Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dan K. Utley (History Ahead) on Think Radio Program

"Something I have always joked about is that we could someday tell the history of the world in four paragraphs . . . it's an impossible task; we do the best we can."─Dan K. Utley, co-author of History Ahead: Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers (Texas A&M University Press, 2010)

More than 13,000 historical markers line the roadsides of Texas, giving drivers a way to sample the stories of the past. But these markers only tell part of the story.

In a lively interview with Krys Boyd, host of KERA's Think radio program in Dallas, Utley discusses his career as a chief historian of the Texas Historical Commission, the back- and forth- compromise between state and county officials on historical marker inscriptions, and fascinating stories of the people behind the markers.

At the end of the interview, listeners offer their suggestions for Utley and co-author Cynthia Beeman's next book, which will include even more stories behind the roadside markers.

Hear the full interview here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Don't Miss it! "Skulls. Slaves, and Sex: Secrets of Early Texas"

In 1837, American naturalist John James Audubon picked up four skulls of Mexican soldiers from the San Jacinto battleground and sent them to his friend, Dr. Samuel Morton, in Philadelphia.

Last year, Symposium Founder Jeff Dunn discovered the skulls' existence, and renowned anthropologist Doug Owsley conducted a forensic examination on behalf of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground.

He will present his findings publicly for the first time in April, at the Battle of San Jacinto Symposium, "Skulls, Slaves, and Sex: Secrets of Early Texas."

The event will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 17 at the Hilton Hotel and Conferece Center at the University of Houston. The $50 registration includes lunch and parking.

If skulls, slaves, and sex isn't quite enough to grab you, consider the impressive line up of speakers:

Owsley, division head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. He is also the author of the forthcoming Arch Lake Woman: Physical Anthropology and Geoarchaeology (Texas A&M University Press, 2010).

The book, which focuses on the third-oldest human remains found in North America (in eastern New Mexico) will be the first volume in the new Peopling of the Americas Publications ─ released by Texas A&M University Press for the Center for the Study of the First Americans.

Ron Tyler, director of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. Tyler will speak about Audubon's visit to Galveston, Houston, and San Jacinto Battleground in 1837.

Tyler, who spent 20 years as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and executive director of the Texas State Historical Association, is also a member of the Texas A&M University Press faculty advisory council.

Speaking on Slaves:

"The Slaveholder's Republic"

Andrew J. Torget, assistant professor of history at the University of North Texas. Torget, creator of the digital Texas Slavery Project, will discuss slavery and its impact on revolutionary Texas. He is currently working on a book titled Cotton Empire: Slavery, Texas, and the Origins of the Mexican-American War.

Speaking on Sex:

"Was Sam a Bigamist? ─ A Lawyer Looks at Sam Houston's Divorce"

James W. Paulsen, professor of law at South Texas College of Law. Paulsen, who specializes in family law, legal history, and civil procedure, will discuss Sam Houston's legal problems following the breakup of his marriage to Eliza Allen in Tennessee and subsequent romance with Anna Raguet of Nacogdoches during the Texas Revolution and the early years of the Republic.

"Revolutionary Sex: Texas' Philandering Founders"

Lael Morgan, author, journalist, lecturer, photographer, and teacher. Morgan currently lectures at the department of communications in the University of Texas at Arlington. She is author of Good Time Girls of the Alaska Yukon Gold Rush (Epicenter Press, 1999).


James E. Crisp, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University. Crisp, author of the newly released How Did Davy Die? And Why Do We Care So Much? (Texas A&M University Press, 2010), will moderate the event.

In the commemorative edition of Dan Kilgore's original book ─ where Kilgore had the audacity to state publicly that historical sources suggested Crockett did not die on the ramparts of the Alamo, swinging the shattered remains of his rifle, "Old Betsy" ─ Crisp examines the origins and subsequent impact of Kilgore's work.

Crisp will also sign and discuss his book with 2009 speaker Jim Bevill, author of The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit, and Independence in the Republic of Texas (Bright Sky Press, 2010) 6-8 p.m. April 15 at Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet in Houston).

The special luncheon presentation will focus on the Hon. William P. Hobby, Jr., Lt. Governor of Texas, 1973-1991.

Frank de la Teja, professor and department of history chair for Texas State University in San Macos and former state historian. He will comment on his new book, Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2010).

In this book, de la Teja and ten other scholars examine the lives, careers, and influence of many historically-significant but long-neglected Tejano leaders who were active in the formation, political and military leadership, and economic development of Texas.