• Image from the Georgetown Aerial Digital Collection.
    September 27, 2023
    What’s New in Special Collections - September 2023

    This monthly post will update our readers about archival collections that have been processed, updated finding aids, and additions to our print holdings. These items are just a sampling of the many resources available in SU Special Collections and Archives. For more information email: sudistinctivecollections@southwestern.edu.

  • Alamo and San Jacinto Literary Society 
    September 15, 2021
    Documenting Student Organizations

    An introduction to a bi-monthly blog post on the uncoverings of past to present student organizations at Southwestern University.  

  • November 22, 2023
    Watch Behind the Artifact: JFK Collection

    Explore artifacts linked to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and its aftermath.

  • June 15, 2023
    Watch Behind the Artifact: The Belford Tool Chest

    Learn more about Charles Belford’s tool chest in Southwestern’s Special Collections.

    Watch Now
  • Colophon from photo offset reproduction, printed on ivory paper.
    September 11, 2018
    The Rarest Menu of Them All

  • Ambassador Edward A. Clark
    June 25, 2018
    Why We Collect Texana

    On the collection of Texana in Special Collections at Southwestern University.

  • William S. Reese
    June 11, 2018
    William S. Reese, 1955-2018

    Special Collections at Southwestern University mourns the passing of William S. Reese.

  • A case from my miniature book exhibit
    May 28, 2018
    My Time as a Student Worker in Special Collections

    Recent SU graduate Natalia Kapacinskas ’18 shares how her time in Special Collections transformed her both academically and professionally.

  • Student pottery by Kari Darr
    April 30, 2018
    New Exhibit: Ancient Mediterranean Ceramics

    Special Collections collaborated with a history and ceramics course this semester to create a unique new exhibit.

    Read More
  • Marquee at Shackelford County Courthouse
    April 23, 2018
    Special Collections in West Texas

    Special Collections at Southwestern University takes the work of Carl Hertzog to West Texas

  • Senator Tower and Constituent Correspondence
    April 16, 2018
    John Tower’s Long Hot Summer of 1967

    Race and politics are heated in a summer known for violent riots, through the lens of the Tower Collection correspondence files.

  • Special Collections Tower Reading Room
    April 9, 2018
    Lost and Found

    Our reality in Special Collections is that items sometimes go missing or are presumed stolen. Some of these stories may never have a happy ending, but some of them do.

  • Illustration by Charles Banks Wilson from "The Mustangs"
    April 2, 2018
    The Rare Printed Works of J. Frank Dobie

    J. Frank Dobie, a 1910 graduate of Southwestern and Texas native, was a prolific writer on the Southwest throughout his lifetime. He turned history into literature and brought folklore to life. Most of Dobie’s works can be bought cheaply online or found at a local library, but there are some specific editions that are more unique and notable. We are lucky enough here at the Southwestern University Special Collections to have a significant number of Dobie publications that are somewhat scarce.

  • John Tower
    March 8, 2018
    William B. Travis Letter and Senator John G. Tower

    On March 2nd of each year, Texas celebrates its own independence day. On that day in 1836, 56 mostly Anglo settlers in Mexican Texas declared Texas to be independent from Mexico, and published a Declaration of Independence to that effect.

    Read More
  • Boundaries
    March 5, 2018

    Boundaries (Two Ponds Press, 2017) is one of our newest acquisitions and a favorite fine press book among Special Collections staff. (N.B.: as of the post date, Special Collections is the only holding library for this title in Texas – Jason) With poems by Richard Blanco and photographs by Jacob Bond Hessler, the volume addresses social divisions that have burdened our country’s history and exposes the ways these boundaries continue to trouble us.

    Read More
  • Love Album
    February 19, 2018
    Love Album

    This object is one of the most  remarkable things we have in Special Collections. I don’t recall when I first encountered it – I suspect it was several months into my first year when I retrieved this from its perch high on the shelves in one of our storage areas.

    I love this object so much that I’ll admit to having a hard time writing about it. One’s connection to it is immediate, deep, and emotional – it really has a strong sense of nostalgia.

  • Carl Hertzog and the Bullfight that Never Happened
    February 5, 2018
    Carl Hertzog and the Bullfight that Never Happened

    This broadside, measuring five inches wide by seventeen and a half inches tall, advertises a bullfight (or, corrida) that never occured. We acquired the broadside this month from William Allison of Houston. I must admit to being taken aback when I first saw it – as with much of Carl Hertzog’s best work, it is visually arresting.

  • Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale
    January 29, 2018
    Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale

    If you ask me what my favorite book is, I have two answers: my favorite “book-story” is Middlemarch by George Eliot, but my favorite “book-object” is the 1979 Arion Press edition of Moby-Dick. While I’ve never actually read Moby-Dick (sorry, Melville!) – this work for me represents unparalleled craftsmanship, my introduction to our rare book collection at Southwestern University, and my first professional exercise in descriptive bibliography.

