Cha-cha-cha changes: Staff changes in Special Collections

The Top Shelf

The past year has brought changes within Special Collections, as I moved from being University Archivist to being the Digital Archivist for the department.  In my new role I’ll be working closely with the other archivists in the department to come up with policies and workflows to manage the creation, maintenance, and stewardship of digital collections.  Our digital collections include born-digital (meaning created on a computer/electronically, see this post for more), digitized (including all of the scanning we’ve done to make collections available online), and hybrid collections (collections that contain both paper and electronic material).  I’m really excited about working with my team—through our efforts we’ll be ensuring the long-term preservation of our wonderful digital collections.

And in exciting news, we’ve added a new member to our team!  Kristin Law will be joining us as the new University Archivist.  She has the following to say about her new job:

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Kate Stone’s Civil War: They will never give up

As Stone awaits final word from the Virginia battlefield, she makes cravats and flirts with Lt. Holmes.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

As Stone awaits final word from the Virginia battlefield, she makes cravats and flirts with Lt. Holmes.

 

April 30, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Lt. Dupre came back yesterday but without his wife who is still in the Federal lines after preparing for months to get out. She was on the boat with her baggage and children when she was ordered back home because the names of the little girls were not in the passport. It is a sore disappointment to the Lieutenant. He has been separated from them so long. But with the elastic Creole temperament, he is as gay as ever. He says he was homesick at Shreveport and was glad to see Tyler again.

He brings more encouraging news. Gen. Johnston is at Augusta, Ga., at the head of 125,000 of the best troops in the world, the veterans of the Confederacy, and will make a gallant fight. The Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri troops are passing resolutions declaring they will never give up this side of the river and are ready to enlist for ninety-nine years. And Lee surrendered only 6,000 fighting men. I hope My Brother was one of the band. Capt. Birchett sends us word Col. Tom Manlove was killed in the fight at Hatcher’s Inn, but we think that is a mistake. We have heard of them all since then.

Mrs. Wells and Lt. Holmes spent the day, but he has been here every day for a week. Mollie Moore, the Irvine girls, and I are much interested in the subject of cravats. They wish to make half a dozen for their different “heart’s delights,” and they come over and get Mamma and me to do the embroidery for them. I have just finished a very chaste and elegant affair for Lt. Holmes, payment of a gambling debt, and I am making one for Mollie Sandford to give to her best soldier, a small red-headed warrior. Lt. Holmes showed me this evening a letter from his mother in Maryland. It came out on a flag-of-truce boat, his first letter from her in three years. … I am sorry Lt. Holmes is such a dissipated man. He is gay and pleasant and a gentleman. Why will he drink? He says he intends giving it up forever.

 

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Torrents of blood

Stone learns of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and she is happy he is dead. Her grim satisfaction is little comfort as all around her are convinced that Lee has surrendered.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone learns of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and she is happy he is dead. Her grim satisfaction is little comfort as all around her are convinced that Lee has surrendered.

Note that she heard that John Surratt, one of Booth’s co-conspirators, attacked Secretary of State William Seward. Lewis Powell, another member of the Booth group, actually carried out the attack. He failed to kill Seward but badly injured him.

 

April 28, 1865

Tyler, Texas

We hear that Lincoln is dead. There can be no doubt, I suppose, that he has been killed by J. W. Booth. “Sic semper tyrannis” as his brave destroyer shouted as he sprang on his horse. All honor to J. Wilkes Booth, who has rid the world of a tyrant and made himself famous for generations. Surratt has also won the love and applause of all Southerners by his daring attack on Seward, whose life is trembling in the balance. How earnestly we hope our two avengers may escape to the South where they will meet with a warm welcome. It is a terrible tragedy, but what is war but one long tragedy? What torrents of blood Lincoln has caused to flow, and how Seward has aided him in his bloody work. I cannot be sorry for their fate. They deserve it. They have reaped their just reward.

There is great gloom over the town. All think that Lee and his army have surrendered. No one will take the Confederate money today, and as there is no gold in circulation there is no medium of exchange. Rumors, rumors, but nothing definite. Lee is certainly captured. Our strong arm of victory, the chief hope of our Country, is a prisoner with an army variously estimated at from 6,000 to 43,000 men captured on their retreat from Richmond. Dr. Kunckers told us as a secret that [Joseph E.] Johnston with his entire army has surrendered, but that news is suppressed through motives of policy. Our papers say Johnston’s army has been reinforced by the flower of Lee’s army, that he has a band of tried veterans and will make a determined stand. We know not what to believe. All are fearfully depressed. Lee’s defeat is a crushing blow hard to recover from. Maybe after a few days we can rally for another stand. Now, most seem to think it useless to struggle longer, now that we are subjugated. I say, “Never, never, though we perish in the track of their endeavor!” Words, idle words. What can poor weak women do?

