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KLRU-TEMP Videotape Collection
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KLRU-TEMP Videotape Collection

The KLRU-TEMP [Texas Educational Media Program] initiative was a collaboration between Walter Prescott Webb and Joe Frantz of the University of Texas Department of History and the Radio/Television Department, who did all the production work. The basic idea was to bring to Austin all the greatest names in various fields of American history and tape them in two or three 30-minute lectures that could then be used in classes at UT and other Texas schools.

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A Revision of the Civil War
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Professor Craven has long been identified as a leading figure of the revisionist movement in Civil War historiography. In this lecture Craven tells of his early interest in the agricultural history of the old South that led him to question traditional explanations of the causes of the Civil War. Before his time, most historians saw as the primary difference between North and South, and therefore as the principal cause of the Civil War, the attachment of the one section to freedom and of the other to slavery, a moral difference that made conflict between them irrepressible. But in studying the economic bases of the sections, in particular the thinking and character of a pre-Civil War Southern figure, Edmund Ruffin, Craven came to feel that the assignment of a single cause to the Civil War greatly oversimplified the matter. Craven describes how, in the course of his historical inquiry, he came to discard the easy and simple answers for an explanation that gave weight to more profound and less tractable issues. For Craven, the issue of slavery as a right or a wrong was only representative of the deeper forces of modern life that drove the North and South to confront one another in a regrettable but apparently necessary Civil War. [Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson, and The University of the State of New York] Tape is dated 1974/11/09, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier generation recording. Notes from transfer: Audio is 2 channels mono. There is break up in the beginning of the program, tracking is drifting. Slight RF noise in the picture, recorded into program, example at 00:17:10. The program was recorded with wide horizontal blanking, causing black bars to the sides of the picture. There is a little tearing on the teachers hands and collar, as recorded. There is break up at the edit points at the top and end of program, on the theme song and slide.
Billy Yank and Johnny Reb
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Drawing upon an unparalleled knowledge of the soldier in the ranks, both North and South, Professor Wiley gives us a composite picture of the fighting man of the Civil War. With numerous anecdotes and extracts from contemporary letters, Wiley brings to life the individual men of the Blue and Gray. In doing so, Professor Wiley not only gives flesh and emotions to a great event in our history, but also provides valuable insight into American society of the mid-nineteenth century. Professor Wiley notes at the outset that Northern and Southern soldiers had much more in common than in opposition. Yet the differences between them are instructive as to the social systems of their respective sections. For example, the observation that Northern soldiers were better educated while Southern soldiers were more prone to religious revivalism tells us much about their respective social institutions. Perhaps Wiley's most useful contribution is to give us an idea of what the Civil War was all about from the point of view of those who fought it. [Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson, and The University of the State of New York] Tape is dated 1974/11/12, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier recording.
Finding a Fence
Source:Webb (Walter Prescott) Papers
Lecture given by Dr. Webb for his "Great Frontier" video series.  In this video he addresses the question, "Did the frontier alter institutions?" using the example of barbed wire in the American Midwest and, later, in the Great Plains. Dr. Webb traces the development of different fencing techniques used by settlers as they advanced into the American heartland during the mid and late nineteenth century. After experimenting with hedges as a replacement for stone or rails in areas where neither of these materials could be found, several inventors in a small town in Illinois introduced barbed wire in 1873. This material essentially solved the fencing problem on the frontier and helped pave the way for further westward movement. 
Growth of American Thought
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
This lecture by Professor Curti is both an account of his approach to history from the point of view of the humanities and a description of the field of American intellectual history, in the development of which he has played an important role. Tracing his own involvement with the history of American thought to his early interest in American literature, Professor Curti describes how in the 1920's, he developed courses devoted to American intellectual history that were among the first of their kind ever offered in this country. In the course of his personal story Professor Curti treats many of the larger problems of the nature and content of intellectual history. His account of his own research and thinking in the field, which culminated in his influential book, "The Growth of American Thought," constitutes an introduction and description of American intellectual history as a field of study. Defining his own approach to the subject as empirical, Professor Curti analyzes the history of American ideas in terms of the concepts of nationalism and democracy, both of which he thinks are fundamental to our country's intellectual development. This in turn permits him to dwell at length on what he has concluded are the main characteristics of American thought. Reflecting on the influence that his work has had, and the criticism it called forth, Professor Curti concludes that American intellectual history is still a new and exciting field that offers great opportunity and reward. Tape is dated 1974/11/20, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier recording. Notes from technician: Poor recording, second generation. Poor tracking first 4 minutes. Scratches and low RF on heads 3 and 4 throughout. Tape was baked twice and cleaned 8 times before playback.
