Friday, December 28, 2007

Galveston: Treasure Island of the Gulf

Galveston: Treasure Island of the Gulf, an exhibition featuring hundreds of artifacts, photographs, and other memorabilia from our city’s past, is now on display at the Rosenberg Library. This exhibit explores the unique history of Galveston Island from the time of its founding through the present day.

Visitors can view Karankawa Indian artifacts and learn about some of the early European explorers who navigated the waters along the Gulf coast. One of the most significant items on display is the surveyor’s equipment used by John D. Groesbeck in the original platting of the city in 1838.

The exhibit also examines Galveston during the Republic of Texas era (1836-1845) and during the Civil War (1861-1865). Items of interest from this period include a sword, telescope, and compass that belonged to Captain Norman Hurd of the Texas Navy. Historic munitions from the Civil War, including two cannon balls and a shell fragment from the Battle of Galveston, are displayed. Visitors will especially appreciate an ornate steel and brass officer’s sword that belonged to a Civil War colonel. Artifacts related to the cotton industry, tourism, and immigration are also included in Galveston: Treasure Island of the Gulf.

A silver presentation cup that was awarded to Samuel May Williams for his outstanding cotton crop in 1832 is one the oldest artifacts in the exhibit. Vintage postcards and other memorabilia from the island’s days as an entertainment mecca show images of some of the most famous nightclubs once located on the island. The Hollywood Dinner Club, the Sui Jen Café, and the Balinese Room once hosted world-class performers like Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Bob Hope. In addition to dozens of artifacts, more than 130 historic photographs and documents are on display as part of the exhibition. Photos of the Strand and Harborside from the early 1860s through the 1920s can be seen along with artifacts from some of the city’s early businesses. An 1899 Rosenberg Bank deposit book, a 19th century tea box from Focke, Wilkens, and Lange, and antique milk bottles from Star Dairy are featured in the show.

Images from the 1900 Storm as well as photographs of the grade raising and construction of the seawall document the overwhelming challenges faced by Galvestonians after the one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history. Artifacts related to this era in Galveston’s past include the gold and ivory pen used to sign the grade raising bill in 1901. Visitors of all ages will enjoy taking a step back into the past and examining relics from some of the most significant events in the history of the island.

Galveston: Treasure Island of the Southwest is located in the James M. Lykes Maritime Gallery on the third floor of Rosenberg Library. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free of charge.

December Treasure of the Month

Photo Caption: 1898 magic lantern slide projector. Manufactured by Ernst Plank, Nuremberg, Germany. Gift of Marjorie Runge Kelso, 1995.
Magic Lanterns

During the month of December, the Rosenberg Library will display an antique magic lantern with thirteen original glass slides. This magic lantern, an early type of slide projector, was made in Nuremberg, Germany in 1898 by the Plank Company. The slides depict various scenes, from daily life in a European village, to fairy tale characters, to biblical tableaus.

Magic lanterns are the ancestors to modern slide projectors. Athanasius Kirchner, a Jesuit priest, is credited with inventing the first magic lantern in 1671. The device consisted of a box containing an oil lamp which illuminated painted glass slides through a lens. The images on the slides were projected onto a screen or a wall and were magnified to appear much larger.

By the 1800s, magic lantern slide shows had become wildly popular forms of entertainment. Projectionists would travel from town to town, hosting shows for eager audiences. Themes of the shows varied widely, but military feats, cartoons, fairy tales, and bible stories were among the most common.

While early slides were hand-painted by skilled artists, the invention of photography allowed for the inexpensive creation and mass production of slides for magic lantern projectors. Photographic slides of famous landmarks, foreign lands, and important people were readily available for viewing. Many of these slides were sold in series, and were used to convey uplifting stories or to teach moral lessons.

