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Community History Workshop Series: Preserving Our Past Program Videos

This series is a partnership with The Center for Texas Studies at TCU and is designed to make the public aware of the important, yet often overlooked historical resources around them, and how to preserve them for posterity. The goal of the workshops is to prove that “every person is a historian,” and that they can, by their deeds and actions, preserve a small part of the cultural and historical fabric of the region.

Programs for this series take place on the first Saturday of the months January - May and September - December at 10:30 a.m. in the Tandy Lecture Hall at the Central Library. Information on the next program is available here.

Adele Briscoe Looscan: Daughter of the Republic

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, Dr. Laura McLemore introduces you to the life and work of Texas historian, author, preservationist, and clubwoman, Adele Briscoe Looscan. Not only did Looscan help found the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, but she became the first woman president of the Texas State Historical Association and was active in the Texas Woman’s Press Association. She long advocated for public education and for a state library, archives, and museum.

Dr. Laura McLemore is head of Archives and Special Collections at LSU-Shreveport. She received her PhD from the University of North Texas. Her latest book, Adele Briscoe Looscan: Daughter of the Republic, is the latest release in the Texas Biography Series from the Center for Texas Studies at TCU.

Aviation History of North Texas since 1911

Did you know that the first flight of a powered airplane in Fort Worth took place on January 12, 1911? Hear researcher Bill Morris explain how that moment sparked a 104-year transformation of the local economy. Once dominated by cattle and oil, North Texas is now one of the largest aviation centers in the country. Learn about the remarkable events in commercial and military aviation that happened right in our own backyard.

Bill Morris, a second-generation career Air Force officer, serves as a director for the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. He has completed two successful historical markers applications documenting aviation activities in Fort Worth as part of his extensive research. He regularly shares his expertise through public programs and classes at Tarrant County College.

Building the Dallas Cowboys Archives

When the Dallas Cowboys planned their move from Valley Ranch to their new headquarters at The Star in Frisco, they also arranged to preserve their history. Join us as the first team archivist, Jonathan Thorn, shares his exciting work to organize and document all things Dallas Cowboys – past and present. Don’t miss this inside look at the origins of the collection and the treasures it holds including uniforms and game balls, millions of photographs and documents, hundreds of miles of film, and yes, even one of Tom Landry’s hats.

Jonathan Thorn currently serves as the Dallas Cowboys first archivist. Formerly, he was the Global Corporate Archivist for the Campbell Soup Company in Camden, New Jersey, and has extensive experience preserving audio and video collections at Safe Sound Archive in Philadelphia and at the University of North Texas Music Library in Denton.

Caruso in Cowtown

Famed Italian tenor Enrico Caruso’s first Texas performance was before a crowd of 8,000 gathered in the Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards in 1920. Speaker Ruth Karbach explains how the city attracted Caruso and the excitement over his visit.

Ruth Karbach has worked with the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech, Thistle Hill house museum, and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She is currently an active independent scholar who has contributed to Grace and Gumption: Stories of Fort Worth Women and Celebrating 150 Years: A Pictorial History of Fort Worth.

Collecting Pop Culture: Lessons from the Dr Pepper Museum Staff

We all collect something–stamps, dolls, shoes, video games, etc. Joy Summar-Smith, associate director of the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, and other staff will teach you how to care for any of your precious collections with a special focus on all things Dr Pepper.

Desperados Waiting For a Train: Stories from the Wanted Posters in the Tarrant County College Archives

Tarrant County College District Archivist Tom Kellam shares highlights from the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department collection of wanted posters–including advertisements for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid–dating from 1895 to 1903. He also discusses the re-organization of the archives and provides information on other materials available to researchers at the facility.

Tom Kellam is a Fort Worth native. He served for more than 20 years as senior archivist and librarian in the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Fort Worth Library. Kellam has a master’s degree in history with a certificate in archival administration and a master’s in library science.

Do You Remember Icky Twerp?

Many folks who grew up in the Metroplex during the 1950s and ‘60s fondly remember Bill Camfield’s iconic “Twerp” as the host of “Slam-Bang Theatre.” Camfield began his long television career in 1954, creating programs and characters such as “Nightmare” (Gorgon) and “Fun House” (Mr. Tapioca). Join Bill’s son, Paul, as he presents a behind-the-scenes view of his dad’s career, sharing videos and memories from the family’s archives.

Paul Camfield is director of alumni relations for Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, and served as executive director of the Gillespie County Historical Society in Fredericksburg, Texas, from 1995-2005.

The Evolution of Public Housing in Fort Worth

The library’s own Rene Gomez takes a closer look at the local development of the federal public housing program. In addition to learning the general history of each of the projects in Fort Worth, you’ll hear how the housing authority participated in the war effort and assisted veterans of World War II. Gomez will continue the story through the present including the makeover planned for the Cavile Place neighborhood.

A native of Fort Worth, Gomez is a senior librarian in the Genealogy, Archives and Local History unit of the Fort Worth Library. He holds a master’s degree from the University of North Texas and has been with the library since 2001.

