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Black Gold!!!

April 1, 2014

Black Gold!!!

A 1937 article announcing a gusher at the Alamo!
According to the article, drilling had been done in secret by the Ew Meloof (We Fool ‘Em) Company. Secret, that is, until the well turned into a San Antonio Spindletop!

Enjoy your April Fool’s Day! Join us this Saturday at the Alamo Research Center for First Saturday at the Alamo. We’ll have an exhibit on the Battle of Flowers Parade and Fiesta San Antonio. We can’t wait to see you!

Featured Researcher: Joel Kitchens

March 14, 2014

Today we’d like to introduce you to the intrepid Joel Kitchens. He has spent the whole week researching at the Alamo Research Center- and this is not his first visit! Joel is a library professional at Texas A&M University in College Station. He is now gathering the research for his dissertation (and ultimately a book!) on collective memory–how communities create and use historical memory.

Mission San Jose front entrance, Ernst F. Schuchard Papers, Col 926, DRT Collection at the Alamo Research Center.

Mission San Jose front entrance, Ernst F. Schuchard Papers, Col 926, DRT Collection at the Alamo Research Center.

What is your topic of interest and what collections are you using? Tell us about your experience at the Alamo Research Center.

Joel says: The collective memories of the Spanish mission of San Antonio, which were used to market San Antonio as a romantic and exotic tourist destination. Also, the discourse of sacred space and identity. I am using the Ernst F. Schuchard Papers, the Claude B. Aniol Subject Files, and the San Antonio Guidebook Collection. I have been very surprise (pleasantly!) at how much material the ARC has that goes well beyond “just the Alamo.” I have always found the staff at the ARC to be very friendly, helpful and professional.

 

Thanks, Joel! We’ve enjoyed having you here and wish you all the best of luck as you continue with your work.

Joel is right. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Collection at the Alamo Research Center touches on all parts of Texas history with a special focus on San Antonio history. We love being part of the historical collective memory of our local and regional community. Schedule your research appointment today by calling us at (210)225-1071 or email us at drtl@drtl.org. We can’t wait to help you explore our collections!

 

First Saturday at the Alamo!

February 28, 2014

February 24 through March 6 this year marks the 178th anniversary of the Alamo siege.

The Alamo Research Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a special exhibit of Texas Revolutionary treasures from our archival collections. Please come by and join in the fun!

Image

“Ruins of the church of the Alamo” by Edward Everett.
Everett made this drawing a number of years after the Battle of the Alamo, but the crumbled condition of the front and interior of the church was very similar to how it would have looked in 1836.

Jaime Goes to Washington

February 14, 2014
By the way, it was really cold for a South Texas native!

By the way, it was really cold for a South Texas native!

The Alamo Research Center’s Interim Archivist, Jaime Espensen-Sturges, recently returned from the Modern Archives Institute at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

MAI National Archives 2014
I had a wonderful time at the two week workshop. We had eight hours of class time each day. We learned about archival principles and theory as well as received a lot of practical advice- since the real world is often much messier than theory! The best part was that the instructors for the Institute are all professionals at the top of their field. Several did, in fact, “write the book” on their area of expertise. It was an all-around excellent experience for developing as a professional archivist.

Practicing arrangement- how to find order in messy papers- at the Modern Archives Institute

Practicing arrangement- how to find order in messy papers- at the Modern Archives Institute

I also met a lot of wonderful people from across the country and who work in all kinds of archives. I’m so grateful that I was able to attend this course!

Talented and beautiful attendees of the 2014 winter edition of the Modern Archives Institute

Talented and beautiful attendees of the 2014 winter edition of the Modern Archives Institute

New Technology Comes to the ARC

January 17, 2014

A Google Hangout with the Alamo Librarians!

The Alamo Research Center participated in an exciting new event this week. On Tuesday, January 14, we held a Google Hangout to present a virtual tour of the ARC to students across the state (and in fact, across the country!). 761 students from seven Texas fourth grade classes and one fifth grade class from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania attended the tour.

One past summer, Borchardt Elementary librarian Nancy Jo Lambert of Frisco, Texas, visited the DRT Library where staff showed her some of the fabulous documents and artifacts that we house here. She left wishing that her students from Frisco could visit the Alamo, but Dallas is a long way from San Antonio! She contacted the ARC director, Leslie Stapleton, this fall with a great new idea. Would we be interested in doing a Google Hangout with her students? A Google Hangout is a free video conferencing service with a live video and audio feed. Leslie said that we’d love to!

GHOpresent

Leslie and Jaime first presented a Powerpoint presentation that included information about the ARC, a discussion of primary and secondary sources, and items from the DRT collection that could enhance what the students have been learning in the classroom about the Texas Revolution and the Alamo.  Leslie was on the ARC’s main feed, and Jaime used her tablet to join as a secondary feed that the students could watch to see the artifacts live as Leslie talked about them. Jaime also took the students on a virtual trip to the vault where they could see how the documents are stored and cared for! Then we switched to a question and answer session. The students were able to submit questions on a website called Todaysmeet , and Leslie and Jaime answered as many as they could. We had so many questions submitted that we couldn’t get to them all!

hangout_1.14.2014_berumen                                Thanks to Tina Berumen from Cannon Elem. in Grapevine, Texas, for this image!

