New DeGolyer Library exhibit features rare Civil War photographs

DeGolyer Library

New DeGolyer Library exhibit features rare Civil War photographs

Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville.

Pontoon Bridge over Rio Grande River at Brownsville, ca. 1866, Louis de Planque (attributed) Robin Stanford Collection. View facing Levee Street in Brownsville during Federal occupation. African American soldier from 114th U.S. Colored Troops in the foreground.

A new exhibit at SMU’s DeGolyer Library features rare Civil War images of African American slave life, Southern battlefield scenes and camp life for Union and Confederate soldiers.

“The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection” (through March 15, 2013) represents the first time the more than 300 photographs and stereoscope views have been exhibited.

Robin Stanford of Houston has spent the last 40 years assembling the collection. Its strengths include pre-war and wartime Southern views by local photographers and views by northern photographers who documented Union-occupied areas of the South. Her collection also includes images of the daily life of soldiers at mealtime, playing cards and writing letters. Extremely rare Texas Civil War images also are included.

The highlights include:

  • Pre-war slave life with photographs of slave quarters, workshops and plantation life.
  • Images of a damaged Ft. Sumter, South Carolina, after Union troops surrendered and evacuated in 1861.
  • Battlegrounds and scenes rarely photographed, particularly in Southern locations such as Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • African American soldiers and regiments.
  • Union soldiers in Brownsville, Texas, guarding the U.S. border.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Library hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A 95-page catalog of the exhibit, The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection, is available for $20. The catalog was created by exhibit curator Anne Peterson.

For more information, visit the DeGolyer Library homepage or call 214-768-2253.

Written by Nancy George

> See more photos from the exhibit at SMU News

February 12, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 21, 2012

Ilona Romule: Creamer Horse (courtesy of Ferrin Gallery)

Art smart: Ceramicist Ilona Romule will be at SMU Monday, Sept. 24, to give the Meadows Visiting Artist Lecture. Romule’s unique work is simultaneously two-and three-dimensional: She draws figures on the sides of her pots and sculpts them partially emerging from the pots as three-dimensional forms. She is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and has participated in international competitions and exhibitions. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Greer Garson Screening Room of the Owen Arts Center and is free to the public.

SYZGY: The Meadows new music ensemble SYZGY will open its 2012-13 season Friday, Sept. 28 with a program featuring work by composer John Adams and led by ensemble director Matt Albert. The strings, winds and percussions can be heard at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Raúl Coronado

“We the Pueblo of Texas”: The Gilbert Lecture Series kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, with an event focused on Latino studies and hosted by Raúl Coronado. Coronado is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, a past resident of SMU as a Bill and Rita Clements Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America, and the author of A World Not to Come: A History of 19th-Century Latino Writing, Print Culture, and the Disenchantment of the World. Coronado is currently working on a study of the historical emergence of queer Latino/a subjectivities; hear all of his insights in DeGolyer Library.

True to Texas: Y’all are in for a treat, because the 2012 State Fair of Texas begins Friday, Sept. 28 and runs daily through Saturday, Oct. 21. The fair kicks off with a ceremony at 7 a.m. and a parade through downtown Dallas at noon. Highlights include the Reliant Starlight Parade, the State Fair Auto Show, livestock shows, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Chevrolet Main Stage featuring artists like Kellie Pickler and Kevin Fowler, and all the fried food your heart desires. General admission is $16; call 214-565-9931 for more information.

Faculty artistry: Chee-Yun Kim and Alessio Bax are more than SMU faculty members: They are also internationally renowned musicians who have won the Avery Fisher Career Grant. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, Chee-Yun will play the violin and Bax the piano as they perform pieces from composers Ferruccio Busoni and Beethoven as part of the Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series. The performance is in Caruth Auditorium and costs $7 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

September 21, 2012|Calendar Highlights|

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 13, 2012

Graphic poetry: Together the Meadows Museum and Bridwell Library acquired a copy of Picasso’s Vingt Poëmes. This is one of fifteen deluxe copies of the book itself and features 20 sonnets by famed Spanish poet Luis de Góngora y Argote; complementing the sonnets are 19 full-page etched female heads. The artist’s book is available for viewing in the Meadows Museum Sept. 16, 2012  Jan. 13, 2013. This exhibit is free for students, faculty and staff.

Rock the vote: Join SMU as we celebrate the U.S. Constitution in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. Participants will have the opportunity to win prizes for their Constitution knowledge as well as register to vote for the 2012 Presidential election Nov. 6. Don’t miss this opportunity – remember, every vote counts! For more information, contact Lisa O’Donnell or 214-768-9206.

Bon voyage: If the travel bug has bitten your students, remind them to stop by the SMU Abroad Fair. SMU offers 148 study abroad programs in 50 countries. At the fair, students can find out the requirements for study abroad and hear from past abroad students about their experiences. Travel to the Owen Arts Center Lobby from 11 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 for all the information.

