Hello Top Shelfers! I’m happy to join UTSA Special Collections as the new Manuscript Archivist, and to continue the work of my predecessor, Nikki Lynn Thomas. As Manuscript Archivist, it’s my job to manage and provide access to a wide range of primary source materials related to San Antonio culture and history, including women and women’s groups, Mexican-Americans, and the Texas-Mexico border region. I also have a strong interest in digital archives and digital preservation, so I am especially excited to work with the UTSA Special Collections team in that area.
I earned my BA in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin, with a geographic focus on Latin America. I also have a long-standing love of the fine arts, and minored in Art History. I discovered the archives field while I was an undergraduate. I attended a combination job/graduate school fair and became intrigued after speaking with representatives from UT’s School of Information. After conducting some personal research into the field, I knew that work in archives was the career path I ultimately wanted to pursue.
Before and during graduate school, I spent a couple of years teaching high school history, which led me from Austin to San Antonio. While teaching, I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies online program. This May, I completed my MLIS with a focus in Archives. My capstone research surveyed the digital preservation practices of archival repositories in Texas.
During graduate school I completed online cataloguing work for Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. I have also worked previously for the City of San Antonio’s Municipal Archives as an intern, and then as the Library Assistant, and finally as the Archivist. One of the major projects I contributed to involved working with volunteers to complete a descriptive item-level inventory of over 2,000 field survey notebooks.
I’m excited to work with the faculty, staff, and students of UTSA, and I am looking forward to being involved in the newest big project, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project/William C. Velasquez Institute Records. Keep an eye out here on Top Shelf for new developments!
By Blair Salt
UTSA Special Collections at the John Peace Library is pleased to feature an exhibition curated by Dr. Juliet Wiersema’s AHC 4333 New World Manuscripts class. Power Without Words examines how pictorial Central Mexican manuscripts distinguished important figures without using text. This exhibition can be viewed in the JPL Special Collections reading room (located on the fourth floor of the library) Monday through Wednesday from 10 – 3 p.m. until January 31, 2016.
At first glance, these Central Mexican manuscripts can be disorienting. They are crowded and colorful, some parts are badly damaged and difficult to decipher, and some are presented in bizarre formats for a narrative, like a map. Yes. Maps were used to present a narrative (among other things).
The first time our New World Manuscripts class met in Special Collections to examine these documents and choose the manuscript we would study for the rest of the semester, we all had the same reaction: there was no way we would figure these things out and we were all going to fail this class. Undeterred by our lack of faith, Dr. Wiersema insisted we would get the hang of it.
She was right. With Elizabeth Boone’s Stories in Red and Black as our guide, we started to get a handle on how these historical documents worked. To be totally honest, it was not as difficult as you might expect. We learned how to identify characters and dates, how to recognize places, and even how to loosely interpret events. I won’t exaggerate and say we can read pictorial manuscripts like a book, but by the end of the semester, we could certainly look at a manuscript and identify its type, what culture produced it, and what sort of story it told. Not too bad for only three months of study.
One of the most ingenious things about these historical documents (and perhaps the most difficult when you start trying to decipher the nitty-gritty details) is that they convey an immense amount of information without using any text. There are occasionally phonetic devices used to elucidate certain words or names (think of the puzzles on a Lone Star bottle cap), but for the most part the manuscripts are “written” in images. This might sound simple or limiting, but I think the entire class would agree with me when I say these documents convey multi-layered information better and more efficiently than most alphabetically written books.
This complexity and the sheer abundance of information was the first – and probably the worst – problem we had to tackle when curating this exhibition. How could we simplify what we learned in an entire semester into something that fit into four glass cases?
We settled on the theme of power because it is one of the easier things to see in these documents without needing to know how to read a bunch of pictorial devices and symbols. Next, we divided the exhibition into four categories to fit the four cases: weapons, nose piercing, clothing, and seats. Some of these might sound like unusual markers for the upper class (nose piercing?), but all of these elements are used in the manuscripts to distinguish important and / or powerful individuals. If you find a figure wearing a tlahuitzli, wielding an elaborate atlatl, sitting on a high backed chair, or sporting a turquoise nose rod through his septum, you know he’s important; and if you want to know what these things are, what they mean, or at least how to pronounce them, you’ll have to check out the exhibition.
