Texas now and then

This week in the Hill Country

Perspective Lecture Series at the Blanton Museum, Feb. 12

Curator William Voelkle from the Morgan Library leads a gallery talk about the Crusader Bible, one of the most extraordinary illuminated manuscripts ever created.

Tuesday Song Doctor, The Mockingbird Cafe, every Tuesday

Austin Songwriters Group.

4606 Burleson Rd., Suite D, Austin, TX 78744

Songwriters bring in songs they are working on to share with the group and to receive constructive feedback from the Song Doctor on call for the evening, as well as the other songwriters in attendance.

Yesterday’s news

1860    The Fairfield Female College was chartered in Fairfield, Freestone County. About 70 girls attended the first sessions. Henry L. Graves was selected president of the new college. Graves had previously served as president of Baylor University at Independence and of the Baptist State Convention. He taught ancient languages and moral and intellectual philosophy. Other courses offered included mathematics, English literature, music, and ornamental art. In addition to the college curriculum, a graded preparatory department was offered. The length of each session was twenty weeks, and tuition was fifteen to twenty dollars for prep school and twenty-five dollars for college classes. The students, faculty, and Graves and his family lived in the school building and were attended by nine slaves, who did maintenance, housework, cooking, and serving. In 1869, Graves and the other investors sold the declining school. Later the Fairfield Masons used it to provide education for the children of deceased Master Masons. The college finally closed in 1889.

The Big Bopper

1902    Harold Westcott (Pappy) Daily, record producer, music publisher, and promoter of Texas music, was born in Yoakum, Texas. He owned a jukebox distributing company in Houston. In 1952, he and his partner Jack Starnes founded the Starday record label. In 1958 he sold Starday and founded D Records. During the next twenty years D Records released hundreds of songs, including a couple of early recordings by Willie Nelson and George Strait. J.P. Richardson “The Big Bopper’s” 1958 recording of “Chantilly Lacy” became Daily’s biggest seller. Although the label typically recorded Texas honky-tonk music, it also covered western swing, rockabilly, Tex Mex, Cajun, and polka music. Pappy recorded his last session in February 1971 in Nashville with George Jones.

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