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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Biographical Note

Texas Civil War Centennial Commission Organizational History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Organization of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Commission chair records, January 1958-July 1967, undated, bulk 1960-1964,

Chronology Committee chair records, 1954-1963, undated,

West Texas military fort files, 1836-1900, undated,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

John Thomas Duncan:

An Inventory of Texas Civil War Centennial Commission Records at the Texas State Archives, 1836-1900, 1958-1967, undated, bulk 1960-1965



Overview

Creator: Duncan, John Thomas, 1901-1978.
Title: Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records
Dates: 1836-1900, 1958-1967, undated
Dates (Bulk): bulk 1960-1965
Abstract: John Thomas Duncan was a professor of history at Texas A&M University when he began work as a member of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission and as chair of its Chronology Committee. The records include materials pertaining to the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission and National Civil War Centennial Commission, including correspondence, press releases, meeting minutes, publications produced by the Texas and national commissions, newspapers, and background materials on Texas military forts during the 1870s. Within the context of the Texas Centennial Commission, Duncan worked to produce an official chronology of events in Texas during the Civil War. The dates of the records are 1836-1900, 1958-1967, undated, with most of the materials produced between 1960 and 1965 as part of the planning of Civil War Centennial celebrations.
Quantity: 1.2 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Biographical Note

John Thomas Duncan was a Texas secondary education teacher, university educator, and historian who spent the majority of his career working as a professor of history at Texas A&M University. He is frequently listed by variations on his full name, including John Duncan, J.T. Duncan, and John T. Duncan. He was born in Eastland, Texas, on November 28, 1901, as the only child of Walter Thomas Duncan and Mattie Dick. His mother passed away in March of 1903, and his father married Jay Myrick that December; their daughter Ola Mae Duncan was born in 1908. Duncan spent his childhood in Eastland and attended Simmons College in Abilene, Texas, from 1921 to 1924, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in history and philosophy. As a college student, he was active in student organizations such as the Legislative Assembly, Baptist Student Union, Press Club, Philo Society, Judicial Council, Philo-Phila Confederation of Texas, and the yearbook The Bronco. He was also honored as the face of the Philomathean Society his senior year.

Duncan married Effie Lee Turner on August 25, 1924. They had two sons: Walter Thomas was born in 1927, and David Turner in 1929. In 1929, Duncan began teaching mathematics at Bowie High School in Bowie, Texas. By 1930, he was teaching math and history as well as coaching football, basketball, track, and baseball. By 1940, Duncan and his family had moved to Estelline, Texas, where he worked in local secondary education. He then moved to Bryan, Texas, around 1946, to accept a post as professor of history at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later known as Texas A&M University), where he would spend the remainder of his professional career.

In 1960, Governor Price Daniel appointed Duncan as an assistant director to the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission, prompting Duncan to take a leave of absence from his teaching duties. Commission chairman Walter E. Long appointed Duncan as head of the Chronology Committee on April 9 of that year, tasked with creating a comprehensive chronology of the Civil War in Texas. Besides conducting and supervising research for and writing the chronology, he lobbied the governor's office and the Texas legislature for additional funding for the centennial celebration and attended several meetings of the National Civil War Centennial Commission. Duncan also worked closely with organizations such as the Sons of the Confederacy, whose prominent members Dr. Heyl G. Tebo and Frank Tritico were also members of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission.

In 1964, Duncan was hired by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee. As a part of the newly implemented Record, Appreciate, Mark, Preserve, and Survey Texas history (RAMPS) program, Duncan worked to find and register historical markers across Texas, which also allowed him to conduct research for the Chronology Committee. The Texas Civil War Centennial Commission and the Texas State Historical Survey Committee were disbanded at the conclusion of the centennial celebrations in 1965, at which time Duncan resumed his duties as a professor at Texas A&M. He retired in 1971 and died in Bryan on December 31, 1978.

(Sources include: The Texas State Historical Survey Committee; the following records located on Ancestry.com: John Thomas Duncan, 1901-1978, Duncan Family public member tree; Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982 for John Thomas Duncan; 1940 United States Federal Census for John T. Duncan; 1930 United States Federal Census for John T. Duncan; Walter Thomas Duncan, 1880-1969, Duncan Family public member tree; Mattie Dick, 1883-1903, Duncan Family public member tree, accessed on October 31, 2018; "Masons Set to Honor Members" from the Bryan Daily Eagle [Bryan, TX], 12 Apr. 1971, p. A3, Newspaper Archive, accessed November 5, 2017; Simmons College, "The Bronco, Yearbook of Simmons College, 1922 and 1924," Hardin-Simmons University Library and The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu/, Simmons College, all accessed on October 23, 2017.)

