Persons or groups wishing to receive the Texas
National Dispatch, published as a free service by the
Texas 1986 Sesquicentennial Commission, may write:
Thad Sitton, Editor, Texas National Dispatch P.O. Box
1986 Austin, Texas 78767.
independent nation. This celebration has an impressive
precedent to follow. The Texas Centennial of 1936 gave
strong impetus to the growth of the Texas travel industry,
the historical preservation movement, the erection of
monuments and museums, and the publication of books
on Texas and her peoples.
The sixty-sixth Texas Legislature, in 1979, established
the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission to "publicize
and co-ordinate celebrations of the 150th anniversary
of Texas' independence as a republic and progress as a
state." These celebrations will emphasize "the historic,
cultural, environmental, and social aspects of Texas, including
appropriate past, present, and future highlights."
Sesquicentennial planners have learned quite a lot
from the examples set by the 1936 Centennial, especially
in the area of comprehensive events and projects. The
1986 Commission has taken the role as '.'a clearing house
of state-wide activities," according to Thad Sitton, editor
of the Texas National Dispatch. This information publication
of the 1986 Sesquicentennial Commission is a facsimile
of the Texas National Register, a newspaper published at
Washington-on-the-Brazos to celebrate the birth of the
At the state level the Commission works in official
cooperation with the Texas Historical Commission, the
Texas Tourist Development Agency, the Texas State Library
and Archives Commission, the Texas State Historical
Association, the State Fair, and Texas Commission on
the Arts, the State Department of Highways and Public
Transportation, the Texas Film Commission, the Institute
of Texan Cultures, the East Texas Historical Association,
the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, and many
other state-wide organizations.
The Sesquicentennial Commission draws upon the
technical resources and experience of these cooperating
agencies to promote activities at the grass roots level.
"The Commission helps form local committees and their
interests," says Randy Lee, Executive Director of the
Sesquicentennial Commission. "The whole thing is organized
by the local committees around their local histories
and what they want to do. We assist them with setting
up local 'ad-hoc' committees that prepare a master plan
for their community," says Lee. "So far there are approximately
sixty-one communities and twenty associations
who have applied and been sanctioned as Texas Independence
As mandated by the sixty-sixth Legislature, the 1986
Sesquicentennial Commission is not a source of funding
for projects. "This is a good reason for committees to go to
local business and industry for funding of Sesquicentennial
events," says Lee.
The Texas Historical Foundation is also preparing for
the future celebration of Texas' Independence. The Foundation
will publish a two-volume edition of historic photographs,
along with a reference guide to photography
collections in the state, and a directory of 19th Century
photographers in Texas. The project committee, headed
by THF Vice President William P. Wright Jr., of Abilene,
has secured significant underwriting for the publications
from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., and its energy
subsidiary CONOCO, Inc.
Please read about the Historical Photography Project
on page 8 of this issue of TEXAS HERITAGE.
In 1836, the Republic of Texas declared its independence
from Mexico. The April 21st victory of the Texas
Army at San Jacinto immortalized the unyielding spirit of
early Texas pioneers. The battle, a classic withdrawal
movement, enabled Sam Houston to collect and organize
his volunteers while the enemy was stretched out across
the endless Texas prairies and trapped in a sea of mud. Sam
Houston's timing in counter attacking an overconfident
Santa Anna, enabled the Texans to rout a Mexican force
nearly twice their number. The heroic actions of Texans
during this brief eighteen minutes of history proclaimed
Texas' sovereignty, and its future to the world.
The young nation was a diverse blend of ethnic cultures
and geographic wonders, and in the one hundred
and forty-eight years since Independence, Texas has continued
to attract all peoples seeking freedom and the
promise of the future.
In 1986, Texans will celebrate the Sesquicentennial
Anniversary of the birth of their state as a Republic and an
Joe J. Ballard
Honors archeology advocate
The October 28, 1983 death of Mr. Joe J. Ballard, a prominent Fort Worth businessman,
marked the end of a quarter-century of leadership in preservation of Texas heritage.
Mr. Ballard was recognized state-wide as a continuing advocate of archeological
resources and projects. In addition, Mr. Ballard was a major contributor to archeological
In the Spring of 1983, Joe J. Ballard was the recipient of the Texas Historical
Commission's award for Historic Preservation. The award recognizes significant contributions
towards preserving Texas history.
Mr. Joe J. Ballard, while serving on the Board of Directors of the Texas Historical
Foundation and as Board President took decisive steps in reorganizing the Foundation's
purposes and established new long range goals. Part of this plan was the establishment
of a permanent archeology fund, which will now be aided by the Joe J. Ballard
The Ballard Memorial Fund is a fitting memory to a man committed to the legacies
of this state. This fund will be used exclusively to fullfill a half-million dollar endowment.
Private donations and corporate matching grants will be accepted to support the
Texas Historical Foundation's archeology programs. Once the half million dollar endowment
is funded, the corporate matching grants can continue to bring in sources of revenue
to support projects throughout the state.
The Texas Historical Foundation is currently accepting contributions to the Ballard
Memorial Fund to honor Joe J. Ballard and his contributions, to Texas preservation. For
additional information contact Mr. Morrison Parrott, Executive Director at the Foundation
office in Austin. .
.The Texas Historical Foundation would like to thank the Architectural Drawings
Collection at the University of Texas at Austin for permission to reproduce the drawings
of architect James Riely Gordon. These drawings depict the Ellis County Courthouse,
Waxahachie, 1895; the Bexar.County Courthouse, San Antonio, 1891-96; and the Texas
Pavilion, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. A recent addition to the
Architectural Drawings Collection records the distinguished career of James Riely
Gordon (1863-1937). The James Riely Gordon Archive furnishes documentation not
only of Gordon's practice in Texas, but also of his later successful New York career.
The Architectural Drawings Collection is a rapidly growing archive of Texas
architectural records consisting chiefly of original architects' drawings, but also including
blueprints, photographs, negatives, microfilms, models, specifications, measured
drawings, student research reports and clipping files. This Collection, which is administered
by the General Libraries and housed in the Architecture and Planning Library is
an invaluable resource for research and scholarship on the architectural, cultural, and
social history of Texas and the Southwest. Evolved from the Texas Architectural
Archives, a collection of architect's drawings and student's measured drawings, and
reports gathered by Professor D. B. Alexander over the past twenty years, the Collection
now contains over 30,000 drawings and documents approximately 1800 buildings. This
resource serves a major role in the function of the Southwest Center for the Study of
Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Spring 1984. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45446/. Accessed February 1, 2015.