Last week, the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter hosted a reception featuring Dr. Lorraine Haricombe, Vice Provost and Director of University of Texas Libraries.
Lorraine shared her highest priorities to:
Strengthen UT Libraries core mission to support UT’s mission of teaching, research and learning in new and creative ways.
Fill key positions to align with new roles for libraries in teaching, learning and in the digital environment and to expand collaborative partnerships on campus (and beyond) and re-purpose prime real estate in our libraries to meet the expectations of 21st century learners.
Position UT Libraries to help transform teaching, learning and research at the University through open access to ensure that the ground breaking research conducted at our University will reach beyond the Forty Acres, nationally and globally.
To close, Lorraine reminded everyone, “supporting the Libraries has the potential to touch the lives of every student, staff and faculty member to ensure that what starts here really does change the world.”
Looking forward, UT Libraries plans to partner with Texas Exes Chapters across the country to host similar events that showcase the work being done at UT. If you are interested in hosting a similar event, please contact Gregory Perrin.
James Riely Gordon (1863-1937) was an architect who practiced in both San Antonio and New York City, best-known for his Richardsonian Romanesque designs of public buildings which accommodated a natural ventilation system so essential in the hot, Texas climate.
Gordon excelled at the design of public buildings and constructed 16 county courthouses in Texas alone. Among his designs for courthouses in Texas include the example above in Bexar County (1891-1896), as well as structures in Victoria County (1892), Ellis County (1895) and McLennan County (1901).
His collection at the Alexander Architectural Archive contains 6,500 drawings, 13 linear feet of architectural records, and 1,600 photographs representing more than 300 buildings and documenting both the Texas and New York phases of Gordon’s career (1890-1937).
Author James Galloway — also a library specialist at the Mallet Chemistry Library — was recently consulted by the PBS investigative television program “History Detectives: Special Investigations” in the production of an episode on a series of unsolved murders that occurred in Austin in the mid-nineteenth century. Galloway’s 2010 book, The Servant Girl Murders: Austin, Texas 1885, provided background for the program, having been drawn from his research utilizing the wealth of historical materials inhabiting special collections across the Austin area, including those at The University of Texas at Austin.
Galloway was took some time to talk with us about how the book came to be.
What got you interested in the murders?
James R. Galloway: I took a history class — Methods in Historical Research — when I was finishing grad school here at The University of Texas in 1996 that focused on local history resources and collections. I was trying to come up with a topic for a research paper and I remembered this local legend about a serial killer from the nineteenth century in Austin. I did some digging around and as far as I could tell no one else had done research on the topic. I thought it would make a good research paper and started looking into it.
What compelled you to write the book?
JRG: After I finished grad school, I was still interested in the story, I had barely scratched the surface of the primary sources I could find and I had no idea what had ultimately happened with the murders and I wanted to continue to investigate them in my spare time.
Where did you discover information about the events, and how long did you work to research the book?
When Alonso de Léon took his troops from the Rio Grande to the Guadalupe river – and later to the Neches – in search of French settlements, he probably had no idea that his tracks would pave the way for the creation of the state of Texas.
I love books. I mean real books, the ones that I can open with my hands. One of the joys of working in a library is being surrounded by millions of books. Just for the record I like audio books also. However, e-books are not as appealing to me. I know they are “the future,” but I believe we still have a good hundred years or so with the real thing. It is hard to imagine The Library of Congress being obsolete!
What made me think about books, the real thing, recently (not that I don’t think about books everyday when I walk pass several hundred thousand…lucky me) was an article about the World’s Largest Book Club. Wow! Who joins real book clubs anymore? Well apparently there are thousands of folks who do. So I began to think, do I know anyone who is in a real book club? I can’t think of any one. Everyone I think of belongs to some online, social media driven, book site.
Well it is exciting to see folks gathering, real gathering, just to discuss books. Kathy Patrick in Jefferson County, Texas, started the Pulpwood Queens Book Club (featured recently in the Texas Observer). Kathy’s husband, Jay, UT alum – class of 1986 – has created an equivalent group for men called Timber Guys. I’d like to know what the next book on the Timber Guys list is?
I wonder if in 10 or 15 years will book club members bring their iPads, nooks, Kindles, iPhones or whatever these devices become to their book club meetings. Do you belong to a book club? Let me know.