  • LIS Education and the Special Collections Internship
    December 19, 2017
    LIS Education and the Special Collections Internship

    When I first started my internship at Southwestern University Special Collections, Director Jason Dean suggested that we read the RBMS Competencies for Special Collections Professionals as part of our weekly special collections reading group. While this was a great exercise in examining my own skill sets and developing learning goals for the duration of my internship at Southwestern, it left me with concerns about my career-readiness with only two semesters left in my MSIS program.

  • Christmas card from Ralph and Opal Yarborough to Edward A. Clark, December 1970.
    December 12, 2017
    A Special Collections Christmas

    As the Christmas holidays approach and the library’s perennial Christmas tree of books (comprised entirely of volumes bound in green, of course!) shines bright downstairs in Periodicals, it seemed only natural to dig around in the archives for some of the Christmas cards we have here in Special Collections.

  • Wendish Printing in Texas
    December 5, 2017
    Wendish Printing in Texas

    This book started me down a rabbit hole of the best kind. Or, really, two different avenues – the history of the printing of Wendish in Texas, as well as the history of Wendish immigration to Texas in the 19th century.

  • Letter from F. Warren Roberts to Edward A. Clark
    November 28, 2017
    Letter from F. Warren Roberts to Edward A. Clark

    In preparation for an essay about Edward A. Clark in the publication The Book Collector, I have been going through the multitude of boxes that comprise the papers of Ambassador Clark. The letter, above, and draft, below, surprised me, as it is a direct connection between Clark, who gave his collection of Texana to Southwestern in 1967; and F. Warren Roberts, whose family gave his collection of Texana to Southwestern in 2016.

  • This Bitterly Beautiful Land
    November 21, 2017
    This Bitterly Beautiful Land

    I’ll confess to having more favorite books in the collection than I can name from memory. It’s an occupational hazard, and a side effect of having such an outstanding collection here. The book above is consistently in my “most favorite” books, and a recent discovery in the papers of Edward A. Clark prompted me to share this breathtaking book with you.

  • Tom Lea (L) and Carl Hertzog (R), 1967
    November 14, 2017
    Carl Hertzog Exhibition Preparation

    Readers of this blog know that we are in the midst of what I am calling “the year of Hertzog.” As I’ve discussed in the past, I have an unabashed love for the work of the Printer at the Pass, and the recent acquisition of the collection of Dr. Llerena Friend dramatically expanded our Hertzog collection. It seems only fitting, then, that the third of our four exhibits this year will be focused on the work of Carl Hertzog held here in Special Collections.

  • Homecoming 2017
    November 10, 2017
    Homecoming 2017 Historic Campus Walking Tour

    This year, Special Collections celebrated Homecoming with a walking tour! We hosted around 30 alumni, students, and staff members on a tour that explored how our campus has developed institutionally and geographically since its inception.

  • J. Frank Dobie Sign
    October 31, 2017
    J. Frank Dobie Sign

    Last week we hosted Jeff Roberts and Vicki Tullius – the children of F. Warren Roberts. I brought out some of the great material Jeff and Vicki donated from their father’s library – outstanding Texana items, association books, and Tom Lea material. Perhaps the single most significant item in the collection is the unassuming sign you see above.

  • The Father of Texas
    October 26, 2017
    Friend Collection Association Copies

    Today is the final post highlighting particularly notable items from Llerena Friend’s collection. Of course, there is a great deal of material we have not even discussed, and so this is not the last you’ll see of Dr. Friend’s library. This post focuses on association copies, although I must confess that the last two choices are perhaps here out of personal attachment.

  • Coronado’s Children
    October 24, 2017
    Coronado’s Children

    We’ve been discussing the connection between Carl Hertzog, Stanley Marcus and the store Marcus led: Neiman-Marcus. This post is the culmination of those connections in that it looks at the last book commissioned by Stanley Marcus for sale in Neiman-Marcus.

  • Friend Collection Hertzog Highlights
    October 19, 2017
    Friend Collection Surprising Finds

    This is the third of four posts highlighting especially notable material from the Llerena B. Friend collection – and this post is focused on some of the surprising material that we found in the collection.

  • A Letter From Texas
    October 17, 2017
    A Letter From Texas

    Several weeks ago, Natalia wrote about a book titled The Captive Boy, a miniature book that was the final collaboration between Stanley Marcus and Carl Hertzog. I added a note in her post that we would feature the first collaboration between the two – and today’s post fulfills that promise.

  • Friend Collection Ephemera Highlights
    October 12, 2017
    Friend Collection Ephemera Highlights

    This is the second of four posts highlighting especially notable material from the Llerena B. Friend collection – and this post is focused on the notable ephemera found in the collection.

  • Kendall, Falconer, and the Texan Santa Fe Expedition
    October 10, 2017
    Kendall, Falconer, and the Texan Santa Fe Expedition

    This is Thomas Falconer, British citizen and participant in the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition of 1841-1842. Some of the most significant material in the Clark Collection in Special Collections is from Falconer and his family. I was reminded of this material as I looked through the William Reese Company‘s most recent catalog, which revisited the now-famous Streeter sale.