After the invention of moving pictures in the late nineteenth century, the market for magic lanterns began to dwindle, and production of the projectors and slides finally ceased in the 1940s. Today, surviving magic lanterns and slides are highly sought after by collectors.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifacts will be on display in the main lobby, located on the library’s first floor. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Friday, October 12, 2007


John H. and John A., former and current Rosenberg Library Directors at the reception
Cake with church painting
New England Church by Dr. Merlin McGivney, 20th century


A new exhibit of inspirational paintings and drawings of churches is now on display at the Rosenberg Library. This unique show features twenty-five works by six different artists, all but one of which resided in Galveston. These artists utilized a variety of media—including oil, watercolor, pen-and-ink, and sepia—to create the church depictions. An array of styles is also present, ranging from detailed architectural sketches to abstract cubism. While five of the images are of churches in Galveston, many of the works are of churches the artists visited all around the world.

This exhibit opened on October 11th 2007 with a reception.

Ten paintings in the show were done by one of Galveston’s most famous artists, Boyer Gonzales, Sr. (1864-1934). Three of these are of Trinity Episcopal Church, where Gonzales was a lifelong parishioner. The other seven works by Gonzales show views of St. Mark Cathedral and Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy. These watercolors were done while Gonzales was on his honeymoon in 1908.
Emil Bunjes (1902-1974) produced countless sketches and paintings of Galveston scenes during his life. His pen-and-ink drawings capture some of the city’s most well known sites and structures with great detail. Bunjes’s St. Patrick Church will be easily recognizable to native Galvestonians, and his Chapel at Ursuline Convent depicts a once-beautiful building that was demolished in the late 1960s.

Clyde Harold Wortham (1909-1974) was born in Oklahoma but moved to Galveston during his youth. A graduate of Ball High School, Wortham went on to study at the Yard School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Art Students League in Woodstock, New York. Much of Wortham’s adult life was spent abroad, where he was well known as both a painter and an authority on art restoration. In his miniature painting, The Certosa, Wortham’s talent in capturing the dimensions of light and shadow is evident.

Joseph Alexander Cain (1920-1980) is the only artist featured in this exhibit that was not a resident of the Island. Cain was born in Tennesee and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After receiving his MFA from the University of California at Berkeley, he began his teaching career in Corpus Christi, Texas. Cain served as chairman of the Art Department at Del Mar College. His cubist watercolor, Mission with Four Figures, is one of the most striking works in the exhibit.

Dr. Merlin McGivney (1905-1985) was a long time dentist on the island who had a passion for painting. McGivney was an active member of the Galveston Art League and established an endowment through the Rosenberg Library to fund an annual purchase prize for the league’s juried show. Dozens of original works by McGivney are preserved at the Rosenberg Library, and two of his watercolors—New England Church and Village in Martinique—are among the most vibrant and eye-catching works in the exhibition.

Dr. Charles Marc Pomerat (1905-1964) was a native of Massachusetts who came to Galveston in 1943. Pomerat studied at Harvard and Cambridge before accepting a teaching position at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He was a world-renowned anatomist and cytologist who became interested in art and architecture later in life. His range of artistic talent is evident in his six works that are included in the exhibit. Pomerat was not only a master of detailed architectural illustration, but he was also able to capture a sense of peaceful ambience in his fluid watercolor and ink sketches.

Sacred Spaces: An Exhibit of Churches in Art will appeal not only to those interested in historic churches and architecture, but also to art enthusiasts of all kinds. The exhibition will run from October 12, 2007 through February 29, 2008 in the Harris Gallery. The gallery is located on the library’s third floor, and it is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TLA District 8 in October

Rosenberg librarians, Ruth Kelly and Poom Sunhachawi are presenting:

How to be a Copy Cat: cataloging essentials for the budding librarian/cataloger.

Session I

Saturday, October 13Aldine Senior High School
11101 Airline Drive, Houston, Texas 77038 (map)

Texas Library Association District 8

Copy Cataloging Resources List on the Net

Useful Web Sites for Catalogers These sites provide access to a whole range of resources to support cataloging and acquisition.

