Planting the Muntz Garden

“It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

Official planning for the Muntz Library Gardens began on December 13, 2008 when Maurine G. Muntz signed a gift agreement to provide funds for “the design and construction of landscaping to enhance the south entrance area to the muntzgarden005Robert R. Muntz Library, including provision for students and faculty gathering area with benches.” Stipulations made in the agreement included setting the start date for December 2008 and completion date as May 2009, proposing the name of the project as the Muntz Library Gardens, and that the naming of the project was subject to approval by the President of the University, and handled consistent with University policy, including identification of the garden on maps and through appropriate signage.

In an early announcement, components of the project included the installation of an ADA grade compliant sidewalk, creation of a patio study area, a water feature, and the addition of ornamental shrubs and Archivesphotos 097trees. The Genecov Group of Tyler served as general contractor, Kyle D. Payne was the project architect. Project progress meeting notes reveal that the removal of select trees and the sidewalk were scheduled for the holiday of January 19, 2009. New sidewalks were poured during the Spring Break of March 2009. Forest colored furniture was selected to match existing furniture around the library, and waterproof GFI electrical outlets were chosen for installation in patio spaces. Stream beds were constructed with large rocks and boulders set into the grout for easier cleaning, and the stream was planned to run under the sidewalks.

Muntz Garden was dedicated on July 24, 2010, “for the enjoyment of the Students, Faculty and Staff of UT Tyler by Maurine Genecov Muntz.”

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Political Games: Playing with the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection


Political Games, the latest exhibit of Tim Anthony Jackson collection materials.

The Tim Anthony Jackson Collection (TAJC) contains a wide variety of materials. Campaign posters, t-shirts, baseball caps, bumper stickers, bobbleheads, buttons, and many other types of political memorabilia make up this enormous collection. Political Games, the latest exhibit on display in the Robert R. Muntz Library contains games from the TAJC. From paddleball games featuring President George W. and H.W. Bush, to PolitiCards playing cards, this exhibit offers a look into the lighter side of political memorabilia.

This blog post examines three board games in the Political Games display: Watergate: The Game of Political Intrigue (1973), the Karter Peanut Shell Game (1978), and Flush!: The All-American Tax Game (1994).

watergate002Watergate: The Game of Political Intrigue

Published in 1973 by G. Neal and Politico Games of Redondo, California, this game has somewhat tenuous ties to the Watergate scandal. The object of the game is to control enough electoral votes to win a presidential election. Political parties available to the player include Democans, Republicrats, Peoples, Labor, Bourgeoise, or Proletariat.

After players select their party, they roll dice to move around the board. The game board features a U.S. map in the center with electoral vote numbers printed within each state outline. Paths of game spaces wind around the central map. The map does not come into play, and merely reminds players how many electoral votes a state contains, information also provided on State Spaces. Electoral votes may be bought with “politico notes” by players after landing on State Spaces. watergate001

Players landing on Opportunity Spaces may choose to “wiretap” an opponent, which results in their loss of votes, money, or both, unless they produce a Connection Card, that allows the opponent to keep their electoral votes. Spaces in play are divided into regions: Russia, China, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. Players landing on spaces in these regions are subject to region themed actions. In “Latin America” it is possible to land on a space where “Revolution Causes Your Backers To Lose Their Copper Mine,” and you  “Lose $350,000.” In “Africa” a player might “Gain Control of Diamond Mine Leases In South Africa,” which will add $450,000 to their campaign.

After obtaining the predetermined number of electoral votes (which depends on the number of players), “the apparent winner must roll the dice one more time. If the apparent winner rolls a seven or an eleven the apparent winner must give all of his votes back to the Registrar of Voters as investigation shows that his campaign was filled with wiretapping, fraud, and coverups so obvious that the party must resign or be impeached.”  


