The Lighter Side of Politics

With the 2016 Presidential election today, we at the UT Tyler Archives and Special Collections Department have set up an exhibit celebrating the campaign trails of past elections from the 1896 election to the most recent 2012 election.  Located on the second floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library, the exhibit showcases a variety of items from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection.  Mr. Tim Anthony Jackson was a local news reporter in Tyler in the late 1970s that collected American political and cultural artifacts.  He unfortunately passed away as a result of a tragic car accident, but his estate has generously donated his collection to the Muntz Library.  The collection contains nearly 4,000 items directly relating to presidential campaigns of the Twentieth Century including everything from buttons, clothing, literature, board games, masks, puppets, post cards, music, and other novelties.

The exhibit is separated into three shelves dedicated to various items on each shelf.  The top shelf shows political toys and whimsical items related to certain candidates.  Unfortunately, there was not enough space to include the Barack Obama Chia pet, items like the Lyndon Johnson and Obama dashboard dolls, Reagan and H.W. Bush monchichi dolls, Jimmy Carter walking peanut toy, an electronic “I Like Ike” Eisenhower elephant, and Jackie and Caroline Kennedy paper dolls are some of the few play items pulled out that are amusing for both children and adults alike, while still creating awareness for the political candidate.    Even the family dog can participate in the political scene by playing with the Bill Clinton or Bob Dole squeaky toy.  Clothing items can also be considered a toy item, especially if they are as comical as the Ronald and Nancy Reagan slippers with them tucked into bed.

The middle shelf of the exhibit is predominantly devoted to political campaign buttons but also include other miscellaneous items such as a horn from the 1896 McKinley parade, a Goldwater soda can, pencils with candidate face erasers, matches, and a Jimmy Carter vinyl record. Political buttons are the most widely recognizable forms of political memorabilia.  Advertising everything from campaign slogans, to portraits, to satirical cartoons, buttons are diverse in size, shape and appearance.  Ribbons with pin backs have also been used to a lesser degree, but still manage to show support to a presidential nominee.  The buttons also highlight other members of the political landscape: those who ultimately lost the election.  These figures include William Jennings Bryan, Adlai Stevenson, and Ross Perot, all of whom are included in the exhibit at least once.

The bottom shelf is dedicated to literature and other various printed materials that aim to spread information regarding the potential candidate.  Some are very straightforward and describe the political stance of the presidential nominee like the pamphlets of Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, and Wilkie that discuss the policies for the nation.  Other text items may be used for entertainment purposes, such as the Hillary Clinton coloring book where you can bring to life the life of the former first lady and current presidential nominee from her childhood to her road to the White House.  There are also the presence of trading and playing cards and the advertisements of bubble gum cigars.  Older items such as postcards and stereographs are also presented along with an LBJ photo advertisement instructing how to vote.

Public reception to the exhibit has been very positive so far and has attracted curiosity what with the presidential election on everyone’s minds.  Some passers-by have left their lasting impressions describing it as “really informative” and “absolutely lovely”.  Most viewers have enjoyed looking at the button display, commenting on their button addiction, how jealous they are, and how much they enjoy the politics.  In regards to one McCain-Palin 2012 button, one viewer jokingly commented “I wonder who the pit bulls with lipstick will support this year!”

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The Inauguration of Dr. Stewart

President James H. Stewart, Jr. with Texas Eastern University medallion and mace. Both were made by Ornamental Castings, Inc. of Bryan, Texas.

President James H. Stewart, Jr. with Texas Eastern University medallion and mace. Both were made by Ornamental Castings, Inc. of Bryan, Texas.

Dr. James H. Stewart, Jr. was our first university president.  The Assistant to the President and Director of Development of North Texas State University was nominated as Tyler State College president at the August 7, 1972 Board of Regents meeting.  Stewart accepted the job and began working with the Board of Regents to plan and develop Tyler State College.  Dr. Stewart served as the University President from 1972 to 1981.  During his tenure the permanent University campus was built, the University name was changed from Tyler State College to Texas Eastern University, and finally joined the University Texas System, to become The University of Texas at Tyler.

Stewart was inaugurated on the sunny Saturday afternoon of March 27, 1976.  The event was planned by an inauguration committee comprised of University faculty, administration, and student representatives.  Several events were held that weekend in conjunction with the inauguration.

The Neil Simon play Plaza Suite was presented by the Texas Eastern University Theatre Arts Department on Thursday the 25 and Friday the 26, directed by faculty member John Callahan and starring University students and community members.

Tour group

Biology faculty Dr. Lynn Sherrod leads tour of the permanent campus.

Tours of the permanent campus were given Saturday morning.  Visitors arrived at the temporary campus on Berta Street and enjoyed coffee and donuts before being bused to the University Boulevard campus.  Tour groups were led through the University Center, Administration, and Science and Mathematics buildings by faculty and administration members.  Additional guides were placed at stations throughout each building and offering information to passing groups.  This was not an open house, tour routes were carefully planned to restricted guest access, as the final touches of construction were not signed off on by the contractor.

Guests mingle at the Sheraton Inn before the delegate luncheon.

Following the campus tours a delegate luncheon  was hosted at the Sheraton Inn.  Guests enjoyed baked ham with jubilee sauce, sweet potatoes, seasoned green beans, and apple pie.  After lunch visiting university delegates and University faculty, staff, and administrators making up the platform party, assembled at the Rose Garden Center on the East Texas Fair grounds in preparation for the inauguration ceremony at 2 PM.

Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra

Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra of Pasadena, Texas, 1975-76 Honor Orchestra of the Texas Music Educators Association

Grand Marshall Dr. Gerald L. Morris led the procession across the street and into Harvey Hall carrying the Texas Eastern University (T.E.U.) mace.  The inauguration was the first occasion where the mace was used.  The 100-piece Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra of Pasadena, Texas provided prelude music and accompanied the processional.

The invocation was given by Dr. William Shamburger, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tyler, and was followed by the introduction of delegates by master of ceremonies Dr. Donald M. Anthony.  Dr. Chester A. Newland, Director of the Federal Executive Institute United States Civil Service Commission, gave the inaugural address titled “Learning for America’s Third Century.”

Dr. Chester A. Newland

Dr. Chester A. Newland, Director of the Federal Executive Institute of the United States Civil Service Commission presents “Learning for America’s Third Century.”

Following Dr. Newland’s inaugural address, Chairman of the Board of Regents C. Quentin Abernathy commenced the investiture of Stewart as and presented him with the T.E.U. medallion.  President Stewart set out his vision for the future of the University with his address, “Texas Eastern University: Its Mission and Challenge.”  Dr. Wayne H. McCleskey, Marvin United Methodist Church minister gave the benediction and the recessional was performed by The Sam Rayburn High School Symphony Orchestra.

The inaugural ball was held that night in Harvey Hall.  Attendees to the black-tie affair danced the night away to the music of the Hugh Fowler Orchestra of Dallas.

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All images are digitized photographs from the James H. Stewart, Jr. Papers collection.

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Digitizing the Intercoms and Forums

The reaction I get when I tell people I work down in the University Archives is always an interesting one. Although some look at you like you swallowed a goat whole, most are just curious though and ask what it is that I do. One person in the midst of this asked me about the impact of technology and why even bother with books and papers when anyone can look up information from their laptops or smartphones. It really is not that much of an issue though. We use technology all the time in archives. I will admit, technology and I have had a complicated relationship over the years (I’m pretty sure it started with floppy disks. I’m sorry it had to end the way it did by the way), and the idea of archivists and technology mixing sounds a little odd, but it is thanks to digitizing our paper records that anyone can find the information they need. It is efficient and makes things easier for researchers and archivists to find what they need. Even from their smartphones.

I finally got the chance to digitize certain University documents and prepare them for being entered into our archival search engine. These were UT Tyler publications called The Forum and Intercom that began in the 1970s and ran for different lengths of time. These are stored in archival boxes as a part of the Marketing and Communications Department records.  The Forum was more of a magazine that ran from 1974 to 1989 on a seasonal basis and highlighted everything from Phase building, scholarships, faculty achievements, and had an emphasis on Alumni relations. Intercom on the other hand, had a production run from 1973 through early 2000, producing one volume every new fall semester with issues printed every month (some a few times a month). Intercom covered topics similar to The Forum but it also held memos for those specifically working and attending the University. There are calendars describing upcoming holidays, faculty video sessions, and announcements of upcoming power outages. I have a partial fondness for the Intercom though because they felt the need to change things up in their format several times over the years even going so far as to make every issue a different color with a glittery silver title. Very glitzy!

Intercom photo Intercom silver photo

The process of digitizing these records has taken me nearly six months to complete for both of these publications. That sounds daunting, but I assure you it’s really not as terrible and time consuming as it seems. You have to be organized though! At least objects and papers being digitized are already a part of a processed collection that makes things a little easier.

First of all, in order to keep all the information together, I created a spreadsheet and labelled cells according to date I entered in the info, the volume and issue, number of pages in one printed product, the titles of the articles within the publication, any new faculty mentioned along with important administrators. Everything that is entered into this spread sheet makes my life a lot easier: I can keep track of which issue I am on and which one I need to start on when I come in the next day. Also, it comes in handy later on when you have to enter keywords into the scanned document itself.

Then, one folder at a time, you enter the info for all the documents within the folder under the correct label. Titles of the articles are the most important since these are going to be the key words in order to find the document in the system. Once that is entered in, I took the publication to the scanner to be scanned into a special PDF file. After setting the right settings to make sure the image is clear and readable when scanned, you preview the page to ensure that you got what you wanted, as opposed to getting the wrong page. Then you can scan to your heart’s content! You can always fix things at the end of your scanning session which helps. But then of course you have to name the PDF file, and you cannot just name them all Intercom or Forum because that will become frustrating later on. Instead, it is appropriate to name the document specifically according to publication year, month, and if that was the only one printed that month. I ended up naming them along the lines of “ForumYYYY_Spr001” or “IntercomYYYY_Month001” to make sure it was as orderly as possible.

Forum photo

Once all of the copies inside the folders are scanned, named and so forth, then the fun comes along of entering keywords into the PDF file for easier access for researchers. You open up each PDF individually using Adobe Acrobat, open up the “Properties” menu and enter in the Title, the Author, and finally the Keywords space which are the titles of articles in both publications. The Excel spreadsheet is quite lovely for this part. You simply copy and paste the titles from the spreadsheet to the Keywords space and you save it. You do this for every Forum or Intercom scanned.

I recognize that all that sounds rather tedious, but it really is not. Each part was broken down and eventually I got into a rhythm of typing, scanning, and flipping pages so that there was a steady system going on. Also, it is really interesting because as I went along entering in this information, I got a sense that I was learning more about the University that I attend than I had previously known. For instance, I know approximately when the school changed its name three times, that Eli Weisel came on campus as one of the distinguished lecturers in our Distinguished Lecture Series, and that many of the professors I have had did prestigious research and recognition.

Forum Smyrl photo

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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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