Volume 1, Number 5   Issued March 2008 

Dallas Public Library Gets New Catalog Software

This spring, you will see a new look when you log onto the Dallas Public Library’s website and head to the Library Catalog. The new online catalog, provided by Polaris Library Systems, is expected to greatly augment the online experience of patrons and researchers. The new system will provide many enhanced features over our current catalog, and will provide an improved search interface. The new system will include a digital archive as an integrated component of the catalog system, and this should be of great benefit to the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division as we digitize more of our materials in the future.

For those of you that are interested in our photographs, the display and organization of digital images will be improved by such features as including thumbnails in the catalog record. Please note that due to these changes, no new photographs are being added to the catalog at this time. We expect to resume photograph cataloging no later than the fall of this year.

Eyewitness to History: The John F. Kennedy Assassination

On November 22, 1963, Ernest Brandt was among the witnesses gathered along Elm Street to watch as President Kennedy's motorcade made its way out of downtown Dallas and toward the Trade Mart, where the President was to give a noontime speech.

Little did Brandt know, as he watched the motorcade round the corner from Houston onto Elm, that seconds later he would witness one of the most infamous events in Dallas' history—the assassination of the President.

On March 9, 2008, Mr. Brandt will host a showing of the film shot by Abraham Zapruder, in which Mr. Brandt can be seen among the observers along Elm Street. The film will be followed by Mr. Brandt's discussion of the Warren Commission findings and theories about the assassination that continue to intrigue researchers to today.

Place:

    Dallas Public Library, Dallas West Room (1st floor)

    1515 Young Street

    Dallas, TX 75201

Time:

    March 9, 2008, 2 - 3:30 PM

New Acquisitions Highlights

Below are a few of the titles we have received lately at Texas/Dallas History & Archives.

-- Buffalo Soldiers in the West: A Black Soldiers Anthology, edited by Bruce A. Glasrud and Michael N. Searles.

This collection of essays about Black soldiers during the period extending from the Civil War to World War I focuses on individual experiences, military roles, relations with officers, and discrimination. All the essays have been previously published, but benefit here by cumulative collection within an interpretive framework provided by the editors’ introductions and discussions of the books four parts.

-- On the Border with MacKenzie, or Winning West Texas From the Comanches, by Captain Robert G. Carter.

This is a Texas State Historical Association reprint of a 1935 account of frontier activities in West Texas by Captain Carter, who served under General Ranald S. Mackenzie, commander of the 4th U. S. Cavalry. The 580-page work includes nearly 40 pages of index entries.

-- To Live’s to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt, by John Kruth.

Kruth conducted extensive interviews (over 90 persons from well-known musicians to a bartender at Austin’s Hole in the Wall are listed in the acknowledgements) and consulted numerous published resources to draw his portrait of Texas singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. The book includes a selected discography and several photographs of the musician, most taken by friends and family.

-- Downtown Dallas: Romantic Past, Modern Renaissance, by Mark Rice.

This new book by Rice provides a unique vantage point on the history of Dallas by providing texts and images of many of the significant buildings that graced downtown Dallas both in the past and today. The discussions are presented chronologically, with most of the brief chapters focusing on a single building. Two chapters address theaters in general, and another two cover the developers and architects that were behind the evolution of Dallas’ downtown area.

New “landing” page for Texas/Dallas History

In an effort to make it easier to find our site in the vast landscape of the Internet, the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division has set up a new easy-to-remember landing page to act as a portal to our online resources and finding guides. All you really need to remember is “dallaslibrary.org” and “texas”: http://dallaslibrary.org/texas/

Help Identify Photos in our Collections

Can you help us identify lost people and places? Visit our unidentified photographs page and see. We will continue to add new images, and will post those recently identified as we receive your responses.

*** When submitting, please let us know if you do not wish to have your name credited with an answer. ***

Dallas on the Homefront

Texas History Division currently has an exhibit exploring Dallas life during wartime on display on the seventh floor. The exhibit includes WWII ration coins and booklets, a letter granting amnesty to a Dallas-area Confederate soldier, a photo of the Love Field Aviation Flying School during WWI, and other items exemplifying Dallas experiences during times of war.

Manuscript Finding Aids

To improve access to our manuscript collections, we are translating our finding guides into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format and posting them on the Texas/Dallas website’s manuscripts and archives page. EAD guides created recently are:

-- Gerhart, Mrs. Paul, Collection

-- Bigbee, North, Collection

-- Jary, William E., Collection

-- Ladies Auxiliary to the Dallas Pharmaceutical Association

-- Pratt, James R., Collection

-- Lane, Joseph K., Thesis on Kelpler's Sominum (MSSC 5)

-- Peoples, Clint, Collection

-- Melton, Bill, Collection

-- Wagner, Ann, Stock and Investment Company