Tag Archive | Texas History

Object: Clock

EX2014.1.1
Clock
J. Rubio
American
Huntsville, Texas
2014
Materials: Leather, wood, metal, plastic

This item is a clock made from a leather stirrup, mounted on a wooden base. It was made by an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at Huntsville, Texas. For hundreds of years, prisons have used prison labor for a variety of reasons. Texas has had prisons utilizing prisoner labor since before the Civil War. In Texas, evidence for local governments wanting to use prisoners for labor can be seen as early as 1829, where officials of the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas looked to build two prisons in Bexar and Parras. These prisons were to provide labor and money to both the state and those running the prison. Ultimately, these prisons would not be built, but the idea would not be lost. On March 13, 1848 legislation was passed for new prisons to be built close to the water and provided with equipment and machinery so that goods could be manufactured and moved. The spot chosen for this new initiative was the town of Huntsville, the same town from which this clock was created.

In 1853, Governor P.H. Bell called for money to install cotton mill equipment at the prison. This was done in hopes to make the prison self-sustaining. This shift in production, and new equipment would prove to be valuable for Texas during the upcoming Civil War. During the Civil War, the penitentiary was a major source of revenue for Texas, amounting to $800,000 in the state treasury in just 1863 alone. After the Civil War, that would no longer be the case however.

A southern chain gang. Image published by Detroit Publishing Co., via Wikimedia Commons.

After the Civil War, and the emancipation of slaves in the South, prisons and prison labor was used by many southern states and businesses to control the newly emancipated African Americans and their labor. During Reconstruction, laws called the Black Codes were put into place to achieve this goal. The most absurd of these laws made it illegal for African Americans to do things such as use insulting gestures or language, “mischief,” and not having written evidence of employment for the year. Under these codes, blacks could be arrested for these or other dubious reasons, and could be leased out as unpaid labor to plantations or southern business, or kept at the prison to work.

During the first half of the 20th century, The United States began phasing out commercial prison labor all across the country. Between 1929 and 1943 prison based industries and leasing prisoners to outside businesses were made illegal. By the 1950s, chain gangs and their like had disappeared. However, legislative acts within the past few decades shows that the idea of prison labor has not faded away completely. In 1995, the Prison Industries Reform Act and the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIE) have created an expansion in business and prison partnerships. This is due to several reasons, including the massive amount of prisoners and the cost of maintaining prisons in the United States. However, this reintroduction of labor into prisons was very controversial. In 1995 in states such as Alabama, chain gangs were seen for the first time since the 1950s. [Ryan Farrell, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Bibliography

American Academy of Political and Social Science, E. Stagg Whitin, and James P. Lichtenberger. 1975. Prison labor. New York: Kraus.

Bair, Asatar P. 2012. Prison labor in the United States: an economic analysis. London: Routledge.

Blue, Ethan. 2014. Doing time in the depression: everyday life in Texas and California prisons.

Colvin, Mark. 1997. Penitentiaries, reformatories, and chain gangs: Social theory and the history of punishment in nineteenth-century America. 1st ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Melossi, Dario, Glynis Cousin, and Massimo Pavarini. 1980. The prison and the factory: origins of the Penitentiary system. Macmillan.

Stein, Abby. 2012. Back on the chain gang: The new/old prison labor paradigm. The Journal of Psychohistory 39 (4): 254.

Van Zyl Smit, Dirk, and Frieder Dünkel. 1999. Prison labour: Salvation or slavery? : International perspectives. Brookfield Vt;Aldershot, UK;: Ashgate/Dartmouth.

Walker, Donald R., and Inc NetLibrary. 1988. Penology for profit: A history of the Texas prison system, 1867-1912. 1st ed. Vol. no. 7. College Station: Texas A & M University Press.

Object: Newspaper

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I-0208pp
Newspaper article
“Confederate Soldier Walter W. Williams Dies in Houston, Funeral Held Wednesday” The Franklin Texan
American
Franklin, Texas
1959
Materials: Paper/Ink

This is the December, 1959 edition of the Franklin Texan. In this issue, the story concerns the death of Walter Williams, a man who claimed to be a former confederate soldier and the last veteran of the Civil War. Texas seceded in 1861, alongside other southern states to form the Confederacy. The Civil War experience for Texas, was different from other states.