Reconsidering the Age of Reform
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Professor Hofstadter reconsiders the main themes of his analytical essay on American reform, entitled "The Age of Reform," since publication in 1955, against favorable and unfavorable reactions from other historians, and assesses his contributions. His analysis of Populism split the movement into economic realities (the "hard" aspect) and an agrariam mythology (the "soft" aspect). He is thus able to show how the farmer began to move toward material prosperity by perfecting the "hard" aspect implicit in Populism after the defeat in the election of 1896, and at the same time to point to some of the crudities in Populist ideology. His discussion of the limitations of Populist thought, especially of their rhetorical anti-Semitism, provoked what he regards as an unfortunate quarrel over whether the populists were "good guys" or "bad guys," He shows that this discussion is irrelevent to his main thesis, and reiterates that even with its interesting limitations, Populism was a constructive political force. Turning to another reform current, Progressivism. he shows how it differed in root causes, style" following, and program. Again, he feels that too much attention was focused unprofitably on a single aspect of this thesis: the idea that Progressivism was due to a "status revolution" that displaced the native "establishment" and superseded it with plutocrats and corrupt politicians. This was only one cause, but it was very useful because it accounted for the Progressive's emphasis on abstract principles of morality and justice, and other typical concerns. The third reform pattern, the New Deal, has a still different tone, although it stems from the Populist-Progressive tradition. The difference comes from a change in the ethnic bases of politics that produced a new reform pattern, less interested in abstract justice and morality or in the role of the good citizen, but more concerned with human needs, more pragmatic in politics, and based on personal loyalty in political organization.[Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson, and The University of the State of New York]
The Coming of the Civil War
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
[Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson, and The University of the State of New York]: The Civil War exerts a strong fascination for most Americans. It provides our history to a unique degree with great drama, mighty events and strong emotions. But in another sense it also provides us with our greatest failure as a nation. For, as Professor Craven points out, the war between the North and the South represents the failure of the American people to adjust their differences through the democratic political process. How it happened that the usual artifices of adjustment, accommodation, and compromise were not possible in the crucial period before the Civil War is the subject Professor Craven takes up in this lecture. Tracing both sectional and national growth from 1815 on Craven finds that the period witnessed the emergence of many important issues of public policy, virtually all of which proved amenable to political settlement. But the isolation of slavery as a sectional issue, cast in moral terms, in the decade of the 1840's proved to be more than the democratic process could handle. Craven explains that the reduction of sectional issues to the level of absolute moral values made it impossible for politicians to treat their differences in a realistic manner that could be settled through traditional political means. As an example he cites the failure of both Northern and Southern politicians to see in the efforts of Stephan A. Douglas in the 1850's what was a practical and realistic solution to the sectional impasse. Instead the politicians reacted in moral terms and, with the emergence of purely sectional parties based on an absolute moral issue, they, along with the rest of the nation, were impelled inexorably toward tragic civil conflict. Tape is dated 1974/11/09, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier recording. Notes from technician: Some slight vertical shifting in scenes. Break up before end credit, at 00:29:38. Tape was baked twice and cleaned 3 times before playback.
The Common Soldiers of the Confederacy - North and South
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Professor Wiley, a noted Civil War scholar and author, has always been more interested in what he calls the plain people than in the leaders, the generals, or the politicians. Here he gives an informative and fascinating picture of the average Confederate soldier whose courage and fighting qualities sustained the South against great odds for four bloody years. Professor Wiley has read thousands of letters and diaries written by "Johnny Reb," and he uses quotations from many of them to describe in human terms what is all too often presented in abstract numbers. Thus we learn just who the men in gray were, what their backgrounds were and how old they were, what their uniforms were like and what they had to eat, their feelings of loneliness and their attitude of "Billy Yank," and their heroism--and fear--in battle. Through Professor Wiley's lively description, the impersonal armies of the South become peopled by colorful, often humorous, often courageous, and always human creatures. [Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson, and The University of the State of New York] Tape is dated 1974/10/28, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier recording.
The Environment and the Historian
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Lecture given by Dr. Woodward for the "American Civilization By Its Interpreters" video series. Woodward gives a personal account of his beginnings in provincial Arkansas and early hesitance to focus his work on Southern history, critiquing historical relativism along the way. He cites three inspirations for becoming a Southern historian: William Faulkner and creative writers of the 1930s Southern Renaissance, Walter Prescott Webb, and ignorance about the South that he encountered in his travels. Black and white picture with sound. Notes from transfer: Tape has physical damage at the head. Unable to get picture lock for the first 30 seconds, as well as from 00:02:44 to 00:04:37. Tape was tried on several machines to obtain best playback. Tape was baked 3 times. Each baking was followed by 5 cleaning passes. Best possible playback was achieved.
The Great Depression & American History
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Professor Hofstadter relates that his generation, born in the twilight of Progressivism, was deeply affected by the Great Depression, a catastrophe which cannot be imagined by the present generation. The depression made him rethink the premises of American liberalism, and evaluate why traditional individualism lasted so long and was only exploded in 1929.The lasting power of individualism is analyzed in his influential "Social Darwinism in American Thought," where he describes how Herbert Spencer's evolutlonary thought captivated and influenced American thinkers, and gave individualism a new lease on life. His reading of the arguments between Social Darwinists and their opponents also led to a new appreciation of the vital force in redefined American liberalism. He finds that the pragmatic temper is the key conceit, a denial of monolithic explanations, where Spencer's or Marx's, and a flexible sense of the possibilities of human experimentation and potential.Writing about Social Darwinism in this framework was also a stage in his education as an historian. His work after this first book aspired to go beyond history as art or science, toward history as analysis. Although he frankly admits weaknesses in this approach, he feels that they are outweighed by the benefits, novelty of concept, and provocative synthesis, that can be achieved in essays on long trends in American history. [Synopsis from "The History of American Civilization By Its Interpreters; A Student Guide to the Television Series" by James A. Bonar, Roger E. Willson]
The Making Of An Historian
Source:KLRU-TEMP Videotape Collection
John Hope Franklin delivers a 30-minute lecture on his path to becoming a historian, detailing the formative professors and research that led to his first book, "The Free Negro in North Carolina: 1790-1860," and the incomplete historiography of African-Americans he found in textbooks of the time, which inspired him to write his next book, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans." Professor Franklin visited the University of Texas at Austin in January 1964 to deliver two lectures as part of “The History of American Civilization by Its Interpreters,” a videotaped series featuring leading historians discussing their areas of expertise. Professor Franklin’s other lecture is entitled, “The Militant South.”