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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!

“Savior of the Alamo” Lay in State in the Alamo Shrine

July 17, 2014

July 17 marks the 69th anniversary of Clara Driscoll‘s death in 1945. Clara Driscoll, the “Savior of the Alamo,” was the philanthropist and Daughter of the Republic of Texas who provided the money to buy the Alamo for the State of Texas when this historic landmark was threatened with demise in 1905.

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.

Clara passed away in Corpus Christi in her penthouse at the top of the Driscoll Hotel, but she was brought back to San Antonio. On Thursday, July 19th, she was given the great honor of laying in state in the Alamo Shrine, a privilege only extended to three others since the Alamo became a State-owned site in 1905.

Clara lay in state in the Alamo Chapel for three hours as friends, dignitaries, colleagues, and well-wishers filed passed to say their good-byes to the great philanthropist and civic leader.

Clara lay in state in the Alamo Chapel for three hours as friends, dignitaries, colleagues, and well-wishers filed passed to say their good-byes to the great philanthropist and civic leader.

Clara Driscoll was buried in Masonic Cemetery, one of San Antonio’s historic cemeteries. Her family erected a large mausoleum in her memory where visitors can still learn about this important figure in the preservation of Texas history.

Clara Driscoll's mausoleum stands in the Masonic Cemetery today. A Texas Historical Marker was erected in her honor in 1978.

Clara Driscoll’s mausoleum stands in the Masonic Cemetery today. A Texas Historical Marker was erected in her honor in 1978.

 

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

Celebrating Juneteenth at the Alamo Research Center

June 19, 2014

Since the 1860s, June 19 has been recognized in Texas as Juneteenth. The day has been a state holiday since 1980.

Parade in Alamo Plaza, ca. 1900, possibly of Juneteenth celebration. Note the mules painted like zebras!

Parade in Alamo Plaza, ca. 1900, possibly of Juneteenth celebration.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 that Union forces under Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to enforce Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Major General Granger announced General Orders No. 3 which stated that, “”The people are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, become that between employer and hired labor.” Under the orders,  most freedmen were required to continue working for the masters for whom they already labored. The announcement also took several months to spread throughout Texas, and the Union Army in Texas was small enough that it was sometimes difficult to enforce. Nevertheless, over the years, Juneteenth has come to represent the voice of African Americans celebrating their autonomy and cultural heritage.

Come to the Alamo Research Center to explore the history of slavery and freedmen in Texas:

1830s Emancipation documents and Slave sale documents in DRT 9

Juneteenth Vertical Files

Labor Contracts between B.F. Sledge and freedmen

Hanna Family Papers, Col 898, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection at the Alamo Research Center, San Antonio, Texas

 

1871 Labor Contract between freedmen and their one-time owner, James Scott Hanna. Terms didn't change much from slavery except for the provision of wages.

1871 Labor Contract between freedmen and their one-time owner, James Scott Hanna. Terms didn’t change much from slavery except for the provision of wages.

 

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

Richard Hogue Dickson Family Papers are now available

June 3, 2014

Here at the Alamo Research Center, we are excited when we can bring you new collections to explore!

June Weddings Mean Love is in the Air at the Alamo Research Center!

Earlier this year, we received a generous donation of family papers from the descendants of Abishai Mercer Dickson. Abishai was a member of the Alabama Red Rovers who came to Texas to fight in the Texas Revolution. He was killed at Goliad. His wife, Ann Margaret, later married Dr. John Sutherland, one of the messengers who escaped death at the Alamo.

The Finding Aid for The Richard Hogue Dickson Family Papers is now available on TARO, Texas Archival Resources Online. TARO is a great resource for researching the manuscript collection we have here at the ARC. These papers concern the family of Abishai’s son, Richard Hogue Dickson (1831-1931). R. H. Dickson was a Confederate soldier, an Indian fighter, a Texas Ranger, and in his quieter years, a brickmason.

A tintype found within the collection is tentatively identified as Richard Hogue Dickson in middle age.

A tintype found within the collection is tentatively identified as Richard Hogue Dickson in middle age.

