Monday, March 19, 2018

TSHA Annual Meeting

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 8-10, I had the pleasure of attending the 122nd Annual Meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. Almost 700 members of the TSHA gathered at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center and Spa in San Marcos. The TSHA staff, headed by Chief Operating Officer Steve Cure, were extremely busy operating the event. Dr. Frank de la Teja, who served as the first State Historian and who now is the Interim CEO of the TSHA, energetically and cheerfully made himself available to the TSHA membership and staff alike. There were 26 exhibitors, from several university presses to Kenston Rare Books, from the Texas Catholic Historical Society to the Texas Oral History Association, from the Bexar County Historical Commission to the Wharton County Historical Commission.
Monte Monroe at the Registration Desk
Texas Ranger Specialist Jody Ginn
In the Exhibition Hall, Kent Calder and Byron Price of the University of Oklahoma Press speak with Donaly Brice, Former Archivist at the Texas State Library

TSHA Exhibit Table

UNT Press Director Ron Chrisman

For nearly three days attendees enjoyed a buffet of historical programs and panels in more than three dozens sessions. I gravitated to an excellent presentation delivered by Scott McFarlane, a native Texan whose career has taken him to Columbia University.  Scott's program was, "Prisons and Plantations: An Environmental History of the Trinity River." The Trinity River is the eastern boundary of Navarro County, where I was born and raised. When I talked to Scott beforehand, he informed me that he is a regular reader of this blog, thereby keeping up with Texas history events from New York City. Another session which was of particular interest to me was, "Texas History: A publishing Roundtable." Three experienced publishers informed a large crowd of the state of non-fiction book publishing in Texas. We gained the latest information from Kent Calder (University of Oklahoma Press), Jay Dew (Texas A&M University Press), and Ron Chrisman (University of North Texas Press).
Dick's Classic Cars provided a superb evening for historians

Note the open rumble seat in this Model A Roadster
With Steve Cure, Chief Operating Officer of the TSHA


A highlight of the Annual Meeting was the Thursday evening reception of the President Elect, Sarita Hixon. The event was held at Dick's Classic Car Garage and Museum, which displays a splendid collection of vintage vehicles in pristine condition. The Friday Fellows Awards Luncheon  featured a thought-provoking paper by retiring TSHA Chief Historian Randolph Campbell, "A Sea of Blood and Smoking Rain, Sam Houston and Slavery."  Three new TSHA Fellows were introduced: Glenn Sample Ely, Kenneth Hoftape, and Guadalupe San Miguel. Bradley Folson was presented two book awards for Arredondo, Last Spanish Ruler of Texas and Northeastern New Spain. J.P. Bryan presented Texas History Teacher of the Year Awards to Mike Bailey of the Omar Bradley School of the Northeast ISD, and to Dr. Jerry Thompson of Texas A&M University. The H. Bailey Carroll Award for best article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly was presented to Michael D. Wise of the University of North Texas for "Seeing Like a Stomach: Food, the Body, and Jeffersonian Exploration in the Near Southwest, 1804-1808," SWHQ (April 2017). 

With Light Cummins, my predecessor as State Historian
The State Historian is a member of the Education Committee
The new TSHA Fellows: Glenn Sample Ely, Guadalupe San Miguel
and Kenneth Hoftape
Mike Campbell delivering the keynote at the Fellows Awards Lunch
Other special events included a Women in Texas History Lunch, a Graduate Student Mixer, and a Book Lover's and Texana Collector's Breakfast. On Saturday afternoon a chartered bus provided transportation to the Witte Museum in San Antonio. All in all it was a grand weekend, one which makes us anxious to attend next year's TSHA Meeting in Corpus Christi, on February 28 through March 2, 2019.

