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Changing Building Facades

May 19, 2017

During the mid-twentieth century, many property owners decided to update their older buildings to reflect the styles of the modern era. Victorian detailing was removed to simplify the design. Companies began producing prefabricated metal panels for installation over the exteriors of nineteenth century facades to give them the appearance of an entirely new building.  By the late 1970s, there was a noticeable increase in awareness and appreciation for historic structures. Aided by favorable tax treatments for rehabilitation, owners began restoring the same structures that had been altered in previous decades.

In observance of National Preservation Month, we call attention to the value of archival photographs in the restoration process. Often, the original architectural drawings are no longer available. Photographs document the appearance of missing elements and provide a record of the changes to a structure. Our collections contain a large number of architectural portraits by professionals, some taken shortly after the building was completed. But also of value are photographs taken of other subjects, such as a parade with the building in the background.

National Bank of Commerce, designed by Harvey Smith, north side of Main Plaza at Soledad Street. Photograph by A.S. Masterson, circa 1928. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 101-0148)

National Bank of Commerce transformed into a modern building by the addition of aluminum and porcelain coverings in 1961 by new owner and occupant, San Antonio Savings Association (SASA). Photograph circa 1962. (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-2217-C-02)

Original bricks of the National Bank of Commerce Building are revealed after removal of the façade by a subsequent owner who hoped to restore the former appearance of the building. But the bricks had been severely damaged by the addition of the metal facings, necessitating replacement with modern bricks. Photograph by Daryl Engle, circa 1982. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 107-1680)

Kirkpatrick Building, 123 Alamo Plaza. Photograph taken during Labor Day Parade, 1893. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 086-0401)

Kirkpatrick Building with modern metal covering over the brick façade. Photograph November 1957. (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-1599-7954)

George Maverick Building, designed by Alfred Giles, on southwest corner of St. Mary’s and Houston Street. Photograph, by S.W. Masterson, circa 1930, shows only slight alterations to the 1899 building. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 092-0011)

George Maverick Building after owners removed the bay windows and concealed the brick walls with stucco. Photograph circa 1940. (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-2126-A-35)

George Maverick Building with a metal slipcover over the entire second floor. Photographed during Stock Show Parade, February 1963. In 2001, the covering was removed and original façade restored.  (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-2126-A-35)

Dullnig Building, designed by James Murphy and built about 1883, East Commerce Street, between Alamo and Losoya Streets. Photograph circa 1910. (Harvey Belgin Photograph Collection, MS 353: B-13-C-1)

Dullnig Building with stucco covering the brick walls and minus towers, but retaining the original cornice. Photograph 1940. (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-2126.001-3-5)

Dullnig Building with Victorian façade minimized by painting the walls and adding a modern parapet, with space for advertising. Photograph early 1970s. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 107-1337)

Crockett Block, designed by Alfred Giles, 317-323 Alamo Plaza. Photograph, circa 1940, shows only slight alterations to the 1882-83 group of buildings with common façade and cornice. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 083-0480)

Crockett Block with various false fronts, though retaining the original cornice. Photograph May 1967. (Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, MS 355: Z-0066-B-00632)

Crockett Block after restoration of the façade. Photograph, by Daryl Engle, circa 1985. (General Photograph Collection, MS 362: 107-1861)

 

Ven A Comer Supports Cookbook Collection

May 15, 2017

Recipes from Special Collections’ Mexican Cookbook Collection inspired a lively menu at Ven a Comer, held Sunday, May 7th at Hotel Emma. Proceeds from the event will support the development and preservation of this extensive collection, which contains 1,800 items and dates back to 1789. The Sunday event was part of a larger weekend festival, which also included a Friday screening of the documentary film “Vivia Mezcal” at the Mexican Cultural Institute, and Mexican street food from the Culinary Institute of the Americas served at the Saturday Pearl Farmer’s Market.

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres and a mezcal tasting with expert Pedro Jiménez Gurría. Music from a duo of acoustic guitarists filtered in from the patio as guests mingled and perused examples from the cookbook collection. A variety of cookbooks were on display throughout the evening for guests to see, including manuscript cookbooks, artists’ books, and cookbooks from the queen of Mexican cooking, Josefina Velásquez de León. The cookbooks were displayed in a food and drink-free area to ensure that they remain in the best condition possible for continued preservation.

The reception was followed by a six-course family-style meal, created by a team of talented chefs from San Antonio and Mexico, including Fabián Delgado, Diego Galicia, Jaime Gonzalez, Jenn Riesman, and Rico Torres. Guests enjoyed dishes inspired by recipes in the collection, such as Ensalada de Nopales (Nopal cactus salad) and Braised Wild Boar over Garbanzos and Pipián. Each course revealed a unique balance of familiar and fresh flavors, both comforting and exciting to the palate. Dinner was followed by an impressive and delectable array of desserts, which were complemented by a cozy horchata mezcal nightcap.

