Exhibits

Artifact Gallery

Bringing the "Story of Texas" to life...

The Bullock Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives, and individuals to display historical objects that bring the "Story of Texas" to life. New artifacts are continuously being added to the exhibits. Check out "This Just Installed" below to see the newest additions to our gallery.

Want to discover more? Uncover Texas Artifact Spotlight and dive deeper into the story of a featured artifact.

For a list of past and present artifacts on display, jump to our archive.


This Just In(stalled)

A Report to you from your Representative in Congress, 1943

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TITLE: A Report to you from your Representative in Congress, 1943
LENDER: Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum, Austin, Texas
BORROWED UNTIL: September 2015, third floor

Lyndon Johnson was first elected to political office on April 10, 1937 following the death of Representative James P. Buchanan of Texas's 10th Congressional District. While serving as a U.S. Representative, Johnson worked hard for rural electrification, public housing, and eliminating government waste, and was appointed to the House Committee on Naval Affairs at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1938, he was reelected to a full term in the 76th Congress and would go on to serve six terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 1948.

While serving in the House of Representatives, Johnson was appointed Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he became the first member of Congress to volunteer for active duty in the armed forces. During his service, Johnson received the Silver Star from General Douglas MacArthur for gallantry in action during an aerial combat mission on June 9, 1942. Shortly thereafter, President Roosevelt ordered all members of Congress in the armed forces to return to their offices and Johnson was released from active duty on July 16, 1942.

In this 1943 voter's pamphlet, Johnson reports to constituents on the nation's wartime affairs and his own military service during the conflict. "I am proud, as any man would be, of having worn my country's uniform. I'm proud of the friendships I made among fighting men, and those months overseas with them have inspired my every act since that time."


Archives

Texas Constitution, draft version, March 1836

 Texas Constitution, draft version, March 1836

It is mid-March 1836. You've just declared independence from a tyrannical dictator. The Mexican army is quickly approaching. Your family is being threatened and word has reached Independence Hall that settlers are abandoning their homes and fleeing east. Towns are being torched and the Alamo has just fallen. But against all odds, this document, this constitution, must be written.

With the pressure of a death sentence hanging over their collective heads if they are captured, 59 delegates representing 21 Texas municipalities gather at Washington from March 1–17 to craft a document that best reflects their ideals and future plans for their new nation: The Republic of Texas.

This document is believed to be part of the first full working draft of the Texas Constitution written by the founding fathers of Texas. This version was recorded by Convention secretary Herbert S. Kimble, a lawyer from Tennessee. The Texas Constitution was the first Anglo American constitution to govern Texas. The document borrowed heavily from the United States Constitution, and included elements of Spanish-Mexican law.

Texas General Land Office personnel, who loaned the historic document to the Bullock Museum, believe that the words "Republic of Texas" make their first appearance on its pages.

The location of the original final draft of the constitution is unknown; it was supposedly sent to Washington DC.


Texas Constitution, draft version, March 1836
LENDER: Courtesy Texas General Land Office, Spanish Collection, Archives and Records Program, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: January 2015, second floor

Texas Centennial paper cup, 1936

Texas Centennial paper cup, 1936

Despite the Great Depression that gripped the country, Texans staged a world's fair to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Texas independence from June 6–November 29, 1936. The Texas Centennial began as an advertising campaign to encourage more investment capital in the state before becoming a major exposition unlike any other. Promoting a western identity for Texas to a world wide audience, the Centennial spirit spread to communities across the state with celebrations and the construction and restoration of monuments, museums, historic markers, and historic sites.

Three Texas cities—Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio—competed to host the Central Centennial Exposition and, after committing $7,791,000 to the event, Dallas was chosen to host the celebration. In addition to Dallas's financial pledge, the Texas legislature and the United States Congress each appropriated $3,000,000 for the project.

The official $25,000,000 Dallas exposition included 50 exhibit buildings, the hit performance "Cavalcade of Texas," dozens of star performers, and theatrical presentations that captivated over 6,000,000 visitors. Texas was presented as the most modern of states with previews of television, commercial air travel, and air conditioning.

Today, the Centennial has become a part of Texas lore and souvenirs like this paper cup have become sought after collectables. The cup, along with several other artifacts featured in the Centennial case, are from the collection of Sarah Reveley, a collector of Texas Centennial memorabilia from San Antonio.


