Archive for the 'news' Category

Austin Friends of Folk Art Collection

The Travis County Archives is pleased to announce a partnership between Travis County and the Austin Friends of Folk Art, to store AFFA’s collection of artifacts, photographs, materials and objects at the Travis County Archives. We look forward to making these items available to the public through exhibits and displays throughout county buildings.

Burnished pot from Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Priscilla Murr New Mexican Collection, Travis County Archives

Burnished pot from Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Priscilla Murr New Mexican Collection, Travis County Archives

Polychrome clay tree of life candelabra with owls from Izucar de Matamoros, Mexico, Jean Mikeska collection, Travis County Archives

Polychrome clay tree of life candelabra with owls from Izucar de Matamoros, Mexico, Jean Mikeska collection, Travis County Archives

Thank you!

The Archives extends a big thank you to the following University of Texas iSchool students, who generously donated their time to rebox and sort approximately 800 cubic feet of records: Emily Johnson, Megan Martinsen, Lisa Ellis, and Rachel Winston. The records had previously been stored in a non-climate controlled warehouse, and included records dating as far back as 1840. Thanks to their work, these records are now organized, in acid-free boxes, and are  ready to be processed. We are very grateful!

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The Archives is also very grateful to County Clerk Dana DeBeauvior, for funding the purchase of shelving to outfit the rest of the Archives records storage space. These new shelves are already being put to good use!

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Happy 2014!

Some news for the new year: the Archives is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a $6,000 preservation assessment grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. This is the Archives’ first awarded grant. The grant money will be used to pay for a consultant from Amigos Library Services to assess the facility and for the department to purchase archival supplies to further preserve its collections.

For more information, view the Austin American Statesman’s recent article on the Archives here: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/travis-county-archives-get-boost-with-grant-from-n/ncW2T/

An unexpected find

When sorting through early county records, you never know what you might find.  Certain types of documents give you pause, especially those that just look “old” – they are worn, fragile, with handwritten script in fading ink. The date is one of the first things you check – and when that date actually predates your county’s existence, you give it an even closer look. Recently, the processing of early Travis County District Court cases from the mid to late nineteenth century brought to light a document dated 1838, two years before Travis County was even formed.  Closer inspection revealed it to be a Headright Certificate from Jasper County, which was established in 1836.  As with any land-related documents with questionable provenance, we contacted the Texas General Land Office to see what insight they might have.  Upon checking their files, the Land Office archivists discovered that this particular document had been checked out from them in 1881 by an individual named T.E. Sneed.

This Mr. Sneed was likely Mr. Thomas Eskridge Sneed, lawyer, former Mayor of Austin (1856) and former Travis County District Attorney (1860-1862).  It is probable that Mr. Sneed was using the certificate in a District Court case, although which case we are not quite sure.  At that time, the Travis County Courthouse was located quite near to the Land Office, and although the Land Office typically did not check out original documents, Mr. Sneed was apparently allowed an exception.  For whatever reason, the document was not returned to the General Land Office – until 132 years later.

Historical Commission receives Distinguished Service Award

Historical Commission distinguished service award 1.2013

On January 22, 2013, the Travis County Commissioners Court presented the Historical Commission with a 2011 Distinguished Service Award, recognition from the Texas Historical Commission for an “active and well-balanced preservation program.” Members in attendance to receive the framed award were Adrienne Risom, Margie Alford, May Schmidt, Marty Moulthrop, Nancy Hamilton, Bob Ward, Danny Camacho, Shawn Malone, and Barry Hutcheson.

Travis County History Day 2011

Just two more weeks until this year’s big event!  We hope that you can join us!

Parking for History Day will be available in the 700 Lavaca parking garage.  Visitor parking is located on the second floor; any other unmarked spots may also be utilized – parking tickets can be validated at the event.

William B. Travis portrait donated to Travis County

Last year, Sally Mauck, a descendant of the D.W. Stallworth family and relative of William B. Travis, very generously donated a portrait of William Barret Travis to Travis County. Travis County was named for William B. Travis in 1839.

William B. Travis was the son of Mark Travis and Jemima Stallworth; D.W. Stallworth’s father was the first cousin of Jemima.  The portrait of Travis, which is likely a reproduction of an old daguerrotype, had been passed down through the Travis and Stallworth families.  In 1926, a copy was donated by D.W. Stallworth to the Alamo, where it still hangs today.  Mrs. Mauck has very kindly had an additional reproduction created and framed for Travis County.  The Travis County Archives gratefully thanks Mrs. Mauck and her family for this generous gift!  The portrait now hangs on the second floor of the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse.

Mrs. Sally Mauck, her daughter Valeria Jones, and grandson Pierce Jones stand before the portrait of William B. Travis in the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse

Mrs. Mauck has also loaned the Travis County Archives a rifle barrel that belonged to William B. Travis as a child.  The gun was passed down to his nephew Mark Travis, who in turn gave it to D.W. Stallworth.  The rifle barrel can be viewed on the third floor of the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse.  We thank Mrs. Mauck for the opportunity to display this unique, historical artifact!

Rifle barrel once owned by William B. Travis, on display in the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse