Texas World War I Resources Workshop


Cost: Free

Visit the Texas General Land Office Archives for tours and several lectures about resources for studying WWI.

Friday, Sept. 15; 1:00-5:00 PM

Tonia Wood - World War I Resources at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Photograph collections, transcripts of soldiers’ letters, state government records and federal publications are among the World War I materials available for research at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Senior Reference Archivist Tonia Wood will provide an overview of the available collections and research tools for use in planning a visit.

BIO: Tonia Wood has been an archivist with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for over 20 years, taking on the position of Senior Reference Archivist in July 2014. Her knowledge of state and local government records and desire to help people find answers to their questions makes the job a perfect fit. A sixth-generation Texan, Tonia received her bachelor’s degree in history and master’s in library and information science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Richard Gilreath is a reference archivist at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. He has a Master of Science in Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of the Arts in History from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He is a third generation Texan, with family ties to the Austin and Galveston areas.

Ben Wright - The Texas War Records Collection

From 1918, with Board of Regents funding and under the leadership of Professor M.R. Gutsch, the university began collecting posters, official documents, personal letters, government records and newspapers. Citing the lack of good Civil War-related archival holdings in Texas, Gutsch argued that the university should act immediately because World War I records
would only become scarcer and more expensive as time went on. Gutsch travelled throughout Texas collecting materials, hosting exhibits, speaking with teacher associations and being interviewed by reporters. He even worked with American embassies to acquire copies of foreign journals. Today, the Texas War Records Collection is a massive assortment of documents related to both world wars. “Structures of stone and bronze dedicated to our heroes are proper means to keep alive the memory of glorious deeds,” said Gutsch early in to the project. “But even more important, it is to make a complete record of the deeds themselves.”

Ben Wright - When Bevo Hit the Line: The University of Texas and WWI
Along with the discovery of oil at Spindletop, no single event pushed Texas into the modern age more than World War One. The University of Texas at Austin’s experience epitomized this process. UT was dramatically transformed during the war, from a small regional college into a nationally funded combat machine. During what was unquestionably the most dizzying couple of years in campus history, faculty were fired for being pacifists, students were muzzled and drilled into submission (some even died on campus), race relations deteriorated and influenza wreaked havoc. Meanwhile, the role of women progressed markedly and federal dollars poured in, paying for barracks and classrooms as the modern UT campus took shape. Though short, the shadow cast by war was dark. Today, its legacy remains present — through the silent monuments and winding landscapes that dominate the 40 acres. They point to how the war left an indelible imprint on those who served, died, resisted and returned.

BIO: Ben Wright is the Assistant Director for Communication at the Briscoe Center for American History. He is the author of several research pieces related to American involvement in World War One, and curated the permanent exhibit "From Commemoration to Education: UT’s Statue of Jefferson Davis." He hold a Master’s Degree in Modern History from King’s College London, with a focus on Woodrow Wilson’s political rhetoric. Originally from England, Ben has been in Texas since 2003. In addition to historical research, Ben is working on an novel about Vincent van Gogh, and a Hemingway-inspired short story collection about refugees. 

Lisa Sharik - Resources of the Texas Military Forces Museum

WWI Resources at the Texas Military Forces Museum will focus on the original and published World War I archival material at the museum available to researchers.  This power point presentation and speech will include items which can only be found at the museum such as the WWI service cards for every Texan who served, out of print published histories on many units, original photographs, maps and other archival material. It will also cover how to interpret that material including a list of military acronyms, explanations of the WWI order of battle and job titles. The talk will also include how to find other sources of information which can help in researching Great War soldiers in the United States.

BIO: Lisa Sharik is the Deputy Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas -the official museum for the military forces of Texas including the Texas Army, Air and State Guard. Ms. Sharik received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Archaeological Studies. She worked as a contract archaeologist on various projects in Texas for 4 years. She earned her Masters Degree in Historical Administration and Public History from Florida State University while working at Mission San Luis as a museum education specialist. Lisa Sharik has also worked as an education specialist at the Capitol Complex Visitor’s Center and Austin Children’s Museum doing museum education/tours. At the Texas Military Forces Museum she is responsible for cataloging of all material, archival collections, research requests, artifact research, tours, volunteers, website and social media, and overall administrative operations. Her areas of special interest include 1800-1900 material culture and the WWI and WWII history of the 36th Infantry Division.

4:30-5:00 - Dr. Lila Rakoczy - World War I and the Texas Historical Commission

This FREE workshop is available only to symposium registrants.
NOTE: This workshop is at the Texas General Land Office (1700 N. Congress Ave., Room 170, Austin, TX 78701). This is in a different location than the symposium on Saturday.