Texas Centennial paper cup, 1936
LENDER: Courtesy Sarah Reveley Texas Centennial Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: Displayed on the museum's second floor until June 2016

Busby plate of the Guard of the Supreme Powers, 1841

Busby plate of the Guard of the Supreme Powers, 1841

As President of Mexico on 11 different occasions, hero of the Mexican victory over Spain at the battle of Tampico Bay, self-proclaimed "Napoleon of the West," and General in charge of the Mexican forces during the Texas Revolution, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna played the lead role on several stages.

History, especially in Texas, remembers him as the General who lost the Texas Revolution (1835–36) and U.S. War with Mexico (1846–48). The former battle cost Mexico the vast Texas territory, the latter ceded New Mexico and California to the United States.

After his defeat in the Texas Revolution, Santa Anna returned to Mexico and created the Grenadier (grenade) Guards of the Supreme Powers on December 7, 1841. The unit was a militia battalion made up of 1,200 men in eight companies. This ornamental plate, as identified by the engraved phrase, "Granaderos de la Guardia Repulica Mexicana [Grenade Guards Mexican Republic]," was from that battalion and would have been attached to a tall fur hat, called a Busby. The Grenadier Guards fought during the U.S. War with Mexico.


Busby plate of the Guard of the Supreme Powers, 1841
LENDER: Courtesy Enrique Guerra, San Vicente Ranch, Linn
BORROWED UNTIL: June 2015

Poster, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin at Hemisphere Theatre (San Antonio), 1968 Artist Jim Franklin

Poster, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin at Hemisphere Theatre (San Antonio), 1968 Artist Jim Franklin

What makes Austin weird? People, music, free-spiritedness, revolutionaries? During the 1960s and 70s, a large counterculture scene emerged in the Texas capital and launched a cultural revolution often referred to as "the Golden Age of Austin" by those who experienced it first-hand. Rent was cheap, the music was good, and the once small, sleepy town emerged as a hotbed for activism. Musical styles and ideas united performers, artists, flower children, and cowboys alike to create a unique audience that reinforced a sense of pride in Austin's self-declared eccentricity.

New clubs and music halls showcased everything from honky-tonk to psychedelic rock as musicians poured into the capital. With a live music scene bursting at the seams and little to no advertising dollars, posters celebrating the city's sound became the greatest means of promotion as Austin artists translated sound into visual messages. In a short time, poster art became as important as the music itself and transformed the city's illustrators into local celebrities.

From the archives of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Austin History Center, 29 posters have been selected from artists Jim Franklin, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Burns, Micael Priest, and others to trace Austin's transformation from a political capital into a music capital in When Austin Got Weird. The exhibit runs July 11–September 14 in the 3rd Floor Rotunda and is held in conjunction with The 1968 Exhibit in the Herzstein Hall.


Poster, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin at Hemisphere Theatre (San Antonio),
1968 Artist Jim Franklin

LENDER: Courtesy Texas Poster Collection, TPA_0184, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,
The University of Texas, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: September 2014, third floor rotunda

Child's sandal, 200–1500 CE

child sandal

It's sandal season! Time to bare your toes to the sun along with the rest of your body. Did you know that prehistoric American Indians wore sandals too? This sandal was recovered from the Granado Cave in Culberson County (in West Texas between Midland and El Paso) and is believed to have been worn by a child. For children whose feet had not yet toughened and were sensitive to the hot desert land, sandals were essential.

The sandals were woven from yucca fibers in a technique that left a "fish tail" at the heel. Prehistoric American Indians used Yucca plants to their fullest capacity. The leaves had strong fibers suitable for weaving and the stems of most species were used for soap. A recent archeologist tried to recreate the sandals from yucca leaves and determined that a total of 32 leaves were required for one child's sandal, or 64 for a pair. To see more about the sandal reconstruction experiment, visit http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/granado/sandals.html.


Child's sandal, 200–1500 CE
LENDER: Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL), The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: February 2015, first floor

Natural Resources Building, 1934, Oil on canvas by Eugene Gilboe

Natural Resources Building, 1934, Oil on canvas by Eugene Gilboe

If you are familiar with Dallas history, the history of Fair Park or of the Texas State Fair, then you have probably heard of George Dahl. A prominent Dallas architect, Dahl's vision for the 1936 Texas Centennial transformed Fair Park into the magnificent home of the Texas State Fair.

Dahl's work was already recognized when he took on the mammoth Texas Centennial project. In an effort to win the host city bid (Dallas was up against Houston and San Antonio), Dahl commissioned seven renderings of what the fair might look like. The seven paintings were done by artist Eugene Gilboe. This painting of the Natural Resources Building represents the most modern of Dahl's proposed structures. But because there are no records of a Natural Resources Building at the Centennial, it most likely became either the Petroleum and Transportation Building or Humble's Hall of Texas History.