Despite the obvious threat of the Union army, there were other threats that were more serious in the minds of many Texans. With the withdrawal of Union troops at the start of the conflict, Texans were concerned that the immediate threat to Texas was from Native American raids. Texan and Native American relations had been complex in Texas, and at the time of the Civil War they had been very strained. Sam Houston, who was the first president of Texas, tried to build better relations. He attempted to enforce trade laws, remove trespassers from native land, uphold hunting rights, and establish fairer treaties. However, successive presidents would reverse these programs. Due to this strain between Texans and Native Americans, conflict would persist throughout the Civil War.

Edmund Kirby Smith. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1862, Texas would be placed into Trans-Mississippi Department. This was a group of Confederate states, west of the Mississippi river, that were placed under the command of Kirby Smith in 1863. This department was seen as necessary because of the massive distance between these states and the Confederate capital in Richmond. When the Mississippi was taken in 1863, the department would effectively be cut off from the rest of the Confederacy.

In 1863, the invasion of Texas was headed by Nathanial Banks. This invasion was made possible by the Union control of Vicksburg, securing the Mississippi river for the north. Texas was a strategic target for the Union for several reasons. Texas’ border with Mexico allowed them to get around the Union blockade of Confederate ports. Cotton was transported across the border, and shipped to Europe, and supplies and guns were shipped back through the same route. The Union couldn’t blockade Mexico, so they would have to invade to stop the shipments. Another reason also had to do with Mexico. After the start of the Civil War, France invaded Mexico to place a friendly government on the throne. The Union saw this as a threat, and wanted to show force in the region. If Texas and other confederate states could continue to sell its cotton and buy goods, there was a risk that European powers would get involved in the conflict.

In 1865, the last battle of the Civil war would be fought in Texas. The Battle of Palmito Hill would mark the end of resistance in Texas and the remaining confederate states. Next would come reconstruction, and the emergence of a new Texas. [Ryan Farrell, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Bailey, Anne. Between the Enemy and Texas: Parsons’s Texas Cavalry in the Civil War. Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2013.

Gallaway, B. P., and Inc NetLibrary. Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1994.

Grear, Charles D. The Fate of Texas: The Civil War and the Lone Star State. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2008.

Henderson, Colonel H. M. C. Texas in the Confederacy. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2015.

Howell, Kenneth W. The Seventh Star of the Confederacy: Texas During the Civil War. Denton, Tex: University of North Texas Press, 2011.

Jewett, Clayton E., and Inc NetLibrary. Texas in the Confederacy: An Experiment in Nation Building. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. 2002.

Jewett, Clayton E. On its Own: Texas in the Confederacy. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 1998.

Townsend, Stephen A. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. Vol. no. 8. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. 2006.

Object: Insignia

i-0118b

I-0118b
Insignia
African-American
United States
Mid-19th to early 20th Century
Materials: Metal/Paint/Enamel

This object is an insignia pin for the 10th Cavalry of the United States Army.  It was used to distinguish the members of the regiment.  The 10th Cavalry was formed in the summer of 1866 as part of the Army Reorganization Act, which was enacted to rebuild the United States Army after the Civil War.

Liberators of Cuba, soldiers of the 10th Cavalry after the Spanish-American War. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Liberators of Cuba, soldiers of the 10th Cavalry after the Spanish-American War. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Civil War had depleted the troops, and the Army needed to replenish their numbers for a peacetime military.  As part of their reorganization, the Army created six regiments of black soldiers- two cavalry and four infantry– approved by Congress.   These regiments consisted entirely of enlisted black men, but were led by white officers.

Many of the men who joined these regiments had served during the Civil War and were farmers, bakers, painters, and many other occupations.  However, the military offered an opportunity for social and economic advancement.  As soldiers, these men earned $13 a month, along with food, clothing, and shelter- much more than their other jobs offered.

The 10th Cavalry was formed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was commanded by Colonel Benjamin Grierson.  Their biggest assignment was to aid in westward expansion and protect American settlements.  Tasked with keeping order, they were often confronted with raids by bands of numerous Native American tribes, who were growing more and more desperate due to buffalo- their main food source- going extinct from sport hunting by white settlers and soldiers.

