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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

El Paso Literary Heritage - Con Tinta

From La Bloga, we learn that El Paso literary heritage receives notice via two of of their children who led lives of leadership in the Tejano and Chicano literary renaissance.  They've received "Achievement Awards" from Con Tinta (see ), which "believes in affirming a pro-active presence in American literature. We come together in the spirit of intellectual/artistic dialogue and of recognizing our literary/social histories. Con Tinta's mission is to create awareness through cultivating emerging talent, through promoting creative expression, and through establishing alliances with other cultural/political organizations."  Pásame el sobre, por favor.  And the winners are ....
The awards will be given at the upcoming Association of Writers and Writing Programs ( )
2006 (Austin) – raúlrsalinas and Rolando Hinjosa-Smith
2007 (Atlanta) – Judith Ortiz Cofer
2008 (New York City) – Sandra María Esteves and Tato Laviera
2009 (Chicago) – Carlos Cortez
2010 (Denver) – Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado and Dr. Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Medina Courthouse - Storage or Restoration

Medina County offcials are beset with problems. Yes, they need office space, yes, the courthouse could be restored, yes, the Texas Historical Commission will pay much of the Restoration cost, yes but the 1940's wings must be removed to qualify for the funds. Hey, says one guy, just leave it as it is and use it for storage.
Written story at

DRT Texas 23rd History Forum May 22

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo.


News from the "Inside the Gates" at the Alamo

"The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library in San Antonio will be holding its twenty-third Texas History Forum on Saturday, May 22, 2010, in Alamo Hall on the Alamo Complex. Entitled "Historiography: Texas History Detectives," this year's Forum will feature presentations by three distinguished historians, Gregg Cantrell, James E. Crisp, and Light T. Cummins.

What is historiography?

Historiography is the history of historical writing, specifically the history of how scholars have interpreted historical topics over time. In order to understand this, historiography also necessitates the study of why historians have chosen to examine and describe the past in particular ways."  Read more about it at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fess Parker dies but Davy lives!

Davy Crockett\Well, Fess Parker, the Texan who played Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, for all us baby boomers out there, has died.  But Evan Lewis, Western writer, wishes to contradict that fact in his delightfully ranging Western website "Davy Crockett's Almanack."  See his posting for a remarkable collection of Parker in the obligtory coonskin cap and dozens of other images (movie posters, book jackets, wallets, comic books, paraphenalia, photos, purses, serving trays, song sheets, cups, record albums, buttons, etc.) in graphic display at
And, yes, Betsy is included.  I still wish I had that lunch bucket.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Methodical Clerical Change in Harleton

THIS IS TEXAS, in case you forgot


The Longview News Journal carried this story "Pastor, 90, retires from Church" by Glenn Evans.  It begins:

"HARLETON — Built in 1914, the sanctuary at Harleton United Methodist Church was a six-year-old structure when Curtis Jennings was born.

The Rev. Jennings retired from his second go-around as a Methodist minister on Sunday, 24 years after coming to the historic sanctuary tucked in the sharp S-curve where FM 450 enters the Harrison County town.

"I always had the desire to preach to a small-town church," Jennings, who turned 90 this past Wednesday, said before the service. "This has been a real privilege. I don't intend to quit (preaching). As long as I have left, I'm going to read my Bible and brag on my wonderful God."

Succumbing to a call to preach in 1949, Jennings retired a first time in 1984. Two years later the former welder and World War II veteran was moving to East Texas. On Sunday, he recalled receiving 84 new church members and lamented the deaths of 40 others during his tenure."  Read more about it at

(Full disclosure: The Main Parlor's father was from Harleton, and the Parlor himself once studied for the Methodist pulpit.)