Gilboe's renderings did the trick. Dallas was selected to host the Centennial celebration and Dahl was tasked with overseeing the planning and construction of 26 Art Deco-style buildings designed by 10 architectural firms. He did all of this in record time, completing the project in just nine months.


Natural Resources Building, 1934, Oil on canvas by Eugene Gilboe
LENDER: The Family of George Dahl: Ted and Gloria Akin, Adrienne Akin-Faulkner, Faulkner Design Group, Dallas
BORROWED UNTIL: April 2015, second floor

Letter, Domingo de Ugartechea to Gonzales Alcalde Andrew Ponton, September 27, 1835

Letter, Domingo de Ugartechea to Gonzales Alcalde Andrew Ponton, September 27, 1835

In 1835, Texans learned that Santa Anna had abolished the Constitution of 1824 and centralized authority in Mexico City. Facing a new dictatorship, it became clear to many Texans that the only road to travel now was one of revolution. Most Texans understood the enormous odds they faced, including a standing Mexican army that had far more men and resources than their own poorly equipped volunteer militias.

The first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired at Gonzales on October 2, 1835. Mexican soldiers had arrived in September on a routine mission to reclaim a government issued cannon loaned to settlers for protection against Native Americans. The colonists refused to give it back. As a result, the Mexicans sent a larger force but were met with a defiant "come and take it" as citizens fired at the troops forcing the Mexican soldiers to withdraw. The following month Texans hauled the cannon to San Antonio to serve the newly founded "army of the people."

This letter dated September 27 from military commander of Coahuila y Tejas Domingo Ugartechea to Andrew Ponton, chief executive and judge of Gonzales, lays out the terms under which the Mexican army would be taking the cannon. According to Ugartechea, “The afore-cited cannon being the property of the military jurisdiction, I have ordered Lieutenant Don Francisco Castañada to march to that place with a hundred cavalry for no other purpose than to receive it from you and bring it to this city, which transfer I do not doubt will effect spontaneously without necessitating the use of force, in which case you will bear the sole responsibility for everything that happens.”

Download the PDF to read the entire letter in Spanish and English.
icon Letter, Domingo de Ugartechea to Gonzales Alcalde Andrew Ponton, September 27, 1835 (16.49 kB)


Letter, Domingo de Ugartechea to Gonzales Alcalde Andrew Ponton, September 27, 1835
LENDER: Bexar Archives, The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: November 2014, second floor

Fruit bowl, 1850

Fruit bowl, 1850

The development of cotton and sugar cultivation in antebellum Texas led to the establishment of large plantations in East Texas, from the Red River down to the Gulf of Mexico. By 1860, 27 percent of the population owned enslaved workers. Most of these had small-scale plantations and owned fewer than five individuals. Less than one percent of plantation owners owned more than 100 slaves each, but it was this "planter aristocracy" that produced 90 percent of the state's cotton allowing them to wield political, economic, and social power in Texas.

In 1839, Holland Coffee (1807—1846) married Sophia Sutterfield Aughinbaugh (1815–1897) and began building their two-story plantation home, Glen Eden, along the Red River in 1843. When Coffee died in 1846, he left Glen Eden (5,000 acres and 19 slaves) to Sophia. The plantation grew under Sophia and her next husband, George Butt. The wealth they enjoyed at the expense of their forced laborers allowed Sophia and George to make the plantation a showplace of North Texas. Sophia ordered fine furnishings and other luxury items, like this china fruit bowl, from New Orleans. She had orchards and vineyards planted, had a greenhouse tended to year round by two slaves, and even kept a flock of peacocks on the lawns of Glen Eden.

Today, Glen Eden lies under present-day Lake Texoma. The house was dismantled in 1942, and the lake built on top of the site in 1944.


Fruit bowl, 1850
LENDER: The Glen Eden Collection, The Sherman Museum, Sherman
BORROWED UNTIL: April 2016, second floor

Flyer, Woman's Rally July 4th at Speights' Bridge, 1915–1919

Flyer, Woman’s Rally July 4th at Speights’ Bridge, ca. 1915–1919

March marks the 101st anniversary of the March 3, 1913 suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. More than 5,000 suffragists came together to demand the right to vote. The movement extended to Texas where women raised awareness for their cause by hosting community rallies, like the one featured in the flyer seen here. Men, women, and children of all ages were invited to a picnic dinner to eat "fried whicken" (we hope they meant chicken) and to hear a speech by Minnie Fisher Cunningham, president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association from 1915-1919.

