2018 Reports

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018


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.  Miller writes, speaks and consults about Austin history, managing local history collections, and preservation of historical materials.

March 2018

Programming & Outreach

  • On February 1 st , Asst. Manager Nancy Toombs talked to the San Gabriel Writer’s League about the AHC resources. There were 16 in attendance and she received very positive responses, as well as a donation to the AHC of $75.
  •  Archives Media Specialist Grace McEvoy and Exhibits Coordinator Steve Schwolert were interviewed on KOOP radio about the exhibit Clearing Stones, Sowing Seeds on Feb 5th on the Austin Artists show.
  •  On February 8 the AHC created a program for the Thinkery21 event, “Sounds and Sips,” where we showcased videos from our Austin Music Network Collection, photographs of musicians, a cutout with a prominent musician, and rare formats. 
  •  On February 25, the AHC hosted a program with the O. Henry Players and Brush
    Square Museum Foundation. The Foundation held its annual business meeting, which included a brief presentation about recent acquisitions to the O. Henry collection by AHC Manager Mike Miller. Following the business meeting, the O. Henry Players presented a radio play reading of “A Double-Dyed Deceiver.”


  • AHC staff finished processing 3 collections, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Records, the Pentagram Design Inc. PechaKucha Austin Posters Collection, and the O. Henry, In Prison and Out Scrapbook. The finding aids are available online at:
  •  The AHC recently acquired early meeting minutes and event handbills of the Capital City Coin Club and received 7 additional scrapbooks to add to the Violet Crown Garden Club records.

Publications & Reference 

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in TV news stories about Mueller airport, African American history of Austin, and Prohibition, stories in upcoming issues of Time Out Austin and Stripes: The Journal of the Texas Genealogical Society, and upcoming books about former city Marshall Ben Thompson and the Texas Youth Commission. Additionally, we answered many questions related to monuments, landmarks, and street names named after Confederate soldiers, primarily through Latin/x Community Archivist Amanda  Jasso’s efforts assisting the city with investigating these memorails, and assisted CapMetro to help provide context on Plaza Saltillo. CapMetro has a goal of “beautifying” the area, in part with historical content, while major development occurs around the area.


  • The AHCA held its annual fundraiser, the Angelina Eberly Luncheon, on Friday, Feb. 2 with 275 attendees. The program featured a discussion about the Driskill Hotel, including an incredible public testimonial about the Austin History Center from Luci Baines Johnson, one of the panelists: “For those of you who may think that the Austin History Center is just something that is esoterically important, …I’m saying you’d be surprised how relevant it can be in your life. It sure has been in mine.”

February 2018

Programming & Outreach

  • On January 9, Latinx Community Archivist Amanda Jasso gave a presentation on the history of Austin land code and land use policies, with a particular emphasis on how these policies encouraged racial segregation. This presentation was made in conjunction with the COA Equity Office’s 2-day workshop on CodeNEXT to a mixed audience of community leaders, members of the CodeNEXT drafting committee, Planning and Zoning staff, and CMO staff (about 80 total). The presentation was well received, encouraged challenging conversations, and she received many follow up questions, both about land code and the History Center in general.
  • On January 9 the AHC hosted a program with local author Monte Akers, speaking about his new book on the Driskill Hotel, published by the AHCA’s Waterloo Press.
  • On January 9, AHC Manager Mike Miller gave a presentation to the UT-LAMP
    lifelong learning institute program. Mike spoke about O. Henry to an audience of 188 LAMP members.
  • On January 13, Mike Miller participated as a speaker in the inaugural ATXelerator program created by the Center for Austin’s Future. The program is designed to prepare Austinites considering running for elected office or serving on a City Board or Commission. Mike gave an overview of Austin’s history, with an emphasis on political and economic issues, for the 40 program participants.
  •  The AHC held the program Legends and Lore of the Texas Capitol on January 14. Local author Mike Cox regaled an audience of 45 with interesting tidbits and amusing stories of the Capitol building and its importance to Austin and Texas.
  • On January 20, Amanda Jasso and Processing Archivist Molly Hults participated as speakers in the Breaking Library Silos for Social Justice 1-day conference/workshop. About 60 professional librarians and archivists were in attendance for the event.There was a particular emphasis on community archives and a movement towards a more inclusive workplace and collection representation.
  • On January 23 Mike Miller spoke to 45 high school students from Westwood High School about the importance of history and historical literacy, careers in the history field, and Austin history.


  • AHC staff finished processing 12 collections, the Comanche Baptist Church Ledger, the Davis Family Papers, the Jessen and Collett Family Papers, the Thompson Family Papers, the James M. Coleman Papers, the Live Wire Productions Records, the Austin (Tex.). Volunteer Fire Department Records, the Woods and Griffin Family Papers, the Kealing Junior High School Records, the Anderson High School Records, the George C. Hawley Papers, and the Travis County Poor Farm Ledger. The finding aids are available online at:
  • The AHC recently acquired the organizational records of the now defunct Discovery Hall Science Center, a children’s science museum that operated in Austin in the 1980s and 1990s.


  • The AHC opened its newest exhibit, “Clearing Stones, Sowing Seeds: Photographs
    from the Travis County Negro Extension Service” on February 6. Over 60 people
    attended the opening reception. The photographs, taken between 1940 and 1964,
    document the variety of services and educational programs offered by the Extension Service, including animal husbandry, crafts, domestic education, gardening and agriculture, and home improvement. The exhibit runs through April 15.
  •  The AHC created a small exhibit, “Peter Mansbendel: Unsung Austin Artist, 1883-
    1940,” about local artist Peter Mansbendel for the 5 th floor of the Central Library. The exhibit highlights some of the interesting Mansbendel items from the AHC collections.

Publications & Reference 

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in historic preservation work on the Nalle Plastics building, for the cover story for the Feb. 2018 issue of Austin Lawyer, an upcoming book on the Tricentennial of San Antonio, an upcoming documentary film about the Umlauf Gardens, and a series historic murals at various Wells Fargo branches around town.

January 2018

Programming & Outreach

  • On December 5 the AHC hosted a program celebrating the 40th birthday of Esther’s Follies and the release of their new book. Author Jesse Sublett and a handful of members of the Esther’s comedy troupe shared stories of the Follies over its history to a crowd of 50 people.
  • On December 15, Latin/x Community Archivist Amanda Jasso gave a presentation to the city’s Equity Action Team about Confederate monuments in Austin. Amanda has been active on the city team investigating the status of confederate memorials in the city.


  • AHC staff finished processing 7 collections, the David Thomson Emo's Poster
    Collection, the Lewis Hancock Harvard College Scrapbook, the Austin State Official Ladies Club Records, the Manda Common School District Number 25 Record Books, the Austin Bible Society Meeting Minutes, the Wilhelmine Sheffield Papers, and the Mary Ella Wallis Scrapbooks. The finding aids are available online at:
  • The AHC recently acquired 17 PechaKucha Austin Nights posters designed by
    Pentagram Design and an audio recording of Sam Quintanilla telling a ghost story. In addition, we received a donation of a video related to the UT Theater Stand-Ins produced by the People’s History of Texas.

Publications & Reference

  • Research was conducted at the AHC and photos from the AHC were purchased for use in a new book from Texas A&M University Press, The Cedar Choppers: Life on the Edge of Nothing, about the cedar choppers who settled just west of Austin in the mid-19th century. Also, authors of upcoming books about Barton Creek and the Austin music scene made us of the AHC collections
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