American Library Association: (publishes and sells AACR2)
Cataloger's Reference Shelf (collection of reference manuals on authority lists, classification guides, etc. for LC/MARC cataloging)

Cataloging Directorate:
Connexion tutorials:

Library of Congress:

LC’s online catalog:

IFLANET Digital Libraries: Cataloging and Indexing Electronic Resources
ILLINET/OCLC Office at Illinois State Library:

Inforetriever - Internet Library for Librarians (comprehensive general resource, everything from dictionaries up)

Library Catalogs with Web Interfaces: Z39.50 gateways

MIT Cataloging Oasis (some neat links, e.g., geographic name server )


School Librarians Desktop Reference (mostly a bibliography, but some useful links, e.g Vendors who provide MARC records…dated)

TPOTS (Technical Processing Online Tools)

Web Accessible National and Major Libraries of the World Contact information for each
national library, includes: address, website url, and phone and fax number. Maintained by IFLA

Web site of common typographical errors in library databases

Miscellaneous Sites

Autocat Web site:

David Bigwood

How to be a Copy Cat see posting on under Rosenberg
Library, then Rosenberg Blog

InterCAT is dedicated to facilitating communication concerning Internet resources and their
impact on libraries

OCLC Internet Cataloging project Subscribe via Web4Lib electronic discussion :

As a guide for writing library procedures and manuals visit these sites.

Catalogers Manuals on the Web

Cornell University (brief guides)

Georgetown University (AcqWeb, Currency conversion, Cataloging manual, Publisher & vendor information, dictionaries, etc.)

Indiana University Cataloging Guide

Kansas State University Libraries

McGill University Libraries

Northwestern State University http ://

Oakland University library procedures

Penn State University (forms and guides)
Princeton University's Cataloging manual (well presented guide, including physical treatment of items)

Stanford University Library

TechWeb (Queen’s University Cataloging Guide—extensive and forward looking)

University of Oregon (comprehensive table of sites for catalogers)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friends Book Sale in October!

Friday Oct. 5, 5-7:00 pm Members Only Preview

Saturday, Oct. 6, 10-5 pm

Sunday, Oct. 7, 12-3 pm

Every year the Used Book Sale seems to get bigger and bigger, the same is true this year!

The Art section will be huge as will Music, History and Children's. Texana will be in the Rare Books room. Civil War and Masonic collections will be on offer as well as sleeved antique engravings.

For admission to the preview Friday, Friends membership cards will be required.

There will be new Friends merchandise such as the new designs for the t-shirts and bags which feature architectural elements of the historical Rosenberg Library.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pottermania at the Rosenberg~

RL prepared for the 7th release with great anticipation. We hosted:

on July 20, Friday a Harry Potter Release Party. There were some great giveaways, Order of the Phoenix, which is the next most coveted book, as the movie was released in July.

We had 11 books and 5 audio books with several holds on them. On Saturday, they were released to our patrons, and staff!

There are several Potter fans, amongst staff, who follow the Leaky Cauldron, or as in Deathly Hallows, we would all listen to Potterwatch, the underground radio station, if we could!!

Borders still has Deathly Hallows for 40% off, @ 20 dollars plus tax, as of Wednesday, July 25.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July treasure: Washington Guard artifacts

PHOTO CAPTION: 1. Ceremonial sword won at a drilling competition in Austin, Texas in 1874. Inscription reads: “Fifth Texas State Fair – 1874 – To Washington Guards – Galveston – For Superior Drill.”
The Washington Guards

During the month of July, the Rosenberg Library will display artifacts related to the Washington Guards, the first military body established in Texas after the Civil War. These civilian men were incorporated into the state militia as Company A, First Texas Regiment. A small collection of Washington Guards memorabilia was donated to the library by Josephine Goldman in 1925. Among these items is a ceremonial sword from 1874 as well as an assortment of ribbons and medals from events associated with the Guards.

The Washington Guards were first established as a state militia in Galveston in 1871. Recognized as an elite and highly regarded organization, the Washington Guards were superior in drill exercises and won numerous competitions. There were four separate companies in Galveston, all with distinct names and insignias. The Guard members’ blue dress uniforms, which they wore on special social occasions, were said to have been unusually colorful with attractive brass buttons.

In 1875 and 1888, the Washington Guards won three first-place blue ribbons for drills at state encampments. In 1874, a ceremonial sword was awarded to the Guards for superior drilling at the Texas State Fair. The Washington Guards’ chief rivals were the Houston Light Guards (established in 1873.) Both companies were credited with upholding law and order in Texas, and each was recognized for its excellence in interstate rifle drills.