After Texas women gained the right to vote in the July 26, 1918 primary elections, over 386,000 women registered to vote—in just 17 days. The Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote nationally was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in 1920.


Flyer, Woman's Rally July 4th at Speights' Bridge, 1915–1919
LENDER: Jane Y. McCallum Papers (AR.E.004), 1889-1957, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: September 2014, second floor

 

George Hockley’s sword, 1830s

George Hockley’s sword, ca. 1830s

When George Hockley (1792–1854) first met Sam Houston in Washington D.C. during the early 1820s, neither man could have predicted that one day they would be fighting together for Texas independence. Houston was a Congressional representative from Tennessee, Hockley was working as a clerk in the commissary division of the War Department, and Texas was a state of Mexico.

When Houston was elected the Governor of Tennessee in 1827, Hockley moved with him and then followed Houston to Texas after Houston was named commander-in-chief of the Texas army in 1835. Hockley was appointed his chief-of-staff and headed up the artillery division at San Jacinto. Hockley was also in charge of the famed Twin Sisters cannon (two six pound canons on one carriage) during the battle.

Hockley carried this 39” sword at San Jacinto. The sword was made by Nathan Starr, an arms and sword maker who helped supply American troops with weapons during the War of 1812.

Hockley and Houston continued their friendship following the revolution. Houston appointed him colonel of ordnance on December 22, 1836, and secretary of war on November 13, 1838, and again on December 23, 1841. Hockley County was named in his honor in 1876.


George Hockley’s sword, 1830s
LENDER: Star of the Republic Museum, Washington
BORROWED UNTIL: March 2015, second floor

Saddle, 1875-1880

Saddle, ca. 1875-1880

Robert F. Tackaberry opened a saddlery in Fort Worth in the early 1850s and operated it until his death in October 1881. Though little is known about Tackaberry, the quality of his work is reflected in his pieces that are housed in museums and collections today. His name is stamped into the leather of a saddle currently on display with other items representative of the cattledrives.

During this period, Fort Worth was an ideal location for a saddlery shop. For drivers herding their cattle up the Chisholm Trail to railheads in Kansas, Fort Worth was the last major stop for rest and supplies. Between 1866 and 1890, more than four million head of cattle were driven through Fort Worth, earning it the nickname “Cowtown.”

The arrival of the railroad in the 1870s transformed Fort Worth from a rest stop along the cattle trail to the finish line. Cattle pens were constructed and the city became the shipping point for livestock. Shortly thereafter, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo began in 1886.

Today, visitors to Fort Worth can watch Texas cowhands (called drovers) drive longhorn down East Exchange Avenue in the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive. Created as part of the city’s sesquicentennial, drovers don authentic 19th century clothing and ride atop period saddles, recounting a time when herds charged their way through the streets of Fort Worth.


Saddle, 1875-1880
LENDER: Dr. Gianfranco Spellman, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: February 2015, third floor

José Enrique de la Peña narrative, 1836-38

José Enrique de la Peña narrative

William Barrett Travis was just 26 years old when he died defending the Alamo on March 6, 1836. After leaving Alabama in 1831 to start a new life in Texas, Travis clashed with Mexican authorities immediately. When hostilities escalated between Texas and Mexico, Travis joined the Texan forces and was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1835.

In February 1836, along with Jim Bowie, Travis assumed joint command of the Alamo. When the Mexican siege began on February 23, Travis sent out word asking for assistance from the "The People of Texas and All Americans In The World." Unfortunately, distance and terrain made it impossible for reinforcements to reach the Alamo and its defenders in time.

Mexican Lt. Col. José Enrique de la Peña (1805–1841) kept a 109-page field diary during the 1836 Texas campaign that includes accounts of how the Alamo's defenders died. According to de la Peña, "Travis was seen to hesitate, but not about the death he would choose. He would take a few steps and stop, turning his proud face toward us to discharge his shots; he fought like a true soldier. Finally he died, but he died after trading his life very dearly. None of his men died with greater heroism, and they all died. Travis behaved like a hero; one must do him justice, for with a handful of men without discipline, he resolved to face men used to war and much superior in numbers, without supplies, with scarce munitions, and against the will of his subordinates."

