Three Questions is an initiative to share the value that our faculty, students, and others in the UNT community derive from using the Unique Collections at UNT Libraries.
1. How important are Unique Collections in your teaching, learning or research?
My 1983 University of Chicago dissertation involved day-by-day microfilm research on German-American newspapers. What a privilege it is by contrast to get on the Portal of Texas History. We have an honors program devoted to research and we do a lot of work in Texas history, both for the production of feature-length films (Query our website at NTCC Honors for Texas history films), and for essays. We at the same time lack a comprehensive research library within an hour of our campus. The Portal to Texas History comes to our rescue each year, with a dissertation on Pappy O’Daniel, an article from the Houston Post, or magnificent 1850 speech by Texas Senator, Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Now I can suggest much more unusual topics to my students, and also get them started with a few finds of the collection. Ana Krahmer of the Digital Newspaper Unit has been a great catalyst as well in bringing us to new frontiers of knowledge.
2. How have Unique Collections changed the way you approach your research, teaching or learning?
Thanks to the Unique Collections we have become much more bold about research, and much more willing to direct students to new fields of work. We have amassed seven State of Texas Caldwell Awards, a Smallwood, several awards of the Great Plains Honors Council, and several publications in Touchstone, published by the Texas State Historical Association, in recent years being able to launch out into the wonderland of primary documents provided by the Portal to Texas History. We also have presented work consistently at the National Collegiate Honors Council. Not every state has these kind of resources, so I believe scholars from our small community college now have some advantages.
3. What do you want others to know about your research?
We note that at some point in the early twentieth-century, high school athletics crossed over from a peripheral to a mainstream activity for small towns in Texas. We believe that there are many aspects of regional culture that are ignored, many questions that go un-researched, and questions to which a substantial population craves answers. Through our films and essays in Texas history we hope to supply not only a kind of regional cultural experience, but to provide our students with a chance to present, publish, and win various awards. One ultimate aftereffect of the Portal to Texas History is that our students have been averaging three-four national awards a year.
Dr. Andrew Yox is the Honors Director at Northeast Texas Community College