  • Friend Collection Hertzog Highlights
    October 5, 2017
    Friend Collection Hertzog Highlights

    This is the first of four posts highlighting especially notable material from the Llerena B. Friend collection – and the first post is focused on the most significant items from Friend’s collection of Carl Hertzog.I will freely admit to this being the hardest of these four highlight posts to do – there is just so much Hertzog material in the collection. A rough count tells us that over 100 of the items in her collection are printed by Hertzog, but these five items are the best of those Hertzog items.

  • Engraving from The Planter’s Northern Bride, “Mr. and Mrs. Moreland and Albert”
    October 3, 2017
    Heteroglossia, Libraries, and the Tower of Babel

    In an attempt to describe the essential features of the novel, the Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) selected the enigmatic term “heteroglossia.” The concept of heteroglossia encompasses the novel’s unique tendency to be a “heteroglot, multi-voiced, multi-styled, and often multi-languaged” literary form, as compared to poetry, drama, or the epic.For Bakhtin, the novel stands apart, a distinctive member of the realm of Literature, precisely because it combines such a diverse conglomeration of voices – those of social classes, ethnic groups, generations, political ideologies, etc.

  • Hockley Payment Voucher
    September 26, 2017
    Hockley Payment Voucher

    A few weeks ago in a post about the Tower Musket, I promised a post about a payment voucher made out to George W. Hockley. The voucher, pictured above, is interesting for several reasons. The voucher is connected to several of the most important people in the Republic of Texas, and it has a connection to Edward A. Clark and Carl Hertzog.

  • Llerena B. Friend, Ph.D.
    September 18, 2017
    Llerena B. Friend Collection

    Special Collections is proud to announce the acquisition of the library of Llerena B. Friend. Her library, consisting of over 700 titles, contains some of the most important books and printed material about Texas in the 20th century and is a significant addition to Special Collections.

  • The Captive Boy printed by Carl Hertzog for Somesuch Press, 1979.
    September 13, 2017
    The Captive Boy

    Special Collections is currently preparing for an inventory of our holdings produced by Texan printer Carl Hertzog. Hertzog designed and printed a variety of beautiful volumes throughout the twentieth century. Between my personal fondness for miniature books and our recent departmental focus on Hertzog, The Captive Boy seemed a natural choice to share on our blog.

  • John G. Tower Musket
    September 5, 2017
    Tower Musket

    Today I want to talk about an object that crosses two of our major collecting areas – the musket you see above. Firearms, and realia in general, are not really actively collected by Special Collections, as we lack the facilities to care for more than just a few pieces. The significance of this musket requires an exception to this rule, as it combines two of our collecting areas – Texana/Texas history and the life of Senator Tower.

  • Mood Family Bible
    August 29, 2017
    For God and Texas

    The first exhibit on display in Special Collections for the Fall 2017 semester is entitled For God and Texas: Southwestern and the Methodist Mission for Higher Education. Inspired by a question I had about why Southwestern and so many other Texas schools are affiliated with the Methodist Church, I curated this exhibit to increase my own familiarity with the history of this institution and to situate Southwestern as a Methodist university.

  • King Ranch Saddle Blanket Edition
    August 22, 2017
    Carl Hertzog and The King Ranch

    One of the joys of my job has been developing an unabashed love for the work of Carl Hertzog. We have a wide array of his work, and are currently processing a gift that will significantly enhance our holdings of Hertzog’s work. I want to focus here on what has been described as Hertzog’s Gutenberg Bible: The King Ranch. This book is arguably the magnum opus of Hertzog’s career, and is certainly among the best Texas books of the 20th century.

  • This post is by The Rev. Milton Jordan, a 1962 graduate of Southwestern. Milton is a good friend of Special Collections, and allowed us to share this essay he wrote for the journal Central Texas Studies: Journal of the Central Texas Historical Association.
    August 17, 2017
    Keeping Southwestern University in Georgetown

    Efforts to remove Southwestern University from Georgetown in Central Texas to a more urban setting in Fort Worth or Dallas gained considerable traction during the academic year 1909-1910. Removal efforts had appeared before, but Southwestern had completed construction of a large Main Building in 1900 that quieted them. In 1909-1910 they reappeared with renewed intensity.

  • Tom Lea’s original pen and ink illustration titled Nat Straw’s Poem. 
    August 10, 2017
    Tom Lea’s Lost Adams Diggings

    Special Collections has a large collection of materials associated with J. Frank Dobie, a 1910 graduate of Southwestern. These materials include holograph manuscripts, typescripts, and an almost exhaustive collection of his printed works. These all are expected in a collection of Dobie – but the piece you see above is not. My recent work with my colleague, Joan Parks, on her art and art history lib guide led me to revisit this work, and explore why we have this piece.The piece – and the focus of this essay – is Tom Lea’s original pen and ink illustration titled Nat Straw’s Poem. The drawing came to Special Collections amongst the donations of the papers and possessions of Dobie.

  • Special Collections
    August 9, 2017

    Special Collections at Southwestern University is a special place, filled with stories about our forebears in Texas and at Southwestern.