AHC Director’s Report
Programming & Outreach
• The three community archivists gave presentations to the UT-SAGE continuing education group, approximately 75 people, on April 8th. The three archivists spoke about the histories of the African, Asian, and Mexican American communities in Austin, and how the AHC is preserving these histories.
• On April 9, the Asian American Community Archivist Esther Chung hosted a program with the South Asian American Digital Archive, a non-profit digital initiative to preserve the history of South Asians in the US. The AHC will be contributing some oral history content to the project. 62 people attended.
• AHC staff finished processing 3 collections and placed EAD encoded finding aids for these collections on the Internet at the TARO website. These collections include the Martha Grenon SXSW Photographs Collection, the Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Austin Convention and Visitor Bureau, Inc. Records, and the Fehr & Granger and Emerson Fehr Drawings and Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
• The next exhibit at the AHC, “How to Prepare a Possum: 19th Century Cuisine in Austin,” opened on May 7. The exhibit explores all avenues of early Austin food, including what food was indeed local, how food was prepared, how and where people shopped for food, what it cost, and where people went out to eat. The exhibit runs through January 5, 2014.
• African American Community Archivist Cynthia Evans setup long-term loan agreement with the city’s new African American Cultural Heritage Center. They currently display at least five images and text from the Building a Community Exhibit.
• UT Professor Eliot Tretter made extensive use of the AHC collections for his new book, Austin Restricted: Progressivism, Zoning, Private Racial Covenants, and the Making of a Segregated City. Professor Tretter spent the better part of two years working on this project, including dozens of hours in the AHC reading room. The AHC received an advance copy of his book.
• Photos from the AHC were purchased for use in an upcoming books on the history of Waller Creek, Texas Lives, Texas Voices by Trinity University Press, and Rough Country by Princeton University Press, a Fox 7 news story about Eeyore’s Birthday party, Austin American Statesman articles about the 1888 Capitol Dedication and the 1915 floods, and for stories in upcoming issues of the Texas Co-op Power and Bluebonnet Electric Co-op magazines.
• June 1, 2013. Opening Reception for “How to Prepare a Possum” exhibit, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The program will feature a menu designed by chefs and students from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts inspired by early 19th century recipes and foods common to the area. The head chef and students will talk about their experience adapting these early foods to modern cooking practices. Event will be in the Holt Photo Gallery at the AHC.
• July 31, 2013. “Beer Garden Social: A 19th Century Family Experience” at Scholz Garden, 6:30 pm. The AHC and Scholz Garden, the oldest continuously operated business in Texas, are teaming up to recreate a typical 19th century beer garden experience, which included a family meal, lectures and musical entertainment, in the only beer garden remaining in town from that era. The AHC will create a small, traveling exhibit on the history of brewing and beer gardens in Austin, and the AHC manager Mike Miller will give a brief presentation on this history. Following the lecture, Spencer & Rains (http://spencerandrains.com/) will give a free concert of 19th Century Texas Fiddle music for guests who stay for dinner.
Programming & Outreach
- African American Community Archivist Cynthia Evans actively promoted the Building a Community Exhibit during its last weeks on display. On March 7 she gave a presentation to the Austin Appraisal District about the exhibit, with 40 people in attendance. She also gave 2 separate tours to ACC students on March 10 and March 12.
- On March 20, the AHC held an opening reception for the “Birthday of a Beautiful Building” exhibit on the 80th birthday of the AHC building. Speakers included Reference Archivist Ashley Adair, Manager Mike Miller, former Mayor Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and Councilmember Chris Riley. The event also marked the official public launch of the planning process for the AHC expansion into the JHF building, with an opportunity for public comment about the planned expansion. Over 60 people attended the event. The public comment period will last until the exhibit closes on Sept. 15, 2013.
- On March 27th, Reference Archivist Ashley Adair and Assistant Manager Nancy Toombs spoke to a Lifetime Learning Institute class on Antiques and Collectibles. The presentation included a history of the AHC, its the holdings, and information about donations – what the AHC collections want and how to donate – and preservation of books and photos. The program had 26 people in attendance.
