The Bookshelf, Young Texas Reader, Blog Notes, & Texana Youtube Channel

The Texas Bookshelf is for single, specific books' reviews and author interviews . The Texas Parlor ranges more broadly than my other websites. The Young Texas Reader focuses on the youngest through teenagers. Texas Blog Notes surveys blogs of historical and literary interest. I've started a Will's Texana Youtube collecting channel where 1,000 videos are collected in 100 playlists . Find Will in Houston or at willstexana {at} yahoodotcom

Monday, January 25, 2010

Texas Government Publications

Texas State Publications Depository Program
Texas state agencies are required to provide the Texas State Library with copies to distribute to official depositories around the state.  TSL fills mailing boxes once or twice each month and mails them to about 50 depositories.  Each mailing box contains a list of the box's contents.  TSL runs a rotating list of the most recent ten lists at   The lists here are rather simple and computer generated and not pleasant to view it their "blocky" fashion, but a reader can partially monitor state publications by reviewing these lists occasionally.  The first four citations in a recent list included:
W600.8 AG83WAO 2009 Agricultural water conservation, irrigation water use management : best management practices 435488667
L1400.8 AN13PRC 2009 Analyses of proposed constitutional amendments, November 3, 2009, election / prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislative Council 432712783
H550.6 C437N 2009/10 Children with Special Health Care Needs newsletter for families [running title: CSHCN newsletter for families] Health Services, Department of State 61109743
C2600.6 C498 2009/08 City sales and use tax comparison summary Comptroller of Public Accounts 14630299
You can see that the list arranged alphbetically by title and that each citation is preceded by a special library call number (keyed to the first keyword in the agency's name), and
One thing you'll notice is that a lot of them are periodicals, annual reports, etc.  But subject content is not unusual.  While you're at the website, you may also poke into the electronic catalog called TRAIL.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Texas Almanac Q & A

Bob Ray Sanders, up the Trintiy River basin way in Fort Worth where they print the Star-Telegram newspaper, composes for his column a quiz using the latest Texas Almanac (now published by the Texas State Historical Association).
The questions are at
Question # 2 asks about the longest river "within" (quotation marks in original work)  Texas.  Well, I knew that the "within" would exclude the Rio Grande and Red River. So I thought it was the Brazos, and may still contend so.  Sanders states the answer as the Colorado River, a fine river, but not the equal to the Brazos in my estimation.  I'm guessing that Sanders is working on the presumption that the upper feeders of the Brazos carry water often enough to not be completely "within" the Texas-New Mexico boundary.  On the other hand the upper feeders of the Colorado rarely carry water and hence are not worthy of being a true part of the Colorado River basin and hence is "within" Texas?  Then again maybe the measurement is different by crow-flight or river-bed.  Where's a good hydrologist when you need one?  Maybe I should just get a new Almanac!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Documentary Arts: Texas African American Photography Archive

welcome to documentary arts

Texas African American Photography Archive, founded by Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin

Self-described as:
"A major focus of Documentary Arts is the expansion and organization of the Texas African American Photography (TAAP) Archive.
The TAAP archive provides a broad overview of African American photography in the urban and rural areas of Texas, spanning the period from the 1870s to the present and representing a variety of processes and makers. The Archive is unique in its comprehensiveness, and consists of over 50,000 photographic negatives and prints and more than 20 oral histories collected from African American photographers. Most of the items in the Archive have been donated by the photographers and their families, while others have been acquired from private collections.
In Feburary, 1997 the TAAP Archive finalized its association with the African Americah Museum of Dallas by initiating a series of exhibitions, workshops and public programs.
The TAAP Archive is housed across the street from Documentary Arts in a permanent, state-of-the-art archival facility. It was constructed for this purpose through a major private contribution. This facility is located in the 5501 Columbia Art Center complex at 115 North Augusta near the corner of Columbia Ave, in East Dallas, TX, operated by Documentary Arts and Contemporary Culture, another non-profit organization." 
A newsletter is available.  Read more at:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Marshall Zoning Squabble Cleared Up