In the end, everything came together better than we expected. Many of the students working on this project had never curated anything in their life, let alone a public exhibit. Nevertheless, the end result of our efforts is genuinely impressive! The cases are both visually interesting to look at and easy to understand. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn how to decipher important pictorial elements used to distinguish characters of importance in these documents, but you also leave with deeper insight into the cultures themselves, such as what elements they considered important to their historical and cultural narratives.
Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about a completely different writing style and visit the first ever class curated exhibit at UTSA Special Collections!
Partners in life and in business, Jesse Duval Arrambide and Robert Pierre Teander opened the Pierre Duval Hair Studio in San Antonio, Texas in the early 1970s. For their collaboration with the Fiesta Dinner Playhouse in San Antonio owned by actor Earl Holliman, Jesse and Robert became known as the “hairdressers to the stars.” They styled and coiffed the hair of such notable talents as Don Ameche, Gary Burghoff, Sandy Dennis, Joan Fontaine, Van Johnson, Dorothy Lamour, Roddy McDowell, Lana Turner, and many more. “Hairdressers to the Stars” was Pierre Duval’s business motto and they used the phrase in all their advertising. In addition to visiting actors appearing at the Fiesta Dinner Playhouse, many Fiesta queens and their families relied on Pierre Duval Hair Studio to deliver elegant and often elaborate coiffures.
The bulk of the collection consists of albums containing photographs and playbills from the Fiesta Dinner Playhouse . Photographs capture the actors, cast, and sets of the Playhouse which was open from 1977 through 1983. The collection contains autographed photographs from actors, both prominent and little-known. Many actors starring at the Playhouse attended dinners and parties at the home of Robert and Jesse and photographs capture these gatherings. Also in the collection are correspondence, personal photographs, and clippings. One scrapbook is comprised of photographs and clippings collected when Jesse worked at Arthur Murray dance studio in Chicago. The Pierre Duval Hair Studio collection is divided into three series: Fiesta Dinner Playhouse, Personal, and Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Digital content can be accessed by clicking the “View Contents” links in the finding aid.
Linda and Cynthia Phillips were married in Dallas in 1958. Over the years, the couple became prominent within the transgender community of Central and South Texas and were affiliated with many transgender organizations. The most notable was the Boulton and Park Society of San Antonio, which the couple joined shortly after its formation in 1986. They also had a strong presence in the San Antonio community as the primary organizers of the Texas “T” Party, a Boulton and Park-sponsored event that became the largest annual convention for crossdressers in the nation. The Phillips gained national exposure in the early 1990s following their appearances on major television talk shows. Much of their time during the 1990s was dedicated to educating the public and other members of the transgender community on their experiences as a transgender couple.
The Linda and Cynthia Phillips Papers document the couple’s attempt to educate other transgender singles and couples based on experience gained in their own relationship. Additionally, the collection reflects the Phillips’ active involvement in raising awareness of the transgender culture among the general population. Included are newsletters including Gender Euphoria, a publication of the Boulton and Park Society, articles, announcements, pamphlets, papers, magazines, and correspondence collected by the couple during the time of their association with the Boulton and Park Society. The materials are arranged in series by function, with Boulton and Park Society making up the bulk of the collection. Digital content can be accessed by clicking the “View Contents” links in the finding aid.
This month we resurrect “Names and Places of UTSA,” a blog series on university history, with a post by archives student assistant, Marissa Del Toro.
As you make your way to your first class for the day you drive up Bauerle Road. Since you are already five minutes late, you decide to park in the Bauerle Road Garage. You head to class, quietly repeating the name Bauerle in your mind, trying to figure out its correct pronunciation while you prepare for the upcoming day full of more questions and sometimes less answers. Well, have no fear we can answer one of your unrelenting questions, at least about the pronunciation of Bauerle and the man behind the confounding name.
The road you travel almost on a daily basis and the garage, which opened in August 2012, that you provide awkward directions for was named after James E. Bauerle, D.D.S., possibly pronounced as “bow-er-lee.” Appointed by Governor Preston Smith, he served as a member of the UT System Board of Regents from January 1973 to January 1979. Originally from Travis County, Bauerle received his undergraduate degree at UT Austin and later received his graduate dental degrees in St. Louis and Pittsburgh. In 1952 he established his oral surgery practice here in San Antonio, where he continued to practice until his death in 2007 at the age of 83. In a 2005 Express-News article, Bauerle described his choice for oral surgery: “I decided that I didn’t want to be a surveyor like a regular dentist or orthodontist, but I would take on the heavy construction of oral surgery.”