Fighting bravely in over one hundred battles against the Native tribes, even when outnumbered, soldiers like those in the 10th Cavalry earned the respect of tribal leaders.  To the tribes, the soldiers’ hair was thick and curly, like that of a buffalo, and the American Indians believed the soldiers were brave like a buffalo, so began calling the black soldiers “Buffalo Soldiers.”  It was a term of respect toward what they considered a valiant opponent in battle.  The symbol of the buffalo became the regiment’s official insignia in 1922.

Besides their contributions in battle, the soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, as well as the other buffalo soldier regiments, had countless accomplishments.  Constantly subjected to racial prejudice, and making due with cast-offs like aging horses and worn out equipment from more prestigious regiments, the buffalo soldiers carried out missions that were vital to America’s success.

In 1871, the 10th Cavalry accompanied General William T. Sherman on an inspection tour of Texas.  They were instrumental in mapping the uncharted territories of the state.  In addition, they strung thousands of miles of telegraph line, opened new roads, escorted stagecoaches and wagon trains, protected railroad crews, and were the driving force behind building and renovating dozens of frontier forts, including Fort Stockton in west Texas.

The 10th Cavalry, and all buffalo soldiers, hold an enduring legacy in American history.  Their success in the face of adversity makes them true heroes, and their contributions to the expansion of the United States can be seen throughout the stories of the American west. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Christian, Garna L.  Black Soldiers in Jim Crow Texas, 1899-1917.  College Station:  Texas A&M University Press, 1995.

Cox, Clinton.  The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers.  New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Glass, Edward L.N.  The History of the Tenth Cavalry, 1866-1921.  Ft. Collins, CO: Old Army Press, 1972.

Leckie, William H. and Shirley A. Leckie.  The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

Object: Card game

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FIC2013.160
Trivia Card Game
American
Galveston, TX
1907/1908
Material: paper

This object is a trivia card game called “Texas Heroes: An Instructive Game,” created by Sally Trueheart Williams in 1908. The cards have three to five questions listed with a picture of the answer above. The people on the cards are those widely known by Texans, such as James Bowie, Sam Houston, David Crockett and many others. There are also historic places included that also have an important role in the history of Texas such as San Antonio, Nacogdoches, and Austin.  A pamphlet is included with testimonials from Texas educators promoting the game as a useful educational tool.

Sally Trueheart Williams

Sally Trueheart Williams. Image via the Rosenberg Library Museum of Galveston.

Sally T. Williams (1871-1951) daughter of Henry M. Trueheart and Annie Vanmeter Cunningham, was an active member of the Galveston, Texas community. She had a passion for history, education, and charity. She was member of the Equal Suffrage Club, the Wednesday Club, First Presbyterian Church, American Red Cross, Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Colonial Dames.

In 1900, a hurricane devastated much of Texas, in Galveston over 3,000 buildings were destroyed and around 6,000 people were killed. In the wake of the storm the American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, played a large role in the relief efforts. Women’s clubs and associations in the area also volunteered, thus women had more visible public roles in the community. The efforts of these women’s civics clubs evolved to a suffrage movement. As a member of the Equal Suffrage Club, Sally T. Williams stood for the right of women to vote and argued that municipal maintenance can be compared to public ‘housekeeping.’ The argument was an attempt to convince other women that participating in women’s suffrage was not violating the traditional roles of women in the home.

Women’s clubs in the late 1800s to early 1900s gave way to the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs (TFWC) which encouraged progressive movements and activism. The TFWC has accomplished and influenced numerous developments in Texas such as children’s health laws, traffic and highway safety, food purity standards, and historical preservation, to name a few. In its infancy, the TFWC consisted of mainly wealthy women and teachers, though today the membership is much more diverse. Many of the projects and activities of the federation have become the responsibility of the government in modern times, however the TFWC is still active and takes on projects involving aid to abused women and cancer patients and their families. [Sara Countryman, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources

Jones, Marian Moser. 2013;2012;. The american red cross from clara barton to the new deal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

Goldfield, David. 2013. Still fighting the civil war LSU Press.

McArthur, Judith N., and Harold L. Smith. 2010. Texas through women’s eyes: The twentieth-century experience. 1st ed. Vol. bk. 24. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Megan Seaholm, “Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs,” Handbook of Texas Online, June 15, 2010. Texas State Historical Association

Turner, Elizabeth Hayes, and Inc NetLibrary. 1997. Women, culture, and community: Religion and reform in galveston, 1880-1920. New York: Oxford University Press.

Object: Cigar box

 

i-0046q
I-0046q
Cigar Box
Early 1900s
American
Materials: Wood and paper

The use of tobacco is centuries old, thought to have been discovered by the ancient Maya. There is evidence of smoking on Mayan pottery going back as far as the 10th century. In the 1600s, tobacco smoking became popular in Spain and was a symbol of wealth. Ironically, tobacco use was initially thought to be a cure for many illnesses. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the negative health effects of smoking began to be known, and it was first proven to cause cancer.

Employee hand rolling a cigar. Image from the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Employee hand rolling a cigar. Image from the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

In cigars the outer layer, or wrapper, holds the tobacco together into its signature shape. This outer layer also determines much of the character and flavor of the cigar. The exterior leaves were picked while still green and go through a special aging process depending on the color and cigar type desired. Cigars today come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, with tobacco produced in many different countries and regions. The tobacco leaves filling the cigar need to be arranged in a way that forms air passages, the size of which is important to the quality of the cigar. If the airways are too small, the cigar will not burn, and if they are too large the cigar will burn too fast. Prior to the 1950s all cigars were hand folded, and getting the correct arrangement of leaves took a skilled worker. Today machines have taken over that task, by replacing the painstakingly folded inner leaves with smaller pieces of chopped up tobacco.

Henry William Finck was raised in New Orleans where he worked in the cigar making industry and learned the trade. He managed a cigar factory in New Orleans until he came to San Antonio in 1853 and started his own business with $1,000, borrowed from his life insurance.

 Groundbreaking ceremony for Travis Club, northwest corner of Pecan and Navarro Streets, San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1911. Photo via UTSA Special Collections Library, Digital Identifier CD# 529; 075-1165.tif.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Travis Club, northwest corner of Pecan and Navarro Streets, San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1911. Photo via UTSA Special Collections Library, Digital Identifier CD# 529; 075-1165.tif.

The Finck Company made special “private label” cigars for the Travis Club, a private men’s club, founded in 1890. In 1906 the private label cigars were made only for the club, but during WWI the club members began inviting young military officers and trainees in San Antonio to join the Travis Club. These military men enjoyed the cigars so much they demanded they be sent to other military related men’s clubs. It became a widely popular brand and is still a top seller today, with an image of the original building printed on the label as a tribute to the history of the brand. Today the Finck Cigar Company is the only automated cigar factory in Texas. [Sara Countryman, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Anwer Bati, The Cigar Companion: The Connoisseur’s Guide. Third Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 1997; pg. 27

Finck, Bill, and Mary Locke Croft. 1991. Interview with bill finck, 01-30-1991University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Our History – About – Finck Cigar Company – World’s Best Cigars.” Parscale Media. 2016. Finck Cigar Company.

Rogers, Kara. Substance use and abuse. Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011.

Object: Photo Enlarger

I-0397a scan

I-0397a
R. B. Enlarging Camera
Folmer & Schwing Division Eastman Kodak Co.
American
Rochester, NY
San Antonio
1917-1926
Materials: Metal and wood

This object is a photo enlarger that was used by Zintgraff Studios, a commercial photography studio in San Antonio in the mid-2oth century. A photo enlarger was used to make a larger negatives or a photographic print from the negative image created by the camera on to its film. A negative is the image that the camera captures on film. When looking at a negative of a picture the shades of the people, places or in the image are opposite to what they are in reality. Light colored objects are dark, and dark colored objects are light. A photo enlarger is a tool photographers used to enlarge a negative before developing the prints.