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Texas Civil War Centennial Commission Organizational History

The Texas Civil War Centennial Commission was established by Governor Price Daniel in 1960 to commemorate the centennial of the Civil War, per 85th United States Congress' Joint Resolution 253, which was passed "to establish a commission to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the Civil War" and established the Civil War Centennial Commission in 1957, which oversaw the Civil War centennial in forty-nine states, including Texas. The Texas Civil War Centennial Commission was comprised of the members of the Texas State Historical Survey Committee as well as 18 at-large members from throughout Texas. Governor Daniel appointed Walter E. Long as chairman of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission. Historian and educator George W. Hill served as executive director, Dr. Rupert E. Richardson as vice-chairman, and Mrs. C.C. Cameron as second vice-chairman. Other members of the commission included Texas State Historical Survey Committee president Colonel Charles R. Tips, Ima Hogg, and General Paul Wakefield.

The commission's projects and events included erecting historical markers of Civil War sites; dedicating the Supreme Court Building as a Confederate memorial; acquiring microfilm of indexes to Texas Civil War records in the National Archives; working on the Texas Vicksburg monument in Mississippi; recruitment efforts and celebrations of the Sons of the Confederacy and the United Daughters of the Confederacy; compiling a chronology of Civil War events in Texas; creating a program of Civil War Centennial events; requesting appropriations to fund salaries, monuments, and events; and reporting on the activities of the national commission. The Texas Civil War Centennial Commission was dissolved in May 1965 at the conclusion of the Civil War centennial.

(Sources include: the records themselves.)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

John Thomas Duncan was a member of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission and chair of its Chronology Committee. The chair of the Chronology Committee of the Texas Civil War Centennial Committee was in charge of creating a chronology of events in Texas during the Civil War as well as participating in the general functions of the Texas and National Civil War Centennial Commissions. Records document John T. Duncan's work with the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission (1960-1967), both as a member at large and as head of the commission's Chronology Committee (1960-1965). The records also include his original research on and records from 19th century forts in West Texas (1836-1877). Records include correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, photographs, programs, newsletters, press releases and press kits, articles, newspapers, clippings, other printed material, and artifacts. The correspondence and memoranda are handwritten, typewritten, carbon-copied, or photocopied; other written materials are printed. Dates of the records are 1836-1900,1954-1957, and undated, the bulk dating 1960-1965.

Topics include the Civil War, the National Civil War Centennial Commission, the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission and its Chronology Committee, Fort Duncan, Fort Concho, and Fort Clark. Correspondents include Duncan, members of the various centennial commissions and committees including chairman Walter E. Long, the Texas State Historical Survey Committee, the office of Governor Price Daniel, state legislators, Texas county judges, members and prospective members of various local Texas historical societies, Civil War historians, and the general public. These materials were previously referred to as the John Thomas Duncan collection.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.

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Organization of the Records

The records are organized into three series as received from the donor:
Commission chair records, January 1958-July 1967, undated, bulk 1960-1964, 0.5 cubic ft.
Chronology Committee chair records, 1954-1963, undated, 0.4 cubic ft.
West Texas military fort files, 1836-1900, undated, 0.3 cubic ft.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished manuscripts are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. Researchers are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the Archives when reviewing photographic materials.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Long, Walter Ewing.
Daniel, Price.
Corporate Names:
Texas State Historical Survey Committee.
Texas Civil War Centennial Commission.
United States. Civil War Centennial Commission.
Subjects:
Texas–History–Civil War, 1861-1865--Centennial celebrations, etc.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Texas--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Places:
Texas--Centennial celebrations, etc.
Fort Duncan (Tex.)
Fort Clark (Tex.)
Fort Concho (Tex.)
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas.
Military records--Texas.
Press releases--Texas.
Newspapers--Texas.
Newsletters--Texas.
Pamphlets--Texas.
Photographs--United States.
Pouches--Texas.
Speeches (documents)--Texas.
Minutes (administrative records)--Texas.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Historical Commission History Programs Division records, about 1880-2016, undated, bulk 1960-1975, 2007-2016, 51.87 cubic ft. and 3.05 GB (2,639 files)
Texas Confederate Monument, Vicksburg, Mississippi, correspondence, clippings, 1901-1929, 0.5 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed materials. Call number is 2-23/632.]
Civil War Centennial historical markers scrapbook, 1963, 0.2 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 2-7/1293.]
Texas Civil War Centennial Commission report, about 1961, 0.5 cubic ft. [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 2-23/1101.]
Texas Historical Foundation records, undated, 2.5 inches. [Inventory of all historical markers in Texas.] [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records, the call number is 2-23/889.]
Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records, about 1961-1965, 4 inches [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call number is 2-23/1112.]
Walter E. Long collection, 1928-1971, bulk 1950-1971, 4.59 cubic ft.
Texas State Historical Survey Committee records, 1861-1865, 1902-1911, 1955-1971, bulk 1961-1967, 16.53 cubic ft.
Texas State Building Commission records on monuments, 1955-1963, 1 cubic ft.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1968/058, 1964/208, 1964/067, 1963/190

Materials in the collection were donated to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by John Thomas Duncan on May 15, 1964; December 3, 1965; June 22, 1965; and November 21, 1967.

