Research Notes: Broadcast News Scripts

The UNT digital library has an extensive collection of archival broadcast news scripts from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas. Many include dispatches from other parts of the state, including Lufkin! I like that the scripts include handwritten notes, so you can see the last minute edits.

While this isn’t a public domain resource, the library encourages “fair use” which can include sourcing for a school paper, presentation or research project; citation in public discussion or forums, or genealogical research.

“Lawless Lufkin.” NBC 5/KXAS News Scripts (AR0787), University of North Texas Special Collections
“Lufkin’s 80th Anniversary. NBC 5/KXAS News Scripts (AR0787), University of North Texas Special Collections
“Lufkin Storm.” NBC 5/KXAS News Scripts (AR0787), University of North Texas Special Collections
“Lufkin Politics, 1972.” NBC 5/KXAS News Scripts (AR0787), University of North Texas Special Collections

Research Notes: Ruby & John Avery Lomax

Ruby Terrill Lomax and John Avery Lomax produced folklife documentary work that comes up a lot when I am researching East Texas History. Along with her husband John Avery Lomax, Texas folklorist Ruby Terrill Lomax traveled the state and other Southern regions for the 1939 Southern States Recording Trip. The Lomax’s multi-genre journey documented Southern folk musicians and their communities through sound recordings, photographs and other ephemera, and spends valuable time in communities of Color and documenting the creative contributions of incarcerated people. The collection’s primary home is in The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Here are a few items of interest from the collection:

Disc Sleeve with Notes, American Folklife Center
The Angelina Four at Kelty’s Lumber Co., Lufkin, Texas, 1940 Ruby Lomax,
Library of Congress
Enka Square Dance Team dancing at the Mountain Music Festival, Asheville, North Carolina,
Ruby Lomax, Wikimedia Commons

The project’s recordings can be found here: Lomax Iconic Song List, Library of Congress

The Library of Congress also has the 300+ page Field Notes manuscript from this trip, which you can download for easier reading.

Pineywoods Royalty, 1962

1962 Diboll Day Queen and Court at Forest Festival Parade” via

This photo is from the digital archives of The History Center in Diboll. It shows a group of young women in formal dresses, representing their town on Diboll Day at 1962 Texas Forest Festival.

In the Pine Curtain, it makes sense that the annual civic event is a Forest Festival. Since 1938, East Texas forest region communities have gathered for a weekend of special exhibitions and demonstrations, carnival rides, youth team performances, and since 1985, the famous Hushpuppy Olympics Cookoffs!

“The event is no longer the ‘Olympics.’ Lufkin had its hands slapped several years ago when the real Olympics said it owned the trademark to the name. So now it’s the Hushpuppy Cookoffs.”
– Bob Bowman, Texas Escapes

The Texas Forest Festival is such a big deal for East Texas, that at one time, it even had its own commemorative publication! I love the ads in this one from 1948:

(Fun Fact: My mom’s church group won a prize in an early Hushpuppy Cookoff, dressed not in beautiful evening gowns, but homemade costumes as skunks, deer, squirrels and of course, big green net pine trees, complete with real embedded pine cones. They did a little rap and even made the local TV news! I was 12 and as you can imagine, very excited about this. *cue pre-teen eye roll*)

As of now, the 2021 Forest Festival is still scheduled for September! Our East Texas neighbor, Nacogdoches, hosts the also impressive annual Pineywoods Fair, planned for October. So, if you like to celebrate the mighty pine tree, Fall in East Texas is your time to shine.

As I am more of an artist and less of an academic historian, please explore these links for citations and further reading:

Lead Image Citation: The 1962 Diboll Day Queen and Court prepare to ride on a float in that year’s Forest Festival Parade through downtown Lufkin.

Vintage Forest Festival Program collection, Angelina County Chamber of Commerce Publications collection, The History Center.

Bob Bowman, “Hushpuppies,” Texas Escapes.

East Texas Historic Church

Image of historic church and old cars in the pine trees of Nacogdoches Texas.
“Church of the Divine Infant, Cotton Ford Road, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, TX”

This image caught my attention as I was surfing around the Library of Congress digital archives this week. I loved the trees and the juxtaposition of the old cars against the even older church. The cars are from the early 1930s, and the church was built in 1847.

When I researched some additional history on the church, I found an interesting story. Built in 1847, the structure predates the Civil War, has been a cornerstone of Catholicism in East Texas, and was relocated several times before becoming part of the Sacred Heart church campus in Nacogdoches.

The book “Historic Nacogdoches,” which can be accessed for free on Project Gutenberg, has this to say about it:

“Mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe was founded at the same time on the west side of North street in Nacogdoches, overlooking Banito creek, which was called “the creek of the mission.” This mission was never permanently abandoned until it was replaced by the church which stood on the little plaza in front of the present court house, built in 1802. The third Catholic church was formerly the home of Nathaniel Norris at the northwest corner of Hospital and North streets. The fourth church was the Sacred Heart church on Pecan street, built in 1847 under the influence of Bishop J. N. Odin; which was in turn replaced by the present Sacred Heart church, built in 1937 on a portion of the homestead of Judge Charles S. Taylor on North street, the house of the old Sacred Heart church being rebuilt about eight miles south of Nacogdoches as the Fern Lake church. The sites of the presidio and missions have been appropriately marked by the State of Texas.”

