Save Texas History
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Save Texas History

Set for Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16, this two-day conference commemorates the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in World War I. There is a special $10 discount for veterans and service members who use the promo code “TXVET”, and for teachers and administrators who use the promo code “TEACHER”. Register at!

8th Annual Save Texas History Symposium: Texas and the Great War

This post was underwritten by a generous contribution from the Texas Historical Foundation.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush is encouraging Texas veterans and military history fans of all ages to get their tickets to the Texas General Land Office’s 8th Annual Save Texas History Symposium entitled Texas and the Great War. This year’s conference will commemorate the centennial of American involvement in World War I and will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Commons Learning Center at the University of Texas’ Pickle Campus in north Austin.

“World War I was one of the defining conflicts in world history,” said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. “It essentially set the table for world events during the entire twentieth century. Texas’ role in World War I was significant to the American war effort at home and abroad, and those brave men and women, along with their efforts, will be remembered during this informative event.”


Visit the Texas General Land Office Archives for tours and several lectures about resources for studying WWI (FREE with Symposium Registration)
Texas General Land Office
1700 N. Congress Avenue, Room 170
Austin, TX 78701
1:00–5:00 p.m.


Save Texas History Symposium ($80)
Commons Learning Center at the Pickle Campus of the University of Texas
The University of Texas at Austin, J.J. Pickle Research Campus
Commons Learning Center
10100 Burnet Road, Bldg. 137
Austin, TX 78758
8:00 AM — 5:00 p.m.

Save Texas History Reception ($75)
Texas Military Forces Museum (Camp Mabry)
2200 W. 35th Street
Austin, TX 78703
7:00–9:00 p.m.

Veterans and Service Members receive a $10 discount by using the promo code “TXVET” during registration. Teachers and school administrators receive a $10 discount by using the promo code “TEACHER” during registration. All registrants will receive two FREE books from Symposium sponsor, Texas A&M University Press. The books are Trench Knives and Mustard Gas: With the 42nd Rainbow Division in France by Hugh S. Thompson, and Escape from Villingen, 1918 by Dwight R. Messimer.

Speakers will examine events that led to American entry into the war, including Germany’s Zimmerman Telegram to Mexico that promised the return of all American territory, including Texas, if Mexico joined the war with Germany. Jeff Hunt, Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry, will discuss the 36th Infantry Division and how Texans had a major impact on the fighting in Europe. Dr. Patrick Cox will look at how the state’s influential daily newspapers discussed the Mexican revolution and its impact on driving support for the war effort.

Dr. Patricia Shields of Texas State University will discuss the Women’s Peace Movement and its effects on Texas and the rest of the country. Dr. Emilio Zamora of the University of Texas at Austin will examine the life and times of a Tejano soldier named Jose de la Luz Saenz. Allison Hays Lane will share the artful propaganda of the U.S. Army that helped build support for the war effort.

Dr. Sanders Marble will discuss medical support to the 36th Infantry Division during World War I, and Andy Smith, manager of the Battleship Texas, will explain the impact of that ship — the most technologically proficient machine of war in existence during WWI. Dr. Lila Rakoczy of the Texas Historical Commission will look at the 11,500 African Americans from East Texas who served the war effort, and Angela Holder will cover the Camp Logan Riots of 1917, which saw thirteen American soldiers executed without clemency. Finally, Dr. Thomas Hatfield will discuss the overall impact of the war on Texas, while Michael Visconage will examine what Texas — and Texans — are doing today to commemorate the Great War.

Those who register for the symposium are invited to a free workshop on Sept. 15, to be held at the Texas General Land Office, which will examine resources for studying World War I in Texas. Speakers include representatives from numerous prominent Texas institutions. Tonia Wood from the Texas State Library and Archives will discuss World War I Resources at the State Archives. She will be joined by Ben Wright of the Briscoe Center who will discuss the Texas War Records Collection, as well as additional resources at the University of Texas. Lisa Sharik from the Texas Military Forces Museum will cover the valuable, yet underutilized, resources found there. The Texas Military Forces Museum has many significant records that relate to the military history of Texas, with an emphasis on the 36th Infantry Division. To round things out, Dr. Lila Rakoczy of the Texas Historical Commission will discuss the many projects and resources available through her agency.

This workshop is available for free to the first 150 people who register for the Symposium. In addition to the speakers, there will be several tours of the GLO Archives available throughout the afternoon, during which attendees will have the opportunity to see original historical Texas maps and documents.

To close out the Symposium, the evening of the 16th will feature a special reception at the Texas Military Forces Museum. Attendees at the reception can tour the museum and enjoy comments from special guests, including Maj. Gen. Ken Wisian (ret.), a highly-decorated Air Force navigator/bombardier with an extensive military record including combat service in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, who currently works in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Registration is open today at

For more information and to register online for the 2017 Save Texas History Symposium, Texas and the Great War, please check out the Save Texas History website.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors:

Diamond Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

David A. Furlow, Historian
The Bryan Museum
The San Antonio Conservation Society


The Portal to Texas History
Texas Department of Transportation
Texas Historical Commission
Austin History Center/ Waterloo Press
Texas Historical Foundation



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Texas General Land Office

Texas General Land Office


Official Account for the Texas General Land Office | Follow Commissioner George P. Bush on Twitter at @georgepbush.