Processing Information

Processed and a DACS-compliant finding aid with XML markup completed by Katelyn Jakovich, Kaley Jones, and Tito Kohout of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, December 2017

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Detailed Description of the Records

Commission chair records, January 1958-July 1967, undated, bulk 1960-1964,
0.5 cubic ft.

John Thomas Duncan was appointed to the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission by Governor Price Daniel in early 1960 and remained on the commission until its dissolution in 1965. As a member of the commission, Duncan retained copies of its official internal and external communications, which include minutes, press releases, correspondence, and newsletters from both the Texas and the national commissions. He also collected newspaper articles and clippings relating to the centennial. The materials date from January 1958 to July 1967, undated, bulk 1960-1964.
Arrangement
Records are arranged as received from the donor.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Commission chair records, Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Technical Requirements
Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the Archives when reviewing photographic materials.
Box
2-23/649 Correspondence, September 7, 1959-August 7, 1963
[This folder contains correspondence between Duncan and the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission; its members, particularly Walter E. Long and George A. Hill; and state legislators. The topics of the correspondence are mostly about the budget, salaries, and membership of the commission; there are also several notes congratulating Duncan on his appointment to the commission and on securing funding from the Texas legislature. There are also copies of budgets and salaries for the commission. The bulk of the correspondence is original or mimeographed copies of letters, with several telegrams.]
National commission press releases, July 30, 1959-August 2, 1961
[This folder contains the official press releases from the Civil War Centennial Commission, which provide updates on Civil War centennial celebrations across the U.S.]
Minutes, January 9, 1960-October 14, 1961
[This folder contains meeting minutes for the commission, which reveal who was present for various meetings of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission as well as the specifics of what was discussed and progress reports from the various committees.]
Notes and communications, December 9, 1958-May 18, 1962, undated
[1 black-and-white photograph]
[This folder contains Duncan's research for the chronology of Civil War events in Texas, mostly in the form of handwritten notes about battles, events in Confederate Texas, gravesites, monuments, and historical buildings; typed copies of Confederate army muster rolls; correspondence with professional and amateur historians about Confederate gravesites and monuments; proposed projects for the commission; directories and rosters for the commission and the state legislature; budgets for the commission; speeches by Walter E. Long, Senator George Moffett, South Carolina Governor James F. Byrnes, and Ashley Halsey; reports on Civil War centennial activities both at the local and the state level; and a Texas State Library newsletter dated May 18, 1962, which attests to John Duncan Osburn winning the John T. Duncan Confederate Award for 1962. A photograph of Confederate re-enactors is attached to this newsletter.]
Box
2-23/650 Centennial Commission printed material, January 1958-June 1967, bulk 1960-1965
[This folder contains newsletters, agendas, recommendations from the national commission on events and activities that should take place in the state Civil War centennial commissions, event programs, and chronologies from the Civil War Centennial Commission. It also contains pamphlets about the history of the Civil War and Texas; newsletters from the Texas State Historical Survey and the Civil War Round Table of Waco, Texas; the April-June 1967 issue of Historic Preservation magazine; and a pamphlet by Walter E. Long questioning the legality of the Fourteenth Amendment.]
Newspaper articles, December 15, 1959-July 19, 1967
[This folder contains newspapers from Texas cities reporting on the Civil War centennial in Texas and in other states.]
Newspapers, Harper's Magazine, invitation, letter, October 24, 1960-November 19, 1962, undated
[This folder contains newspapers, an invitation to a dedication of highways in Austin, a copy of Harper's Magazine, and a letter of thanks to Duncan from Texas State Archivist James M. Day. The newspapers consist of a special issue of the Brownsville Herald, one of the Dallas Morning News and one of the New York Times.]
Children of the Confederacy and United Daughters of the Confederacy materials, March 2, 1958-August 16, 1960, bulk undated
[This folder is mostly comprised of applications to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Duncan worked with the organization on the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission, as they helped spearhead efforts to erect historical markers across the state. There are also newsletters from the Texas State Historical Survey Committee, a note from the Children of the Confederacy thanking Duncan for his help with an event, programs for a Children of the Confederacy event, and a letter from the Texas State Historical Survey Committee.]

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Chronology Committee chair records, 1954-1963, undated,
0.4 cubic ft.

