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Bulwark Against the Bay

The People of Corpus Christi and Their Seawall

Mary Jo O'Rear

After a devastating hurricane in 1919, the people of Corpus Christi faced the stark reality of their vulnerability. It was clear that something had to be done to protect the community against future storms, but the mere will to take precautionary measures did not necessarily lead the way. Instead, two decades would pass before an effective solution was in place. Mary Jo O’Rear, author of Storm over the Bay, returns to tell the story of a city’s long and often frustrating path to protecting itself.

The result of tireless research, Bulwark Against the Bay reveals that in the decades after the 1919 storm, eight different plans for a seawall along Corpus Christi Bay were put forth. O’Rear argues that each plan reflected the point of view of a particular engineer, politician, or artist while also reflecting the aspirations and anxieties of the time. The struggle to construct a seawall was not merely an engineering challenge; it was also bound up with the growing popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, local aversion to Roman Catholicism, the emergence of the League of United Latin American Citizens, new efforts on behalf of African American equality, the impact of the Great Depression, support for Franklin Roosevelt, and reactions to the New Deal.

A case study of a community wrestling with itself even as it races with the clock, Bulwark Against the Bay adds to our understanding of urban history, boardroom and backroom politics, and the sometimes harsh realities of geography and climate.

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Butterfly Gardening for Texas

Geyata Ajilvsgi

Texas hosts an unparalleled number of butterfly species, and whether one lives near the beaches of the Gulf Coast or in the mountains of the Trans-Pecos, all Texans can enjoy the color and tranquility that butterflies bring to any outdoor space.

In Butterfly Gardening for Texas, author and expert Geyata Ajilvsgi shares a wealth of practical information about all kinds of butterflies and the many flowers and other plants they utilize in their miraculous life cycle: from hidden egg to munching caterpillar to cryptic chrysalis to nectar-sipping, winged adult.

Written in an engaging, nontechnical style for anyone who wants to attract butterflies to the yard or garden, the book provides tips for making gardens caterpillar- and butterfly-friendly, in-depth profiles of more than fifty butterflies, descriptions of the food plants for a variety of both caterpillars and butterflies, and plant lists for easy selection and substitution, depending on where you live and what is available.

For those who want specific advice on what to plant where, Ajilvsgi has designed useful, adaptable landscape plans and extensive planting options for each of seven state regions. Helpful appendices aid gardeners in taking photographs of the butterflies they attract, in locating sources for seeds and plants, and in finding organizations and other instructive publications for additional information about these beautiful and beneficial insects.

As the popularity of butterfly gardening continues to increase, gardeners of all skill levels will find Butterfly Gardening for Texas an invaluable source of guidance and inspiration.

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Buying Rural Land in Texas

Charles E. Gilliland

Whether the prospective buyer is a farmer or rancher looking to expand operations, a sportsman seeking to preserve habitat for wildlife, or a nature enthusiast trying to conserve native flora and fauna, acquiring rural land can be a rollercoaster of exciting and stressful experiences. In Buying Rural Land in Texas: Taking the Right Risk, Charles E. Gilliland demonstrates that buyers can and should arm themselves with knowledge—of the land-buying process, of the potential problems involved, and of the resources available to them—to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.

In this practical guide, Gilliland outlines four phases of buying rural land: identifying what you want, in terms of both land and property rights; locating a suitable property; valuing the property; and completing the transaction. He then covers everything the potential landowner should know while progressing through these steps: how to identify and manage risk, plan an “exit strategy,” interpret present and future land prices, find the “perfect spot,” evaluate the property’s physical attributes, gauge economic trends, understand legal rights and limitations, protect natural resources, and, finally, close the deal.

Incorporating real life examples from a career spent in land sales, Gilliland takes readers step-by-step through the process, also providing checklists, maps, professional tips, and information about how to tap additional sources of information and advice. With the knowledge gained from Buying Rural Land in Texas, new landowners will find themselves not at the end of a journey but at the beginning, as they learn to manage their land and to deliver it intact to future generations.