Our first ARC Google Hangout was a huge success. It is also a creative use of new, readily available technology that allows students from all over the country to visit the Alamo! Librarians from Curtis Elementary and Borchardt Elementary who attended have blogged about the experience if you’d like to read more. We even got our own twitter mention at #AlamoGHO! If you are interested in working with us to hold a Google Hangout with your school, send an email to drtl@drtl.org or give us a call.

We had so much fun with the Google Hangout! Thanks, Nancy Jo!

Funding a Revolution

January 10, 2014

The Alamo Research Center houses many documents that help us understand Texas history. Often, these items come from different collections, but careful reading links them together and let us tell a story.

 

In October of 1835, tensions flared into outright fighting between Mexican and Texian forces at Gonzales. Texians also won a victory by capturing San Antonio de Béxar in December.

After Gonzales, delegates met for a Consultation but failed to achieve a quorum, or sufficient representatives to present a vote. By the time they were able to hold meetings later in 1835 and in January of 1836, it became clearer that Texas was likely to declare complete independence from Mexico. As rumors began to swirl about Santa Anna himself leading an army north to retake Béxar, leaders became aware that they had no funds with which to support a revolution. Their forces desperately needed supplies, but the provisional government had no money for arms, ammunition, fodder for the animals, food for the men, or pay. They also could not see a way to raise any significant amount quickly.

This is an 1835 Mexican "Freedom Cap" coin for ocho (eight) reales. These would have been in circulation in Texas in the 1830s, primarily used to pay Mexican soldiers' wages. Santa Anna recovered a large trove of these coins from a regional mint in Mexico, and he shipped many of them north to pay for his Texas campaign. DRT 7, Mexican coin 1835.

This is an 1835 Mexican “Freedom Cap” coin for ocho (eight) reales. These would have been in circulation in Texas in the 1830s, primarily used to pay Mexican soldiers’ wages. Santa Anna recovered a large trove of these coins from a regional mint in Mexico, and he shipped many of them north to pay for his Texas campaign. DRT 7, Mexican coin 1835.

 

 

Several enterprising men realized that the provisional government did in fact have a form of vast wealth at their disposal. The wealth was in land. These commissioners hammered out an agreement to float a loan wherein Texas would offer investors prime land at fifty cents an acre. Stephen F. Austin, Robert Triplett, and William Wharton went to New Orleans to see if they could persuade businessmen there to take on the risk of purchasing land that the new government may or may not end up with the title to sell.

The first loan issued was for $100,000. A second was later offered that would bring $20,000. Unfortunately, the representatives at Washington on the Brazos later changed their minds about the land offering at fifty cents an acre as land values fell during the Runaway Scrape. This meant that the consortium of investors that the three Texian commissioners had arranged withdrew their interest and failed to purchase more than the first $20,000 of the original $100,000 loan.

The three commissioners offered these scrips to investors in New Orleans. The initial loan amount was issued for $100,000, of which only about $20,000 ever came through. The triangle cut into this certificate is a cancellation mark, showing that the certificate was redeemed. DRT 9 Folder 907.

The three commissioners offered these scrips to investors in New Orleans. The initial loan amount was issued for $100,000, of which only about $20,000 ever came through. The triangle cut into this certificate is a cancellation mark, showing that the certificate was redeemed. DRT 9 Folder 907.

With the failure of the Texian loan, private citizens offered what they could to help raise funds. The burgeoning Republic might have had no liquid capital at all without Robert Triplett advancing substantial sums himself in exchange for prime real estate on Galveston Island. The agreement with Robert Triplett was actually signed on a riverboat to Galveston after the government and Governor Henry Smith fled both Washington on the Brazos and Harrisburg in advance of Santa Anna’s army.

Gail Borden printed this appeal for Texians to donate land, goods, and money to the cause of Texas Independence. Gail Borden Papers, Col 874, Folder 61.

Gail Borden printed this appeal for Texians to donate land, goods, and money to the cause of Texas Independence. Gail Borden Papers, Col 874, Folder 61.

 

References

VF-TEXAS HISTORY—TexasRepublic 1836-1846—Appropriations-Expenditures

“The Finances of the Texas Revolution,” Eugene C. Barker, Political Science Quarterly, 19 (4), December 1904.

The Paper Republic, James Bevill. Bright Sky Press: Houston, 2009.

The Fiscal History of Texas, William M. Gouge. Lippincott, Crambo, and Co.: Philadelphia, 1850.

A Financial History of Texas, Edmund Thornton Miller. University of Texas: Austin, 1916.

 

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

Featured Researcher

December 27, 2013

For the holidays, we’re bringing back our Featured Researcher column. This week’s Featured Researcher is Joanna Labor.

 

joannalabor 12.2013

 

Joanna came by the Alamo Research Center on December 23, 2013 to get started with a research project. Joanna is working on her Master’s Degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio. One of her class assignments is a 40-page seminar paper. She said she was very grateful that we were open after walking three miles from her home here in San Antonio!

 

The DRT Collection here at the Alamo Research Center is helping Joanna out. Joanna used Texas Archival Resources Online {TARO) to find references to her topic: women’s reproductive health in the 19th century. She searched the finding aids of repositories across Texas for mentions of terms like pregnancy, birth control, abortion, women’s health issues, and more in letters and diaries. She found some items that might be helpful right here at the Research Center. She’s started with the Andrews family papers, and she also looked at material such as the McKinney Cookbook. She found some interesting information in the Maverick family papers.

 

The staff at the ARC wishes Joanna all the best on her project, and we hope that we can be of help as she continues her work.

Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year to everyone! We look forward to serving you in 2014.

 

 

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