History Harvest: A Connection to the Community

Posted: March 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM CDT

Remember when?

Remember when the Harbor Bridge was built?  Hurricane Celia?  The Buccaneer Days Parade?  High school rivalries?  Selena on the Domingo Show?  Concerts at the Memorial Coliseum?  The civil rights marches that changed our city?  South Texas has a rich history and your memories can help us understand the important events and experiences that have shaped the region.

Every family has a story and individually these memories make our community what it is, and some of those important memories can be lost if they are not saved and shared. The social occasions of the past tell pieces of a community’s history. The dances, weddings, and other social gatherings are just as important to a community as the political and economic stories.  The everyday life builds and sustains a community’s culture and the best way to grasp these histories is to have a broad and diverse pool of resources to study. The individual memories of important events help establish a larger landscape to investigate. The lived experience of hurricanes, elections, and major community changes are also an aspect of memory this project seeks to expand on within the archives.

Wedding photo from Alfonso R. Gomez Family papers, Collection 240History Harvest is a collaborative history project that encourages community members to donate photographs, documents, videos, and other items to Special Collections and Archives at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. These objects are the ‘stuff’ of history, a connection to the past in physical form. The community’s history is not only told from political leaders or other figures of authority, instead it is a rich complex history told through everyday life and citizens from all areas of the community. The goal is to celebrate and preserve community history, stories and memorabilia, and then make these items available to the public, students and scholars. There is a value to history, it is not a concept for scholarship alone but a means to connect the community and bond through our past. A diverse collection that includes all aspects of the region’s history is a vital aspect of any archives. Community and culture are often overlooked parts of historical research because the source material is harder to find than that of official documentation.

Community memory is built through every individual and the experiences of their lives. The hope is to build a repository to collect these memories so that the history is not lost. An important aspect of this project is making sure these memories are accessible to the community. Each item donated will be scanned and cataloged so that as much information is captured for future use. These items are then put in our repository so that they are available to the public, students, and scholars. This is one of the most important aspects of a History Harvest, the open easy access to all material obtained.

Sons of America photo from the Alfonso R. Gomez family papersThese items and stories connect the University to the community around it. While our specific events help establish a connection, we also accept donations to this project at any time.

If you or someone you know has items that document the community and culture of the Coastal Bend do not hesitate to contact us in the Special Collections and Archives Department.

The next History Harvest
Saturday, March 23
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
KEDT Studios
3205 S. Staples St, Corpus Christi, TX 78411

Amanda Kowalski, Library Information Specialist

*All photographs are from the Alfonso R. Gomez Family papers, Collection 240. These items were obtained at past History Harvests.

By: Amanda Kowalski

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