Treasures of the Texas Coast

Early eighteenth century graveside scene at Mitchell Ridge by artist Frank Weir.

The new Texas Beyond History exhibit “Native and Early Historic Peoples of the Texas Coastal Prairies and Marshes,” the fourth Texas region covered in the Web site’s “Prehistoric Texas” series, offers amazing  artifacts, interactive graphics, historic photos, and maps, many of which have not been seen by the public, but are now available through interactive galleries such as the Fort St. Louis collection “Traces of French, Spanish and Native Lives.” 

Many of the artifacts featured are from the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) collection. Other new online exhibits feature prehistoric coastal cemeteries with unusual grave offerings, shipwrecks and native fishing camps.

History Alumnus Chronicles Mexico’s Fight for Independence

In “The Mexican Wars for Independence,” (Hill & Wang, 2009) Timothy Henderson (B.A., History, ’80) tells the complex story of Mexico’s revolution years of rebellion and civic unrest from 1810 to 1821, chronicling the progression of a nation struggling to liberate itself as an independent state.

Written for the general reader, Henderson guides readers through Mexico’s complicated and volatile political struggles, including the deepening divisions of race, class, culture and objectives forged during centuries of Spanish colonial rule.

Set against a sharply detailed background, Henderson describes how the wars deepened the social rifts between the white Creole aristocrats who led the rebellion and the harshly exploited mestizo (mixed-blood) and Indian masses.

The book also examines early phases of the revolt under rebel Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo, whose battle cry for independence led the movement and revolutionized the course of Mexican History. Henderson also provides in-depth portraits of other key figures involved in the movement including Ferdinand VII, José María Morelos y Pavón, Colonel Agustín de Iturbide and Francisco Javier Venegas.

Henderson is a professor of history at Auburn University, Montgomery, and the author of several books on Mexican history including “A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States,” (Hill & Wang, 2007).

Book Offers Diverse Perspectives on African American Religious History and Life

New-Black-GodsIn the wake of the Great Migration, anthropologist Arthur Huff Fauset set out to learn more about the African American “sects and cults” springing up in northern cities. More than fifty years later, “The New Black Gods” reassess Fauset’s work, the organizations he studied and the state of African American religious studies today.

“The New Black Gods: Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions” (Indiana University Press, 2009) was edited by Harry Ransom Center Curator of Academic Affairs Danielle Brune Sigler and Edward E. Curtis IV.

Taking the influential work of Fauset as a starting point to break down the false dichotomy that exists between mainstream and marginal, a new generation of scholars offer fresh ideas for understanding the religious expressions of African Americans in the United States. Fauset’s 1944 classic, “Black Gods of the Metropolis,” launched original methods and theories for thinking about African American religions as modern, cosmopolitan and democratic. The essays in this collection show the diversity of African American religion after the Great Migration and consider the full field of African American religion from Pentecostalism to Black Judaism, Black Islam and Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement. As a whole, they create a dynamic, humanistic and thoroughly interdisciplinary understanding of African American religious history and life. This book is essential reading for anyone who studies the African American experience.


Frank Lloyd Wright Archival Materials Continue to Build

In 1909, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright produced Ausgeführte Bauten Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright, a folio of 100 plates published by German architectural publisher Ernst Wasmuth.

The Special Collections at the Architecture and Planning Library hold several versions of the work– from an original 1911 edition to multiple copies of the 1963 American edition, Buildings: Plans and Designs, published by Horizon Press. The work includes detailed drawings of Wright’s commissions up to 1910, illustrating his early architectural style.

The Wasmuth portfolio, as it is now commonly known, contains plans, sections, perspective views and interior details of seventy-three of Wright’s buildings, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Studio (1895), Unity Temple (1906) and the Robie House (1909) in Oak Park, Illinois, and the Larkin Company Administration Building in Buffalo, New York (1904).