Karter Peanut Shell Game

Published by Morey & Neely in 1978 , this board game is designed for up to six players, from “teen to umpteens.” The object of the game is to “become president!” and “in accordance with the official Bureaucratic System,… to waste squander, give away or lose all the taxpayer’s Peanut Money.” Unlike the Watergate game, the Karter Peanut Shell Game directly targets a U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, with liberal use of peanut imagery, crude caricatures of Carter, and the Confederate flag, referencing Carter’s Georgia roots.cartergame003

 Players roll dice to move around the board. Landing on a Legislature, Supreme Court, or Cabinet space results in drawing a corresponding card. These cards require players to advance or go back spaces, or receive or pay “Peanut Notes.” Players can take the Panama Canal detour through the middle of the board and lose big money by landing on Swindler’s Swamp, Sabotage Slough, or Panama’s Golden Toll Lake. This portion of the game refers to the Torrijos-Carter Treaties that were ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1978, eventually giving control of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama.

“The winner and president shall be the first player to go broke. The remaining players shall be known as poor losers and shall be appointed Goodwill Ambassadors to Taiwan.” The “Goodwill Ambassadors to Taiwan” part is a reference to the normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China and the discontinuance of recognition of the Republic of China based in Taiwan.

This game centers around the loss of taxpayers’ money. Taxation is a perennial concern of the constituents of the United States. The “Peanut Notes” used in this game remind players of who is really hurt by government overspending, the working class. Diversity appears to have not been a concern for the game developers, who only feature Anglos at the center of the notes.


FLUSH!: The All-American Tax Game

FlUSH! was published in 1994 by Flush Enterprises of Fresno, California. Designed for two to six adults, this board game takes aim at Democrat President Bill Clinton. This game centers on taxation and government spending like the Karter Peanut Shell Game. Instead of spending government cash as a U.S. President on pet projects and overseas investing, Flush! focuses on the finances of the average American.

Players roll dice to move around the board on a path of spaces that swirls down toward a central toilet illustration. The object of the game is to be the player with the most money after all players have entered the “Poor House”(the terminal space). Dice is rolled to move around the clintonflush002clintonflush001board. Spaces on the board include Tax & Trivia, Perks-n-Pork, and Government Waste. These spaces require players to draw a corresponding card and answer a trivia question about tax and spending. Correct answers win players $100 in “Flush Bucks,” incorrect answers result in players “Flushing” away $1,000. All “flushed” monies go to the toilet at the center of the board.

Other types of spaces include: Audit, “result[ing] in the player ‘flushing’ the amount indicated (because the I.R.S is ALWAYS right)”, Handout, “result[ing] in the player receiving the amount of money indicated on the card from each of the other players”, Tax, and Fee or Penalty, which require players to “flush” the indicated amount.

The game includes an “Author’s Exhortation: It is our desire that ‘Flush’ will be informative as well as fun. The completion of this game will result in official ‘Flusher’ status. Good luck fellow ‘Flusher’!”

These games represent a small portion of politically themed games held in the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection. They offer glimpses into the popular perception of select United States Presidents, politicians, and government at large. By reading these materials beyond their role as games we are able to identify a few concerns of Americans during three Presidential Administrations.

 Find out about the presidencies of Nixon, Carter, and Clinton at the Political Games Exhibit book list.

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Nursing Department Records Collection Processed


Introductory BSN program brochure

University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) staff recently finished processing the Nursing Department Records collection. A finding aid for researchers is available online through Archon. The collection documents the department’s creation in 1975 on the campus of Texas Eastern University through the development of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, to the initiation of the Master of Science Nursing program. Items of particular interest include program development documents and correspondence, files of faculty members Marian Rowe, Linda Klotz, and Kathy Deardorff, documents created in preparation for the 25th Silver Jubilee Celebration, and 16mm instructional film reels used by Texas Eastern University.

The Nursing Department Records collection contains a diverse selection of media types.In addition to 16mm film reels, there are VHS cassette tapes, 3.5” floppy disks, 35mm color slides, 35mm negatives, many developed photographs, and all manner of print media. A substantial portion of the collection is made up of newspaper articles cut out and collected by Nursing Department members. The subjects of these articles vary from the endeavors of nursing faculty, to program developments, and even student and alumni engagement announcements. Volumes of Here’s News Concerning The University of Texas at Tyler, bound volumes of compiled newspaper articles, covering 1989 to 1996, supplement the individually collected articles.