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Caddo

Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake

Thad Sitton

In a stunning tribute to one of Texas’ most enigmatic waterways, a veteran East Texas historian and a professional photographer have together created an homage to a lake like no other—half Texas, half Louisiana, a swampy labyrinth of bald cypress and water plants filled with mystery, legend, and a staggering amount of biological complexity.

Classified as a Category 1 Habitat for wildlife by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and encompassing a state wildlife management area as well as a state park, Caddo Lake and adjacent areas have also been designated as a Ramsar Site under the international convention to preserve world-class wetlands and their waterfowl. In both words and pictures, writer Thad Sitton and photographer Carolyn Brown have captured the human, animal, and plant life of Caddo, as well as the history of the lake itself, better likened to an ever-changing network of cypress woodlands, bayou-like channels, water-plant meadows, and hardwood bottoms covered more or less by water.

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Cadets on Campus

History of Military Schools of the United States

John A. Coulter

From the founding of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1802 to the present, over eight hundred military schools have existed in this country. The vast majority of these schools have closed their doors, been absorbed into other educational institutions, or otherwise faded away.
 
John Alfred Coulter’s comprehensive study of US military schools makes several important contributions. First, Coulter identifies several key figures who were pivotal to the formation of military education, including Sylvanus Thayer, the “father of West Point,” and Alden Partridge, the founder of the school later known as Norwich University, the first private military school in the country. Second, conventional wisdom holds that most military schools, and indeed the culture that surrounds them, were limited to the South. Coulter shows that in fact military schools stretched across the nation and were not dominated by one region over another. Finally, in addressing the shuttering of military schools in the era after the Vietnam War, Coulter has identified a curious resurgence of interest in military education since the turn of the century.
 
While many individual institutions have had their histories written down or their stories told, to date no single book has attempted to explore the full scope of the military school in American history. Cadets on Campus is the first book to cover the origin, history, and culture of the nation’s military schools.

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Caesar Kleberg and the King Ranch

A Vision for Wildlife Conservation in Texas

Duane M. Leach

In this tribute to a pioneer conservationist, Duane M. Leach celebrates the life of an exceptional ranch manager on a legendary Texas ranch, a visionary for wildlife and modern ranch management, and an extraordinarily dedicated and generous man.

Caesar Kleberg went to work on the King Ranch in 1900. For almost thirty years he oversaw the operations of the sprawling Norias division, a vast acreage in South Texas where he came to appreciate the importance of rangeland not only for cattle but also for wildlife.

Creating a wildlife management and conservation initiative far ahead of its time, Kleberg established strict hunting rules and a program of enlightened habitat restoration. Because of his efforts and foresight, by his death in 1946 there were more white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, javelinas, and mourning dove on the King Ranch than in the rest of the state.

Kleberg’s legacy lives on at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville, where a research program he helped found has gained recognition far beyond the pastures of Norias.

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Caligula's Barges and the Renaissance Origins of Nautical Archaeology under Water

John McManamon

Sometime around 1446 A.D., Cardinal Prospero Colonna commissioned engineer Battista Alberti to raise two immense Roman vessels from the bottom of the lago di Nemi, just south of Rome. By that time, local fishermen had been fouling their nets and occasionally recovering stray objects from the sunken ships for 800 years. Having no idea of the size of the objects he was attempting to recover, Alberti failed.

For most of the next 500 years, various attempts were made to recover the vessels. Finally, in 1928, Mussolini ordered the draining of the lake to remove the vessels and place them on the lake shore. In 1944, the ships burned in a fire that was generally blamed on the Germans.

John M. McManamon connects these attempts at underwater archaeology with the Renaissance interest in reconstructing the past in order to affect the present. Nautical and marine archaeologists, as well as students and scholars of Renaissance history and historiography, will appreciate this masterfully researched and gracefully written work.

