Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

2014 “Galveston Firsts” Menard Summer Lecture Series

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on May 16, 2014

Rosenberg

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From my colleagues at the Galveston Historical Foundation:

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The Galveston Historical Foundation will honor the 175th anniversary of the City of Galveston with special lectures and tours at the historic Menard Campus, 3302 Avenue O. The lectures will take place at 2 p.m. on Sundays June 1, June 22, July 13 and August 3. In addition, Galveston’s oldest residential dwelling, the 1838 Menard House, will be opened for public tours. Tours will be available 12 p.m- 4 p.m. on June 1, June 22, July 6 and August 3. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students aged 6-18.
 
The price for individual lectures is $12 for non-members and $10 for GHF members. A package price for the complete series is available for $40 for non-members and $35 for GHF Members. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling (409) 750-9180.
 
June 1 – The First Customhouses and Customs Officers in the “City of Firsts”
When the city of Galveston was founded 175 years ago, it was the largest city and port in the new Republic of Texas.   President Sam Houston wasted no time in establishing a Customs Service and then appointing a Collector of Customs, eventually building a Custom House at Galveston.  The new Republic needed revenue to survive and Galveston provided more revenue to the meager Treasury than any other Customs district in the Republic. The first Collectors of Customs were not “faceless bureaucrats” but well-known entrepreneurs and adventurers that helped to build this exciting “City of Firsts”.  Men with well-known names like Menard, Borden, Harris and Sorley occupied Galveston’s first Custom Houses. The story of the building of the first Custom Houses in Galveston and the men that collected the revenue is as intriguing as the history of Galveston itself.
 
Presented by Steven W. Hooper, Special Agent in Charge for the United States Customs Service, Retired.  Serving in field offices in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston and at the U.S. Customs Service Headquarters in Washington D.C., Hooper spent over thirty-one years with the agency, involved in investigations and prosecutions that protected revenue, intercepted contraband, and enforced neutrality and money laundering laws, working for the United States government in many foreign countries including Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, South Africa and Suriname.
 
June 22 – “Death and Resurrection of the first Medical Museums in Galveston”
At the opening of the University of Texas Medical Department in October 1891 there were two museums in “Old Red”, one anatomical the other pathological.  The museums were amongst the first in Galveston. They grew to achieve local and national recognition and were praised in Abraham Flexner’s’ report on Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910). The museums expanded and moved from “Old Red” to the New Laboratory Building in 1925. The museums were open to the general public and highly unusual for the period. Over subsequent decades however the museums fell out of use. This lecture charts the rise of fall of the museums and describes what remains of the former collections and how they could form the nucleus of a future medical museum.
 
Presented by Dr. Paula Summerly, Research Project Manager for the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine, and Chair of the “Old Red” Medical Museum Task Force and Heritage Committee at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Paula’s academic background is in the history of medicine (PhD, University of Glasgow), paleopathology (MSc, University of Sheffield), and fine art photography (BA, Sheffield Hallam University). She has held scholarships at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, UTMB, Northwestern University and the Dittrick Medical Museum. Dr. Summerly has researched and curated medical exhibitions for the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow and acted as an exhibition consultant for the Wellcome Trust, London.
 
July 13 – Rosenberg Library, the First Public Library in Texas
The 175-year-old City of Galveston has been credited with a long list of “firsts” in Texas.   Among these is the state’s first public library.  One hundred forty-four years ago, the Galveston Chamber of Commerce founded a library for local citizens.  Although Rosenberg Library was not established until 1904, its roots can be traced to this early predecessor. While most people are familiar with the Rosenberg Library at 2310 Sealy Street, many probably don’t realize that at one time there existed a separate Rosenberg Library branch for African-American residents. The presentation will include rarely seen historical photos and documents related to these institutions.
 
Presented by Eleanor Barton, Rosenberg Library Museum Curator. Graduating from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology in 2003, Barton earned her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from Baylor University in 2005.  She served as the Museum Curator at Rosenberg Library from 2005 until 2008, leaving to become the first Executive Director for the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.  In 2012, Barton returned to the Rosenberg Library to resume her previous position as Curator.  She is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Texas Association of Museums, and the City of Galveston’s 175th Anniversary Committee.
 
August 3 – The Galveston City Company:  First Land Development Company in Texas
One of the first land development companies west of the Mississippi, the Galveston City Company was organized in 1838 under the leadership of Michel Menard and other founders. The company sold lots for development and gifted others for community projects or important public institutions.  The presentation reveals preliminary findings from a special project undertaken to examine the minutes of the company, communication among stockholders and managers, and descriptive information on the beginnings of Galveston.  The final presentation of the 2014 Menard Summer Lecture series provides a rare look into the archives held by Stewart Title Company, which reveal the first few decades of the island’s history.
 
Presented by W. Dwayne Jones and Andrew Coleman. Dwayne Jones serves as the executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF), one of the largest not-for-profit historic preservation organizations working at the local level in the country. Jones holds degrees in History and Asian Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining the GHF, Jones served as executive director of Preservation Dallas. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), received the Dorothy Savage Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation from Preservation Dallas and was named an Honorary Member of the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Andrew Coleman is a historian and native Galvestonian. After receiving his B.A. in History from Tulane University of Louisiana in 2013, he returned to Galveston to work for Galveston Historical Foundation, where he divides his time between the Preservation Conservation Services Department and Bishop’s Palace.
 
About the 1838 Menard House
Built in 1838 by John and Augustus Allen for the founder of Galveston, Michel Branamour Menard, the property passed between Menard and the Allen brothers (founders of Houston) in many complicated dealings in its early years. It is the oldest surviving residential dwelling in Galveston and the only structure to be owned by the founders of both Galveston and Houston.

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