Membership into the prestigious Washington Guards was usually based on family tradition. Admission into the group stemmed from the earliest days of the Galveston Artillery Club. The Artillery Club evolved into the Washington Guards, which in turn evolved into the Sealy Rifles. Eventually, the body came to be known as the Galveston Artillery Company in the 1920s.

By the early 20th century, interest in the local military organization had waned, and the Washington Guards disbanded in 1908. In 1925, the Washington Guards Veterans Association was created for the purpose of preserving the traditions of the Guards and to prevent the organization’s name from being lost in history. Interestingly, the association hosted an exhibit of Guards’ artifacts in the main lobby of Rosenberg Library in July of that year. Eighty-two years later, the library is happy to celebrate the history of the Washington Guards once again.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifacts will be on display in the Hutchings Gallery, located on the library’s third floor. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

1. Ceremonial sword won at a drilling competition in Austin, Texas in 1874. Inscription reads: “Fifth Texas State Fair – 1874 – To Washington Guards – Galveston – For Superior Drill.”

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Karankawa Indians: Galveston's First Settlers

Clay pottery shards and flint projectile points made by Karankawa Indians. These were excavated from a campsite on Galveston’s west end in the early 1900s. Taken by John Augelli.

During the month of June, the Rosenberg Library will display an assortment of pottery shards and projectile points from Galveston’s earliest inhabitants—the Karankawa Indians. This collection of Native American artifacts was donated by Dr. J.O. Dyer, a local physician and historian, between 1916 and 1926.

The term “Karankawa” refers to a now-extinct group of Native American peoples who resided along the Texas Gulf Coast from Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi Bay. Though they shared a common language and way of life, there were actually three distinct tribes of Karankawa Indians: the Coaques, the Copanes, and the Carancaquacas.

Archaeological evidence shows that the Karankawas were nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived in round thatch huts, or wigwams. They traveled in bands of thirty to forty people led by a chief, and their principal mode of transportation was the dugout canoe.
During the winter, the Karankawas would set up camps around the coastal bays. They subsisted on fish, shellfish, and turtles. In warmer months, the tribes would move inland to hunt deer and bison and to gather berries, nuts, and roots. Karankawa men were expert hunters and fisherman. The Karankawas crafted pottery, baskets, and weapons, including the long bow. The bow and arrow was their primary weapon for hunting and warfare.
Karankawa men were reported to have been unusually tall and heavily tattooed. They pierced various parts of their faces and bodies. Karankawa women also tattooed their skin and wore body paint. Their clothing was fashioned from animal skins or Spanish moss.

While many accounts allege that the Karankawas held elaborate cannibalistic ceremonies, this claim has been disputed by some scholars. While ritual flesh-eating of one’s enemies was not uncommon among Indian tribes in Texas and Louisiana, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that the Karankawas were among those groups which practiced cannibalism.
The Karankawa Indians first appeared on the historical record in 1528. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer, was among the shipwrecked survivors from the Panfilo de Narvaez expedition. These men landed on a small island west of Galveston that was inhabited by Karankawas. Cabeza de Vaca lived among the native peoples for several years, and much of what we know about the Karankawas comes from his written accounts.

In 1685, Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, led a French expedition along the Texas Coast. Near Matagorda Bay, he established a colony for France and named it Fort St. Louis. Soon after, the Karankawas attacked the settlers, killing all but several children whom they took captive. These children were later rescued by Spanish explorers in the early 1690s, and their accounts of life among the Karankawas provide a great deal of insight into the customs and culture of these people.

France and Spain continued sending explorers along the Texas Coast, and by the early 18th century, the Spanish had organized a number of missions to Christianize the native tribes and to make them loyal subjects. The missionary system created hostility between Spaniards and Indians, and conflicts often erupted. By the early 1800s, however, epidemic diseases introduced by the Europeans had greatly reduced the population of native peoples in the New World. The Karankawas also suffered from settlers invading their lands and competing for resources.