The Special Collections at the Architecture and Planning Library contain materials that are fragile, rare and historically significant. Many resources on Frank Lloyd Wright have come to the library’s Special Collections through gifts to the Alexander Architectural Archive. One of the copies of Buildings: Plans and Designs came to the library through the Edward Duke Squibb Collection.

Architect Karl Kamrath’s 2007 donation of more than 200 books and periodicals greatly increased the Architecture and Planning Library’s holdings on Frank Lloyd Wright. It recently acquired the manuscript collection of Frank Lloyd Wright scholar, William A. Storrer. Copies of his publications on Wright include: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog (1973), The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Guide to Extant Structures (1980), and The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion (1993).

The archives are the largest such resource in Texas, containing more than a quarter of a million drawings and more than 1630 linear feet of papers, photographic material, models and ephemera, representing thousands of projects in Texas as well as New York, Chicago, California and Great Britain. Wright related materials are included in the Queen Ferry Coonley, the Karl Kamrath, the William A. Storrer and the Edward Duke Squibb Collections.

Written by Katheryn Pierce, Graduate Student in Architectural History at The University of Texas at Austin.

Career Counselor to Discuss “You Majored in What?”

Liberal Arts Career Services Director Kate Brooks will read and sign “You Majored in What: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career” (Viking, 2009) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 at Barnes & Noble, located in the Arboretum shopping center on Research Boulevard.

Brooks, who has been guiding students to successful careers for more than 20 years, points out that many college students feel a sense of comfort in thinking that their major will lead them directly to an ideal career path. While these reasoning methods are logical, they could find themselves lost when they venture into the working world.

Steering away from the dated career assessment tests and structured job-seeking manuals that guide career seekers on a direct path from major to occupation, Brooks encourages readers to wander off course and embrace the chaos.

“Foreign Language Major in the Workplace” course illustration by Samuel Martinez.

To help students find their true calling, Brooks created the Wise Wandering system to show students how to turn the chaos of their education and life experiences into a fulfilling career through mapping techniques, experiments and storytelling.

With an emphasis on the mathematical chaos theory, she illustrates how the path to a career can be thrown off course by a key element: the butterfly effect. The concept, built around the premise that little things can have enormous effects, illuminates how seemingly insignificant events can significantly alter a student’s career path.

An interesting read for college students and recent graduates of all majors, the career guide offers a practical and unique approach to discovering new opportunities and finding a final professional destination. Students enrolled in Brooks’ course, “The Liberal Arts Major in the Workplace,” use the book as a guide for their wandering journeys.

Read Brooks’ top 10 tips for landing a job

For more career advise, visit Brooks’ Psychology Today blog Career Transitions.

Did you end up in a job that doesn’t have anything to do with your college major? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Award Ceremony Celebrates Renowned Chicana Author Ana Castillo

Award-winning poet, essayist and novelist Ana Castillo will receive the first Américo Paredes Literature and Letters Award from the Center for Mexican American Studies at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center Auditorium.

Born and raised in Chicago, Castillo is best known for her lyrical stories exploring, love, gender conflict and resistance. In a career spanning more than three decades, Castillo has published more than 20 novels, plays, collections of essays, poetry and short stories. Her works examine such far-ranging topics as gender in the farm workers movement, motherhood, love and friendship, life and culture.

Considered one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Chicana literature, Castillo’s work has been critically acclaimed and widely anthologized in the United States and abroad. Her groundbreaking debut novel, “The Mixquiahuala Letters” (Anchor, 1992), earned the prestigious American Book Award in 1987.

Castillo’s works include the novels “So Far From God” (W.W. Norton and Company, 2005), which earned her both the Carl Sandburg Literary Award in Fiction in 1993 and the Mountains and Plains Bookseller Award in 1994; and “Peel My Love Like an Onion” (Doubleday, 1999), which was nominated for the Dublin Prize in 2000. She has also earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in fiction and poetry.

This event is open to the public. A reception will follow the award ceremony.