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Call Her a Citizen

Progressive-Era Activist and Educator Anna Pennybacker

Kelley M. King

In an era when the dominant ideology divided the world into separate public and private spheres and relegated women to the private, Anna J. Hardwicke Pennybacker ardently promoted progressive causes including public education, women's suffrage, social reform, and the League of Nations. A Texas educator, clubwoman, writer, lecturer, and social and political activist whose influence in the early twentieth century extended nationwide, Pennybacker wrote A New History of Texas, which was the state-adopted textbook for Texas history from 1898–1913 and remained in classroom use until the 1940s. She was also active in the burgeoning women’s club movement and served as president of both the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (1912–14). The latter position was considered by some to be the most powerful position for a woman in America at that time. Kelley King has mined the fifty-two linear feet of Pennybacker archives at the University of Texas Center for American History to reconstruct the "hidden history" of a feminist's life and work. There, she uncovered an impressive record of advocacy, interlaced with a moderate style and some old-fashioned biases. King's work offers insight into the personal and political choices Pennybacker made and the effects these choices had in her life and on the American culture at large.

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Camino del Norte

How a Series of Watering Holes, Fords, and Dirt Trails Evolved into Interstate 35 in Texas

By Howard J. Erlichman

Some five hundred miles of superhighway run between the Rio Grande and the Red River—present-day Interstate 35. This towering achievement of modern transportation engineering links a string of Texas metropolises and some 7.7 million people, and yet it all evolved from a series of humble little trails. The I-35 Corridor that runs north-south through Texas connects Dallas and Fort Worth with Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo en route to ancient towns in Mexico. Along its path lie urban centers, technology parks, parking lots, strip malls, apartment complexes, and vast open spaces. In this fascinating popular history, based on extensive primary and secondary research, Howard J. Erlichman asks how and why the Camino del Norte (the Northern Road) developed as (and where) it did. He uncovers, dissects, prioritizes, and repackages layer upon layer of centuries-spanning history to, in his words, "solve the mystery of I-35." His chronicle focuses less on the physical placement of I-35 than on the reasons it was created: the founding of posts and villages and the early development of towns. Along the way, he explores a number of circumstances that contributed to the location and development of the corridor: pre-Columbian cultures, Mexican silver mining, road and bridge building techniques, Indian tribes, railroad developments, military affairs, car culture, and pavement technology, to name a few. Presently, a variety of new highway projects are underway to address the dramatic expansion of I-35 traffic generated by population growth and business enterprise. Those interested in the economic development of the state of Texas, in NAFTA links and their precursors, and in touring the Interstate itself will find this book informative and useful.

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Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941

Kate Sayen Kirkland

Captain James A. Baker, Houston lawyer, banker, and businessman, received an alarming telegram on September 23, 1900: his elderly millionaire client William Marsh Rice had died unexpectedly in New York City. Baker rushed to New York, where he unraveled a plot to murder Rice and plunder his estate. Working tirelessly with local authorities, Baker saved Rice’s fortune from more than one hundred claimants; he championed the wishes of his deceased client and founded Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art—today’s internationally acclaimed Rice University. ?For fifty years Captain Baker nurtured Rice’s dream. He partnered with leading lawyers to create Houston’s first nationally recognized law firm: Baker, Botts, Lovett & Parker, now the worldwide legal practice of Baker Botts L.L.P. He chartered several Houston businesses and utility companies, developed two major regional banks, promoted real estate projects, and led an active civic life. To expand the Institute’s endowment, Baker invested William Marsh Rice’s fortune with local entrepreneurs, who were building homes, office towers, commercial enterprises, and institutions that transformed Houston from a small town in the nineteenth century to an international powerhouse in the twenty-first century. ?Author Kate Sayen Kirkland explored the archival records of Baker and his family and firm and carefully mined the archives of Baker’s contemporaries. Published as part of Rice University’s centennial celebration, Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857–1941 weaves together the history of Houston and the story of an influential man who labored all his life to make Houston a world-class city.

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