Some librarian needs to make a "ready reference card" under the subject "Preachers - Long serving"  Some historian needs to visit the various Texas denominational historical depositories and find who were the 10 oldest preachers in Texas for a collected biography volume.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Observations on the Pulpwood Queens Book Club

Robert Leleux, "Tex in the City" beautiful penman of the Observing Tribe, has gone to Canossa, aka Jefferson, and paid his humble dues unto Queen Kathy and returned with laudatory commentary much higher than the mouse under the throne. 
For the retinue's applause said report "Fake Fur, Big Hair, and la Vie Litteraire," is hereby made available for your perusal at your leisure, and pertaining to your reading pleasure.  For those still beyond the pale, wandering in ignorance, you also may draw sustenance through Leleux's narrative.  And yes a photographic depiction so sensitively captured by Ron Munden does precede the narrative exposition for those with no reading skills whatsoever.
Leleux begins: "Most folks celebrate the holidays with their own quaint traditions, and I'm surely no exception. Every year around Martin Luther King Day, a couple of hundred friends and I converge upon the deep woods of East Texas, dressed in hot pink satin, leopard-print capes and enough rhinestone tiaras to choke the entire Royal Court of the Cotton Bowl parade. Then we rat each other's wigs, throw a couple of high-steppin' theme parties, and award much-coveted statuettes to the person, for instance, who wore the best Barbie costume. Also to the person who wrote the year's best American novel." - and Leleux continues his stunning reportage online at
(The Parlor must make full disclosure:  My mother was born and raised in Jefferson.)

Austin's Old 300 Settlers' Descendants

    Stephen F. Austin's settlements of Southeast Texas began formally with his first group of 300 settlers.  Those descendants have a organization and website.  A portion of their introductory webpage reads:
"Thank you for visiting our web site. As Descendants of Austin's Old Three Hundred, we are proud of our heritage and pleased that you are interested in finding out about us.  

In brief, you should know our organization held its first meeting on
June 27, 1987, in the Stephen F. Austin State Park at San Felipe, Texas.
Our initial motivations became our organization's objectives: to keep alive for inspiration, for this generation and succeeding ones, the memories of
the spirit, courage, and character of the men and women who made up Stephen Fuller Austin's first colony of Texas, known as "The Old Three Hundred."

We encourage and foster research leading to the preservation and publication of history and records about this first group of courageous Texians; therefore, we not only help sponsor students who participate in the Texas State Historical Association's "Texas History Day," but also each year we award "The Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred Research Fellowship" for the best research proposal by a doctoral candidate focusing on Texas history during the years 1820 through 1836.  Austin's Old Three Hundred is proud to partner with the Texas State Historical Association in both of these educational endeavors.

We also assist in the preservation and protection of historical places and artifacts, including old cemeteries and other sites where Old Three Hundred colonists are buried."
Some other pages include

Austin's Original Old 300
Board Members
Membership Application
News and Events
Photo Gallery
General Store
Stephen F. Austin Bio

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bexar Archives Going Electric

News from UT's CAH:

"Briscoe Center Awarded TexTreasures Grant for Bexar Archives

February 25, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas – The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a TexTreasures grant to support online access to the Bexar Archives. The $19,930 grant was awarded by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission who administers the grant program with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant will fund a one-year project to create the Bexar Archives Online, a web-based, searchable research tool featuring digital images of the original Spanish-language documents along with the corresponding English-language translations.

Rebolledo's comments on Gálvez instructions to Domingo Terán, with suggestions for the founding of settlements at Béxar, La Bahía, and among the Asinais and Cadodaches, circa 1717. Bexar Archives, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin; di_05751.
Rebolledo's comments on Gálvez instructions to Domingo Terán, with suggestions for the founding of settlements at Béxar, La Bahía, and among the Asinais and Cadodaches, circa 1717. Bexar Archives, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin; di_05751.

"As the Bexar Archives are one of our most historically significant collections, I'm thrilled that this grant will improve access to this invaluable resource," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "This new initiative will create a powerful online presence for the Bexar Archives that will benefit researchers worldwide. It's a fitting continuation of the tremendous care and resources that the University has provided the Bexar Archives for more than 100 years."