 Homecoming banquet, at Gunter Hotel, for General Walter Krueger after his return to city after commanding Sixth Army in South Pacific during WWII.  	Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections -- Institute of Texan Cultures. Digital identifier 	Z-1368-B-02

Homecoming banquet, at Gunter Hotel, for General Walter Krueger. Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections — Institute of Texan Cultures. Digital identifier Z-1368-B-02

The many of the photographs taken by the Zintgraff Studio were donated to the University of Texas at San Antonio and are stored at the Institute of Texan Cultures in the Special Collections Library. One can find the digital uploads on the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Library’s Special Collections website. The photographers at Zintgraff Studios captured over a thousand unique images of San Antonio between 1930 and 1980. The photographers took pictures of the river walk, one of the center points of San Antonio. They captured pilots conversing by their planes at Kelly Field, which was a critical aviation base throughout both World Wars, as well as the celebrations held for the soldiers after the war. One picture captures a homecoming party for a general who returned from commanding the sixth army, which was in the South Pacific Theater during the war, which means the sixth army was in the Southern Pacific, around New Guinea. The sixth army helped isolate a Japanese base, and joined forces with the Australian Army and other U.S. forces near New Guinea in 1943. After General Walter Krueger came home on February 13, 1946 his family and friends through him a welcome home banquet at the Gunter Hotel.

The photographers at Zintgraff Studios also captured celebrations and parades that were held in and around downtown San Antonio. For example, the photographers took pictures of the Battle of Flowers Parade in the early 1930s. The parade celebrates the men who fell during the Battle of the Alamo and to celebrate the victory that came with the Battle of San Jacinto. As well as taking pictures of the citizens celebrating, the photographers also took pictures of streets on a normal day.  These photographs serve as an important record of San Antonio’s past and they could help inspire the future. [Amanda Rock, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Blackwell, Johnny. 1993. Photographic equipment. Vero Beach, FL: Poor Man’s Publ.

Hoyt, Edwin P. 1999. The Alamo: an illustrated history

Kroll, Harry David. 1919. Kelly field in the great world war. San Antonio: Press of San Antonio Print. Co. 

Lobb, Michael L., Robert S. Browning, Ann Krueger Hussey, and Thomas M. O’Donoghue. 1900. A brief history of early Kelly Field, 1916-1918. Kelly Air Force Base, Tex: Office of History, San Antonio Air Logistics Center. 

London, Barbara, and Jim Stone. 2009. A short course in photography: an introduction to photographic technique. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. 

Zedric, Lance Q. 1995. Silent warriors of World War II: the Alamo Scouts behind the Japanese lines. Ventura, Calif: Pathfinder Pub. of California. 

Zedric, Lance Quintin. 1993. The Alamo Scouts: eyes behind the lines–Sixth Army’s special reconnaissance unit of World War II

Object: Postcards

EX2014_4_1

EX2014.4.1 a-f
HemisFair’68 Postcards
American
San Antonio, Texas
1968
Materials: Paper and Ink

Mini-monorail at HemisFair. Image via UTSA Special Collections, Digital Identifier CD # 853 ; 108-0183.tif.

Mini-monorail at HemisFair. Image via UTSA Special Collections, Digital Identifier CD # 853 ; 108-0183.tif.

These six postcards were produced for HemisFair’68. The first postcard, top left hand corner, is a picture of the food from around the world. Many varieties of international foods were served in cool outdoor plazas, and fine dining restaurants throughout the park. Food, while always an important part of any World’s Fair experience, recently took center stage at the 2015 Milan World’s Fair. While HemisFair’s theme was a “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas,Expo Milan was focused on how to feed an ever growing world population with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

The second post card, under the previous one, is the scene of the fabulous 92.6 acres of HemisFair’68. Visitors were able to explore the park in gondolas and Mexican flower boats, a mini-monorail system, a Swiss sky ride, and elevated walkways—each afforded a distinctive perspective on the 1968 World’s Fair. Today, San Antonio is considering revisiting the sky ride and monorail idea in order to make the city more accessible to pedestrians and help to revitalize the Broadway corridor. This potential project, proposed by a UTSA college of architecture team, “1000 Parks and a Line in the Sky: Broadway, Avenue of the Future” is also currently being featured as an exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

The next postcard shows the blending of old and new. There were historic 19th century mansions that were restored and used by the exhibitors as shops and restaurants. Prior to the construction of HemisFair park, the area was a residential neighborhood. Most of the buildings were demolished in order to make way for the fair attractions and pavilions, but a few of the historic buildings were preserved by the San Antonio Conservation Society and used at the fair.