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Hispanic Texas: Genealogical Stewpot

During the periods of Spanish and Mexican governance, Texas’ population was an ethnically diverse mix of Native Americans, Spanish, French, Anglos and African-Americans. These groups, however, are often understood through the prism of government bureaucracy, Catholic clergy and the military. Learn how to locate information about your pre-republic ancestors and understand their lives within the context of the times.

Janet Khashab, a third-generation American of Mexican descent, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UT Austin and is accredited by the International Commission for the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is a past president of the Dallas Genealogical Society and served as secretary for HOGAR de Dallas.

Historic Texas Elections

Texas has a long an interesting election history—from the time of one party Democratic elections, through the development of competitive parties, to the 21st century, when Republicans have dominated. Dr. Riddlesperger will discuss that rich heritage and consider how the 2014 elections might fit into an assessment of Texas politics during the 21st century.

Since his arrival at TCU in 1982, political science professor Dr. James Riddlesperger has taught countless students about American politics. For his efforts, he was named TCU Honors Professor of the Year in 2012. He specializes in the presidency and Texas politics and has co-authored and edited several books on the subject including Lone Star Leaders: Power and Personality in the Texas Congressional Delegation and Special Focus: Balance of Power between Congress and the President. He is a frequent consultant to the news media concerning politics and elections.

Let’s Go to the Park: A Developmental History of Fort Worth’s Public Parks

Have you enjoyed an afternoon in the park lately? Join us as historian and preservation consultant Susan Allen Kline explains the evolution of Fort Worth’s public spaces from their late 19th century beginnings into the thriving parks we know today. Participants will learn about the personalities who influenced development and the national trends that affected park growth, such as the recreation movement, segregation, the Great Depression and the post-war boom.

Kline has successfully nominated 28 Fort Worth properties to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Ridglea Theatre, the Van Zandt Cottage, the Oakhurst Historic District and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. She became interested in the history of the city’s park system through her work with the garden, resulting in her first book, Fort Worth Parks. In 2012, she received a citation of honor from the Texas Society of Architects for her contributions to the field of historic preservation in Texas.

Local History Uploaded: Preserving Fort Worth Online

You can help raise awareness of historic places in the Fort Worth area. Rene Gomez highlights Into the Past, an upcoming library project merging historic photographs with recent images to illustrate changes to familiar locales. He also discusses the National Register of Historic Places WikiProject, another photography collaboration.

A native of Fort Worth, Gomez is a senior librarian in the Genealogy, Archives and Local History unit of the Fort Worth Library. He holds a master’s degree from the University of North Texas and has been with the library since 2001.

Machine Gun Kelly’s Kidnapping of Charles Urschel, the Richest Man in Oklahoma

In 1933 the gangster held the millionaire captive for a ransom at his in-law’s farm near Decatur in Wise County, Texas. Dr. T. Lindsay Baker will explore the details of the kidnapping, Kelly’s conviction for the crime, and his imprisonment at Leavenworth and Alcatraz.

Dr. T. Lindsay Baker is a professor in the social sciences department at Tarleton State University, and has written many books along the way. Dr. Baker’s newest book, Gangster Tour of Texas, tells the stories of 16 different criminal enterprises, beginning in 1918, when alcohol prohibition was started in Texas, to the closing of illegal casinos in Galveston, in 1957.

Misfortunes in the River Bottoms: Victorian Era in Fort Worth

Rene Gomez recounts some of the strange, disturbing events that occurred in the Trinity River Bottoms area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Using articles from local newspapers housed at the library, he sheds light on the dark side of city life.

A native of Fort Worth, Gomez is a senior librarian in the Genealogy, Archives and Local History unit of the Fort Worth Library. He holds a master’s degree from the University of North Texas and has been with the library since 2001.

My Corner Bookstore

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Dr. Alex Hidalgo, examines the work of a rare book dealer in Fort Worth who specializes in early publications on the Americas. Hidalgo will explain the importance of preserving the legacy of Spanish American printing and the history of collecting these unique specimens. Book lovers and history fans alike will want to seize the opportunity to hear this special program and to see remarkable examples of books from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Dr. Alex Hidalgo is a graduate of the University of Arizona. In 2013, he became Assistant Professor of Latin American History at TCU. He specializes in Mesoamerican ethnohistory, manuscript and print culture, history of collecting, and the history of cartography.

Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement

Baylor Professor Robert Darden co-founded the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, catalogue, preserve, and make accessible gospel music’s fast-vanishing vinyl legacy. With nearly 8,500 “sides” digitized to date, the collection will be featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Darden will discuss the history of gospel music and play samples for Black History Month.

Robert Darden is an associate professor at Baylor University. He is the author of two dozen books and numerous articles. His most recent work, Nothing But Love in God’s Water, was released in October 2014.

Oral History, Black History, and Democracy in America

As part of our Black History Month celebrations, TCU assistant professor of history Max Krochmal talked how oral history projects began and their contributions to the history of the South and U.S. race relations. Krochmal explores forgotten themes in the history of Fort Worth’ black community and introduces the Texas Communities Oral History Project, a program that aims to preserve the history of the civil rights movement in Fort Worth.

