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Go Roadrunners!

September 11, 2017

Ticket stub, December 11, 1981.

I don’t play favorites with the collections under my care in the University Archives, but if I did, the publications from UTSA’s Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) would be a strong contender. This collection includes more than 500 reports from archaeological projects, mostly in South Texas, that offer an intriguing perspective on the history of our region. Further, I’m not the first archivist to observe that archaeology and archives can be thought of as cousin disciplines, since both involve carefully cataloging and analyzing evidence from past activities, and both highly value context in understanding historic materials.

With this in mind, I was delighted when the University Archives received a load of boxes from Thomas Hester, the first director of CAR back in the early 1970s. These boxes, which now comprise the Thomas R. Hester Papers (UA 99.0030), span the years 1973-1999 and include manuscript drafts, correspondence, committee files, grant files, lectures, conference files, and other materials related to Hester’s career as an archaeologist and a professor of anthropology. The bulk of the materials date from 1973-1987, and document Hester’s role in creating UTSA’s cultural resource management program at CAR. The archive also includes information about his research, which focuses on lithics in the American Southwest and the Mayan zone in Belize.

The student assistant who processed the collection, Christina Frasier (an anthropology PhD candidate herself), uncovered a stash of sports memorabilia from the early 1980s. Tucked among the folders of syllabi, reports, and correspondence, these materials offer a broader picture of what life was like here at UTSA in its first decades.

Men's Basketball Program, December 11, 1981.

The UTSA Basketball teams played their inaugural season in 1981-1982. I get the feeling that many faculty and staff were avid fans, because this is not the first time I’ve found athletics items in a collection. In Dr. Hester’s case, he kept several ticket stubs and a few programs, including one from December 1981 when UTSA played Sul Ross in the Convocation Center. It’s always entertaining to see how haircuts, uniforms, and mascots have evolved over time.

Men's Basketball Schedule, 1986-1987.

Dr. Hester also included a typed copy of the 1986-87 Men’s Basketball Schedule. I find this item particularly fascinating since he meticulously recorded the score from each game and updated the team’s win-loss record as the season progressed. This fits with my impression of an archaeologist’s temperament, methodically gathering data about a situation.

Basketball fans, 1982

Basketball fans, 1982. UTSA Office of University Communications Photographs, UA 16.01.01.

There’s a picture in our photo archives showing fans in the crowd at a basketball game holding “Go Road Runners” signs. We’ve used the photo in slide shows and promotional materials to demonstrate how school spirit has a long history at UTSA. I was delighted to see an actual one of these posters, and to discover that there was a team roster on the back.

Go Road Runners! poster (front)Go Road Runners! poster (back) showing basketball roster.

Finally, Dr. Hester gave us a round UTSA patch and an orange felt pennant. The shape of the patch calls attention to the connected curves of UTSA’s original logo, while the felt pennant has a hole on one end, which I imagine was the result of pinning the pennant to a bulletin board.

Round UTSA patch.Felt UTSA pennant.

The research value of this collection is concentrated in the academic and administrative materials, but this memorabilia offers us a view of the non-academic side of campus life at UTSA, which is also important. These items add color—both literally and figuratively—to our picture of the first decades of the university’s existence.

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