Seems the developer was a little too cavalier in their not asking all the relevant questions, leaving everybody with "assumptions" about their legal standing to put in yet a second Dollar Store on Burleson Street in Marshall, Texas.  The Marshall News Messenger noted on December 11, 2009 that "Locals angry over store's proposed site."  Well, now it appears that the developers' assumptions were too broad.  The Messenger updates under the headline "City vetoes controversial rezoning requests" again by Terri Hahn.
An extract for you follows:
"There were 65 people in attendance at the meeting including city employees. Of those, 25 stood in opposition when Historic West End Neighborhood Association President Ben Lambers spoke against changing the West Burleson Street property to commercial.
A dozen spoke, mostly members of the HWENA, in opposition of the rezoning. They gave reasons such as protecting the residential and historical integrity of the neighborhood, and keeping traffic down on Bishop Street, where pedestrians could be in danger. Some felt that Marshall does not need another dollar store and that the addition of a store would create more traffic and trash within their neighborhood.
Willborn motioned to deny rezoning and it was seconded by Commissioner Zephaniah Timmins. After lengthy discussion by city commissioners, the vote to deny carried 7-0." 
The developers claim the City gave them bad information.
If you choose to listen to the automated voice reading of the article provided by the Messenger, you'll notice something a bit interesting.  When the article contains the written word "residents" the audio clearly, multiple times, speaks the sound "republicans."  Is this an accident or an anticipation of George Orwell incarnated in the Marshall News Massage
Marshall is a good example of a small town, still less than 30,000 I believe, which maintains an historical sensibilty.  I notice that because I regularly from my 10th grade bicycle delivered the Messenger to Y.A. Tittle's mother, and personally take credit for his mother's happiness which in turn certainly gave Y.A. the stability to win all those professional football games.  Miss Brötze (actually Selma and Emma Mae both) taught me to read what is written in my government and senior English classes.  My familiarity with automated voices tells me that such an inadvertancy can be corrected.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is open to the public online.  He's got a personal collection of many, many maps and he's had over 20,000 of them digitized for your easy inspection.  He specializes, but is not limited to, 18th and 19th century North and South America. The search box for "Texas" retrieves 1,200.  I took the pleasure of surveying the Tanner map to check how Coahuila related to San Antonio.  The image was sharp and clean.
It's not surprise that he received a special award for his collection and public space from the Special Libraries Association.Of course, he sells reproductions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Robb Walsh's Texas Food Writer's Blog

Journalist and author of several Texas culinary books, Robb Walsh holds forth in his "Food Writing from the Lone Star State."  Postings are historical, technical, contemporary-pop, recipes, etc. with excellent photos and videos at


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Will the Fire - damaged Texas Governor's Mansion Be Preserved?

Seems a little early citizen input could have been useful.

Perry: Experts will decide fate of mansion

Dallas Morning News - ‎Jan 6, 2010‎
AP AUSTIN – Historic preservationists told Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday that they object to a renovation plan for the fire-ravaged Governor's Mansion because ...

Mansion alteration angers an area historian

Abilene Reporter-News - Emily A. Peters - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
Shirley Caldwell of Albany believes it's her duty as a passionate Texas historian to preserve the buildings that embody the Lone Star ...

Challenges to proposed Governor's Mansion additions

News 8 Austin - Ashley Porter - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
The Heritage Society of Austin Board President Mandy Dealey considers herself an architectural history buff. "It's just been a passion of mine forever. ...

Renovation of Texas Governor's Mansion challenged

Dallas Morning News - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
AP Heritage Society of Austin members are objecting to renovation proposals for the Texas Governor's Mansion. Society president Mandy Dealey and others told ...

Challenges to addition to Texas gov's mansion

Dallas Morning News - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
AP Ten former members of the Texas Historical Commission are objecting to a proposed addition to the fire-damaged governor's mansion. ...

Fehrenbach and Oaks: Addition at Texas Governor's Mansion ill-advised and ...

Fort Worth Star Telegram - T.R. Fehrenbach, Lawrence Oaks - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
Only a mere 20 years passed after the 1836 heroic stand at the Alamo and the improbable triumph at San Jacinto before the ...