The Papers include family letters, some business documents, memorial notices, clippings, and small prayer books. Of particular interest are the love letters that document the growing relationship between R.H. and his future wife Eleanor J. Read. Like his father, Abishai, Dickson is quite the romantic when he asks his lady a special question (although he somewhat a stranger to conventional punctuation)!

This is the love letter that Richard Hogue Dickson, son of Abishai Mercer Dickson, wrote to his future wife, Eleanor J. Read. They courted for several years before their marriage.

This is the love letter that Richard Hogue Dickson, son of Abishai Mercer Dickson, wrote to his future wife, Eleanor J. Read. They courted for several years before their marriage.

Dickson writes:

June 5, 1849

Dear Eleanor,

It has but a short time since I was with you, but to me it seems a year; what did I say? a year, yes, minutes to me hours, days and days pass so dreary that they seem to me weeks, what is the cause of it? It is because the angel of all my hopes, my desires, and all that I care for, is absent; but I speak improperly: for the image of that angel is always with me, yes, hundreds of times the image of that beautiful nymph fitted before my eyes, and many have been the nights, when her form has crossed the track of my wandering senses, and stopped to hold sweet converse with me; methinks I could hear the sweet tones of her musical voice, and see that bewitching smile playing upon her rosy lips, which have so often confused my senses, and make me confess that I love her; but who is that nymph? Who is it that could make me confess myself in love? It is you, Eleanor! It is your beautiful form that haunts my slumber! And it is you that is dearer to me than all else in this world; Eleanor I love you; I love you with all the ardent passion of youth, yes I love you with that love which will last as long as life itself shall last; but shall this love to you be treated with contempt? Oh no, I hope not; may I have the presumption to hope that you will one day be mine? Oh, cheering thought! But if on the contrary, oh how dark, how dismal shall be the rest of my life, dearest girl if it be but one time write to let me know my fate, and believe me that I remain you sincere lover,

Richard H. Dickson

 

 Come join us for First Saturday at the Alamo this Saturday, June 7! You can see R.H.’s letter to Eleanor in our June Brides exhibit as well as a display of some of our Texas Treasures!

 

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

2013 June Franklin Naylor Award Announced!

May 23, 2014

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Collection Committee is pleased to announce that the 2012-2013 June Franklin Naylor Award for the Best Book for Children on Texas History is awarded to co-authors David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler, and to illustrator Matt Collins for their book A Picture Book of Sam Houston, published in 2012 by Holiday House of New York.

With beautiful illustrations and text appropriate for anyone at any reading level, this is a great book for learning about Texas history!

With beautiful illustrations and text appropriate for anyone at any reading level, this is a great book for learning about Texas history!

The announcement will be made Friday evening, May 23, by Mrs. Valerie Naylor Riefenstahl, daughter of the late June Franklin Naylor, at the 123rd Annual Convention of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

A three-member panel of judges comprised of historians, educators, and librarians judge the entries. The 2013 committee included its chairman Dr. Viki Ash, Coordinator of Children’s Services, San Antonio Public Library, and committee members Sherri Driscoll, Museum Educator, the Alamo, and Professor Amy Carter, English Department Instructional Facilitator, Floresville High School, Floresville, Texas.

The committee noted that Sam Houston, often depicted in terms larger-than-life, is given an even-handed treatment in this brief biography by David A. and Michael S. Adler. Accompanying illustrations, by Matt Collins, add visual depth and detail to the text. Together the authors and illustrators offer a concisely crafted look at this legendary Texan.

The June Franklin Naylor Award for the Best Book for Children on Texas History, endowed by the family of June Franklin Naylor and sponsored by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Collection, is given annually to the author/illustrator of the most distinguished book for children and young adults, grades K-12, that accurately portrays the history of Texas, whether fiction or nonfiction. Mrs. Naylor, for whom the award is named, was a former schoolteacher and long-time resident of Odessa. She served as President General of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Inc., from 1989-1991.