I cannot bear to hear them talk of defeat. It seems a reproach to our gallant dead. If nothing else can force us to battle on for freedom, the thousands of grass-grown mounds heaped on mountainside and in every valley of our country should teach us to emulate the heroes who lie beneath and make us clasp closer to our hearts the determination to be free or die. “When the South is trampled from the earth / Her women can die and be free.”

I say with my whole soul:

Shame to the traitor-heart that springs
To the faint, soft arms of Peace,
Though the Roman eagle shook his wings
At the very gates of Greece.

Monday it was distressing to see the gloom on every face. We had an impromptu dining that day, and all seemed in the depths of despair, could think and talk of nothing but defeat and disaster. … The war was discussed in all its bearings. Seldom has there been a gloomier feast. Yesterday took dinner with Mrs. Prentice and returned in time to receive Mollie Sandford, Lt. Holmes, Lt. Martin, and Dr. Winn, a nice Texan and a friend of Dr. Buckner’s, whom he saw about six weeks ago. …

If My Brother and Uncle Bo are among the prisoners, it is probable they will soon be paroled and at home. But we know not what has been their fate.

When Johnny first heard the ill news, he was wild with excitement and insisted on joining the army at once. We were wretched about him, but today he has quieted down and is willing to await further developments.

We expected to move to our new house on Monday, and Mamma is worried about paying the rent. If the Negroes are freed, we will have no income whatever, and what will we do? As things have turned out, we wish we could stay here until we know what is to be our fate.

 

Kate Stone’s Civil War: God spare us

The rumors finally reach Tyler: Lee may have surrendered to Grant. The Stone family refuses to believe it.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

The rumors finally reach Tyler: Lee may have surrendered to Grant. The Stone family refuses to believe it.

Stone is especially detailed in this entry, perhaps burying herself in mundane moments to drive back the looming and crushing reality of Confederate defeat.

April 23, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Such terrible news if true, but we cannot believe it. We know that we have met with fearful reverses this year. All our coast cities are conquered: gallant old Charleston has fallen, Wilmington and Mobile have passed out of our hands, and Richmond … has been taken. But all that is nothing compared to the awful report from the Yankee papers that Gen. Lee, our strong arm of defense, has capitulated with 40,000 men without firing a gun, that most of our best generals were taken at the same time, and that what remains of that noble army is only a disorganized mob of despairing men. All this is too dreadful to believe. God spare us from this crushing blow and save our dying country!

All refuse to believe such disaster, and the home life flows on as usual. Two dramatic performances by the natives, the amiable Capt. Johnson saying he did not wish the refugees even to attend. Mrs. Gary is vice-president, and I am secretary of the society. The gentlemen come in the evening and the ladies call in the day, but over every pleasure sweeps the shadow of the evil news. It may be true. It may be true. Mollie Moore, Lt, Holmes, and I rode out to the armory to see the soldiers drill. Met Col. and Mrs. Hill, all sympathizing with Capt. Polys, who fell down while pulling the bell rope and broke his leg in two places.

Just finished three embroidered cravats for Johnny. Friday Mamma and I finished a beautiful fawn-colored barege trimmed with black lace. It looks real stylish. My old white dress has been dyed by Lucy. She has become quite an adept at dyeing things.

The rain came down in torrents Thursday but in the afternoon ceased and I rode up to school for Sister. Came through boggy roads and rushing streams at sundown. Found Lt. Holmes waiting to go with me to Mrs. Carson’s to tea, to stay there until 8:30, and then to drive over to Dr. Moore’s, Mollie’s father’s, to attend a private rehearsal. We had a pleasant time there until twelve, then the drive home, adieux to Lt. Holmes, and then the blessed oblivion of sleep. Went up to return Eliza Roberts’ call late in the afternoon.

Lt. Holmes caught up with me and came home and spent the evening. Busy sewing Tuesday until Lt. Holmes was announced, then had to spend the balance of the day amusing him. After he bowed himself away, I went over to see Mollie Moore and chatter nonsense. …

Had delicious white cake at Mrs. Lawrence’s. All the members of the troupe wanted Mamma for president of the society, but she would not hear of it. Mrs. Swain, a perfect incapable, was called to the chair. Capt. Buck has brought me a book nicely commenced for my official records, and Lt. Holmes is to see they are kept according to rule. Must send it around for members to sign.

