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Archives Month and Genealogy!

October 27, 2014

October is Archives Month, and there’s a fantastic opportunity we’d like to share with you. The Alamo Research Center has long been involved with helping our patrons explore their family history, and there’s a great free web-based program happening this week at the National Archives. Whether you are just getting started on your journey or have more genealogy experience, we highly recommend that you think about this course!

Please join the National Archives for the 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 28, 29, & 30, starting daily at 10 a.m. eastern time. This will be a live broadcast via the Internet so you can ask our genealogy experts questions at the end of their talks. The entire event is free and open to all, so there is no registration.

http://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair/

MAI National Archives 2014

Donor Tea for the DRT Library Collection!

October 3, 2014
DRT members, donors, and researchers gathered on Sunday at the Alamo Research Center.

DRT members, donors, and researchers gathered on Sunday at the Alamo Research Center.

We had a lovely Donor Tea on Sunday! Thanks to everyone who came to enjoy many of the wonderful documents that our generous donors have gifted to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection over the years. We wouldn’t exist without your support!

Cloud Family members examine the letter written by Alamo defender Daniel William Cloud.

Cloud Family members examine the letter written by Alamo defender Daniel William Cloud.

National History Day Resources at the Alamo Research Center

September 11, 2014

The new school year has is well under way, and so is the 2014-2015 cycle of the National History Day competition! This year’s theme is “Leadership and Legacy in History.” Texas history is chock full of interesting leaders who left lasting legacies behind them! Here’s a quick preview of topic ideas:

  • You could investigate the story of Samuel Augustus Maverick, the man elected by the garrison at the Alamo to go to Washington on the Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.
  • If you like women’s history, learn more about Susanna Dickinson.
  • You could explore the lives of Clara Driscoll and Adina de Zavala, two of the women who helped save the Alamo in 1905.
  • Check out original documents related to some of the important Tejanos in Texas history such as Juan Seguin or the Cassiano family.
  • Research Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, and some of the families who came with him to Texas as his Old Three Hundred in the 1820s-many of these people became important leaders during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.

The possibilities are endless!

Clara Driscoll, "Savior of the Alamo," who offered the money to purchase the Alamo buildings for the State of Texas and who led the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in becoming custodians of the Alamo.

Clara Driscoll, “Savior of the Alamo,” who offered the money to purchase the Alamo buildings for the State of Texas and who led the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in becoming custodians of the Alamo.

The Alamo Research Center is a great resource for your Texas-themed NHD project. We offer a number of services that can help students, parents, and teachers get started and research a topic. We have lots of primary and secondary sources, and we’d love to help you come up with a Texas history topic based on what your interests are. We can do an individual or a small group tour of the archives, arrange a Google Hangout tour of the ARC and our materials, talk about how to begin your research at an archival repository, and host small group research sessions. Contact our director, Leslie Stapleton, at (210) 225-1071 or email us at drtl@drtl.org for more information.

View from the classroom during a Google Hangout with the ARC Librarians. Schedule a virtual field trip for your school by calling Leslie Stapleton at (210) 225-1071.

View from the classroom during a Google Hangout with the ARC Librarians. Schedule a virtual field trip for your school by calling Leslie Stapleton at (210) 225-1071.

The Education Department at the Alamo provides another great NHD Texas history resource, especially if you have picked a Texas Revolution topic! You can set up a phone or Skype conversation with an Alamo Educator or Curator, and they have Texas Revolution packets available that they can mail to students, parents, and teachers. Check the upcoming events calendar to see if there is a teacher workshop that interests you! For more information, please contact Museum Educator Sherri Driscoll at (210) 225-1391 ext. 135 or by email at sdriscoll@thealamo.org.

Teachers, be sure to check out the Classroom Connections offered by National History Day!

Field Trip to Panna Maria with the FGS

August 29, 2014

Visiting Panna Maria!

Visiting Panna Maria!

Leslie and Jaime participated in the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference this week. They attended Librarians’ Day on Tuesday, August 26th, where they heard some interesting lectures from some very talented and knowledgeable speakers. Throughout the week, the Alamo Research Center has also welcomed quite a few genealogists who are researching their family histories.

The church at Panna Maria. Built to replace the original church that burned down.

The church at Panna Maria. Built to replace the original church that burned down.

On Thursday, Leslie and Jaime went on the FGS-sponsored field trip to Panna Maria, Texas. Panna Maria is a community about 55 miles southeast of San Antonio. Founded in 1854, this little hamlet was the earliest and one of the largest Polish communities in the United States. They had a wonderful time on the trip and can’t wait to visit again!

Interior of the painted church at Panna Maria

Interior of the painted church at Panna Maria

Featured Researchers: A Dynamic Duo from Austin College

August 15, 2014

This week, the Alamo Research Center hosted Drs. Light and Victoria Cummins from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Dr. Light T. Cummins was the State Historian of Texas  from May 2009 to July 2012. This husband and wife team are writing a book about club-women and women’s clubs who promoted the visual arts from 1900 to 1942. We were delighted that we were able to help them out with our extensive collection of San Antonio women’s history documents!

Dr. Victoria Cummins and Dr. Light Cummins are professors of history at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

Dr. Victoria Cummins and Dr. Light Cummins are professors of history at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

How did you hear about the Alamo Research Center?

As historians, we have always known of the library and its importance in researching Texas and San Antonio topics. We were overjoyed to see this important repository reopen to researchers last fall.

What collection or collections are you using in your research?