Texas Governor's Mansion expansion is blueprint for historical disaster

Austin American-Statesman - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
When the idea first came up to add a 3000-square-foot addition to the Governor's Mansion as part of the postfire rebuilding project we weren't quite sure ...

Governor's Mansion addition draws opponents

Austin American-Statesman - Mike Ward - ‎Jan 4, 2010‎
With a decision fast approaching on whether to add onto the fire-gutted Texas Governor's Mansion as part of its restoration, a growing chorus ...
Austin American-Statesman - ‎15 hours ago‎
Our governor has violated the first rule of marriage. No, not the one about the Appalachian Trail, the one about always supporting your wife's decisions ...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Texas State Presevation Board Strategic Plan

Rendering of State Capitol  For the inquiring mind about what the dickens is the State Preservation Board and what do they do?  Their self-description includes:

"The State Preservation Board preserves and maintains the Texas Capitol, the Capitol Extension, the 1857 General Land Office Building, other designated buildings, their contents and their grounds; provides facilities and grounds keeping services for the Texas Governor's Mansion; and operates the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. We provide educational programs centered on Texas history. These services benefit the citizens of Texas and its visitors.

The State Preservation Board acts in accordance with the highest standards of achievement, accountability and ethics. We value our customers and their needs. We strive to maintain a working environment where each participant is valued and where all participants can work together positively to accomplish common and individual goals. We manage our resources wisely. We are driven by our commitment to excellence and our appreciation of the lessons of history and the value of the past as a teacher for the future.

Agency Responsibilities
In summary, the State Preservation Board is responsible for the following:

  • Providing housekeeping, maintenance and grounds keeping services at the Capitol, Capitol Extension, Capitol Visitors Center, Capitol Visitors Parking Garage, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum;
  • Approving all changes involving construction, restoration and repairs in the Capitol, Capitol Extension, General Land Office building, and on their grounds;
  • Providing educational and curatorial services for the Capitol;
  • Care for the Capitol Historic Artifact Collection, which includes Capitol furniture, art and other decorative works;
  • Operating an education and tourism center at the Capitol Visitors Center;
  • Providing interpretation and guided tours of the Capitol and Capitol Visitors Center;
  • Scheduling and managing public events and exhibits at the Capitol;
  • Scheduling and managing the Legislative Conference Center, Historic Court Rooms, and Extension Auditorium for Capitol occupants;
  • Operating the Capitol Gift Shops;
  • Managing the Capitol Extension Cafeteria;
  • Operating the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage and maintaining the Capitol Complex Parking Meters;
  • Operating the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum; and
  • Providing maintenance and grounds keeping services for the Texas Governor's Mansion

Strategic Plan, 2009-2013

2010 Budget

Monday, January 04, 2010

Literary San Antonio - Website by Paul McQuien and Kim G. Hochmeister

Alamo, Mission San Jose, and Oscar WildeAlamo, Mission San Jose, and Oscar Wilde
McQuien and Hochmeister have concocted an attrative and informative set of pages on their San Antonio College website, worthy of your visit and use.  The contents include
The Local Authors Links include

San Antonio Authors: The following links feature additional literary authors who have (or had) a connection
with San Antonio through their subject matter and/or their residence:

Wouldn't it be nice if some attention were paid to selected 
1.  Bexar County enties in the Texas Historical Commission's marker atlas at and selected entries from
2.  TSHA's Handbook of Texas Online at
3.  and, well, to push the envelope a bit, how about some links to the San Antonio Public Library's relevant lists, and, well, to go further, how about
4.  Some links to old titles about the town that are now full-text online, as from Google and Gutenberg.
5. And then links to creative writing programs in the area
Hmmm, smells like my breakfast taco cookings are ready, I need to go and toss my corn tortillas on the burners for a few seconds and add a little leche to my coffee.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tx Cable News Today in Texas History

The Texas Cable News website has a "Today in Texas History" feature.  It cites its sources as : Texas Almanac, Handbook of Texas, Texas State Library & Archives Commission, Texas Historical Commission, and Dallas Web Sites research.
Today's entry of January 3 is:
Mexican officials approve Stephen F. Austin�s plan to bring 300 families into his colony. This group becomes known as the "Old Three Hundred."