The Dick Smith Library was awarded a Texas Cultures Online grant through The Portal to Texas History to digitize the Texas Miner newspaper. The project has been completed and the newspaper is now available online. The Portal to Texas History is a project of the University of North Texas Libraries to provide a gateway to Texas history materials. The Portal features unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections.
The Texas Miner was the company newspaper of the Texas & Pacific Coal Company located in Thurber, Texas. The newspaper began publication in 1894 as The Texas Miner in 1897 the title changed to The Texas Mining and Trade Journal. The Dick Smith Library’s collection of the newspaper consists of 99 issues that run from 1894 to 1900. This is the only online collection of the newspaper and is also one of the largest and most complete collections of the paper. The Texas Newspaper Collection at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at UT-Austin does have a collection of its successor the Thurber Journal.
Thurber was a community of 10,000 residents at its peak and was the site of a coalmine and a brick plant. The majority of the miners were from Europe. Ethnic groups represented in Thurber were Italians, Poles, Hispanics, African Americans, and Anglos. These newspapers recount life in the company town of Thurber. The papers featured a section in Italian and occasionally public notices published in Spanish, Italian, and Polish. While the majority of the newspaper is in English, they clearly illustrate how life was in a town as diverse as Thurber. Published weekly the papers detail events such as meetings of fraternal organizations, donations to African American schools, and company promotions.
Order was maintained in the town at times by keeping the different groups apart at celebrations. This is illustrated by on article in the July 7, 1894 issue recounting a Fourth of July celebration. The article states that a good time was had by all with minimal conflicts. The article makes it clear that each ethnic group held its own celebration, instead of a community wide celebration. The September 1, 1894 issue has an account of a shooting that took place in Thurber and an account of the capture of the assailant. While reading the newspapers it should be remembered that this was the company paper of the coal company and the paper often reflected political views of the company. The paper did report on international and national news as well as the events in Thurber and Erath County. These newspapers provide a wealth of information about what was happening in this area. The newspaper also featured several pages of ads for goods that could be purchased at the company store.
The Texas Miner can be found on the Portal to Texas History at: http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/partners/TSU/browse/?fq=str_title_serial%3AThe+Texas+Miner
The Texas Mining and Trade Journal can be found at: http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/partners/TSU/browse/?fq=str_title_serial%3ATexas+Mining+and+Trade+JournalBoth newspapers are full text searchable to aid researchers. If you would like to know more about Thurber, The Texas & Pacific Coal Company, and the brick plant visit the W. K.Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas located in Thurber, Texas.