 


 

José Enrique de la Peña narrative, 836–38
LENDER: Courtesy José Enrique de la Peña Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: June 2014, second floor

Tchaikovsky’s Concerto #1 by Van Cliburn, 1958

tchaikovsky-competitionOn April 13, 1958, Fort Worth resident Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, an event initially staged by Russian officials to show Soviet cultural strength during the Cold War. Cliburn's triumph came just months after the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first earth-orbiting satellite, and helped tear down cultural barriers by demonstrating the universality of classical music.

Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn began playing the piano at the young age of three under the tutelage of his mother. He made his orchestral debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra when he was 12 years old and went on to study at the prestigious Julliard School in New York following his high school graduation.

Throughout the course of his career, Cliburn received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees, provided scholarships to a number of schools, and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He performed for every president of the United States since Harry Truman as well as for royalty and heads of state around the world.

Cliburn's RCA Victor recording of Tchaikovsky Concerto #1 topped Billboard's chart for more than 37 weeks. It was the first classical LP in history to sell more than one million copies before reaching triple-platinum status (at least 3,000,000 albums sold). In 2009, the Texas State History Museum Foundation honored Van Cliburn with the History-Making Texan Award for his musical achievements and lasting impact on Texas history.

 


 

Tchaikovsky's Concerto #1 by Van Cliburn, 1958
LENDER: Texas Music Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: December 2014, third floor

"Grey Goose” 78 RPM by Lead Belly, 1950s

GreyGoose

Huddie Ledbetter (1888-1949) left the family farm in Harrison County when he was 13 years old to work in minstrel shows, a combination of music and comedy skits. While performing in Shreveport, Dallas, and Fort Worth he met famed bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, who helped Ledbetter learn to play the 12–string guitar.

Ledbetter was convicted of murder in 1918 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He earned his famous nickname, "Lead Belly" during this stretch. One story suggests it was because he was shot in the stomach, another because of his furious work pace while on a chain gang. Released in 1926, he found himself behind bars again in 1930, this time at the Angola state prison in Louisiana, on a charge of assault with attempt to murder.

In Angola he was discovered by Texas folklorists John and Alan Lomax who were recording prison songs for the Library of Congress. After his release from prison, Lead Belly was able to tour with the Lomaxes where he gained fame on the folk circuit and recorded several songs.

His most popular recording, "Goodnight Irene," was re-recorded and released by the Weavers during the 1950s. This recording of "Grey Goose" was done with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston.

 


 

"Grey Goose" 78 RPM by Lead Belly, 1950s
LENDER: Courtesy Texas Music Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: November 2014, third floor

Sferics radio, 1953-54

SfericsRadio2013Prior to the 1940s, weather forecasting was as unpredictable as the weather itself. While forecasting made advances during World War II, storm warnings were often delayed in reaching the public due to wartime secrecy. Tired of relying on undependable methods, Dan Braman set out to create an inexpensive storm-warning radio for Texas ranchers.

Braman, a fourth-generation member of the O'Connor ranching family of Victoria, set up a radio manufacturing company in San Antonio. Sferics Inc., a play on the word atmospherics, produced the SF1-1 model radio, with an AM radio dial on the left-hand side and a large square meter with an area labeled 'Severe' on the right. To operate as a storm alert, owners switched the radio to 'Alert' mode and tuned into an unoccupied frequency. The radio remained quiet until static, triggered by lightning, raised the voltage beyond the trip point, causing the radio to emit a screeching noise to signal an oncoming storm.

Unfortunately, electrical outages were often a better alarm than the radio itself. The radio did not find a suitable market niche and was viewed as a failure by its creators.

 


 

Sferics radio, 1953-54
LENDER: Donald Wright and Douglas Wright, Members of Texas Antique Radio Club, Canyon Lake
BORROWED UNTIL: November 2015, third floor

Suffrage Victory Map, March 1919

suffrage-victory-mapWomen's suffrage in Texas found little support in the Republic and Early Statehood periods. But that began to change in the late 1800s. From 1893 to 1896, the Texas Equal Rights Association served as one of the state’s first women’s suffrage organizations, peaking curiosity about the issue of women’s rights.

By the turn of the twentieth century, women’s clubs began to multiply in Texas cities and towns. They were an outlet for educated women, forming ready-made organizations for political action. Following the formation of the Equal Franchise Society in San Antonio in 1912 and the revival of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association the next year, women throughout the state formed franchise organizations. Members held frequent meetings, sponsored public lectures, and distributed large quantities of literature on suffrage, stimulating interest throughout the state.

Texas suffragists continued to push the state legislature to pass a bill that would grant women voting rights in Texas primary elections. On March 26, 1918, women’s primary suffrage was signed into Texas law. The following year, Texas became the ninth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting full voting rights to women nationwide.