At his oral surgery practice he treated the severe cases of disease, injuries, and defects to the mouth, jaws and facial regions. Devoted to his profession, he gained numerous awards and accolades within the world of professional dentistry but he also understood the value of education. He was one of the influential and founding members to the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School in 1969. As mentioned in his obituary, Bauerle taught as a full time professor of oral surgery and dentistry, training and mentoring several generations of dental students here in the San Antonio region and the State of Texas. Bauerle told the Express-News of his interest and passion for his practice: “A lot of people used to die from dental problems not very long ago. Dental conditions and infections can become deadly serious, I like that I help relieve patients from one of the most painful conditions that exists.”
Besides his passion for dentistry, Bauerle was also known for his varied and wide collection of Western memorabilia and Asian décor that littered the walls of his Castle Hills office. According to the Express-News, his interest in all things Western related to his personal history of raising buffalo on his family’s ranch in Johnson City. His eclectic collection of buffalo paintings, jawbones, and taxidermy heads were part of his homage to his favorite livestock that floated throughout his office.
Here at UTSA, Bauerle was an influential figure during the early days. Several photos from the Gil Barrera Photographs Collection show Bauerle’s considerable involvement in the development plans of campus, from reviewing the schematics to visiting the construction site of the then-nascent UTSA with fellow Board of Regents members. His role as a Regent included his attendance at graduations and the conferring of degrees, including the 245 Master’s degrees awarded at the second commencement in August 1975.
The next time your take a drive on Bauerle Road, relish in the fact that you now know how to pronounce Bauerle (remember: “bow-er-lee”) and give a little appreciation to the man who contributed to UTSA’s development.
Doug Lipscomb, “Changing face of UTSA Main Campus: Roundabout to be built at north side,” UTSA Today (http://www.utsa.edu/today/2012/01/roundabout.html), accessed November 20, 2015. Originally published by UTSA Today on January 9, 2012.
Amanda Reimherr Express-News staff writer, “Dentist says age never an obstacle for career,” Former Regents the University of Texas System (http://www.utsystem.edu/bor/former_regents/regents/Bauerle/article.htm), accessed November 17, 2015. Originally published by the San Antonio Express-News online on June 22, 2005.
“James E. Bauerle,” Porter Loring Funeral Home (http://www.porterloring.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=459739), accessed November 17, 2015.
“James E. Bauerle,” Former Regents the University of Texas System (http://www.utsystem.edu/bor/former_regents/regents/Bauerle/), accessed November 17, 2015.
“245 Master’s Degrees Awarded,” UTSA Bulletin: The Discourse Vol. 3, No. 8, originally published by The University of Texas at San Antonio in August, 1975 (http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15125coll7/id/2243/rec/1), accessed November 20, 2015.
Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio, 1972-1978, MS 27, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
The Pan American Goodwill Flight of 1926 and 27 was a public relations goodwill mission to promote U.S. aviation in Central and South America. It was proposed by Maj. Gen. Mason Patrick, chief of the Army Air Corp. Ten distinguished military pilots, with good mechanical skills, were selected to fly the five Loening amphibian airplanes, each named for a city in the United States. Because of its geographical location and prominent connection to military aviation, San Antonio was designated as the starting point and base of operations. On December 21, 1926 the aircraft left Kelly Field on a 22,000 mile journey through Mexico, Central America, South America, and up to Washington, DC. The flight concluded on May 2, 1927 at Bolling Field with thousands of spectators waiting at the flight line. President Calvin Coolidge was there to award the pilots the first Distinguished Flying Crosses.
The San Antonio Light began regular coverage of the flight in November 1926. By the end of the month, the pilots had arrived in San Antonio. Jack Specht, the paper’s staff photographer, was sent to take a group portrait of the men. He would accompany reporters on subsequent trips to take additional photographs of the airmen, their aircraft, and the christening ceremony. News articles that December describe the hectic schedule of the pilots and the aircraft mechanics during those three weeks of preparations at Duncan Field. The mechanics worked long hours assembling the biplanes and making mechanical adjustments. The pilots attended lectures, assisted the mechanics, and tested the planes. During their spare moments, the pilots were honored at luncheons and dinners by an enthusiastic local population.