Local borders: Join Anthony Mora, associate professor of history, American culture, and Latina/o studies at the University of Michigan, as he discusses the New Mexican towns Las Cruces and La Mesilla, and how they shaped Mexicans’ historic role in the United States. Las Cruces was built north of the border while La Mesilla was built south of the border, creating conflicting views of the relations of race and nation. This topic is the focus of his recent book, Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848-1912. His lecture, “Local Borders: Two Towns and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary,” will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012,  in DeGolyer Library. and is presented by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. It’s free and open to the public.

Sweet symphony: The 2012-13 season of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra opens Friday, Sept. 21, with 19th- and 20th-century works. The program includes Symphony No. 1: Holocaust by Simon Sargon, Meadows professor of composition, with guest artist Kelly Markgraf, noted American baritone. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff. Call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS for more information. (Below, photo courtesy Meadows School of the Arts.)

September 13, 2012|Calendar Highlights|

Research: New insight into a 19th-century fossil feud

In the late 1800s, a flurry of fossil speculation across the American West escalated into a high-profile national feud called the Bone Wars. Drawn into the spectacle were two scientists from the Lone Star State: geologist Robert T. Hill, now acclaimed as the Father of Texas Geology, and naturalist Jacob Boll, who made many of the state’s earliest fossil discoveries.

Hill and Boll had supporting roles in the Bone Wars through their work for one of the feud’s antagonists, Edward Drinker Cope, according to a new study by SMU’s Louis Jacobs, a vertebrate paleontologist in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College.

The study by Jacobs expands knowledge about Cope’s work with Hill and Boll. It also unveils new details about the Bone Wars in Texas that Jacobs deciphered from 13 letters written by Cope to Hill. Jacobs discovered the letters in an archive of Hill’s papers at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The letters span seven years, from 1887 to 1894.

Hill, who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, not only provided Cope with fossils of interest but also shared geological information about fossil locales.

Boll, who was a paid collector for Cope — as was the practice at the time — supplied the well-known paleontologist with many fossils from Texas. More than 30 of the taxa ultimately named by Cope were fossils collected by Boll.

“Fossils collected by Boll and studied by Cope have become some of the most significant icons in paleontology,” said Jacobs, president of SMU’s Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. His study, “Jacob Boll, Robert T. Hill, and the Early History of Vertebrate Paleontology in Texas,” is published in the journal Historical Biology as part of the conference volume of the 12th International Symposium on Early Vertebrates/Lower Vertebrates.

Jacobs describes the late 1800s as a period of intense fossil collecting. The Bone Wars were financed and driven by Cope and his archenemy, Othniel Charles Marsh. The two were giants of paleontology whose public feud brought the discovery of dinosaur fossils to the forefront of the American psyche.

Over the course of nearly three decades, however, their competition evolved into a costly, self-destructive, vicious all-out war to see who could outdo the other. Despite their aggressive and sometimes unethical tactics to outwit one another and steal each other’s hired collectors, Cope and Marsh made major contributions to the field of paleontology, Jacobs said.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

September 11, 2012|Research|

Calendar Highlights: Closing attractions for Commencement 2012

As Spring 2012 finals end and SMU gears up for its 97th Commencement celebration, take note of three remarkable exhibitions that end this weekend. See them before they’re gone:

A portrait of Charles Dickens wearing a tartan waistcoat, photographed by G. Herbert Watkins in 1858

• DeGolyer Library honors the 2012 bicentennial of a literary titan with Charles Dickens: The First 200 Years, featuring more than 200 items from the Stephen Weeks Collection – including all of Dickens’ major works in original editions, as well as prints, drawings, letters, later editions, piracies, translations, adaptations, and advertising ephemera. The exhibit runs through Saturday, May 12, and is free and open to the public.

DeGolyer is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and will observe special Saturday hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 12 for visiting SMU parents – including Stephen Weeks, whose daughter Jennifer will graduate from the University this weekend.

Image from Bridwell Library exhibit of religious books for children at SMU• Bridwell Library explores Bibles, psalms, catechisms, instructional works, moral stories, devotional literature and hymnals written and published specifically for youngsters in Four Centuries of Religious Books for Children, on display in the Bridwell’s Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries through Saturday, May 12.

The event is free and open to the public; check the Bridwell Library homepage for gallery hours. An online version will also be on display for the duration of the exhibition.

A detail from the Pastrana TapestriesMeadows Museum offers unprecedented insight into four 15th-century panels of monumental scale and skill that count among the finest surviving Gothic tapestries in existence. The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries runs through Sunday, May 13.

Featured exclusively at the Meadows is the armor of Duarte de Almeida, the standard-bearer for Afonso V of Portugal, who is depicted prominently in one of the tapestries. Now housed at the Cathedral of Toledo in Spain, Duarte’s armor is the only relatively complete example of period armor that can be directly related to Portugal.

Also on display are 15th- and 16th-century maps lent by SMU’s DeGolyer Library that not only help to relate how world geography was understood around the time of the tapestries’ creations, but also to establish a context for understanding the feats of exploration led by the Portuguese well before Columbus set sail. Check the Meadows Museum homepage for visiting hours.

May 8, 2012|Calendar Highlights|
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