Called "one of the greatest historical treasures of the American continent" by the late historian Lester Gladstone Bugbee, the Bexar Archives constitute the principal resource for the Spanish and Mexican history of Texas from 1717 to 1836. The TexTreasures project will digitize over 8,000 pages of original documents (via microfilm) and 125 volumes of corresponding translations, and will result in a web-based interface called Bexar Archives Online."

Parlor:  Remember the project is planned to take about a year.  But get ready.

Read more at:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Will's Texana Youtube Channel

After listening to the above video, click on the below link to go to the full site.

Upon arrival at Will's Texana Channel: Use the PLAYLIST button (then grid).

This Will's Texana Youtube Channel is created as a collector's channel, i.e., to collect videos from other folks' channels about Texas history, literature, nature, and other civilized contributions to modern Texas life. At present there are over 1,000 videos in the PLAYLISTS option, grouped in over 100 topical PLAYLISTS.
The playlists and the selected videos are woefully inadequate for the broadest coverage, even if selective. But it does link you to interesting videos (often downloadable for separate use).
Some are academic, others popular, some arcane. I've been selective Will's Texana Channel is created to provide some use and to demonstrate the utility of the video medium as a useful and growing means of exploring our community bibliography.
In the "SUBSCRIPTIONS" box on my site, you'll find over 70 that I recommend your consideration for subscription. Some are infrequent, other frequent in adding postings.
You also can subscribe to a channel if you have already established a Youtube channel for yourself. It's easy and free. You don't even have to post a video yourself, but it does enable you to subscribe and you'll receive occasional email notices from Youtube about new postings to the channels that you select. Click the RSS button to subscribe.
(See the next posting in the Texas Parlor for a sample of notices I've received recently.
If you wish to start a channel but are hesitant, contact me at willstexana {at} yahoo dot com
Good luck ! Will's Texana Channel

New Texana Videos on Youtube

New Videos from tamucarchives


New Videos from 1940AirTerminal


New Videos from NTxHistoryCenter


New Videos from PPHMConnectionCast


New Videos from texasfarmbureau


New Videos from HeirloomProject

New Videos from: "history texas"

The History of The Prairie

Texas Longhorn Football History


Texas Handbook and Communities

Handbook of Texas OnlineTSHA's Handbook of Texas Online staff has been collecting articles by selected categories now for some time for your convenient research and browsing.  One category is the "Communites Section" where maybe thousands of counties, cities, towns, and smaller communities have been handily collected alphabetically.  For example,
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M |
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M |
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Check it out at:

Texas Plantation Life

The Heritage Society in Houston passes along this infomation. 


March 18, 2010
Hill/Finger Lecture 
The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill
by Ginny Raska and Mary Lynne Hill
The Heritage Society Tea Room  12-1 p.m., $5 admission for non-members
Ginny McNeill Raska and Mary Lynne Hill will present the March 18 lecture in honor of National Women's Month. Ms. Raska and Ms. Hill have recently released their book, The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill, 1858-1867. This diary provides a glimpse of everyday life on an antebellum plantation in Texas and reveals the thoughts and observations of an educated young woman of the planter class. Ms. Raska, who transcribed the original diary, is a descendent of Sallie McNeill. Ms. Hill participated in the archeological field school at the Levi Jordan plantation in Brazoria County and utilized the diary as the basis of her Master's thesis.

If you would like to reserve a box lunch for this lecture, please contact Elizaabeth Martin by 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 17, 2010.

Lowman American / Texas History Collection

The Texas State Historical Assn passes along this infomation.
Dear Texas History Lover,

A unique opportunity will occur at 1:30 EDT on Wednesday, March 18. Collectors of rare books will be able to bid on the American History portion of the Al Lowman Library and to know that proceeds from the sale will support TSHA. 

Al Lowman very generously donated his library of more than 10,000 books to the Association. Selections from the Texas portion of his library appeared in the Live Auction and the Silent Auction during the 2010 Annual Meeting held March 4-6, 2010.

