This exhibit is currently on display on the second floor of the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. The Siempre Advisory Committee and the director and staff of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives were charged with “telling the story of Hispanics at Texas A&M” from its earliest years to its current highly regarded standing as one of the nation’s major public research universities.
Shortly before the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opened in 1876, a Texas legislative delegation sent to inspect the new college reported that the school was "intended for all". Making visible the hidden stories of women and their contributions to A&M are the goals of this exhibit. Recent scholarship in women's history has shown that although women everywhere have contributed much more than we have known, the stories of women's accomplishments need to be told more adequately.
The history of African-Americans at Texas A&M University dates to the institution's beginning. African-Americans in the Texas Legislature supported the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1866, which established the A&M College of Texas. Between 1876 and 1963, African-Americans worked at A&M as laborers, maids, custodians and various other support staff. They were, however, prohibited from attending as students and faculty.
The history of African-Americans at A&M has been shaped by decades of racial segregation, quiet desegregation, and attempts to redress historical wrongs. It has been filled with lifelong struggles and determination in fulfillment of a dream that finally opened the doors to A&M in 1963. The past 37 years have been a continuing struggle by African-Americans and A&M to ensure that the dream is kept alive.
This exhibit attempts to explore that complex history through its 125 years. It is only a partial history, as these photographs, texts and historical documents reveal. Much remains uncovered or forever lost. There are no photographs of prejudice or discrimination, or documents detailing exclusion or unfairness. Yet, it is hoped that what is presented here will tell a story of struggle, pride, humility, persistence, dedication, contributions and achievements.
It has often been said in jest that Britain and the US are two nations divided by a single language. In this exhibit, we explore some of the changes that occur when a book crosses the Atlantic and what we learn by comparing such "Transatlantic twins." For the most part, the books selected are by well-known, though not necessarily "famous," twentieth-century British and Irish authors: Walter de la Mare, Roy Fuller, David Garnett, Sean O'Faolain, Theodore Powys, William Trevor, Sylvia Townsend Warner. George Bernard Shaw is the exception here. There is one American author, Budd Schulberg, so we can also ask whether there are features specific to books crossing the Atlantic in different directions.
Phillis Wheatley is considered the first African-American poet, a status which makes her all the more important given that she made her mark in a time when America had few distinct literary voices of any ethnicity. She was brought to this country at the age of eight by slave traders and sold to John Wheatley, a prosperous Boston tailor, who educated her along with his own children. Her charm, quick wit, and an amazing facility for language made her something of a sensation among Boston intellectuals. She wrote her first verses at the age of 13, and in 1773 was taken to England where she was received in the highest circles of the aristocracy.
The Cushing Memorial Library collects books, manuscripts, and other items relating to the life and works of Rudyard Kipling. The core of the collection was acquired by the Library from Dr. A. W. Yeats in the late 1980's. Yeats, who earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Texas in 1961, worked as a book scout for the University of Texas, first under the direction of Fannie Ratchford, then director of the Rare Books Collection, and later for Harry Ransom and the Humanities Research Center. His dissertation was the Kipling Collections in the James McG. Stewart and the University of Texas Libraries: An Appraisal of Resources for Literary Investigation. He also edited the monumental and pioneering Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliographic Catalogue (Toronto: Dalhousie University Press and the University of Toronto Press, 1959), by James McG. Stewart. After receiving his Ph.D., Yeats taught for many years at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
This exhibit explores the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives collection of rare, often overlooked, miniature books!