Nesbitt Memorial Library

Texas Historians to Appear at Library

   On Saturday, June 26, 2004, the general editor and three of the five authors of the new series of books on the cultural and ethnic groups which strongly influenced Texas history will discuss their work at the Fourth Annual Lee Quinn Nesbitt Symposium on Texas History and Culture at the Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus.
    The symposium will open with a presentation by the general editor of the series, Sara R. Massey, at 9:30. She will be followed by Phyllis McKenzie at 10:45, Allan O. Kownslar at 1:30, and James M. Smallwood at 2:45. All four will make presentations on their work, answer questions from the audience, and sign books.
    When the Institute of Texan Cultures opened in 1968, it featured exhibits depicting the various cultural groups that settled early Texas. The research for the exhibits led to a series of small, well-illustrated, very popular pamphlets, among them The Afro-American Texans, The German Texans and The Czech Texans.
    Recently, with most of the pamphlets more than thirty years old, the Institute decided to redesign and update them. The new versions, a set of five books, The African Texans, The European Texans, The Indian Texans, The Asian Texans, and The Mexican Texans, were issued in March, and take the stories of the various ethnic groups up to the present day.
    James M. Smallwood, the author of The Indian Texans, is a Tsalagi/Cherokee Indian. He recently retired from his position as a professor of history at Oklahoma State University and moved to Gainesville, Texas. He is one of the important group of historians who reexamined the Reconstruction period in Texas, both in his award-winning book from 1981, Time of Hope, Time of Despair: Black Texans during Reconstruction, and in the book he co-authored with Barry A. Crouch and Larry Peacock, Murder and Mayhem: The War of Reconstruction in Texas, which appeared in 2003.
     He has also worked extensively in local history, publishing considerable material about Cooke County, Texas and the two-volume The History of Smith County, Texas. He edited for publication some of the papers of Will Rogers and issued a book about Oklahoma schoolteachers, and is presently writing a book on the history of dolphins.
    Allan Kownslar, who wrote The European Texans, is a professor of history at Trinity University in San Antonio. An expert in the social studies curriculum, Kownslar has authored or co-authored many textbooks and teaching guides. His other work includes Texas Iconoclast: Maury Maverick Jr., a collection of material written by Maverick for the San Antonio Express-News, which Kownslar selected and edited.
    Phyllis McKenzie is a research specialist for and designer of exhibits at the Institute for Texan Cultures in San Antonio. She is the curator of the five-part Tejano exhibit at the Institute. The research she did for that project, over the course of twelve years, was the foundation of The Mexican Texans, her first book.
    Sara R. Massey, who designed the series and chose and worked with its authors, was an education specialist at the Institute for Texan Cultures until her recent retirement. Her other work includes the landmark photography book, Turn of the Century Photographs from San Diego, Texas, which she co-authored with Ana Carolina Castillo Crimm and which sold out its first printing in less than a month. She also was the editor of Black Cowboys of Texas, an anthology of articles about black cowboys which won the Texas State Historical Association’s T. R. Fehrenbach Award in 2000. She is presently preparing a book on female trail drivers from Texas, which is to be entitled Texas Cattle Queens.
The five books in the new series, and other books by Smallwood, Kownslar, and Massey, will be for sale at the symposium, all at prices considerably lower than retail. Admission is seven dollars, but every admission ticket is good for five dollars off the purchase price of any one book.