Proceeds from the sales of Al Lowman's Collection will be used to establish an award to be given for books on Texas county or local history. Mr. Lowman hopes the creation of the award will stimulate more interest and writing in that category.

Al Lowman, TSHA President 2000-2001
image of Al Lowman
The Al Lowman Collection of American History and Literature will be auctioned by Swann Auction Galleries of New York City at 1:30 pm EDT, on March 18, 2010 as part of its Printed and Manuscript Americana Auction.  Proceeds from the sale will benefit TSHA.

Lots 261-354 in the Swann Auciton Gallery Online Catalogue are from the Al Lowman Collection. For the Auction, Swann Auction Galleries will accept online bids

During a lifetime of collecting, Al Lowman amassed more than 10,000 books, all of which are in collector's condition.  Most are first editions, many are signed, some have authorial inscriptions, and all original dust jackets are intact. Find out more...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Texas Historical Commission's Preservation Conf


Harris County Judge Ed Emmett's March newsletter carried this notice. 


The 2010 Annual Historic Preservation Conference
in Houston/Harris County

The conference, hosted by the Texas Historical Commission in association with Preservation Texas, will be held at
the Westin Oaks Houston Hotel, 5011 Westheimer, on April 22-24. Sessions focusing on themes of resource fundamentals, resource development, preservation advocacy and public engagement will provide valuable information for preservationists in any community, large or small. Enjoy the opening session "King of the Road Trip" with special guest and award-winning speaker Michael Wallis, author, storyteller and self-proclaimed "Son of Route 66."

Pre-conference tours on Thursday, hosted by local preservation partners, will highlight Houston's Art Deco and mid-century architecture. Saturday's post-conference tours will take you to the annual San Jacinto battle reenactment or the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research.

On Thursday, workshops will be provided for county historical commissions and city preservation commissions. This year, a Section 106 Workshop for Professionals also will be offered.
If you have any questions, visit the 2010 Annual Historic Preservation Conference Web site or contact Mae Perkins at 512-463-6255 or

Monday, March 15, 2010

Houston Metropolitan Research Center Reopens April 5


The Houston Public Library offers this news release.

"(Houston, March 15, 2010) - The Houston Public Library is pleased to announce that the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) will reopen to the public on Monday, April 5, 2010. Customers will be able to access HMRC resources Monday through Saturday, 9am to 6pm. Resources available include the collections and archives at the Texas and Local History Room. JIB is located at 400 McKinney, 77002, with the entrance of the new wing located through the garden on the Lamar and Smith sides of the building.


The design of the new 21,500 square-foot state-of-the-art archival wing harmonizes with the Spanish Plateresque architecture, with its matching masonry, a clay tile parapet, arched windows, and sculptural decoration. The construction includes an extremely energy-efficient and weather-resistant exterior envelope to protect the archival collection.


HMRC closed to public access at the end of 2009 while it moved its collections to the recently-completed new wing of the Julia Ideson Building (JIB).  The collections are now in the new wing which includes a spacious research/reference room on the first floor and three floors of high-density shelving for the valuable holdings of the HMRC.   The wing is complemented by a new south loggia and adjacent palm-shaded public garden, also called the outdoor reading room. The two-story loggia, like the wing, was a part of the original plan for the 1926 building but never constructed. It provides open-air seating on both levels and a gracious transition from the first floor of the original building to the outdoor reading room.


Currently, the new wing is the only portion of JIB open to the public while the renovation on the rest of the building is completed. The building is now undergoing hazardous materials abatement and selective demolition of non-historic elements to prepare for new mechanical and electrical infrastructure, new elevators, and restoration of the historical interior materials. The renovation will take about a year, after which the Houston Public Library will spend several months moving the architectural archives and photo lab into the restored building and preparing to reopen in early Summer 2011."

See also:

Call for Papers West Texas Historical Assn

Tai Kreidler, Exec. Dir. of the WTHA ,sends the Associations's invititation for proposals for papers to be presented at the 88th annual meeting hosted in Lubbock, Texas, March 31—April 2, 2011.  Topics should cover historical subjects pertaining to West Texas and the surrounding region.

