The History Center, Diboll

The History Center in Diboll, Texas, serves as the archives and public history division of the T. L. L. Temple Memorial Library and Archives for this Angelina County community in southeast Texas. The Center's mission is to collect, preserve, and provide public access to the history of East Texas for the educational benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The History Center provides both permanent and changing interpretive exhibits, an annual history magazine, a weekly newspaper column, school and group guided tours, and a Web site which allows access to collections and research services.

In addition to a growing research collection of archives materials, manuscripts, maps, photographs, newspapers, and books, the History Center manages two hundred oral histories recorded from 1954 to the present. The recordings have been transcribed, indexed, and catalogued to be made readily available to researchers. So far scholars have used the collection as primary materials for two major history books: Megan Biesele's The Cornbread Whistle (1986) and Thad Sitton and Jim Conrad's Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880-1942 (1998). Family historians and area students also make frequent use of the resources in the oral history collection.

Most of the oral histories were created by the Diboll Historical Society, using standard oral history practices. The collection covers life experiences in early to mid twentieth-century East Texas sawmill towns and logging camps. They provide family and community histories of Diboll and surrounding towns. Volunteers and staff members of The History Center are continuing the oral history work begun by the no longer active historical society. The Center is exploring plans to digitize its sound recordings and convert the transcripts into PDF format so that these valuable resources can be accessed through the center's Web site.

TOHA is pleased to commend Director Jonathan Gerland and his staff at The History Center for their efforts to gather, preserve, and share the history of their community through recorded interviews.

Learn more at The History Center Web site.