The postcard in the top right hand corner, is a picture of the State of Texas Pavilion. This was the largest pavilion at HemisFair’68 and is now the home of the Institute of Texan Cultures. Today, the museum pursues a mandate as the state’s center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state and presenting the resulting information with a variety of offerings, including this blog, with a mission to give voice to the experiences of people from across the globe who call Texas home, providing insight into the past, present and future.

William Cameron Fountain Image via UTSA Special Collections Library, Digital Identifier CD # 840 ; 108-0090.tif.

William Cameron Fountain Image via UTSA Special Collections Library, Digital Identifier CD # 840 ; 108-0090.tif.

The following postcard, directly underneath the previous one, is a picture of the Canadian Pavilion at night. Inside this pavilion, visitors walked over recreations of the Canadian waterways and viewed examples of the country’s sculptures, paintings, and history. The last postcard is a picture of the William Cameron Fountain in front of the Italian Pavilion. This fountain was designed like a dandelion and donated by Flora Cameron Kampmann and the KAMKO Foundation. Many countries hosted pavilions at HemisFair, each highlighting the cultural, artistic, and technological achievements of their nations.

[Adriana Christian edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Beagle, Gail, Phillip D. Hardberger, Lila Cockrell, and Robert W. Rydell. The Anatomy of Legislation Making HemisFair ’68 a World’s Fair. [Universal City, Tex.]: A to Z Media Productions, 2008.

Freymann, Carlos. “Interview with Carlos Freymann, 1979.” Interview by Ester G. MacMillan. UTSA Libraries Digital Collections. University of Texas at San Antonio, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016. http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15125coll4/id/340/rec/28

Perry, Joseph A. “Interview with Joseph A. Perry, 1984.” Interview by Ester G. MacMillan. UTSA Libraries Digital Collections. University of Texas at San Antonio, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016. http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15125coll4/id/723/rec/9

Sinkin, William. “Interview with William Sinkin, 1995.” Interview by Sterlin Holmesly. UTSA Libraries Digital Collections. University of Texas at San Antonio, n.d. Web. 19 July 2016. http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15125coll4/id/410/rec/6

Object: Decanter

I-0631a (2)

I-0631
HemisFair 68 Jim Beam Decanter Souvenir
American
San Antonio, Texas
1968
Materials: Ceramic and Paint

This object is a souvenir Jim Beam decanter commemorating the HemisFair of 1968. A decanter is a decorative ceramic or glass bottle, with a stopper, used to store alcohol. This Jim Beam decanter has the Tower of Americas and part of the state of Texas and its landscape sculpted into the shape of a decanter. The Tower of the Americas is a famous landmark in San Antonio, TX dating back to HemisFair of 1968. This decanter was mass-produced by Regal China Co., and sold during HemisFair, as a cross-promotion for the James B. Beam Distilling Co..

The HemisFair was a World’s Fair that was held from April 6, 1968 to October 6, 1968, in San Antonio, Texas. HemisFair welcomed over thirty nations and six million visitors. The Tower of the Americas was built especially for HemisFair, and was completed just days before the start of the fair. The tower measures 622 feet tall from ground to the highest architectural element, with the observation floor at 579 feet, making it the 29th tallest building in the state of Texas. It was the tallest observation tower in the United States until 1997, when the Stratosphere Tower was built in Las Vegas.

Blueprint of the Eiffel Tower by one of its main engineers, Maurice Koechlin (ca. 1884). Image via Wikimedia Commons

Blueprint of the Eiffel Tower by one of its main engineers, Maurice Koechlin (ca. 1884). Image via Wikimedia Commons

Observation towers have been associated with several World Fair venues. The 1889 Paris World’s Fair commemorated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, and included the construction of the now world-famous Eiffel Tower. Built by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel‘s construction company, Eiffel et Compagnie, and largely based off designs by Maurice Koechlin. Observation towers were also built for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, and others. [Adriana Christian, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Hodges, Justine. Tower of the Americas: Guidebook. San Antonio [Tex.]: Edward O. Goetz, 1968.

Holmesly, Sterlin. Hemisfair ’68 and the Transformation of San Antonio. 2003.

Lemoine, Bertrand. The Eiffel Tower. Cologne: Taschen GmbH, 2008.