The Karankawas in Galveston faced a detrimental blow after a confrontation with Jean Lafitte’s commune at Campeche in 1819. After Lafitte’s men kidnapped a young Karankawa woman, 300 warriors from her tribe attacked the privateer’s fort. Although they were far outnumbered by the Karankawas, the men at the commune were armed with two cannons. The bows and arrows of the Karankawas were no match for this deadly arsenal.

After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, Anglo-Americans were encouraged to immigrate to Texas, then a sparsely populated province. Colonists were frequently attacked by the Karankawas, and efforts were made to “exterminate” the native peoples. During the 1840s, only a few scattered tribes of Karankawa Indians remained along the Texas coast. Disease, colonization, and genocidal warfare proved to be a lethal combination. By 1858, the Karankawas were considered an extinct group of people.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifacts will be on display in the Hutchings Gallery, located on the library’s third floor. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Selected for Galveston Reads Project 2008

Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines has been selected as the next title for the Galveston County Reads project.
A Lesson Before Dying is Ernest J. Gaines' eighth novel, published in 1993. It was selected for Oprah's Book Club in 1997.

The Galveston Reads committee is now working on ways to promote and publicize Lesson Before Dying. An effort will be made to publicize the book to Galveston County high schools and colleges for inclusion in their curriculum for next year. Programming for the book will occur January through March, 2008.

The next meeting of the committee will be on Wednesday, May 23 at 4:00 pm in the Wortham Auditorium of the Rosenberg Library.

For further information please contact the chair:

Karen Stanley
(409)763-8854 x119

Friday, May 4, 2007


The Rosenberg Library’s Galveston and Texas History Center announces the exhibit, “Captivating Commercial Calendars: Glimpses into Galveston’s Business History, 1906-1938.”

The majority of the calendars, illustrated by well-known magazine cover artists of their day, such as Haskell Coffin and Neysa McMein, feature portraits of young women depicted in warm colors that enhance their allure. A 1916 calendar for
E. R. Henck & Son, a manufacturer of sails and awnings, strikes a patriotic note. It features an illustration, “Long May It Wave,” that anticipated the United States’ entry into World War I. Another calendar from 1906, for the book seller Ferdinand Ohlendorf, depicts a woman placing a call using a hand-cranked telephone.

The calendars make an interesting visual statement about times past, such as women’s fashion and hair styles once in vogue. They are also reminders of firms that once operated in Galveston.

The exhibit was drawn from a collection of approximately 80 promotional calendars that the Library collected many decades ago. Among the earliest are F. J. Finck Stationery and Printing Co. (1905), which dealt in stencils and rubber seals, and the Galveston Tribune (1906). Knapp Bros, (17 calendars dating from 1916-1936) and J. V. Love and Co. (14 items, 1921-1934) are the most heavily represented firms.

The collection also includes eight calendars, 1926-1939, for Fred M. Burton & Company, an insurance agency, featuring color illustrations of such American history icons as Monticello and Daniel Boone’s trek in the Cumberland Valley. A 1926 calendar for the Creole Line, Navigazione Alta Italia – Genoa, a steamship line that called at Galveston, features a photograph of the steamer Monrosa.

“Captivating Commercial Calendars” may be viewed in the Harris Gallery (3rd floor) at the Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy, during normal hours (Mondays-Saturdays, 9 AM-5 PM). For further information, please contact Casey Edward Greene, Head of Special Collections, at (409) 763-8854, email; or Carol Wood, Archivist, at (409) 763-8854, extension 127, email

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Galveston’s Gaming Days

Glamour, Glitz, and Gambling: Galveston’s Gaming Days

Photo Caption:

Set of playing cards used at the Sui Jen Café and the Hollywood Dinner Club (gift of Mrs. Courtney C. Washington); $100 poker chips from the Balinese Room (gift of the Estate of Joseph Levy); $5 chip from the Turf Athletic Club (gift of E. Burke Evans, M.D.)

During the month of May, several souvenirs related to Galveston’s gambling era will be on display at Rosenberg Library. Playing cards, poker chips, and score cards from several old casinos are featured.

Long before Las Vegas became America’s capital of betting, drinking, and entertaining, Galveston was considered by many to be the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Bootlegging and gambling were major industries on the island from the 1920s through the 1950s.

During Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, a number of Galveston businessmen involved with bootlegging. Large sums of money could be made by those who illegally transported and sold liquor, and several enterprising individuals took full advantage of the opportunity. This venture led to an even more ambitious and more profitable industry: gambling.

Gambling was outlawed in the entire state of Texas. Galveston, however, had an “open city” policy, and casinos, though illegal, were more or less tolerated by law enforcement officials. Four island establishments—The Hollywood Dinner Club, the Turf Athletic Club, the Sui Jen Cafe, and the Balinese Room—offered cocktails, gambling, and entertainment. Some of America’s most popular artists, including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Bob Hope performed in Galveston clubs.

The Hollywood Dinner Club, located at 61st Street and Stewart Road, opened its doors in 1926. The club, outfitted with elegant crystal chandeliers and a large hardwood dance floor, offered fine dining and top-notch live entertainment. Nationally known bands, orchestras, and singers performed regularly at the Hollywood Dinner Club. Although gambling was illegal at the time, it was permitted at the club.

The Turf Athletic Club and was another local hot spot situated in downtown Galveston. The three-story building, which was located on 23rd Street between Market and Postoffice, housed a nightclub, a restaurant, a casino, a gym, and a betting parlor for sporting events. The posh Studio Lounge at the Turf was touted as being one of America’s first air-conditioned clubs.

In 1923, the Chop Suey restaurant and gambling parlor opened on Galveston Island. Built as a pier overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Chop Suey (later called the Grotto) was located at 21st Street and Seawall. In 1932, the facility was remodeled as an oriental café and night club, and its name was changed to the Sui Jen (pronounced “swee ren”). It was another chic venue for gambling and music, and famous American performers were booked there regularly.

The Sui Jen was completely remodeled and renamed the Balinese Room in 1942. The Balinese Room was a restaurant and nightclub with a South Seas-inspired décor. Its interior design featured bamboo and reed wall coverings, neon and copper palm trees, and colorful murals.

Things began to change in Galveston when Will Wilson became State Attorney General in the late 1950s. Determined to stop illegal gambling in Galveston, Wilson sent undercover agents into bars, nightclubs, and casinos to monitor the illegal activities that were taking place in the city. By June 1957, there was sufficient evidence to force 47 island establishments to close their doors permanently. Hundreds of slot machines and gaming tables were smashed to pieces and dumped into the bay. Stashes of weapons and business records were also confiscated. Galveston’s days as a gambler’s paradise had come to an end.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifacts will be on display in the Hutchings Gallery, located on the library’s third floor.
For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Friday, April 6, 2007

Jazz at Rosenberg in April

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), Rosenberg Library is hosting a free concert. Mike Fageros and his ensemble will perform Thursday, April 12 at Noon in the Wortham Auditorium. Bring your lunch and enjoy the show.

Mike is an accomplished jazz musician and will be playing the guitar during the concert. The ensemble will be performing a blend of Straight Ahead Jazz featuring classics like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Joe Henderson; and Soul Jazz featuring the music of George Benson and Pat Martino.

For further information, contact: Brenda Renner, 409-763-8854 ext. 115

Thanks to Brenda for bringing this event to RL!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Antique Beer Steins

During the month of April, the Rosenberg Library will display several examples of antique beer steins. These artifacts were originally made in Germany between the early and late 1800s. Three were donated to the library by W.R.A. Rogers (1869-1937), and one was given by Fred Burton (1876-1938). Mr. Rogers was a prominent Galveston businessman and member of the Rosenberg Library Board of Directors for many years. Mr. Burton was in the cotton and later the insurance industry, and he also served as the Galveston Quartet Society’s first director.

The earliest types of drinking vessels known as steins date back to the 16th century. Most scholars and historians credit the Germans for this invention. Steins, also referred to as tankards, are containers with handles and hinged lids. These lids were used to protect the liquid contents from flies and other pests, a sanitary measure taken after millions in Europe fell victim to the bubonic plague. Steins were made in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the decoration on the vessels ranges from primitive designs to elaborate masterpieces.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, steins were usually made from brown clay and were hand painted using several colors. From the early 18th century on, raised relief decoration and more color were added. By the later half of the 19th century, stein making had reached its pinnacle, becoming a true art form. In addition to clay, pewter, porcelain, colored glass, silver, and even ivory were used to craft beer steins. Etched or painted scenes on steins portrayed figures drinking, dancing, and hunting. “Character steins” were cartoon-like vessels in the shape of animals or vegetables with expressive facial features. Some hand-painted vessels depicted exceptionally realistic military or occupational scenes.