The origins of Nursing Department programs can be traced through materials found in the Program Development series. Nursing Advisory and Planning Committee minutes reveal the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation of department policy, while curriculum framework and revision papers and course content description drafts illuminate the building blocks of a program. In addition to documentation of expansion on the Tyler campus, there are materials that address planning of the North Tyler Wellness Clinic, and course offerings in Kilgore and Longview.

University of Texas Nursing pins.

This collection is open to the public and University of Texas at Tyler students, faculty, and staff. Interested researchers may stop by the UASC Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, or make an appointment by email at, or by phone at (903)565-5748.

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Preservation of the McKinley Election

1896 McKinley 5.4

With the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection being the largest Special Collection of items here in the Archives, as a consequence it is not completely cataloged and readily available for online records.  But it’s no wonder since the years span from the Cleveland years to today.  As an intern this semester, it has been my duty to identify, preserve, and make notes for all of the items that I come across.  Lately I have been working on the McKinley elections from 1896 and 1900, and not only do I have to describe each piece of memorabilia, but I have to accurately identify what each item formally is.  There was a small time when lapel buttons threw me for a loop, I forgot the official name for stereographs, and the time I nearly spent an hour in research to find that a Forbes lithograph supplement for The Boston Globe was actually an unfolded paper sailor hat (who knew?).  I never cease to be amazed by all of the random ways McKinley was advertised in the political sphere by all of the artifacts that are pulled out.

Typically with campaign buttons, the longest entries are in the notes and preservation suggestions, not only because condition varies from one button to the next, but because there are several buttons that use the same picture of McKinley but differ in only one element such as background or slogan usage. You can’t just say “a button that says McKinley” because that could mean any of twenty that exist. No, you have to say the color, if the lettering is in color, if there’s an American flag design (there’s a lot of those too), or if there is a piece of paper on the inside describing who made that button. So there is actually a lot of detail-oriented information that is necessary in order to distinguish one item from another, especially if they are the same format, like buttons or stereographs.  

It was around the years 1894 and 1896 that political campaign buttons became really popular and mass produced by prominent companies such as The Whitehead & Hoag Company in Newark, New Jersey.  These buttons vary from size to shape and look on the button face.  Cataloging buttons are a little funny because it may also constitute a badge, medallion, or lapel decoration, so you really have to determine what it is.  Pin backs are usually the most common button, and I’ve been fortunate to find that most of these buttons still have their original patent dates on the inside paper on the back of the button.  My favorite button from this campaign would have to be the McKinley gold bug with its wings outstretched.  While the Gold Bug is fun to look at, you really don’t get a sense of its real worth unless you handle it in person.  I thought it was a fixed, non-moving button, but boy was I wrong!  There is a certain level of finesse and craftsmanship that went into this little guy.  In each of the wings are tiny portraits of McKinley and his running mate Hobart, but you also see little notches cut out of the actual tip of the wing.  Apparently, the wings can fold into the actual body of the insect and theses notches are what keep them in place until a tiny lever on the underside releases them into the flying position.  Now mind, this entire pin back button is 1.2 inches, so the inner mechanisms are very small!

1896 McKinley 1.6

Perhaps the most intriguing item (albeit horrifying in this writer’s opinion) are the McKinley soap dolls.  There are two of them in their little decorated white boxes saying “My Papa Will Vote for McKinley”.  The first time I ever opened one of those boxes I was disgusted but utterly fascinated.  Not only is it androgynous, but the smile on their faces were so carefully carved with the head looking slightly to their left.  I didn’t really want to touch them but nevertheless had to in order to get their dimensions.  I also had to double check to verify that they were soap since one of them looked more like beeswax to me, but my suspicions were wrong and soap they were.  These soap dolls are over 100 years old, I’m still a little shocked at how they’ve held up.  Although the feet on one of them has broken off a little, and the necks look a little suspicious to me.

 Soap doll (1) Soap doll (2)

Then there are the items that are the most fun to identify, because you seriously have to dig. But this makes it really fun because it’s like you play detective. The best example for this was the Forbes Lithograph paper hat. Now just by the way that sounds, it would seem obvious to identify what it is. But the way that I found it in the box, it was folded up into a square and once opened up completely, it’s a large rectangle. Just by looking at it, you would never really think of it as being a paper hat by the way it’s printed. So after about an hour exploring the history of the Forbes Lithograph company and anything related to “The Boston Sunday Globe”, I eventually stumbled upon what I was looking for on an auction website that had it already folded into its natural hat shape. There is always such a great sense of accomplishment that goes with this (that may or may not include a Rocky-fist to the sky). It is a little misleading with the lines “Fold On This Line” yet it was put away as a unassembled artifact, so there arises the question whether to keep it in its unfolded/uncreated state, or to make it into the hat it was intended for. 