This map shows the voting rights granted to individual states before the Nineteenth Amendment. States in black had full suffrage, states with stars had primary suffrage, and dotted states had presidential suffrage.

 


 

Suffrage Victory Map, March 1919
LENDER: Jane Y. McCallum Papers (AR.E.004),. 1889-1957, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: March 2014, second floor

Lyndon Johnson of Blanco County Flyer, 1941

LBJ-Case-3-4-1Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Lyndon Johnson became the 36th president of the United States. As a transformative leader who was reelected in 1964 on his own candor, you might be surprised to learn that this successful presidential bid was not the most important election of his career. Rather, the 1941 senate campaign that Johnson lost proved that he was a political force to be reckoned with on both the state and national stages.

Following the death of Senator Morris Shepard in April 1941, a special election was scheduled for June to fill his seat. With polls giving Johnson only five percent of the vote, he faced a fierce race against Attorney General Gerald C. Mann, Congressman Martin Dies, and Governor Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, who proved to be Johnson’s major competition.

Backed by President Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson steadily gained on his opponents. By Election Day, a confident Johnson led the polls by 5,000 votes. With victory in sight, Johnson’s campaign manager, future governor John Connally, advised election officials to report their numbers. This critical error informed O’Daniel’s team of the number of votes needed to steal the election. In a last-minute upset, Johnson lost the election to Governor O’Daniel by 1,311 votes after late elections returns from East Texas turned up. When the senate seat opened up again in 1948, Johnson remembered his earlier mistake and made sure he won.

 


 

Lyndon Johnson of Blanco County flyer, 1941
LENDER: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: Displayed on the museum's 3rd floor through October 2014

Pilot's Flight Log, 1942-1943

pilotbook id

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the country was faced with a shortage of pilots. Nearly simultaneously, two efforts were organized to recruit female pilots to overcome this shortage and to free male pilots for combat duty.The United States Army Air Forces created the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) to ferry planes for the Air Transport command. This unit trained at New Castle Army Air Base in Wilmington, Delaware.

In November 1942 the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) was launched by General Henry "Hap" Arnold, chief of the Army Air Force. That group trained in Houston at the Municipal Airport in deplorable conditions due to wartime rations. When better quarters became available, the women were moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas in early 1943.

In August 1943 the WFTD and the WAFS merged into one command called the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP received approximately 210 hours of flying time, equally divided between PT-17s, BT-13s, and AT-6s. Approximately 285 additional hours were devoted to ground school instruction. Graduates of Avenger Field went on to flying assignments throughout the United States, ferrying a total of 12,650 planes.

Nell Stevenson of Amarillo kept this log book during her eight month training period (September 16, 1942 - May 16, 1943). She operated planes that served as tow targets and went on simulated strafing runs at Biggs Army Air Field in El Paso. Her flight log lists 66 flights.

 


 

Pilot's flight log, 1942-1943
LENDER: Nell Stevenson Bright Papers, The Woman's Collection, Texas Woman's University, Denton
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Kinnison
BORROWED UNTIL: December 2013, third floor

Tom Mathis Military ID Card, February 1, 1944

ID CardDuring World War II, approximately 6,000 American glider pilots flew the skies of the European and Pacific Theaters. Towed by traditional military aircraft, their tether was cut near their landing zone and they glided to any available clear terrain near their target where they offloaded troops, supplies, and military vehicles. They spearheaded all the major invasions, landing behind enemy lines in their unarmed gliders in Sicily, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Bastogne, Rhine Crossing, Luzon in the Philippines, and Burma.

Tom Mathis (1914-2012) enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army in 1940 following an honorable discharge from the National Guard. When the U.S. introduced the glider pilot program in 1941, Staff Sergeant Mathis joined the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) and trained at South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock. Commissioned as a flight officer in the 316th Troop Carrier Group, Mathis flew in the European Theatre participating in Operation Market Garden (September 1944). That mission was the largest airborne operation at the time it was conducted.

Mathis earned the Air Medal "for exceptional performance of an aviation mission under hazardous circumstances." After successfully landing his glider plane in Grave, Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, Mathis assisted a Lieutenant Colonel in guarding captured German soldiers.

 


 

Tom Mathis military ID card, February 1, 1944
LENDER: Tom Mathis's children: Carol Field, Julie Hollocher, Janet Van Oonk, and Tom Mathis, Jr.
BORROWED UNTIL: June 2014, third floor