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Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, Travel and Information Division:

An Inventory of State Department of Highways and Public Transportation Travel and Information Division Films and Audiotapes at the Texas State Archives, 1963-1990, bulk 1970-1985

Organization History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials

Overview

Creator: Texas. Travel and Information Division.
Title: State Department of Highways and Public Transportation Travel and Information Division films and audiotapes   
Dates: 1963-1990
Dates: bulk 1970-1985
Abstract: The Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (TSDHPT) was responsible for the building and maintenance of Texas roads and highways and for developing public mass transportation in state from 1975 to 1991. The agency was formed in 1975 when Texas legislature merged the Texas Highway Department and the Texas Mass Transportation Commission into this single agency. Both TSDHPT and the Texas Highway Department operated a Travel and Information Division that promoted travel to and within the state of Texas, highway safety, and tourism through the distribution of publications, audiovisual programs, and news media materials. Records consist of 76 film projects made up of 16mm motion pictures and motion picture components, 0.25-inch open reel audiotapes, a 35mm work print, and an audiocassette, dating 1963-1990, bulk 1970-1985. Projects comprise Texas tourism and other films, as well as radio and television news stories, commercials, and public service announcements that were produced by the division. Subjects include bridge construction, anti-littering campaigns, tourist attractions around Texas, highway safety, highway funding, and public transportation. Included are different motion picture production components, such as work prints, internegatives, sound tracks, film clips and stock shots. A portion of these materials have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.    
Quantity: 30.29 cubic ft. (483 motion picture components, 51 motion pictures, 10 open reel audiotapes, and 1 audiocassette)    
Language: These materials are predominately in English with scattered Spanish, German, Korean, and French throughout.    
Repository: Texas State Archives  
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.
Click here to enter the records


Other Formats for the Records

Only some of the films have been digitized at this time and are available in the TDA.  More will be added in the future.  A description of all of the original records referenced in this finding aid, including those not digitized, is available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/12006/tsl-12006.html


Organization of the Records

The records are organized into seven series (only series with digitized material are highlighted):


Agency History

The Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (TSDHPT) was responsible for the building and maintenance of Texas roads and highways and for developing public mass transportation in the state from 1975 to 1991, when it was merged into the Texas Department of Transportation. State government oversight of transportation infrastructure in Texas began with the creation of the Texas State Highway Department by the 35th Texas Legislature in 1917 (House Bill 2, Regular Session) to administer a program of state aid to counties for the construction and maintenance of roads. Financial and advisory assistance for road-building to counties remained the department’s major program until 1924, when it assumed active control of maintenance and construction of state highways under provisions of the Federal Highway Act of 1921. Passage of the Federal Highway Act of 1956 led to the initiation of the Interstate Highway System in Texas. In 1969 the state legislature created the Texas Mass Transportation Commission (House Bill 738, 61st Legislature, Regular Session) to “encourage, foster, and develop public mass transportation in Texas.” This agency was merged with the former Highway Department in 1975, creating the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (Senate Bill 761, 64th Legislature, Regular Session). The department’s responsibilities included designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating a comprehensive state highway system. An executive order of May 1976 transferred the Governor’s Office of Traffic Safety to the department, and the agency became responsible for administering state and federal traffic safety acts and programs.

The governing body of the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation was the Texas State Highway and Public Transportation Commission, composed of three members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. The positions were part-time salaried positions, and the chair (appointed by the governor) had the title of commissioner of transportation. The state was divided into 25 geographic districts (each composed of approximately ten counties), with each district administered by a district engineer.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was created in 1991 (House Bill 9, 72nd Legislature, 1st Called Session), merging the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Texas Department of Aviation, and the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission. In 1997 the Texas Turnpike Authority merged with the Texas Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 370, 75th Legislature, Regular Session). The Texas Transportation Commission became the governing body of the agency.