For individual proposals please include the name of presenter, title of paper, and a one-paragraph overview of the paper.  Proposals for compete sessions are encouraged.  For session proposals please include the name of a moderator, the name of three presenters, the title of their papers, and a one-paragraph overview of each paper.  Presentations must be NO longer than 20 minutes.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION:  November 1, 2010.  Presenters will be notified of acceptance by December 14, 2010.
Send proposals to: Program Committee, West Texas Historical Association, Texas Tech University, P.O. 41041, Lubbock, Texas 79409; or via email to '' Phone inquiries can be made to 806/742-9076.

For more information about the WTHA go to


"The preservers of history are as heroic as its makers."
-Texas Governor Pat M. Neff (1871-1952)

Its just around the corner--the Houston Railroad Museum's second annual


Saturday April 10th

Live music all afternoon, doors open at 11 am

Food, fun, model railroad flea market, museum tours

7390 Mesa Road, in northeast Houston(McCarty Road exit off I 610)




Featured performers: Lonestar Bluegrass Band, Digger Davis and Tombstone, Texas Harmony, and Dr. Rod Moag and pals; Larry Burnside, master of ceremonies. or 713 319 8906 for more information

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Texas Cemetery Rules Change

Trevia Beverly suggests for the undead wishing to review the proposed rules changes in the Texas Administrative Code, notice this notice.


13 TAC §§22.1 - 22.6


Cemetery rules for Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 22 of the Texas Administrative Code were posted in the Texas Register for comment today, Friday March 5th. The comment period will end Monday, April 5th. The purpose of the rules is to implement changes to the law regarding cemeteries made by House Bill 2927, 81st Texas Legislature, 2009.

  To view the posted rules, visit and look for the Points of Interest window in the right-hand portion of the screen. Choose to view an HTML or PDF version of the Register.

  To comment on these posted rules, send written comments to the Texas Historical Commission, attention Mark Wolfe, PO Box 12276, Austin TX 78711-2276.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Houston History in the Examiner - Marie Brannon

    Marie Brannon writes a column on Houston, Texas history for the Examiner.  And doing right well at it. 
Her self-description includes: "Marie Brannon has been interested in local history since 1961 when hurricane Carla shattered the windows of her house and damaged the high school she was attending. She was educated in the Houston area, married in Houston, employed in the area and has now retired to the suburbs. She can be reached at "  Marie's been poking around Houston history for some year's now, and the Examiner offers a delightful place for her work.  Check it out at:
Some recent entries are
Sunday, March 7th, 2010 · 1 comment
They came in horse-drawn wagons, Model A and Model T Ford pickup trucks and on horseback. They came from Waller, Hempstead, Missouri City, Sugar Land,...
Keep Reading »
Sunday, February 28th, 2010 · 1 comment
It's hard to believe he's a septuagenarian, isn't it? Wasn't it just the other day he left Houston for the Big Apple?...
Keep Reading »
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 · 6 comments
Despite years of neglect, it still sits proudly at the corner of South MacGregor Way and Oakcrest Drive in the Riverside Terrace area of Houston. Joe...
Keep Reading »

Friday, March 05, 2010

Political History - Sharpstown - Oral history

Some folks point to the Sharpstown Scandal (ca. 1970-72) as a major turning point in modern political history.  The Texas Observer revives interest in Primary Election history in its recent article "When the Democrats Roamed ... A look back at the 1972 Democratic primary that changed the future of Texas politics" by Robert Green.   Of particular use to historians and political voyeurs is the almost 30 minutes of recent oral history collected by Green from Sissy Fahrenthold, Ben Barnes, and Mark White.  For our new immigrants and our children, be aware that once upon a time, a public perception arose that our Austin government was swayed by influential money.  Politics has changed so much, for instance, in 1970 some extolled a "golden-haired" hero, in 2010 some extoll "Mr. Goodhair."  Read and listen at :