 

A most sincere thank you to our sponsors, staff, chefs, collaborators, and to all who attended! Your support and hard work helps us keep these culinary treasures alive and available for generations to come.

You can view more photos and read more about the event on the UTSA Libraries Facebook page, Special Collections’ Instagram, our website, and the Rivard Report.

The Mexican Cookbook Collection is open to casual researchers, aspiring cooks, and professional chefs alike. A selection of cookbooks are available to view online, but most books must be explored in person. The cookbooks can be viewed by appointment in our reading room on the fourth floor of the John Peace Library on Main Campus.

Willie Velásquez Day

May 9, 2017

 

willie day

The official memorandum for Willie Velasquez Day from the SVREP Collection

Today we celebrate Willie Velasquez Day here in Texas! May 9th also marks Willie’s birthday where he would have celebrated his 73rd birthday! We encourage everyone to make sure you and your loved ones are registered to vote. More importantly, encourage everyone around you to go out and vote! It is great to take the first step to register but it is VITAL that we allow our voices to be heard in the upcoming election by showing up at the polls. “Su Voto Es Su Voz!” We can celebrate and honor Willie’s history and legacy by continuing to empower Latinos by participating in any way possible in our country’s democratic process.

 

As the UTSA team continues to work towards completing the SVREP Collection, we hope that not only researchers, but the community as well can use the work completed by Willie and his amazing team to create additional awareness to ensure that the Latino voice continues to be heard and Willie’s legacy is protected.

vote

Leah Rios, Jennifer Longoria, Kristin Law, and Katie Rojas taking advantage of the early voting site at UTSA

 

Remembering Peter T. Flawn

May 8, 2017
President Peter T. Flawn

President Flawn, June 15, 1973. Source: MS 27, Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

We were sad to hear that UTSA’s second President, Peter Tyrrell Flawn, passed away Sunday at age 91. Originally from Miami, he served in the Army Air Corps in WWII. He studied at Oberlin College and received his doctorate in geology from Yale University. Dr. Flawn taught geology at UT Austin before joining UTSA in 1973.

His presidency from 1973-1977 was a critical time in UTSA’s history. During his tenure the first classes were held (1973), the first commencement ceremony occurred (1974), Main Campus opened (1975), and the university achieved full accreditation for its graduate programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Flawn later served as UT Austin’s President, from 1979-1985, and again as interim President in 1997-1998. In 2012 the UTSA Science Building was re-named the Peter T. Flawn Building in his honor.

A Month in Special Collections: April

May 1, 2017
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Special Collections Student Clerk Positions Available for Summer 2017

April 16, 2017

UTSA Libraries Special Collections is seeking 3 student clerks for the summer semester. Positions are located at UTSA’s main campus and the HemisFair Park/Institute of Texan Cultures Campus downtown

UTSA Main Campus Library 11-25-15

Interested students may apply by submitting a resume and cover letter indicating which position(s) they wish to be considered for to specialcollections@utsa.edu.


 

Job Title: Student Clerk (reporting to the Manuscripts Archivist)

Location: Main Campus and Hemisfair Campus/ITC (downtown San Antonio)

Start Date: 6/1/2017 (position is for summer only)

Student employees must be enrolled on a half-time or greater basis during the semester of employment.

Duties and Responsibilities: With training from the Manuscripts Archivist, carry out basic tasks in the Special Collections department. Activities may include re-housing and creating inventories of collections, photocopying and scanning, creating and entering metadata for digital collections, assisting with exhibit preparations, and other duties as determined.

Qualifications: Graduate student preferred. May consider undergraduates with demonstrated relevant experience. Strong attention to detail and willingness to perform repetitive tasks. Ability to work under minimal supervision. Some lifting of boxes required. Willingness and ability to work in conditions with occasional exposure to dust and mold. Familiarity with scanners, image editing software, and Microsoft Excel a plus. Neat handwriting is required.

Work will primarily be performed at Main Campus, but availability to work occasional hours at Hemisfair Campus/ITC (801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.) in downtown San Antonio is desirable.

Work Schedule: Flexible during office hours, Monday-Friday

Hours per Week: 15

Wage: $10/hr

How to Apply: Submit resume and cover letter or any questions regarding the position to Special Collections at specialcollections@utsa.edu

 


 

Job Title: Student Clerk (reporting to University Archivist)

Location: Main Campus and HemisFair Park Campus/ITC (downtown San Antonio)

Start Date: 6/1/2017

Student employees must be enrolled on a half-time or greater basis during the current or next scheduled semester.