As I am more of an artist and less of an academic historian, please explore these links for citations and further reading:

Spanish Missions in Texas,” Texas Almanac

Nacogdoches, Texas,” Texas State Historical Association

Image Citation: Historic American Buildings Survey, C. (1933) Church of the Divine Infant, Cotton Ford Road, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, TX. Nacogdoches County Texas, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

Cass County, Linden, TX

Cass County Annex, Linden, Texas. Acrylic monoprint by Stephanie Khattak.

In November, we took a day trip through East Texas to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We had hoped to go to New York, but life had other plans for us (and everyone else in the world!) I, of course, am very familiar with East Texas, even this northern route that we took, as I was a reporter in Marshall briefly in the early aughts. Caddo Lake, Jefferson and city government were my beats, so I spent a lot of time on these roads. But after I moved back to Dallas, I never went back there, so a lot of it was still new to me. And, of course, much has changed over the past twenty years.

On our trip, we began in Mount Pleasant and ended in Marshall, just as the sun was setting over its beautiful courthouse. In between, at the proverbial “magic hour,” we found ourselves in Linden, Cass County. The great thing about the “magic hour” is that it makes everything look, well, magic. Courthouses are stately and busy downtown squares are vibrant largely on their own. But when a certain kind of evening light shines, it can even make a simple civic building into a thing of beauty.

Merry Christmas!

This year, I did three Christmas prints, two as part of the Pine Curtain Project, and another as part of K.Co Travel Art, a collaborative project that James and I are working on with our creative travel guide business, K.Co Press.

This print is my grandparents, on what is probably their first Christmas together in East Texas. I was told they’re at my grandfather’s parents’ house in Huntington, TX.

“Christmas 1950s.” Acrylic Monotype by Stephanie Khattak.

The next print is my aunt and two cousins. I believe they were at my grandmother’s house in Homer, Texas, all dressed up.

“Christmas 1970s.” Acrylic Monoprint by Stephanie Khattak.

“Vintage Truck, Palestine, Texas.” Acrylic Monoprint by Stephanie Khattak.

We saw this festive truck on a day trip from Dallas to Palestine, Texas. We met my parents there for some (extremely socially-distanced, outdoor, etc.) holiday time. We aren’t visiting our families at home this year since home is full of oldsters who we want to keep safe. We found Palestine to be the perfect place for a holiday visit, and this truck was just one fun scene in Old Town Palestine. I’ll write up a blog post for K.Co once James edits the rest of his photos, but I will go ahead and say that if you find yourself in Palestine, don’t sleep on Oxbow Bakery, aka the pie shop. (Literally, don’t sleep! Get there when it opens because many flavors sell out!)

This will be my last post for 2020. What a horrible year! I truly believe that next year will be better, maybe not immediately, but eventually. May your holidays be festive and your new year be hopeful. Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you in 2021!

Once upon a time in the Deep East Texas Pines

SFA Mast Arboretum and Sculpture Garden, photo by James Khattak

Deep East Texas is a place where you can not only walk where your ancestors walked, but the odds are that the people you are walking with are descendants of your ancestors’ companions as well. Standing on a sun-dappled clearing, church grounds, or even in your own yard, you could time travel back 100 years and it all would be very recognizable.

While I have been creating art around my community and family history for the past five months or so (and even longer in a less defined way,) it’s time to start adding more layers to the Pine Curtain Project.

With the help of a new subscription to and a stack of other research that I am slowly but surely making my way through, I am finding enough common threads for a few stories to focus on and follow. There is so much information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed! Especially since right now, it’s mostly names and dates in a database. By pulling on these threads, narrowing down the data, and combining it with my families’ oral and written histories, I can tell a bigger story in a bigger world.

The first thing I did was narrow down the time frame. Before the 1800s, most of my family was scattered across the south and east: Georgia, Tennessee and Connecticut. It was in the 1800s that they made their way to Angelina County to build their homes, meet each other, and eventually create me! Both sides of my family knew each other, going back generations. I was told that one side would build, toil and play by the rules and the other side would come ransack, steal and bend the game to their favor. I won’t say which was which, but if you know, then you know! (: So, I contain multitudes.

The 1800s was also a pivotal time for Homer, Huntington and Lufkin, the Deep East Texas towns where I come from. As I have mentioned before, Homer was a thriving town, then shrank to nearly nothing, and is now being built back up with new homes and services in a second wave that started about 15 years ago. I left after high school in 1994. With that in mind, I thought it made sense to end my research with Homer on the rise again but not completely changed, and when I (and many of my peers) left, breaking that generational tradition of staying close to home. So, the 1990s it will be.

For the next year, or the first year of what I plan to be a multi-year project, I want to focus my writing around these themes:

The evolution of Homer, Huntington and Lufkin around the timber industry, railroads and other opportunities for progress that did or maybe did not work out.

Interpersonal relationships within the Homer community, specifically a series of family feuds.

The role that evangelical religion has played in my father’s side of the family. The history of this side of the family seems to have two speeds: feuding and preaching, often within the same nuclear family unit. Since the 1900s, this side of the family have also preached independently, not necessarily affiliated with the larger denominations. This is an interesting contrast to me.

My great-great-great uncle’s (mom’s side) involvement with organized crime in the 1940s.

I am not putting many boundaries on my visual art, because so many of the photos are compelling without fitting into these buckets. But when they do, I will indicate that.

You may be wondering what started me down this path, chasing ghosts through a ghost town. All I can say, without sounding crazy, is that sometimes when you grow up in a ghost town, you are compelled to understand why it is haunted and which of its spirits just want to be known.

And thus begins the story.