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American South

The University of Texas began collecting materials on the history of Texas and of the American South soon after it opened in 1883. In 1914, Major George W. Littlefield, a Confederate veteran and University Regent, donated funds to the University to promote those efforts. Over the years, the Littlefield Fund for Southern History enabled the University to assemble a major collection on the history of the South to support research, teaching, and publications. Today, manuscript materials, maps, newspapers, rare and fragile books, pamphlets, and serials purchased by the Fund are housed in the Briscoe Center's George W. Littlefield Southern History Collections, where they join other primary sources relating to the history of the South that have been acquired independently of this fund through gift and purchase.

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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. 
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 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.”
The Militant South
Source:KLRU-TEMP Videotape Collection
John Hope Franklin delivers a 30-minute lecture based on his 1956 work "The Militant South." 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 Making of a Historian.”
The Subject Matter
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
Having discussed in an earlier lecture how he as an historian came to terms with his environment, Professor Woodward here outlines the considerations that led him to select the specific subjects of investigation that have concerned him in his professional career. Most of his work has been done on his native South, and Woodward explains that the subjects he has chosen to investigate have resulted from a desire to clear sway the myths and legends that have given an unreal and misleading picture of that section and its history. For example, Woodward relates that a desire to understand the real nature of the tensions and extremes of Southern politics led him to an early study of the Southern populist and demagogue, Tom Watson. Later Woodward undertook to explore more fully how the South had become what it was in a massive study of the emergence a distinctive Southern system after 1877. An indication of the scope of this work is the fact that Professor Woodward found it necesaary to write a separate book on the compromise of 1877 in order to set the stage for his larger study. More recently he has done a brief study of segregation in order to place the issue of race relations into clearer perspective. Throughout his lecture Professor Woodward emphasizes the value of a deeper understanding of Southern history for a more accurate and useful knowledge of our national 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, and The University of the State of New York]
Why The Southern States Seceded
Source:KLRU-TEMP Video Collection
The question of what caused the Civil War often is treated as a long term proposition requiring extended chronological coverage, sometimes going as far back as the initial settlement of the North American colonies. While there is much merit in studying the origin and growth of those sectional differences that played a part in the conflict, it is also illuminating to look carefully at the actual "trigger" of the war--the secession of the Southern states. For, regardless of the nature and degree of the institutional differences between the sections, and aside from the question of whether or not open conflict was inevitable, it required the overt act of secession for the great events to be set in motion. In this lecture Professor Craven examines in some detail the grievances and fears that drove the South to such a desperate step. In the process Craven sheds considerable light on the state of mind of a people willing to take the calculated risk of war with their countrymen for a cause they considered just. Quoting from a wide variety of sources, Craven portrays the South after the election of Lincoln as caught up in a dilemma from which there was no avenue of escape. His account of the secession crisis has the ring of truth and gives to the historical fact the dimensions of human tragedy. [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 1974/10/24, indicating that it is a dub of an earlier recording.