Conrad, James H. 1940(?)–

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Conrad, James H. 1940(?)–

(Jim Conrad)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1940. Education: Wittenburg University, B.A., 1962; Ohio State University, M.A., 1966, Ph.D., 1974; Texas Woman's University, M.L. S., 1975.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Commerce, TX. Office—Texas A&M University-Commerce, P.O. Box 3011, Commerce, TX 75429. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Oral historian, librarian, and archivist. East Texas State University (later named Texas A&M University-Commerce), Commerce, lecturer in history, 1967-70, 1972-74, James G. Gee Library university archivist, 1976—.

MEMBER:

Texas Oral History Association (charter member; board member, 1985-88 and 1995-2001; vice president, 1996-97; president, 1997-98), Oral History Association, South Sulphur Regional Development Association (board member), East Texas Historical Association (board member), Hunt County Museum (board member), Hunt County Historical Commission (board member; chair, 1987-89).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Thomas L. Charlton Lifetime Achievement Award, Texas Oral History Association, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Texas Educational History: A Bibliography, Gee Library (Commerce, TX), 1979.

Reference Sources in Social Work: An Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press (Metuchen, NJ), 1982.

(Editor, with Thad Sitton) Every Sun That Rises: Wyatt Moore of Caddo Lake, including "Building the Last Caddo Bateau," photographs by Stan Godwin and Jim Cammack, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1985.

(Editor, with Otha C. Spencer) John Black's Pictorial History: Honey Grove, Texas, 1880-1925, Henington (Wolfe City, TX), 1988.

Developing Local History Programs in Community Libraries, American Library Association (Chicago, IL), 1989.

Blacklands: Historical Sketches of Hunt County, Texas, Hunt County Historical Commission (Greenville, TX), 1992.

(With Thad Sitton) Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880-1942, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1998.

(With Thad Sitton) Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow, research assistance and photographs by Richard Orton, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

James H. Conrad is an oral historian, librarian, and archivist. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1962 from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He went on to undertake graduate studies at Ohio State University, earning a master of arts degree in 1966, followed by a Ph.D. in 1974. In 1975 he received a master of library science degree from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.

In 1976, after finishing his academic studies, Conrad was appointed the university archivist at the James G. Gee Library at East Texas State University. Conrad continued to work as the university archivist at East Texas State University through its name change to Texas A&M University-Commerce. He also began supervising the university's oral history program, collecting hundreds of interviews during his tenure. Conrad's work was acknowledged by the Texas Oral History Association in 2002 with the Thomas L. Charlton Lifetime Achievement Award.

Conrad published his first book, Reference Sources in Social Work: An Annotated Bibliography, in 1982. In 1985, Conrad edited Every Sun That Rises: Wyatt Moore of Caddo Lake, including "Building the Last Caddo Bateau" with Thad Sitton. The book includes photographs by Stan Godwin and Jim Cammack. Conrad next worked with Otha C. Spencer to edit John Black's Pictorial History: Honey Grove, Texas, 1880-1925, in 1988. The following year, Conrad published Developing Local History Programs in Community Libraries through the auspices of the American Library Association. In 1992, Conrad published Blacklands: Historical Sketches of Hunt County, Texas for the Hunt County Historical Commission.

Conrad published Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880-1942, in 1998 with Sitton. The book describes the lifestyle and conditions of residents of the once-common sawmill and logging towns that spotted the landscape of eastern Texas, pushing the capacity for the progression of the railroad.

Sandra McCollister, writing in the Oral History Review, mentioned that Conrad and Sitton's use "of multiple sources provided variations in the voices, tones, and literacy levels of their contributors." McCollister concluded by saying that "in Nameless Towns, I found a rich and interesting history of similar places, small working class towns filled with families and homes, labor and management. The only thing I would add would be a map. I recommend Sitton and Conrad's book to others who enjoy detailed and straightforward history combined with the tell-it-like-it-is voices of the truth tellers and the plain folks. Congratulations on a job well done."

In 2005, Conrad again worked with Sitton to publish Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow. The book also contains research assistance and photographs by Richard Orton. The book's contents cover rural settlements founded by African American landowners in the period after the American Civil War. The authors show how these communities grew around churches and/or schools despite the hardships faced from discrimination, violence, and Reconstruction-era sharecropping. Although the land was often undesirable or prone to flooding, this pattern of growth allowed for a large increase in African American land ownership in the state.

Alwyn Barr, writing in the Journal of Southern History, commented "while topical organization leads to some repetition, the book is clearly written and presents insightful quotations." Barr concluded that Freedom Colonies "is a thoughtful and important addition to an understanding of rural Texas and the nature of black settlements. It is the first study of African American communities across an entire southern state." Gene B. Preuss, writing in the Oral History Review, remarked that this book fills a "much needed" hole in African American history in Texas. Preuss concluded that "Freedom Colonies is an important book in the historiography of the American South and Texas because it fills an overlooked gap in the story of African-American life through the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras. For oral historians, Sitton and Conrad's book is a testimonial to the effectiveness of using oral history to fill the gap that results from a strict reliance on traditional historical sources. Finally, the authors demonstrate how oral history contributes to the preservation of community and memory."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Agricultural History, winter, 2008, review of Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow, p. 114.

American Historical Review, April, 2006, Rebecca Sharpless, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 488.

Canadian Library Journal, October, 1990, review of Developing Local History Programs in Community Libraries, p. 373.

Journal of American Folklore, April 1, 1987, Joel Gardner, review of Every Sun That Rises: Wyatt Moore of Caddo Lake, including "Building the Last Caddo Bateau," p. 246.

Journal of American History, December, 1999, Steven A. Reich, review of Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880-1942, p. 1368; March, 2006, Jeannie M. Whayne, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 1481.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, September 22, 2007, Loren Schweninger, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 302.

Journal of Southern History, February, 2000, Marilyn D. Rhinehart, review of Nameless Towns, p. 145; May, 2006, Alwyn Barr, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 494.

Journal of the West, summer, 2005, Robert H. Duke, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 104.

Library Journal, May 1, 1990, Cathy L. Morrow, review of Developing Local History Programs in Community Libraries, p. 120.

Oral History Review, winter-spring, 2002, Sandra McCollister, review of Nameless Towns, p. 149; summer-fall, 2006, Gene B. Preuss, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 107.

Reference & Research Book News, April, 1990, review of Developing Local History Programs in Community Libraries, p. 38.

RQ, fall, 1982, Ruth Britton, review of Reference Sources in Social Work: An Annotated Bibliography, p. 97.

Rural Sociology, June, 2000, Don E. Albrecht, review of Nameless Towns, p. 337.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, April, 2006, James M. Smallwood, review of Freedom Colonies, p. 584.

Western Historical Quarterly, spring, 2000, Janet Schmelzer, review of Nameless Towns, p. 91.

ONLINE

Texas A&M University-Commerce Web site,http://www.tamu-commerce.edu/ (March 23, 2008), author profile.

Texas Oral History Association Web site,http://www.baylor.edu/toha/ (September 14, 2002), author profile.

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Conrad, James H. 1940(?)–

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