Sallie Ward Beretta Family Papers, San Antonio Self Culture Club Records, Lotus Club Scrapbooks, Taylor Family Papers, Ellen Shulz Quillen Papers, Sarah Farnsworth Papers, among others, as well as several dozen vertical files.

What is the final outcome or project for which you are using these research materials?

A book length study of how women’s clubs, and networks of club women working outside the club structure, promoted art appreciation, art education, public and private art collecting,  and the funding of civic art organization (art leagues, museum societies, etc.) in Texas in the early twentieth century.

We asked Drs. Cummins  about their research visit here at the Alamo Research Center.

This experience has been a pleasant and productive research experience. We emailed the archivist prior to our visit, identifying several collections we found by TARO (Texas Archival Resources Online) search. These collections, along with their finding aids, were ready for us on arrival. The staff was most helpful to us, suggesting additional collections which proved valuable to our research. All of the staff was courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful. We have had a fruitful and enjoyable research experience at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection at the Alamo Research Center.

 

 

We loved having the Drs. Cummins with us this week, and we hope they will come back soon!

If you would like to make a research appointment at the Alamo Research Center, you can send us an email at drtl@drtl.org or give us a call at (210) 225-1071. We look forward to your visit!

100 Years of Fun and History at the San Antonio Zoo

August 1, 2014

100 years after the first animals were brought to Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Zoo attracts tourists from all over the world to see and learn about its extensive collection of animals. The zoo’s mission includes breeding and conservation programs for dozens of rare and endangered species. The San Antonio Zoo hasn’t always been this big, but it has always been innovative and educational!

"Old Monkey Island," circa 1930s-1940s. An early example of the open air enclosures at the San Antonio Zoo.

“Old Monkey Island,” circa 1930s-1940s. An early example of the open air enclosures at the San Antonio Zoo.

The first “zoo” in San Antonio was held in a private collection owned by J. J. Duerler that he housed at San Pedro Park as early as the 1870s. Another group of animals lived at San Pedro Park around the turn of the 20th century. According to a 1949 article in the San Antonio Light, a circus got stranded in San Antonio and the city allowed the keeper to set up his cages at the park. When he started charging admission to help feed his charges, the city bought the animals and moved them to the new Brackenridge Park. In 1914, businessman and philanthropist George W. Brackenridge brought a small herd of elk and buffalo that were to be housed on the land that he had deeded to the city of San Antonio. Over time, animals such as golden eagles, lions, a black prairie wolf, and a weasel were added to the collection, and in 1928, the San Antonio Zoological Society formed to help purchase and maintain animals and to continue the growth of one of the world’s most advanced zoos.

Photoprint of one of the first buffalo given to the San Antonio Zoo by George W. Brackenridge.

Photoprint of one of the first buffalo given to the San Antonio Zoo by George W. Brackenridge.

One of the most important people in the zoo’s early history was Fred Stark. Stark was a San Antonio native who began working at the zoo in 1927 as the curator of the small bird collection. He was named director in 1929, a post that he held until his death in 1967. During that time, he oversaw the development of breeding programs and innovative open habitats as well as a tremendous growth in attendance.

Zoo director Fred Stark in 1936 with four three-week-old tiger cubs, believed to be the first quadruplet tiger litter born in captivity.

Zoo director Fred Stark in 1936 with four three-week-old tiger cubs, believed to be the first quadruplet tiger litter born in captivity.

This Saturday, August 2nd, join us at the Alamo Research Center for an exhibit that explores the history of fun and sun in San Antonio. Summer may be winding down, but we aren’t ready to let it go! Some of our Texas treasures will also be on display. We look forward to seeing you!

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

Law Librarians Tour the Alamo Research Center

July 18, 2014

On Monday, July 14, the Alamo Research center hosted some special guests.

The annual conference of the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) was held in San Antonio earlier this week. Two groups of conference attendees included a tour of the Alamo Research Center on their itineraries. They came from all over the country- and even from as far away as New Zealand! We were delighted to welcome them to the Alamo and the Alamo Research Center.

Since very few of our visitors were from Texas, we spent some time getting everyone up to speed with a Texas history lesson.

Since very few of our visitors were from Texas, we spent some time getting everyone up to speed with a Texas history lesson.

Amelia, one of the Alamo Educators, joined us as the librarians examined some of the Texas treasures from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection.

Amelia, one of the Alamo Educators, joined us as the librarians examined some of the Texas treasures from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection.

Leslie showed the librarians our vertical file and periodical collections as well as helped them understand more about the Research Center and its functions.

Leslie showed the librarians our vertical file and periodical collections as well as helped them understand more about the Research Center and its functions.

Jaime and the librarians visited the Vault to explore the legal resources available in the collections, including printed maps, plat and survey maps, land patents/grants, deeds of all kinds, correspondence, case files, and more.

Jaime and the librarians visited the Vault to explore the legal resources available in the collections, including printed maps, plat and survey maps, land patents/grants, deeds of all kinds, correspondence, case files, and more.

We hope that everyone who visited enjoyed the experience as much as we did!

Group tours of the Alamo Research Center are now available for small groups, and we also offer small exhibits for medium to large group. We can schedule a tour during business hours or as an After Hours Tour. Please contact Leslie Stapleton, Director of the Alamo Research Center, by calling (210) 225-1071 or emailing drtl@drtl.org, for more information. The Alamo Research Center would love to be a part of your next VIP event or group entertainment!

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