John Thomas Duncan was appointed head of the Chronology Committee of the Texas Civil War Centennial Commission by commission chairman Walter E. Long on April 9, 1960.  Duncan served until the termination of the committee in 1965. His service in this position is documented by correspondence, reports, pamphlets, brochures, and Duncan's own handwritten notes, dating May 16, 1954-1963, undated. Correspondence documents Duncan's efforts to learn about the Confederacy as he wrote to county judges, amateur historians, and those whose ancestors had fought in the Civil War to obtain more information on military rosters and dates of Texas Civil War events. The reports and notes provide further evidence of Duncan's research to establish a thorough chronology of events. The pamphlets, brochures, and photographs come from a variety of Civil War sites across the American South, which Duncan visited in the early 1960s.
Arrangement
Records are arranged as received from the donor.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Chronology Committee chair records, Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Technical Requirements
Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the Archives when reviewing photographic materials.
Box
2-23/650 Notes and correspondence, August 1959-May 7, 1961, undated
[These records are evidence of Duncan's research for the Civil War chronology. It contains letters written to Duncan in response to his queries about Civil War history, both original and mimeographed, and Duncan's handwritten notes. The senders of the letters are professional and amateur historians throughout Texas. These records mostly discuss the enrollment of Texans in the Confederate army.]
Box
2-23/651 Suggestions from county judges, June 13, 1960-August 12, 1960, undated
[This folder contains suggestions from the county judges who responded to Duncan's request for information on their counties during the Civil War. These responses contain suggestions of resources and people to contact for further information.]
Replies from nominees of county judges, May 2, 1956-November 26, 1960, undated
[This folder contains letters to John T. Duncan from county judges who he had contacted for information about their counties during the Civil War. There is also a letter about a statue and handwritten notes about books and documents pertaining to his work on the Chronology Committee.]
"Secession and War in Red River County" Osburn (John) literary effort, 1960
[This is a paper written by University of Texas at Austin student John Osburn in 1960, which Duncan submitted to the commission as a positive example of student writing about the Civil War in Texas.]
Accounts of Maine regiments in Texas, undated
[Contents include typewritten copies of published accounts of the 13th and 15th Maine regiments by Edwin B. Lufkin in 1898 and Henry Augustus Shorey in 1890, respectively.]
Stephen Oates' paper critiques, May 29, 1961-September 1, 1961, undated
[Includes a paper which had been recommended to Duncan written by Stephen Oates titled "The Civil War in Texas," as well as Duncan's personal notes and his correspondence with his colleague Dr. Ashcroft at Texas A&M and with other Commission members criticizing the paper.]
Travel materials from historic sites, May 16, 1954-June 1963, undated
[Includes materials Duncan gathered on his travels, including brochures about historic Civil War battlefields, historic markers, and cemeteries around the country.]
Box
PP0116 Civil War sites, about 1960s
[6 black-and-white photographs]
[Photographs of national battlefields, memorials, etc. in Corinth, Mississippi.]

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West Texas military fort files, 1836-1900, undated,
0.3 cubic ft.

John Thomas Duncan acquired these records about military forts in West Texas as part of his research for the Civil War chronology of Texas, although he did not document from whom or where he acquired them. Given Duncan's correspondence with county judges (included in the Chronology Committee chair records series), wherein some judges sent typed copies of Confederate documents, it is possible that these records were sent at Duncan's request. The records include receipts of requisitions, a checkbook, deceased soldier return forms, blank forms, medicine registrations, and expense reports. The records date from October 1, 1836 to December 17, 1877. This series also includes three cloth shot pouches used for carrying ammunition, which date 1860-1900.
Arrangement
Records are arranged as received from the donor.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), West Texas military fort files, Texas Civil War Centennial Commission records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
None.
Box
2-23/652 Fort Duncan, June 5, 1860-December 31, 1860, undated
[This file contains documents related to Fort Duncan, including letters, paperwork, and military forms from the fort. Also included are requisitions, blank forms, and medicine registrations from 1860.]
Fort Concho and Dr. D.S. Smart, January 1877-December 17, 1877, undated
[Includes letters from and to Dr. D.S. Smart, invoices for a post surgeon at Fort Bliss, and a checkbook from the 1870s.]
Fort Clark, October 1, 1836-June 1860
[Contains a letter to Major W.H. French at Fort Clark, a booklet containing a supply list for the fort, and a report on the expenses of Fort Clark.]
Artifact-Box
0073 ATF0378: Shot pouches, 1860-1900
[3 pouches]
[These three cloth pouches were made to hold 25 pounds each of drop shot for field artillery, manufactured by St. Louis Shot Tower Company for No. 8 shot, Colwell Lead Company for No. 4 shot, and Gulf Shot & Lead Company for No. 6 shot.]

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