- Mexican American Community Archivist Gloria Espitia was a presenter @ the Texas Folklife Border Radio Series sponsored by Texas Folklife and held at the Texas Music Museum on, Thursday, March 28th. Her presentation was on Austin and Travis County Latina singers & musicians during the early twentieth century to the present. There were 20 people in attendance
AHC staff finished processing 6 collections and placed EAD encoded finding aids for these collections on the Internet at the TARO website. These collections include the Austin Coffee House Show Collection, the Emmett Shelton Johnson Family Papers, the John E. Shelton Family Papers, the Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Austin Convention and Visitors Commission Records, the Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Historic Landmark Commission Records, and the Austin (Tex.). Boards and Commissions. Firefighters’ and Police Officers’ Civil Service Commission Records. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
- The AHC acquired donation of a couple hundred photos of the groundbreaking, construction, and opening of the bank building at 400 W 15th Street that was not otherwise documented in its photo collections. Other interesting acquisitions include 4 oral history interviews with Greg Easley about Stanley Hall, founder of the Austin Ballet Theatre, and the Austin Firefighters’ and Police Officers’ Civil Service Commission Records (1948-2009) that provide some insight into the efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to diversify these departments
- The next exhibit at the AHC, “How to Prepare a Possum: 19th Century Cuisine in Austin,” is scheduled to open on May 7. The exhibit explores all avenues of early Austin food, including what food was indeed local, how food was prepared, how and where people shopped for food, what it cost, and where people went out to eat. The exhibit runs through January 10, 2014.
- Photos from the AHC were purchased for use in upcoming books on the history of Waller Creek and the Manchaca/Onion Creek area, for an exhibit on the 125th anniversary of the Capitol Building at the Capitol, the Republic Square Master Plan Report, and a news story about the Travis County Courthouse in the Austin American Statesman.
- June 1, 2013. Opening Reception for “How to Prepare a Possum” exhibit (time TBD). The program will feature a menu designed by chefs and students from the Escoffier School of culinary Arts inspired by early 19th century recipes and foods common to the area. The head chef and students will talk about their experience adapting these early foods to modern cooking practices. Event will be in the Holt Photo Gallery at the AHC
Programming & Outreach
- African American Community Archivist Cynthia Evans had numerous outreach events related to Black History Month. She represented the AHC at the Huston Tillotson Black Heritage Festival on February 23 and the Camp Mabry Heritage Festival on February 27.
- The AHC had a very successful trivia contest on its Facebook page this month, with the AHCA sponsoring the prize (a free 1887 bird’s eye view of Austin). The AHC received many positive comments about the contest and requests for more in the future.
AHC staff finished processing 3 collections and placed EAD encoded finding aids for these collections on the Internet at the TARO website. These collections include the Sinclair Black Papers, the Southwestern Ice & Cold Storage Photographs, and the Theresa Matocha Scrapbook. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
- The AHC recently received a donation related to Valmon Records, a historic Austin record label that recorded Mexican American recording artists who had few other avenues to showcase their music. The collection includes Photographs, LPs, 45s and a songbook. The donation was highlighted in an article in La Voz: http://www.lavozcolorado.com/detail.php?id=6893#.US4oOrg9BT0.email.
- The AHC just completed and posted its new guide, “Austin History Center LGBTQ Resource Guide: Sources of Information Relating to LGBTQ People in Austin, Texas in the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.” (http://www.austinlibrary.com/ahc/downloads/LGBTQ%20Resource%20Guide.pdf). This guide was compiled in response to a June 4, 2010 article in the Austin Chronicle (“Outing the Archive: The Austin History Center stands ready to gay up its archives”) about the lack of archives for the Austin gay community. The article brought volunteer help to the AHC, and the volunteers under the supervision of Video Archivist Tim Hamblin scoured the AHC collections to note collections and resources that would be useful for people researching this topic, as well as revealing areas where additional documentation is needed.
- The AHC installed a new photo exhibit at the Terrazas Branch Library in conjunction with their grant funded American music in film program series. The exhibit, “Austin Music Originals,” highlights some early happenings in the Austin roots music scene and serves as a complement to the lecture and film series planned by Terrazas.
- The newest exhibit at the AHC opens on March 19. “Birthday of a Beautiful Building: 80 Years and Beyond at 810 Guadalupe” commemorates the opening of Austin’s Central Library building on March 20, 1933 and its reopening exactly fifty years later as the Austin History Center. The exhibit will be on display in the David Earl Holt Photo Gallery through September 15, 2013.