For more information on the June Franklin Naylor Award, see our webpage with links to guidelines and recent winners. For questions about the award, contact Leslie Stapleton, Director of the Alamo Research Center or call (210) 225-2071.

Congratulations to the authors and the illustrator!

Pre-Spanish Cuisine in South Texas

May 9, 2014

It’s a Tough Life

The San Antonio missions were populated primarily by a group of indigenous people who modern scholars call “Coahuiltecans.” This name refers to a language family (meaning they spoke closely related languages) that included a number of distinct small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers who populated South Texas and Northern Mexico.

 

A lot of what we know about the Coahuiltecans comes from the account written by Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer who spent time in their company after he and several of his crewmates survived a shipwreck. He marveled that they were able to scrape together a subsistence living in a truly marginal landscape. There was some game, such as javalinas and deer, but these were scarce and moved seasonally. During parts of the year, prickly pear cactus (nopal) and its fruits (tuna) were a good source of nutrition. At other times, harvesting mesquite beans provided excellent sustenance. The Coahuiltecan bands moved frequently to follow these resources, but when these foodstuffs were unavailable due to the time of year or drought, they ate grubs, insects, and other items that we would consider unpalatable in our culture. De Vaca indicates that these people often suffered hunger and frequently went to war with rival bands over scarce resources.

 

If you visit the grounds of the Alamo in April and May, you can see the large prickly pear cacti blooming and beginning to bear their fruit. You can buy both the leaves and the fruit at many South Texas grocery stores if you want to try cooking them yourself!

If you visit the grounds of the Alamo in April and May, you can see the large prickly pear
cacti blooming and beginning to bear their fruit. You can buy both the leaves and the fruit
at many South Texas grocery stores if you want to try cooking them yourself!

cactus close

 

One of the main appeals of joining the mission community, then, was that the Franciscan padres introduced subsistence agriculture to the nomadic Coahuiltecans. The padres brought technology such as acequias (irrigation canals) that transported water from the San Antonio River to the fields. They also began large-scale animal husbandry, with ranchos that often had herds of over one thousand cattle and several hundred horses. Farming and ranching provided more reliable, year-round access to nutritional staples. Compared to the uncertainty of following the game and the seasons, these developments changed life for natives in South Texas.

 

Battle of Flowers Association Records are now live!

April 24, 2014

Just in time for the Battle of Flowers Parade 2014 this Friday!

 

Two women in a decorated carriage, circa 1900-1910.

Two women in a decorated carriage, circa 1900-1910.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection at the Alamo Research Center is the official repository of the Battle of Flowers Association Records. Since 1895 (they became the Association in 1909), this group of primarily San Antonio women have organized and hosted the centerpiece of San Antonio’s biggest celebration- The Battle of Flowers Parade during Fiesta! Although this collection is always growing as the Association donates new material, the ARC archivists have worked hard to ensure that the collection is processed, organized, and made available to the public. Previously, information about the collection was available only in the library reading room. As part of the 2014 celebration of Fiesta, the finding aid for this collection has been posted online to help researchers from all over the world discover this unique material.

The Finding Aid for this collection is now available online here:

A Guide the Battle of Flowers Association Records, 1895-2011

A Finding Aid provides a summary of the collection as well as details about what is contained in the collection. The Battle of Flowers Association Records is a large collection that includes committee reports, officer reports, printed material from all eras, photographs, films, speeches, artifacts, and newspaper clippings, among many other types of materials. We anticipate that this will be a very useful collection for researchers of all levels as well as people who are interested in San Antonio and Fiesta history.

Battle of Flowers pin, 1895.

Battle of Flowers pin, 1895.

 

Interested in Fiesta and Battle of Flowers Parade history? Check out these links for previous blog entries that highlight parts of this fabulous collection.

Battle of Flowers Parade 1952

A Look Back at the 1911 Battle of Flowers Parade

It’s Enough to Make One Want to Live Here Always

Battle of Flowers Parade on Film

 

Related Collections in ARC:

Fiesta San Antonio Collection

Reynolds Andricks Fiesta Scrapbooks and Photographs

 

We look forward to your visit!

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