Frank de la Teja, the first State Historian and currently Interim CEO
of the TSHA

Scott McFarlane, who delivered an excellent paper on the Trinity River

The Publishers' Roundtable was headed by Kent Calder (University of Oklahoma Press), Ron Chrisman (UNT Press), and Jay Dew (Texas A&M University Press)



















Sunday, March 4, 2018

Patrotic Extravaganza

On Tuesday evening, February 20, "A Patriotic Extravaganza" was presented to a large audience at the Carthage Junior High School auditorium. The program, "A Night Celebrating America," was performed by 150 first grade students from Carthage Primary School. The director, Debbie Leggett Miller, invited me to attend. Debbie was a student of mine at Panola College, and so was her future husband, Randy Miller, Debbie has taught in Carthage for more than four decades, and currently she teaches music to the lower grades.

Principal Kiley Schumacher aided by a student assistant,
introduces the program.
Director Debbie Miller
A few years ago Debbie began staging Patriotic Exravaganzas celebrating America, with as many as 200 first graders on stage, dressed in red, white and blue. Many were attired in military uniforms from the different branches, and some were dressed in costumes, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, from George Washington Carver to Martin Luther King, from Betsy Ross to Amelia Earhart. During these events the stage abounds in American flags, and a high point of each performance is a re-enactment of the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima.

Student narrator and George Washington

Betsy Ross
George Washington Carver
Thomas Jefferson
Statue of Liberty
Uncle Sam
Amelia Earhart
Randy Miller and I went together. At the entrance I was handed a program by a first-grader named Kaison Holloway, who was clad in red, white and blue. The program was introduced by Principal Kiley Schumacher. Veterans of the armed services were recognized from the audience, and the students onstage sang an "Armed Services Medley." I was introduced as Texas State Historian. Musical performances included "The Star-Spangled Banner," "This is My Country," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "America the Beautiful," and "God Bless America," along with other patriotic airs. The performance of these patriotic first-graders generated applause over and over, and at the end we gave a rousing standing ovation.  

Abraham Lincoln

President Trump

Star Spangled Banner

It was an evening for flag waving
Military salute
With costumed students

With more costumed students

Thursday, February 22, 2018

ETHA Spring Symposium

On Saturday, February 17, the East Texas Historical Association held a Spring Symposium at The History Center in Diboll. Diboll was founded in 1893 as a company town by timber magnate T.L.L. Temple. One of the civic philanthropies provided to Diboll by Temple Industries is The History Center, which opened in 2003 and which features an excellent museum and archival collection. Indeed, early in my tenure as State Historian, my wife Karon and I came to Diboll to create a blog on The History Center.

Behind the main building of The History Center
is a well-preserved lumber train.

One of the statues on The History Center grounds is of Arthur Temple, Jr.
Standing in front of one of the excellent museum displays
The theme of the ETHA Spring Symposium was "The Presidents Speak Again." Two past presidents of the ETHA, Milton Jordan and Dan Utley, have compiled a book that has just been released by the Stephen F. Austin State University Press: The Presidents Speak: Addresses from the Leadership of the East Texas Historical Association, 2000-2016. Each year, at the ETHA Fall Meeting, the Association President delivers a presidential address, and Jordan and Utley have collected these addresses since 2000. The Presidents Speak was introduced at the 2018 Spring Symposium, and a panel of the presidential contributors was assembled at The History Center to discuss their addresses and to answer questions from the audience. The official presider was Portia Gordon, an ETHA board member and the longtime aide to former ETHA Executive Director Archie McDonald.

Dan Utley and Milton Jordan with their book, The Presidents Speak, which provided the theme for the ETHA Spring Symposium

Portia Gore (standing at right), longtime ETHA secretary and board member, presided over the panel.

Milton Jordan at the speaker's stand

Former Texas State Historian Light Cummins (left) with ETHA board member Monte Monroe from Texas Tech
There were about 40 ETHA members in attendance, and we enjoyed refreshments provided by The History Center. Following the presidential panel, we divided into two groups and, led by History Center staff members, we were toured through the museum and the archival collection. As always, it was a pleasure to visit with friends and fellow ETHA members. 

ETHA Executive Assistant Chris Gill makes these events work.