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Austin History Center

Austin Beginnings

This is an online exhibit from the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library. It showcases many of "memorable Austin firsts." Austin's history has been filled with events great and small, significant and trivial, historic and amusing. All have contributed to building the city that is first in our hearts. Finding these milestones is one of the pleasures of conducting research in the Austin History Center. The staff, volunteers, and customers of the Austin History Center share just a few of the memorable firsts that we have discovered in our files.

Capitol Views

This is an online exhibit featured by the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library and highlights Austin history through views of its Capitol. The current capitol, built in 1888, is the fourth building in Austin to house the offices of the Texas government. It is a story of an engineering and construction feat to equal few others of its time, of financial and political maneuvering, of struggle and compromise, and of people who planned and worked for its completion.

Austin Streets

This is an online exhibit featured by the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library. Austin's street history truly begins in 1839, just prior to the city's founding, when Mirabeau B. Lamar, President of the Republic of Texas, commissioned his old war-time friend Edwin Waller to survey the site for the new capital city and to oversee its planning and construction. Waller, who had participated in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and was well-acquainted with pioneering work, accepted the task.

Lost Victorian Austin

This is an online exhibit from the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library. This exhibit, originally displayed in April 1994, was a joint presentation of the Austin History Center and the Heritage Society of Austin. Many thanks go to Heritage Society members Gregory Free and Martha Hartzog for using photographs, newspaper clippings, and personal recollections from the Austin History Center's collections to create this exhibit.

Jane McCallum: Suffrage Movement

This is an online exhibit from the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library and draws from materials form the Jane McCallum Papers and highlights the work of the Austin Suffrage Association and women who played key roles in the movement. The majority of the materials in this online exhibit are part of the Jane Y. McCallum Papers (collection number FP E.4) held by the Austin History Center. Documenting not only the suffrage movement in Texas but also McCallum's personal and professional life, the Jane Y.

Red Points and Ration Cards: Life in Austin during World War II

This is an online exhibit from the Austin History Center and the Austin Public Library. Austin in the early '40s: the population was 114,000; I-35 was yet to be built; the average rent per month was $35; Lyndon Johnson was the congressional representative from this area. Newspaper headlines charted the progress of battles in World War II, and President Roosevelt cautioned that a "long hard war" lay ahead. Smaller, local news stories recorded changes taking place on the home front to help our armed forces win the war.

Slave Narratives Audio Records

Listen as the accounts of 7 former slaves are brought to life through the voices of talented local actors. These recordings make up just a portion of the full stories recalled by James Grumbles, Marry Anne Patterson, Rosina Hoard, Sallie Johnson, Sallie Wroe, Sam Mason, and William Owens. Today their full recollections and those of 63 other former slaves from Austin and Travis County can be found at the Austin History Center. The stories were collected by Alfred E. Menn in 1937 as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration.

Oral History Workshop in Austin facilitated by William McWhorter

William McWhorter, Texas Historical Commission’s Military Oral History Coordinator, will teach a workshop designed for people to learn how to conduct, record, and transcribe all types of oral histories, including hands-on training with digital and video recording equipment. It will be held in the Austin History Center, Holt Gallery/Reception Room, on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 1 - 4 pm.
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