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Austin Icons of the Eighties Music, Theater, Politics

About the Author

Bill Leissner studied photography for four years in the University of Texas at Austin under Mark Goodman in a program founded by Russell Lee. He received a BA in Humanities and while in college began photographing Austin performance, politics, and social culture, accumulating an archive of 3500 rolls of 35mm film. In the early 1990s he moved to NYC and continued to work there as a photographer for two years, and then as a production manager for publishing companies. In 2016 he began the process of digitizing his 100,000-image archive. This book is the first result of these efforts. He currently lives in Portland, OR, although his heart will always live in Austin.

Indelible Austin: Volume 3

“Often folks ask me if I miss anything about Old Austin, I say yes, but so much  bout our city is the same. Especially the people. Austinites, at least the ones who engage in the social scene, are open, smart, kind, fun, and fit, the last quality from the inside out. People come here to join that culture, not to alter it. They do alter it, however, and our language, landscape, buildings, food,
movies, music, etc. are permanently evolving.” -Taken from Michael Barnes’ columns in the Austin American-Statesman

Indelible Austin: More Selected Histories

"Often folks ask me if I miss anything about Old Austin, I say yes, but so much about our city is the same.  Especially the people. Austinites, at least the ones who engage in the social scene, are open, smart, kind, fun, and fit, the last quality from the inside out. People come here to join that culture, not to alter it. They do alter it, however, and our language, landscape, buildings, food, movies, music, etc. are permanently evolving.”
-Taken from Michael Barnes’ columns in the Austin American-Statesman

The Grande Dame of Austin

The story of the Driskill Hotel is much more than a dry history about an old lodging place. Built in 1886 and designed to be on the cutting edge of elegance, it became a monument to Texas, the City of Austin, and its colorful owner. Over the next 130-plus years, the hotel served as the epicenter for Texas politics and Austin society. Along the way, it accumulated a vibrant collection of tales about political intrigue, murder, suicide, gunfights, and ghosts. When it was finally threatened with demolition after surviving some 85 years—much longer than the life expectancy of most hotels—the citizens of Austin and Texas rallied and saved it. Today it is not merely a reflection of Victorian-era elegance, but a breathtaking work of art.

About the Author: Monte Akers
is a practicing attorney in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Flames After Midnight: Murder, Vengeance, and the Desolation of a Texas Community (University of Texas Press, 1999 & 2011); Tales for the Telling: Six Short Stories of the Civil War on CD (Cold Creek Productions: 2005), The Accidental Historian: Tales of Trash and Treasure (Texas Tech University Press, 2010); Year of Glory: The Life and Campaigns of Jeb Stuart, June, 1862 to June 1863 (Casemate Publishing, 2012); and Year of Desperate Struggle: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern, 1863- 1864 (Casemate Publishing, 2014); and Tower Sniper:The Terror of America’s First Active Shooter on Campus (co-authored with his son, Nathan Akers, and Dr. Roger Friedman) (John M. Hardy Publishing, 2016).



Historic Movie Houses of Austin

Motion pictures came to Austin on October 10, 1896, debuting at the Hancock Opera House. Since then, movies have continued to enchant, entertain, and inform the citizens of the capitol of Texas. And, the places - the movie houses and theaters - where people saw motion pictures played just as important a role in the moviegoing experience as the movies themselves. As the city's population grew and motion picture technology changed, so too did Austin's movie houses, from the first kinetoscope parlor on Congress Avenue to the city's first four-plex, the Aquarius 4, in southeast Austin. While most of these places are long gone, some withstood the test of time and are still showing movies or have been repurposed for other uses. Through the rich archival collections of the Austin History Center, Historic Movie Houses of Austin explores the stories of these important historic spaces and of the lives of those who were connected with them.


Indelible Austin

Indelible Austin: Selected Histories

Indelible Austin: Selected Histories collects several dozen historical columns written by Michael Barnes and originally published by the Austin American-Statesman. The notion of publishing a book grew out of frequent reader requests for a collected version of these stories which have not been covered in standard histories of Austin. The columns connect Old Austin with New Austin and almost always bring the historical record into the present. Themes include the natural settings, built environments, older neighborhoods, ancestral families, park gems, the meeting of politics, cultures and charity, as well as interpretations of how Old and New Austin relate. Stories from African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and the LGBT community are all featured.

Among those who have shared their endorsements of these writings are State Sen. Kirk Watson, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, former Mayor Gus Garcia, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Ben Sargent and prominent preservationists and historians such as Wayne Bell, Kim McKnight, Bob Ward and Lisa Byrd. We recently established a website,



Aesculapius On the Colorado: The Story of Medical Practice in Travis County

Dr. James M. Coleman. A thorough study of medicine in the early decades of Austin and Texas. Valuable to students and scholars of health care as well as to Austin history buffs.



Alphonse in Austin

Letters selected and translated by Katherine Drake Hart. HB.In his own words, the endeavors and affairs of Comte Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, French charge d’affaires to the Republic of Texas and original builder of the French Legation. A look at Austin’s beginnings that is both entertaining and historically significant.


austin album

An Austin Album

Edited by Audray Bateman Randle.Classic images of Austin and Austinites from the History Center collections grace this handsomely illustrated work.