Wallace, Thomas M. 2016. “The Tallest Buildings In The World”. The Civil Engineering Blog: Being Brunel. 2016-05.

Object: Cabinet

I-0309d scan

I-0309d
Dentist Cabinet
American
San Antonio
1916
Materials: Wood, metal, imitation marble and ceramic

set_of_dental_instruments_in_case_late_19th_century-_detail_wellcome_l0057331

Set of dental instruments in case, late 19th century. This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom. Refer to Wellcome blog post (archive).

This object is a dentist cabinet from Dr. James Reveley’s dentist office. Dentists’ used to store their instruments in cabinets like this one. Dentistry is one of the oldest medical professions, with evidence of it dating back to 7000 B.C. in the Indus Valley Civilization. Dentistry was also mentioned in ancient Greece with Hippocrates and Aristotle writing on how to treat tooth decay.  Starting in the middle ages barbers performed oral surgeries and dental cleanings. The barbers divided themselves into two groups, the first group performed oral surgeries, and the second group performed oral cleanings, shavings, bleedings and tooth extractions. However, it was not until the 18th century when a French man named Pierre Fauchard wrote a book on how to perform basic surgery on a patient’s mouth and teeth that dentistry became a defined profession. After Fauchard published his book, “LeChirurgien Dentiste” the men who practiced oral surgeries started to call themselves dentists and broke away from the term barber.

John Henry "Doc" Holliday, dentist and gambler, an ally of the Earps at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

John Henry “Doc” Holliday, dentist and gambler, an ally of the Earps at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1840 Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened becoming first dental school to open. This paved the way for other dentistry schools to open, including the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery where John Henry “Doc” Holliday received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Holliday came to Texas during the Annual Fair of the North Texas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Blood Stock Association at the Dallas County Fair in 1874. Holliday took home the three awards they were offering, “best set of gold teeth”, “the best in Vulcanized rubber”, and “the best set of artificial teeth and dental ware.” Although Holiday’s career veered away from dentistry, his awards led other Texan dentists to improve the way they treated teeth. About 10 years before Holliday won his awards the American Dental Association was formed, consisting of 26 members determined to promote high professional standards and scientific research.

Dentistry has come a long way from the days of the barbershop, and even the most squeamish patients can now expect a relatively pain-free and safe experience. This is in part due to the discoveries of men like William Thomas Green Morton; he discovered the use of ether as an anesthetic. He performed the first painless oral surgery in 1846 and other doctors soon adopted this method of surgical anesthesia. Another dentist who changed dentistry for the U.S., and for Texas, is Dr. Greene Vardiman Black.  He believed that dentistry should be scientific and performed by highly skilled professionals. He invented a dental engine with a foot motor, he standardized dental terminologies, and gave dental instruments the names they have now. Many dentists consider Black the father of modern dentistry; he helped dentists all over the country regulate what they called the tools of their trade, and he passed on his professional standards for dentistry. [Amanda Rock, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Archer, W. Harry. 1946. William T.G. Morton, dentist, who first publicly demonstrated ether anesthesia: a short biography. Chicago: American Dental Association.

Black, Carl Ellsworth, and Bessie Black. 1940. From pioneer to scientist; the life story of Greene Vardiman Black, “father of modern dentistry,” and his son, Arthur Davenport Black, late dean of Northwestern university Dental school. Saint Paul, Minn: Bruce Publishing Company.

Bryant, Jill. 2003. John Henry Holliday. Mankato, MN: Weigl.

Davis, Audrey B. 1975. The dentist and his tools: a publication of the National Museum of History and Technology. [Washington]: National Museum of History & Technology.

Herda, D. J. 2011. They call me Doc: the story behind the legend of John Henry Holliday. Guilford, Conn: Lyons Press.

Horan, James D., and Paul Sann. 1954. Pictorial history of the wild West; a true account of the bad men, desperadoes, rustlers, and outlaws of the old West–and the men who fought them to establish law and order. New York: Crown Publishers.

MacQuitty, Betty. 1969. The battle for oblivion: the discovery of anaesthesia. London: Harrap.

Morton, W. T. G. 1846. To surgeons and physicians. [Boston]: [publisher not identified].

Pappas, Charles N. 1983. The life and times of G.V. Black. Chicago: Quintessence Pub. Co.

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