Fifty two 4×5 glass plate negatives related to the departure of the Pan American Goodwill Flight are preserved in our collection. These are some of those images made by Jack Specht.
UTSA Special Collections San Antonio River Authority Collection Internships (Summer 2016)
The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections is currently seeking applications for two San Antonio River Authority (SARA) interns for summer 2016. Each internship position pays $21.00/hour.
The San Antonio River Authority records consists of reports, project materials, correspondence, maps, surveys, minutes, and photographs. Historical research materials in the collection include photographs and documentation of the flood of 1921 as well as photographs of activity of the San Antonio River during the early part of the twentieth century.
The two interns will work together to: arrange, rehouse, and describe additions to the collection from 2011 and 2014 (approximately 170 linear feet); update finding aid in EAD; and digitize negatives if time permits.
The positions begin June 1, 2016 and ends August 15, 2016. Each position will work 35 hours per week. There are no benefits with this position and the successful candidates will be expected to cover travel to San Antonio. Housing is not provided as part of the award and must be arranged by the successful candidates.
Candidates must be enrolled in a master’s program in library and information science with an emphasis in archives or a master’s program in information science with an emphasis in archives. Preference will be given to candidates who have completed coursework in arrangement and description. The successful applicants must be able to show proof of enrollment in Fall 2016 classes before internship begins.
Application deadline is February 1, 2016. Applications should be sent to email@example.com and should include:
- Statement not to exceed 500 words explaining how the SARA internship fits the applicant’s educational program and career goals;
- Current resume; and
- Letter of recommendation from archives professor or other professor familiar with applicant’s career goals and coursework.
During October and November, UTSA Special Collections at the John Peace Library is featuring exhibits on two San Antonio artists, Gene Elder and John Shown. The exhibits showcase elements of two extraordinarily creative men’s lives, including: personal journals, original works of art, and newsworthy moments. The exhibits can be viewed in the JPL Special Collections reading room (located on the fourth floor of the library), Monday through Wednesday from 10-3.
With a passion for art and activism, Gene Elder has become an integral part of San Antonio community and culture. Merging these two interests, Elder identifies himself as artist-activist through original artwork, exhibits, written work, performance pieces, and involvement with the local art community.
A steadfast supporter of local artists, Elder has created many venues for art, first at his MUD gallery in the mid-1970s, and then in his promotion of multi-artist exhibits during the 1980s.
Equal in measure to the significant role Elder played (and still plays) in the art scene, is the part he assumes in advocating for gay rights. In 1979, Elder ran for mayor of San Antonio under the “Party Party” banner-he spoke up about not only the importance of art, but also about society’s infringement on gay rights. Materials from Elder’s mayoral bid include hand-painted campaign fliers, an election ballot, and news articles documenting Elder’s race for the mayor’s chair.
In addition to materials highlighting Elder’s run for mayor, on display are several personal journals, hand-made paper fans, and photographs. An online guide to the Gene Elder Papers provides more in-depth information about items in the collection.
A man of many talents, John Shown donned the caps of artist, gallery co-owner, writer, editor-in-chief, lighting and scenic designer, and photographer. Shown spent many years in San Antonio, but his creative style was known throughout the nation and even abroad, with his works of art finding glamorous homes in such places as the Boatman Gallery in New York and the homes of Rex Reed and Geoffrey Holder.
Shown graced the San Antonio art scene with his eclectic collages and wall-hanging stitchery, and quickly came to hold an important role in the art community not just for his contributions, but also for the support he gave other artists.
In 1981, Shown ,along with Don Davenport, created the Shown-Davenport Gallery, a censorship free zone for artists. Knowing all too well the difficulties of living a life dedicated to one’s art, the Shown-Davenport Gallery only charged a nominal fee, allowing several struggling artists the opportunity to gain exposure.
Shown later went on to provide another medium for artists with his creation of Forum, an Artists Forum of Texas publication, where Shown paid tribute to the San Antonio art scene.
One of the events featured in Forum was Cornyation, a wonderful parody on the San Antonio tradition of coronation during Fiesta week, where creative expression and satire were encouraged.
The John Shown exhibit displays Cornyation photographs, exhibit posters, personal journals, and snapshots of some of Shown’s original work, including his stitchery and “Lost Collages, 1969.” More information about John Shown and the items in his collection can be found in the online guide for the John Shown Collection.