McKinley paper hat

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First Ladies in Presidential Campaigns

The University Archives and Special Collections department recently installed a new long-term exhibit, featuring materials from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection of Political Memorabilia. The Tim Anthony Jackson Collection contains over 12,000 political and historical artifacts from over 100 years of U.S. Presidential history, including campaign buttons, posters, banners, bumper stickers, dolls, board games, statues, masks, and campaign literature. The exhibit is on display at the UT Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library.

First Ladies in modern presidential campaigns exhibit

Capturing the Public’s Attention

Mrs. Frances Folsom Cleveland (1886-1889; 1893-1897) was the youngest First Lady in history and the first to be married in the White House. The wedding attracted international attention, with top journalists vying for glimpses of the wedding cake, the bridal train, and the floral displays. White House historians consider Mrs. Cleveland “one of the most popular women ever to serve as hostess for the nation.” The National First Ladies’ Library reports that “Frankie” Cleveland attracted so much attention from admirers and journalists that the president feared for her safety at public events. Her style was so widely emulated that national trends were swayed by mere rumors about her preferences. Much to the Clevelands’ annoyance, Frances’ likeness was used heavily in campaign paraphernalia for the 1888 and 1892 campaigns.

Seventy-five years later, the American public found another First Lady to idolize in Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy (1961-1963). Much like Frances Cleveland, Jackie left an indelible impression on national fashion trends. While Frances Cleveland had attracted an unprecedented level of commercial and media attention, Jacqueline Kennedy’s role in the public eye was so prominent that she became the first presidential spouse to hire her own press secretary. Jackie was bolder than many of her predecessors in the political realm, whether leading a campaign to restore the historic White House, promoting the establishment of a national cultural center, or traveling in support of her husband’s foreign policy aims.

Rise of the Political Family

Jacqueline Kennedy was the first mother to raise youngchildren in the White House since Theodore Roosevelt’s wife Edith (1901-1909). In the wake of the Kennedy administration, the “First Family” played an increasingly prominent role in election campaigns. Presidential couples were varyingly depicted to deliver messages about the candidate’s values, character, and leadership potential. In contrast, campaigns for female presidential and vice-presidential candidates have historically downplayed the role of a prospective “first gentlemen.”

A Candidate in Her Own Right

Since the days of Frances Cleveland, First Ladies have increasingly featured in campaign materials. This display case shows a progression of campaigns featuring First and Second Ladies (the official term for the wife of the Vice President). In some case, wives were not the only women to attract campaign attention. Lillian Gordy Carter, nicknamed “Miss Lillian” by the press, was a popular personality in the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns.

Themes in Electoral Campaigns

Designers of campaign memorabilia often revived successful slogans from years past. Refrains of “move over” and “start packing,” signaling the ouster of an incumbent president, were especially popular. Another recurring slogan, “We don’t want Eleanor, either,” was coined by Republic opponent Wendell Willkie during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third presidential campaign. The slogan was briefly revived against Hillary Clinton, who was frequently compared to Eleanor, and Laura Welch Bush (2001-2009).

Collateral Damage: Negative Portrayals of First Ladies

Like their famous husbands, First Ladies were not immune to public scorn. First Ladies increasingly attracted political and personal criticism as they became more visible in campaigns and administrations. Ranging from mockery about their appearance and fidelity to snide observations about their upbringings, some First Ladies were caricatured merely in association with the White House. Others attracted criticism with a more singular focus. One of the earliest and most vicious smear campaigns was directed at Andrew Jackson’s wife, Rachel, who had failed to obtain a clear divorce from her first husband before marrying Jackson. Eleanor Roosevelt (1933-1945), perhaps the first presidential spouse to claim an active role in politics, was famously criticized for her political ambitions and civil rights activism; Roosevelt’s biographer, Blanche Wiesen Cook, referred to her as “the most controversial First Lady in United States history.” Even relatively innocuous programs like Lady Bird Johnson’s project to beautify the interstate highway system and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign triggered harsh reactions from political opponents.