Companies such as Villeroy and Boch, Merkelbach and Wick, Marzi and Remy, and HR began mass producing beer steins during the 1800s. Most of these manufacturers stamped their steins with distinctive makers’ marks, and many steins were engraved with the words “musterschutz” or “geschüzt” on the base. This meant that that particular design was patented and that its duplication by another company was prohibited by law. Steins that have the word “Germany” on the base indicate a production date after 1892. At that time, national law mandated the practice of identifying export goods.

Beer steins that pre-date the mid 19th century were usually one-of-a-kind drinking vessels. Often, these were made to order, and depending on size, quality, and craftsmanship, some steins were quite expensive to produce. These earlier custom-made beer steins are highly sought after by today’s collectors. The values of some steins—particularly the oldest and most unusual examples—have gone up significantly over the past several decades.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifacts will be on display in the Hutchings Gallery, located on the library’s third floor. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wings in Watercolor Opens...on the Ides of March!

The Rosenberg Library hosted the opening of the Boyer Gonzales exhibit, of several paintings never before seen by the public.

The reception began at 5 pm, with members of FeatherFest, the Friends of the RL, and the Board of the RL along with staff in attendance.

Postcards, posters, and books on Boyer Gonzales are available from the Galveston and Texas History Center, located on the third floor of the Rosenberg Library.

This exhibit will run from March 16 through July 16. For further information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at:
The Ides passed with a flourish for RL staff, a good omen, as we welcomed members of the Galveston community to RL. Dr. Edward D. Futch and his wife, our honorary trustee of the Rosenberg Library was in attendance, as well as members of the Hospitality Committee, from our Friends. Mort Voller, the chairman of Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council and the RL staff.
Thanks to our sponsors, FeatherFest and the Friends of RL.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Room With A View

I just wanted to share with everyone what I saw when I walked into my office this actual view of downtown Galveston! I have to say it was worth all of the pounding noise and dust over the past couple of days. Just a glimpse of what's to come on the exterior renovation project...

Friday, March 2, 2007

March Treasure of the Month

Eanger Irving Couse

In 1979, the Sealy Homestead Trust donated to the Rosenberg Library a number of paintings that once hung in the Sealy Mansion (Open Gates) at the corner of 25th and Broadway in Galveston. Among these was an oil painting by Eanger Irving Couse. Couse was an American painter who lived and worked in New Mexico during the early 1900s. There, he felt inspired by the Indians at Taos Pueblo. Couse used these Indians as models in staged scenes featuring Native-American pottery, textiles, and tools. His paintings depicted the Indians not as savages, but as peaceful, dignified human beings. A highly respected artist during his lifetime, Couse’s work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

For March, the Treasure of the Month is an oil painting by American artist Eanger Irving Couse. He painted portraits of Native Americans living at the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. This particular painting is called "Pueblo Fireplace" and it was done around 1928. It was donated by the Sealy Family in 1979. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and many other U.S. Museums have paintings by Couse in their collections.

The Rosenberg Library Treasure of the Month can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artifact will be on display in the Hutchings Gallery, located on the library’s third floor. For more information, please contact Eleanor Clark at 409-763-8854, ext. 125 or at

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let there be light...coming soon!

These are the old tigers' heads, remarkably intact, taken by our director, John Augelli.

The work on our old wing of the Rosenberg Library progresses quickly. The tiger's heads have been removed, and the new ones have arrived, and are ready to be installed near the roof of the Rosenberg Library.

The first floor/basement has the windows cleared and ready for real sunlight to shine through. The Friends of the Rosenberg Library will have one, as well as the Technical Services department, which has not seen natural light for several decades!

The new signs explaining the construction project, and the lack of parking space are only some of the pains of this construction.

We look forward to the completion this fall!