Austin: The Faces of Philanthropy 1976-2012

Chronicles the spirit of the community which has infused the life of Austin, Texas, with good works and cultural beauty. The literally thousands of worthy causes Austinites have advanced from the first days of our founding have enriched the lives of all who inhabit this lovely spot on the Colorado. Acting together for the common good has also created an extraordinary vitality engendered by the sharing of talent, hours of service, and financial resources which have made u a city dedicated to full participation of our citizens in the ongoing work of the betterment of the life for all. This splendid and useful pictorial history will be enjoyed for generations.

About the Author: Robert Godwin
 traveled the world as an Air Force "brat” before graduating high school in Bryan, Texas. His own career in the Air Force lasted two years at the Air Force Academy before leaving due to a knee injury. Limping into Austin, he attended UT as a Middle Eastern Studies major. His photojournalism career began with part-time work leading to a full time position at the Austin Citizen daily paper. The Citizen closed its doors in 1981 and Godwin found himself as a freelance photographer. His first retainer came from Austin Homes and Gardens magazine from 1982-1986. He then added the West Austin News 1987-2011 as his primary venue. He continues covering the social/charity scene as a freelancer for the Austin American-Statesman ans as a media consultant for the St David’s Foundation. Thus far, he has attended over 20,000 events and taken over 400,000 photos.


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Austin's 1st Cookbook

Tacos and barbecue command appetites today, but early Austinites indulged in peppered mangoes, roast partridge and cucumber catsup. Those are just a few of the fascinating historic recipes in this new edition of the first cookbook published in the city. Written by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1891, Our Home Cookbook aimed to cause frowns to dispel and dimple into ripples of laughter with myriad receipts from the early Austin community. Join us tonight as Austin archivist Michael Miller celebrates our city’s gastronomic history, from dandy pudding to home remedies.

About the Author:  Michael C. Miller
is the city archivist for the City of Austin and manager of the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. A certified archivist, he has a BA in history from St. Edward's University and earned his MA in history and MS in information science from the University of North Texas. Previously he worked as the special collections librarian in the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library, where he curated the Historic Maps and Kennedy Assassination collections.


curtain call

Curtain Call: The History of the Theatre in Austin, Texas (1839-1905)

By Joe Edgar Manrey. This thorough history combines excellent scholarship with delightful images from the Austin History Center collections to spotlight Austin’s earliest days as a creative capital.



republic of austin

The Republic of Austin

A young girl kidnapped by Indians and spirited away; a man shot, scalped, and left for dead but rescued when a friend dreams that he yet lives; a group of young boys
frolicking in a creek who witness a brutal murder; all within the city of Austin! Not the modern city, but the frontier version, in which Anglo settlers and black slaves walked dusty streets sparsely lined by log cabins and Indian encampments popped up occasionally on the edge of town. The stories in Jeffrey Kerr’s The Republic of Austin not only bring to life those long-gone days but, through maps, photographs, and the paintings of artist Ray Spivey, tie them to the modern cityscape. Read this book to discover the vibrant past that pulsates yet among us.

About the Author & Artist: Dr. Jeffrey Kerr
is a local pediatric neurologist and Austin historian. In the course of research on other books, he has uncovered and thoroughly researched some of the most dramatic and seminal "small” moments in the early history of Austin. Some twenty-four of these stories with original black and white drawings by Ray Spivey allow anyone to better understand what happened on that spot more than a century and a half ago. In the tradition of scholarly historical publications, the book is well and carefully footnoted and contains a good index.


writing austin

Writing Austin’s Lives: A Community Portrait

Written by the People of Austin. The 127 stories included in this book are a sampling of the stories submitted to the University of Texas Humanities Institute between April and August 2003. In response to the Humanities Institute’s call for short family histories, personal experiences, and citizen’s visions of life in and around Austin, nearly 800 residents of greater Austin wrote down and sent in some piece of their lives.

Softcover $17.00

Hardcover $22.00







Two Roads to Augusta

The inspiring story of how two men from different backgrounds grew to become best friends and capture the biggest prize in golf.
Signed by Ben Crenshaw and Carl Jackson.


Austin's Travis Heights Neighborhood

The Travis Heights neighborhood in Austin, Texas, is comprised of three developments: the Swisher Addition, Fairview Park, and Travis Heights. Each of those three is unique. Fairview Park was designed to be an elegant Victorian suburb. The Swisher Addition developed as a thriving commercial district. The Travis Heights subdivision was the most successful residential development in the area and overshadowed the others. Travis Heights is known for its parks that run the length of the neighborhood. The history of Travis Heights is about the evolution of a neighborhood influenced by location and by its landscape.

About the Author: Lori Duran
has held a lifetime interest in history. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree that combined Latin American studies with master of business administration classes at the University of Texas, she had a career in the semiconductor industry. She has since turned her attention to writing articles for publication and authoring Austin’s Travis Heights Neighborhood. For this book, she has collected information and photographs from residents in Austin, the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas School for the Deaf, and the Austin History Center.


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