Perhaps no First Lady has attracted the opposition’s ire like Hillary Rodham Clinton (1993-2001). Hillary was the first presidential spouse to hold a postgraduate degree and have her own professional career before taking up residence in the White House. Promoted by the Clinton campaign as a key advisor in the Clinton administration, Hillary drew stark criticism for her appearance, involvement, and political views. Years before the “Lewinsky scandal” triggered an impeachment trial against her husband, Hillary Clinton was lambasted for her 1993 health care reform initiative and her 1996 book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Want to learn more about the women featured in this exhibit? Check out this reading list from the Muntz Library catalog.

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World War II: Snapshots of Tyler, Texas

In preparation for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, UASC staff put together a special World War II exhibit to highlight American experiences across our special collections. The exhibit is currently located on the 2nd floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library at UT Tyler.

The exhibit features materials from the Judge William Steger papers, a manuscript collection documenting the life and career of Judge William M. Steger of Tyler, Texas. Supporting materials include ephemera representing the World War II home front from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection of Political Memorabilia and rare books from the UASC General Collection.

Preview of World War II Exhibit, February 2014

See the full exhibit in the Robert R. Muntz Library

William Merritt Steger (1920-2006) served as a federal judge over the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for 35 years. The Steger family moved to Tyler in 1953 after President Eisenhower named Steger the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. In recognition of his many years of service to the community of Tyler, the Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Tyler, Texas was renamed in his honor on Friday, May 9, 2008.

While Judge Steger achieved many accolades during his life, the exhibit highlights his tenure as a combat pilot for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) during the Second World War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, William Steger left Baylor University to volunteer for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 31st Fighter Group of the 12th Air Force, Steger flew fifty six combat missions in North Africa, Italy, and the Mediterranean between January 1942 and January 1947.  Steger retired from military service in 1947 at the rank of captain, having received the Air Medal and four Oak Leaf Clusters for distinction in combat.

Unique items on exhibit from the Steger papers include a photograph of Lieutenant Steger in Italy with his British Spitfire, photocopies of contemporary newspaper articles featuring Lieutenant Steger, pilot related ephemera owned by Judge Steger, and annotated books from his personal library. The UASC General Collection is represented by a 1943 copy of the official Naval Aviation manual, donated in memory of Dr. D. E. Ezell, a former Professor of Business and chair of the Department of Marketing and Management at UT Tyler. Selections from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection include Adventures of Captain Marvel: No. 37, a Golden Age comic book advertising war savings stamps, and assorted pins depicting civilian efforts on the home front.

To learn more about the items in this exhibit or the collections they came from, explore our Collections page or visit the University Archives and Special Collections Department (open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

To learn more about the larger historical impact of these themes, check out our recommended reading list in the Muntz Library catalog.

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Remembering JFK

On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States was assassinated in Dallas during a motorcade through the city. Kennedy’s assassination shocked the world, devastated millions, and spawned a wide range of conspiracy theories.

Kennedy was in Texas to give speeches and meet with government leaders, in early preparation for his next presidential campaign. In Dallas, the Presidential motorcade was headed to a luncheon with civic leaders—it was a ten mile drive through the city, where Americans cheered and waved as the President, First Lady, Vice President and his wife, and Texas Governor John Connally drove past.

Shortly after noon the President was shot in the neck and head and by 1:00pm, Kennedy was dead. During the hours following his assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office, becoming President, and police had arrested and charged Lee Harvey Oswald with the fatal shooting of President Kennedy and a patrolman, J.D. Tippit.

In remembrance of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the University Archives and Special Collections Department has created an exhibit, located near the entrance on the second floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library. Selected items from the display can be viewed in the slideshow below.

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The exhibit also features a number of books about President Kennedy, his inauguration, assassination, conspiracies about his death, and the Warren Commission—which created an over 800 page report detailing Kennedy’s assassination. These books can be found in the 3rd floor stacks or Bestseller’s section of the Robert R. Muntz Library. 

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November 22, 2013 · 3:36 pm