William B. Travis Letter and Senator John G. Tower

Senator John G. Tower reads William Barret Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter, 1964.

On March 2nd of each year, Texas celebrates its own independence day. On that day in 1836, 56 mostly Anglo settlers in Mexican Texas declared Texas to be independent from Mexico, and published a Declaration of Independence to that effect.

The most well-known battle during the Texas Revolution was the Battle of the Alamo. Many people know this battle through popular culture – either from their classrooms as children, or one of the many movies produced dramatizing the battle. The Texian combatants in the Alamo, however, fought not for the independence of Texas, but rather for a return to the Mexican constitution of 1824. Continue reading “William B. Travis Letter and Senator John G. Tower”

Carl Hertzog and the Bullfight that Never Happened

Cuenca Plaza de Toros, 1949.

This broadside, measuring five inches wide by seventeen and a half inches tall, advertises a bullfight (or, corrida) that never occured. We acquired the broadside this month from William Allison of Houston. I must admit to being taken aback when I first saw it – as with much of Carl Hertzog’s best work, it is visually arresting. Continue reading “Carl Hertzog and the Bullfight that Never Happened”

Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale

Emily Higgs, Special Collections Intern

Moby-Dick ; or, The whale, 1979

If you ask me what my favorite book is, I have two answers: my favorite “book-story” is Middlemarch by George Eliot, but my favorite “book-object” is the 1979 Arion Press edition of Moby-Dick. While I’ve never actually read Moby-Dick (sorry, Melville!) – this work for me represents unparalleled craftsmanship, my introduction to our rare book collection at Southwestern University, and my first professional exercise in descriptive bibliography. Continue reading “Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale”

LIS Education and the Special Collections Internship

Emily Higgs, Special Collections Intern

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

When I first started my internship at Southwestern University Special Collections, Director Jason Dean suggested that we read the RBMS Competencies for Special Collections Professionals as part of our weekly special collections reading group. While this was a great exercise in examining my own skill sets and developing learning goals for the duration of my internship at Southwestern, it left me with concerns about my career-readiness with only two semesters left in my MSIS program. These lists of knowledge areas in particular struck me as overwhelming:

. . .“a working knowledge of the basic history, theory, and best practices relating to materials found in special collections research libraries, including but not limited to printed books, manuscripts, archival material, and ephemera; photographs, prints, maps and other graphic works; audio-visual material in all formats; born-digital and digitized media; art objects and three-dimensional objects” . . . . . .“knowledge of the production and dissemination of information resources, including the history of the book and the book arts, book construction, editions and variants, binding history, illustration techniques, digital printing and publishing techniques, typefaces, paper, parchment, paleography, and scribal practices, or other topics as appropriate for their collections” . . .


Continue reading “LIS Education and the Special Collections Internship”

Letter from F. Warren Roberts to Edward A. Clark

In preparation for an essay about Edward A. Clark in the publication The Book Collector, I have been going through the multitude of boxes that comprise the papers of Ambassador Clark. The letter, above, and draft, below, surprised me, as it is a direct connection between Clark, who gave his collection of Texana to Southwestern in 1967; and F. Warren Roberts, whose family gave his collection of Texana to Southwestern in 2016. Continue reading “Letter from F. Warren Roberts to Edward A. Clark”

This Bitterly Beautiful Land

This Bitterly Beautiful Land: A Texas Commonplace Book, 1972.

I’ll confess to having more favorite books in the collection than I can name from memory. It’s an occupational hazard, and a side effect of having such an outstanding collection here. The book above is consistently in my “most favorite” books, and a recent discovery in the papers of Edward A. Clark prompted me to share this breathtaking book with you. Continue reading “This Bitterly Beautiful Land”

Carl Hertzog Exhibition Preparation

Tom Lea (L) and Carl Hertzog (R), 1967

Readers of this blog know that we are in the midst of what I am calling “the year of Hertzog.” As I’ve discussed in the past, I have an unabashed love for the work of the Printer at the Pass, and the recent acquisition of the collection of Dr. Llerena Friend dramatically expanded our Hertzog collection.

It seems only fitting, then, that the third of our four exhibits this year will be focused on the work of Carl Hertzog held here in Special Collections. Continue reading “Carl Hertzog Exhibition Preparation”