Mamma has been much disturbed on the subject of details for Mr. Smith, but Lt. Dupre arranged the detail as he passed through Marshall. She hopes to have no further trouble on that score. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: He would do anything

Stone’s entries refer to Lt. Holmes more often, and for good reason. Holmes would eventually become her husband.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone’s entries refer to Lt. Holmes more often, and for good reason. Holmes would eventually become her husband.

April 16, 1865

Tyler, Texas

All walked to church and were well repaid by an excellent sermon from Mr. Moore. … The tableaux with all their pleasant chat and laughter are a thing of the past. The gay rehearsals and frequent meetings are over, and we cleared about $900. The weather was wretched both evenings and of course kept many away, but we feel repaid for the trouble. The tableaux went off beautifully, not a hitch. Lt. Holmes — the Prince Charming as Mollie Moore and I dubbed him — was invaluable. He would do anything or adopt any suggestion we made. He was in attendance on Mollie and me all the time.

Dr. Weir came up to say good-bye as he is off for good. … He was much pleased with Mollie Moore, whom he met for the first time.

I tell Miss Mollie she always gets ahead of me when she tries the “poetry dodge” on our mutual friends. She is a charming girl. It is such a pleasure to have a friend to chatter nonsense to who enjoys it as much as I and does her full share. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A blow on my heart

Stone reveals a deep well of insecurity about herself as her mother confesses her own feelings about her intelligent daughter.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone reveals a deep well of insecurity about herself as her mother confesses her own feelings about her intelligent daughter.

April 7, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Mamma distressed me much yesterday by telling me I was the most reserved person she ever knew, that she did not feel that she knew me at all.

It was like a blow on my heart for her to speak so. I never knew I was reserved. I never try to be. All that I can do is to endeavor to overcome this fault and to let her see that she knows all there is of me to know. The silly, light love affairs seemed too foolish to talk about, but I will try to be frank with my darling Mother. I wish I could be more like her, more like she would have me, but I fear we cannot change our nature.

Another impressive thing is she says that I am generally considered a very handsome, stylish-looking girl, but I know she is mistaken there. Motherly partiality has blinded her. I always considered myself rather remarkably ugly.

All the girls attended a party a few days ago and their escorts drank so much several were unable to accompany the girls home. All the men present but two were said to be drunk. I am thankful I did not go to such a disgraceful affair. The girls are much chagrined and offended.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Out of time

An early-spring Texas cold front has scattered Stone’s beloved flowers, and she sinks into a depression as friends suddenly turn their backs and her brother wants to fight his school nemesis again.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

An early-spring Texas cold front has scattered Stone’s beloved flowers, and she sinks into a depression as friends suddenly turn their backs and her brother wants to fight his school nemesis again.

April 1, 1865

Tyler, Texas

A wild March wind is howling around the house, scattering the glory of the white and pink blossoms that have made the town so lovely for the last week. The white and purple lilacs yesterday were in full bloom, great plumes, redolent of perfume, but today the rude norther has drifted the fragrant petals far and wide. On the mantle is our first spring bouquet, wreathes of flowering almond, tufts of brilliant phlox, a handful of the coral honeysuckle loved by the boys, gold and purple pansies, as large as those in Louisiana, and sweetest of all, the cluster of purple and white lilac. Lilacs grow so much better in this red soil than in the swamp.

Though the buds and flowers of fair spring are with us, we are feeling the truth of the poet’s song, “What is friendship but a name?” Our refugee friends, Mrs. Carson and Mrs. Savage, have grown cold toward us, and we do not know what is wrong. It worries Mamma very much. Though we may pretend not to feel the wound, it is no less painful. As to Mrs. Carson, Mamma long ago realized that she had no conception of real friendship. Her nature is too shallow to be true to anyone. The last friend is always the best with her. But Mamma had a right to look for real friendship at Mrs. Savage’s hands, but she has not secured it. Her friendship is … worthless. … She showed plainly in the affair of the house that Mamma’s interest was as nothing to her compared to Mrs. Alexander’s, a friend of a few months. Mamma is disturbed by it, for she considered Mrs. Savage one of her very best friends.

Mrs. Alexander sent to ask Mamma to let her keep the house, but that would deprive us entirely of a home as Mamma had given up the one we are in and planted a garden at the Alexander house. It was impossible and we will move in May. We will be glad to move to the Brazos this fall and put the past and its false friends behind us. …

Beauregard is all right. We hear that Gen. Sherman is dead. …

Johnny is in a dreadful humor and makes us all feel it because Mamma will not allow him to have another fight with Charley Ligruski. Boys of Johnny’s age are generally self-willed and disobedient, Mamma can do but little with him, and now he is of no assistance to her. Everything seems to be going wrong, most probably because I myself am out of time, and so no more scribbling until I am myself again.