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The History Center Receives Oral History Award and Unveils Statue of Arthur Temple Jr.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On Tuesday, October 23, 2007, The History Center was proud to host an event that honored our oral history collections and unveiled our newest addition to the outdoor exhibits and sculpture garden. Texas Oral History Association board member Judy Linsley presented the Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community History Projects to History Center Director Jonathan Gerland. Given for "outstanding work in collecting and preserving oral histories of significance to the story of East Texas," the award recognizes the approximately two hundred interviews that are transcribed, indexed, and cataloged for use by researchers. These interviews provide an invaluable resource for those interested in the social and community history of Diboll, Angelina County, East Texas, and the lumber industry during the twentieth century. The Diboll Historical Society created the bulk of these oral histories, which were prominently featured in two publications, The Cornbread Whistle (1986) by Meagan Biesele and Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880-1942 (1998) by Thad Sitton and Jim Conrad, and are still used by family historians and local students. After the historical society became inactive, The History Center continued to add to the collection and is now exploring options to digitize the sound files and make the transcripts available as PDF files on their website in order to make them accessible to a wider audience.
After the award presentation, sculptor Paula Devereaux Kurth unveiled her statue of Arthur Temple, Jr., the newest addition The History Center's outdoor exhibits.  Given by The Pineywoods Foundation, First Bank & Trust East Texas, Temple-Inland, and J.E. Kingham Construction Company, the statue depicts Mr. Temple in his trademark hat, with his ever-present cigar in his right hand, and a hearty smile on his face.
The statue stands in The History Center's courtyard and can be viewed during regular business hours.  The oral histories are available for research in the reading room.