- Photos from the AHC were purchased for use in three upcoming books: an upcoming biography of Oveta Culp (UT Press, 2014), Visual Art and the Urban Evolution of the New South (U of South Carolina Press, 2014), and The Eyes of Texas from the Past. Images and collections are also being used in upcoming exhibits at the Capitol, the Capitol Visitors Center, and the County’s 700 Lavaca building, public tours of the Governor’s Mansion, on the Humanities Texas website, and in the Republic Square Master Plan Report.
- The AHCA held its annual Angelina Eberly Luncheon on February 6. The sold out room (200+) was regaled with stories in the luncheon’s third installment of its series of programs honoring former Austin Mayors. A tribute to the late Roy Butler was followed by a roundtable discussion with Bruce Todd and Will Wynn, emceed by DAA Executive Director Charles Betts. Current Mayor Lee Leffingwell provided the opening remarks, having this to say about the AHC: “[The] History Center building, to me, is the best building, the most… significant building in the city of Austin except for the State Capitol, and it’s incumbent on all of us to make sure it stays there.” The new Waterloo Press publication, Austin: The Faces of Philanthropy, 1976-2012 by Robert Godwin, was officially launched at this event with a book signing after the luncheon.
Programming & Outreach
• The AHC held a neighborhood history program on Saturday, January 26. The presentations were based on the recently published histories, Austin’s Rosewood Neighborhood and Austin’s Pemberton Heights. Both books are part of the Arcadia Press “Images of America” series and include hundreds of illustrations, many from the collections at the Austin History Center. 28 people attended the program.
• The AHC had a booth at the City of Austin’s Diversity Fair on January 30, with all three community archivists on hand to talk about their roles at the AHC in making sure that diverse communities are included in the archival collections at the AHC.
• AHC staff finished processing 5 collections and placed EAD encoded finding aids for these collections on the Internet at the TARO website. These collections include the Joel Payton Austin Pioneers Scrapbooks, the Dolly Maude Harris Fowler Papers, the Travis County Local Option Committee Campaign Records, the Jenny Clark Video Collection, and the John Ezelle Scrapbook. The finding aids are available online at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/browse/browse_ahc1.html.
• The AHC had a number of interesting new acquisitions in January. The AHC acquired a collection of letters and photographs from the Sievers/Schmidt families of Austin. The collection includes letters, school records from Anna Schmidt, and hundreds of photographs. Researchers have already visited the AHC to view these materials. Other new acquisitions include a set of videos from the 1990s ACTV show “The Austin Coffee House,” photographs about the Austin Brown Berets, and photographs of the Bhutanese/Nepali community in Austin.
• Interest continues to be strong for the current exhibit “Building a Community.” African American Community Archivist Cynthia Evans gave two tours/presentations about the exhibit this month to over 100 visitors.
• Photos from the AHC were purchased for use in 2 upcoming books: Questioning Architectural Judgment: The Problem of Codes in the United States and Spooky Schools, for public display at Willie G’s Restaurant on Congress, for use on the city’s bicycle history website, and for an upcoming exhibit at the Capitol Visitors Center.
• The AHC recently hired Nicole Davis, formerly with the Harry Ransom Center, to serve as the AHC’s Media Archivist. Nicole will be responsible for managing the Center’s photograph, film, video and audio collections._________________________________________
For December, 2012
Programming & Outreach
- The AHC & the AHCA held a Holiday Open House and Gift Sale on Saturday, December 8. The event lasted 12-5, and approximately 150 visited throughout the day. The highlights of the afternoon were presentations by Tree Historian and author Ralph Yznaga on Texas’ Historic Trees; and, by Dallas Municipal Archivist John Slate who gave a presentation based on his new book, Lost Austin.
- AHC staff finished processing 7 collections and placed EAD encoded finding aids for these collections on the Internet at the TARO website. These collections include the Trans Texas Theaters, Inc. Papers, Order of the Violet Crown Records, the Dan Powell Records and Drawings, the Violet Crown Garden Club Records, the Tom W. Shefelman Records and Drawings, the Travis County Historical Commission Records, and the Chinese Society of Austin Records. The finding aids are available online at:
- The AHC recently added a set of scrapbooks with photographs and newspaper clippings (box scores and profiles) documenting the Austin Pioneers baseball team from 1947-1951.
- Photos from the AHC were purchased for use in upcoming books about Waller Creek (Waller Creek Conservancy), Oakwood Cemetery (Save Austin’s Cemeteries), and American Democracy Now (McGraw-Hill), news stories in the Austin American Statesman and Community Impact News, and a Channel 6 production about Wooldridge Square Park.