Duties and Responsibilities: With training from the University Archivist, carry out basic tasks in the Special Collections department. Activities may include re-housing and creating inventories of collections, photocopying and scanning, creating and entering metadata for digital collections, assisting with exhibit preparations and social media posts, and other duties as determined.

Qualifications: Graduate student preferred. May consider undergraduates with demonstrated relevant experience. Strong attention to detail and willingness to perform repetitive tasks. Ability to work under minimal supervision. Some lifting of boxes required. Willingness and ability to work in conditions with occasional exposure to dust and mold. Familiarity with scanners, image editing software, and Microsoft Excel a plus. Neat handwriting is required.

Preferred candidates will be able to work at both our HemisFair Park Campus in the Institute of Texan Cultures (801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.) in downtown San Antonio and our Main Campus locations.

Work Schedule: Flexible during office hours, Monday-Friday.

Hours per Week: 15

Wage: $10/hr.

How to Apply: Submit resume and cover letter or any questions regarding the position to Special Collections at specialcollections@utsa.edu.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Job Title: Student Clerk (Reporting to Rare Books Librarian)

Location: Main Campus, John Peace Library

Job Description: With training from the Rare Books Librarian the student will carry out basic tasks in the Special Collections department. Activities may include paging, photocopying, and re-shelving materials; cleaning, processing, and re-housing incoming materials; assisting with collection preservation/conservation (Paper repairs, creating protective enclosures and mylar jackets), and other duties as determined.

Qualifications: Strong attention to detail and willingness to perform repetitive tasks. Manual dexterity.  Some lifting required. Willingness and ability to work in conditions with occasional exposure to dust and mold needed. Familiarity with Library of Congress subject headings.  Experience with scanners and image editing software a plus.

Work Schedule: Flexible during office hours, Monday-Friday.

Hours per Week: 15

Wage: $10/hr.

How to Apply: Submit resume and cover letter or any questions regarding the position to Special Collections at specialcollections@utsa.edu.

 

Fiesta Preparations

April 7, 2017

Fiesta San Antonio 2017 opens in a few days.  Final preparations for the numerous events are underway.  Beginning in the 1920s, photographers for the San Antonio Light and San Antonio Express-News newspapers routinely documented behind-the-scenes activities such as building parade floats, setting up booths, and performance practice sessions.  Usually these images were taken to advertise events.  But in some cases, photographs were taken to apprise readers of the tremendous work involved in staging the annual celebration.  Likewise, some of the photos were published as a tribute to certain individuals such as Minna Bel Oland, Cora Watson, and brothers Emile and Marcel Robin, who were involved in the preparation of Fiesta events for several decades.

These are some of the photographs showing pre-Fiesta activities, dating from the 1920s to 1990.

Velma Wolfe, seamstress at Southwestern Decorators, repairs tattered Fiesta flags and banners, April 1938.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1778-N)

 

Minna Bel Oland stands beside her assistants as they prepare a train for a duchess in the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, April 1951.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-4179-C)

Duchesses practice the formal court bow for the Order of the Alamo’s Court of the Golden Journey, Ruth Matlock Dance Studio, April 11, 1958.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0004-064-01)

Girls rehearse the Blue Danube Scarf Dance for Fiesta Water Ballet, held at San Pedro Park, April 1926.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-0564-A)

Patsy Ann Rolley and Stanley Ketchum pose in their Minnie and Mickey Mouse costumes at rehearsal for Children’s Dance Fete, featuring pupils from local dance studios, April 1936. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-0970-A)

Members of the Herman Cepler Family, a local aerialist troupe, rehearse their routine for a series of high-wire shows on Alamo Plaza, April 1955. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0004-064-01)

Barge for Texas Cavalier’s River Parade is lowered to the river from the Market Street Bridge, April 3, 1962.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0008-088-06)

Cora Watson examines one of the 15,000 paper flowers that she and a group of 20 assistants pieced together to decorate floats for the Battle of Flowers Parade, April 1938.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1544-S)

Kalista Hart, chairman of the queens’ section of the Battle of Flowers Association, holds drawings and fabric swatches as she coordinates color schemes with Emile Robin (left) and Marcel Robin, designers and builders of the royalty parade floats, April 1951.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-4058-D)

Floyd Arrowood, city policeman, inspects one of the ten telephones installed near the courthouse and city hall to aid in policing the carnival, April 1940. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-2434-E)

Group unloads cushions for parade bleachers along Broadway, April 1937. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1559-AAA)

San Antonio Conservation Society volunteers make crepe paper flowers to decorate booths at A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), April 12, 1990. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-7286-027-18)

Vendor sets up a rack of inflatable toys at Fiesta Carnival outside City Hall, April 1988. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, EN1988-04-14-02)

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