In 1936, at the request of the legislature, the The Travel and Information Division of the Texas Highway Department established information bureaus to counsel visitors drawn to Texas by the Texas Centennial celebration at Dallas. The information bureaus were so popular among visitors that the legislature asked that they be operated permanently as a service to tourists. TSDHPT continued this work and supported tourism by developing and disseminating information about recreational, historic, and scenic points of interest in Texas. In 2017, the Travel Information Division (it’s new name under TxDOT) still runs the information bureaus, now called visitor centers, and available at 12 tourist bureaus (also called Travel Information Centers) around the state. The division publishes the state’s official travel magazine, Texas Highways, and distributes folders, posters, brochures, audiovisual programs, and news media materials. In 1985 the division also began promoting several anti-littering and cleaner air programs: Don’t mess with Texas, Adopt-a-Highway, Drive Clean across Texas, and the grassroots partnership Keep Texas Beautiful.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies (5th, 6th, and 11th editions, 1978, 1990, 2001); the Texas Department of Transportation website and Keith Elliott, “Tourism,” Handbook of Texas Online, both accessed on November 28, 2017; “This Is A Litter MESSage,” in the Waco Citizen, December 27, 1977, accessed on November 28, 2017, through the Access Newspaper Archive; and the records themselves.)


Scope and Content of the Records

The Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (TSDHPT) was responsible for the building and maintenance of Texas roads and highways and for developing public mass transportation in state from 1975 to 1991. The agency was formed in 1975 when the Texas legislature merged the Texas Highway Department and the Texas Mass Transportation Commission into this single agency. After 1991, TSDHPT was merged into the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Both TSDHPT and the Texas Highway Department operated a Travel and Information Division (Travel Information Division under TxDOT) that promoted travel to and within the state of Texas, highway safety, and anti-litter campaigns through the distribution of publications, audiovisual programs, and news media materials. The division also operated a free loan library of public service and tourism films, beginning with the Texas Highway Department in 1965 and running through 2005 under TxDOT. Records consist of 76 film projects made up of 16mm motion pictures and motion picture components, 0.25-inch open reel audiotapes, a 35mm work print, and an audiocassette, dating 1963-1990, bulk 1970-1985. Projects comprise Texas tourism and other films, as well as radio and television programs, news stories, commercials, and public service announcements that were produced by the division. Subjects include bridge construction, anti-littering campaigns, tourist attractions around Texas, highway safety, highway funding, and public transportation. Each film project may include only one motion picture or motion picture component or may be made up of many different motion picture components, such as work prints, internegatives, sound tracks, and film clips. Motion picture components may be dated later than the film’s release date if they were reprinted after the release. On occasion, unused footage from one film may be intended for use in a later project. Not all projects were completed or released, such as film projects in the series Stock films. This series includes motion picture components that may have been used in complete projects or were kept as resources for future productions.

Throughout, project titles with known releases, copyright dates, or other evidence of completion are italicized in the inventory. Projects that seem to have been completed, but with no evidence of copyright or release, have titles in quotes (with the exception of an episode title of a completed series, which will appear in quotes before the italicized title of the series). Titles of projects that appear to be stock film or unfinished projects are not formatted. Projects with no known copyright or release dates have estimated dates that reflect when work appears to have stopped on a project. Running times of each reel are approximate and determined from measuring the amount of film on the reel.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
To view the films or listen to the sound tracks not currently available through the Texas Digital Archive, please contact State Archives staff. Researcher access to open reel audiotape or 16mm film and audio is dependent upon first arranging to transfer that outdated media to more contemporary media, at the researcher’s expense.

Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements
None.


The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Highway Department records, 1920s-1930s, 1962-1975, 5.65 cubic ft.
Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation public hearing dockets, transcripts, and minutes, 1975-1981, 6 cubic ft.
Texas Department of Transportation public relations records, 1952, 1978, 0.5 cubic ft. (four 16mm films) [There is no finding aid for these unprocessed records. Call numbers are 2012/248-10 thru 13.]
Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Highway Department historical records, about 1911-1993, bulk 1927-1960, 147 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Other Formats for the Records
A portion of the films described in this finding aid have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive available online.

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation Travel and Information Division films and audiotapes. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession number: 2013/063

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Transportation on December 4, 2012.

Processing Information
Preservation assessment, initial inventory, and preliminary description by Jonathan King, February 2017

Description completed and EAD finding aid encoded by Angela Swift, November 2017

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