Speaker Max Krochmal works at the intersection of modern U.S., African American, Chicano/a-Latino/a, and labor histories. A native of Reno, Nevada, he attended UC-Santa Cruz and Duke University. His current book project follows a diverse group of ordinary people as they built multiracial political, civil rights, and labor coalitions in mid-twentieth century Texas.

Preserving Landscape and Legacy at Clark Gardens

Originally a mesquite pasture, Clark Gardens has grown into a world-class attraction through the hard work, determination and imagination of the Clark family. Under the watchful eye of octogenarian owner Max Clark, daughter Carol Clark Montgomery is guiding this treasure into the future, while honoring its rich heritage. Hear firsthand how she meets the challenges of preserving this beautiful garden with practicality, creativity and a sense of humor.

In 1972, Carol Clark Montgomery, executive director of the Clark Gardens Botanical Park, moved to the 50-acre site near Mineral Wells with her parents, Bill and Max Clark. After graduating from Tarleton State University, she worked in the medical profession, owned a small business and volunteered in the community. She returned to the family business at Clark Gardens in 2008.

Remembering Fort Worth’s Iconic Restaurants

Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy discusses Fort Worth’s long history of beloved eateries and the efforts made by owners and others to preserve their legacy.

Kennedy is a Fort Worth native who began his reporting career covering local high school football when he was 16. He’s written more than 1,000 weekly dining columns and more than 3,000 columns on news and politics. If you don’t like what he says about politics, you might try reading his opinions about barbecue.

Sacred Sanctuaries: African-American Churches in Fort Worth

As in other areas across the nation, the social life of African Americans in Fort Worth derived from the church. This program will explain how local congregations organized, built sanctuaries, and developed a broader community within the city.

Speaker Jabari Jones is a librarian assistant in the Genealogy, History and Archives Unit of the Fort Worth Library and is pursuing a master’s degree in public history at University of Texas Arlington.

A Tale of Two Families: The Cheney-Sanders History in Fort Worth

Come with us on a journey into the Garden of Eden neighborhood of Fort Worth. In commemoration of African American History Month, author Drew Sanders shares the engaging story of his Cheney and Sanders ancestors’ path to Texas and the freedman’s community they established from his new book, The Garden of Eden. Drawing from personal interviews and exhaustive research, Sanders recalls the joys and sorrows of life in the Garden from its early days as a flourishing farm to its 21st century role as the city’s first African American historic and cultural landmark district.

Drew Sanders is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University and retired after a thirty-eight year career with Texas Industries. The Garden of Eden: The Story of a Freedman’s Community in Tarrant County, Texas is the culmination of a lifelong interest in family and local history.

Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society: Preserving the Past, In the Present, For the Future

In celebration of Black History Month, learn the story behind the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society (TCBHGS) from executive director Brenda Sanders-Wise as she recounts the efforts of founder Lenora Rolla and others who not only recognized the need to preserve Fort Worth’s African American history but made it happen. She also discusses the society’s insightful educational programs and museum exhibits, its growing research collection and future plans for preserving Fort Worth’s cultural heritage.

After careers in business and television, Fort Worth native Sanders-Wise is now dedicated to local history and preservation. In addition to her leadership role with TCBHGS, she serves on the city Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission.

Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI)

Madeline Moya, Managing Director at Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) in Austin shares what TAMI is doing to collect Texas history and culture recorded on film and how you can digitize, preserve, and protect your original films for generations to come.

Madeline Moya oversees the agency’s film catalog, collections development, and website administration. She previously worked in records management for Travis County, in the film department of the Harry Ransom Center, and spent a decade as a record store clerk.

Touching a Sensitive Date: The JFK Tribute in Fort Worth

The JFK Tribute in Fort Worth commemorates a notable event that happened on a day the world remembers as horrific. Memories of the events that took place in Dallas on November 22, 1963, are still painful and yet the Fort Worth story is one that deserves to be told. Speaker Andy Taft will explain how the JFK Tribute team approached the story, addressed Dallas’ sensitivities and reached beyond the bronze sculpture to make history come alive.

Taft joined Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. as president in 2003. He brings years of downtown development experience, including projects in Tampa, Florida, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

Wanderings in Texas Cemeteries, and What We Might Learn from Them

Enrich your next visit to a historic Texas cemetery with this illustrated tour from Dr. Kenneth Hafertepe. He explains how these “cultural landscapes” have evolved over time by examining the materials and craftsmanship behind markers and the placement of graves. Hafertepe discusses simple hand-made markers of wood, stone or cement and chart the rise of professional “Marble Men” in Texas who eventually offered customers imported stone as an option. Along the way, he points out the culturally distinctive features of German, Hispanic and African-American gravestones.

Dr. Kenneth Hafertepe is chair of the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University. He studies American material culture, decorative arts, and historic preservation. He is the author of numerous books and articles on historic buildings including the Smithsonian Castle, the French Legation in Austin, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio.

Last updated: Oct. 19, 2017