This past week, we worked on the archive projects, which everyone dove into. With so much momentum and enthusiasm displayed in class, Dr. May decided to give us another week on the project and push his own plans from the syllabus back a bit. As my other classmates have been doing secondary research and making research trips, I’ve been plumbing the depths of the Internet to get to the depths of the archives. I’ve arranged a visit to the Baylor University Texas Collection archives to gather more primary sources, including a music file hopefully, and I’ve been contacting libraries around the United States to get access to some of their documents.
I am particularly looking for information pertaining to Emily D. West and the Yellow Rose of Texas legend, including the song. I’ve written the Library of Congress, Texas A&M University, Dallas Baptist University, Texas’ State Archive, and Baylor so far. I’ll spend more time searching through other databases and sending out more humble requests. (Don’t worry Dr. May, I’ve arranged to do more in-person research at Baylor this Friday, per the assignment!) I don’t want to jinx it, but I have yet to find the persnickety librarian of stereotyped lore. All the librarians I’ve contacted have been very obliging, going into their systems to look for information, sending me links I can use to search myself, even double-checking the items I requested to make sure they are what I described.
I’ve found some interesting archives among all these libraries. I should save this for a later class assignment (dibs!) but I wanted to show you some of the beautiful work other people have done on Texas history!
This archive was put together for the Texas State Library and Archive. I love how tidy the exhibit is. It’s pretty, well-written, and even has a snappy title! The information is organized in an intuitive way, and it’s easy to find out why we should care about these letters and documents. When you click on “Passport of Emily D. West“:
I bet they would LOVE to get a copy of UTA’s letter for this exhibit!
Overall, looking at this exhibit helped give me an idea of what we are working to create. We are compiling history in order to present it in an organized and informative way, but in a way that is still engaging and fun.
My research has continued into the history of the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Despite supposedly was based on Emily D. West, there is actually no concrete evidence linking her to the song. How cool would it be to actually find the legendary “Maid of Morgan’s Point” lyrics? Or even an older version that might link back to Emily? As I’m diving in to the myriad of song sheets and lyrics online, I am also planning trips around the state to see those primary sources.
As we continue to collect information, a sort of single vision is emerging, and I know this class is going to produce an excelling online exhibit. I can’t wait to see who turns up what next!