs Collection, Third Coast “Faces of Austin” Photograph Collection, and the Elizabeth Ruth Dukes Photograph Album. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • One of the interesting donations received this month was some additional materials, including meeting minutes (1916-1985) and catalogs, for the Walter Tips Company to add to an existing collection. The AHC also received materials from the Stanley Hall estate related to the Austin Ballet Theatre (he was the artistic director) and public schools materials on Friendly R. Rice’s family.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in documentary films about bands the Big Boys and Glass Eye, an upcoming issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and for a mural display at the Wells Fargo branch on the Drag.

Upcoming Events

  • March 21. 6:30 pm, AHC. “Women in Action” – Women’s History Month program
  • April 1. 2:00 pm, AHC. Miles and Miles of Texas book signing and author event
  • April 29, 3:00-5:00 pm, AHC. AHCA Open House and Art Sale.

January 2017

Programming & Outreach

  • On December 3, the AHC held a book signing and presentation for Historic Movie Houses of Austin, the AHC’s newest publication. The authors, Susan Rittereiser and Mike Miller, spoked about the book and how it came to be. One attendee of the event wrote: “I wanted to let you guys know that I enjoyed the gathering Tuesday night. My friend Lori was thrilled with the book as was I. Thanks again for your efforts.”  Michael Barnes wrote a nice piece about the book in his “Old Austin” feature, appearing both online and in the print version of the Austin American-Statesman. Susan and Mike had a second book signing event at Monkey Wrench Books on December 20.
  • African American Community Archivists LaToya Devezin represented the AHC at the NAACP Dewitty/Overton Banquet on December 3. She created a mini-exhibit and video presentation of Austin NAACP history for event. Over 600 people were in attendance.
  • On December 13, the AHC hosted Texas Monthly Executive Editor Skip Hollandsworth to talk about his recent book, Midnight Assassin. The book chronicles the Servant Girl murders that occurred in Austin in 1884-85. Seventy-five people attended the program and book signing and were entertained with stories, some gruesome and some comical, about this period of Austin’s history.

Collections

  • AHC staff finished processing 3 collections, the Ethel Brydson Berkley Photograph Collection, the Roger A. Griffin Papers, and the John T. Bowman Papers. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
  • The AHC received many interesting donations in the last month. Of interest this month was a photo collection from Mark Goodman of 81 photos of the original square mile of Austin taken in the 1980’s for a book called “Capital Improvements.” Asian American Community Archivist Phonshia Nie collected organizational documents and images from Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (to add to their collection) and Indonesian Diaspora Network Chapter Austin (new collection).

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in upcoming books Making the Past Less Foreign (Routledge Press) and a planned book on mass shootings, a video documentary on the 110th anniversary of the YWCA, annual reports for McGinnis Lochridge and the Texas Department of Transportation, a story in Curbed magazine, and exhibitions at the Rosenberg Library, Capitol Grill, and the Warfield Center for African American Studies.
  • Processing Archivist Molly Hults had one of the more interesting reference encounters. She was working with Rowena Dasch from Neill Cochran House on research about the cost of building materials in Austin in the 1850s. She managed to find a contract for the first Travis County Courthouse that listed out the price of stone but she needed help reading the cursive writing because the unit of measurement made no sense to her. Figured out the document was referring to a “perch” which was a traditional unit of measurement. She was excited: “Thank you! You’re amazing!”

Upcoming Events

  • January 27. Driskill Hotel. AHCA’s annual Angelina Eberly Luncheon.
  • February 11, TSLAC. 2nd Annual Black Family History Day program.
  • February 19, 2:00 pm, AHC. “Celebrating the Rag” – panel discussion on the 50th anniversary of The Rag.
  • February 21, 6:30 pm, AHC. Opening Reception for “Finding Refuge in Austin” – new exhibit at the AHC.