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Oscar Strahan photographs and papers

Identifier: 90.200-Faculty-2016-Strahan

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection include primarily photographs, as well as a small quantity of negatives, correspondence, post cards, news clippings, and other printed material. Noteworthy are images of early Southwest Texas State Normal College sports teams and individual players dating from the 1920s. This includes scenes from a 1921 football game against Denton, the same year the team enjoyed an undefeated season. Also of potential research interest are images of the World War I training camp, Camp Logan, near Houston, Texas, and battlefield views from France (possibly mass-produced), all dating from circa 1917. The collection also holds photographs of Strahan’s family history and early life in rural Iowa, dating from the 1860s to the 1890s, which include image formats such as tintypes and cabinet cards.

The collection is divided by format into two series, Photographs and Printed Materials. The Photographs are further divided into subseries: Biographical, World War I, Southwest Texas State Athletics, Early Family History, and Family History and Travel. Strahan’s categories and descriptions were retained as much as possible.


  • circa 1860s - 1980s


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction. Use caution when viewing and removing the sleeved photographs from the storage box. Only the images in the “Early Family Photographs” subseries are filed in individual file folders. Index card dividers separate most groupings. Not all photos are individually sleeved.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright in their works to the Special Collections and Archives; however, copyright in some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Biographical note

Oscar Strahan (1891-1978) served as the first professional coach and first Athletic Director for Southwest Texas State Normal College from 1919 to 1961.

Strahan was born in rural Iowa to William and Mary Strahan on August 10, 1891. He attended Denison High School and Drake University, both located in Iowa. In 1917 during World War I, he attended military training at Camp Logan, near Houston, Texas, and was stationed in France during the conflict.

He moved to San Marcos with his wife, Marion (Hardy) Strahan, in 1919. In his early career at the college, he coached basketball, football and track, in addition to serving as athletic director. Strahan helped found the “Border Olympics” athletic event in Laredo, Texas, in 1933. He received numerous awards over his lifetime; to recognize his contributions to the Southwest Texas State Athletics program, the university dedicated Strahan Coliseum in his honor on November 30, 1982.

He and his wife attended the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. Strahan retired from the Athletics Department in 1961. He died August 21, 1978. His wife Marion Hardy Strahan died December 22, 1987. They are both buried in San Marcos Cemetery, Hays County, Texas.

Historical note

Texas State University was established by the 26th Legislature in 1899 as the Southwest Texas State Normal School; 313 pupils were enrolled in 1903-04, the first year classes were held.

The school name changed to Southwest Texas State Normal College in 1918, to Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1925, to Southwest Texas State College in 1959, to Southwest Texas State University in 1969, to Texas State University-San Marcos in 2003, and to Texas State University in 2013.


0.9 Linear Feet (One 8 x 12 x 5 photo storage box; ¼ of half-size legal document case box)

Language of Materials



Oscar Strahan served as the first professional coach and first Athletic Director for Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) from 1919 to 1961. Largely photographs, the collection contains noteworthy images of early Southwest Texas State Normal College sports teams, World War I training camp Camp Logan, and mass produced battlefield views from France. Also includes Strahan’s family history materials.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site. Advance notice may be required for use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Marian Smith on 2016 August 26.

Related Materials

An oral history with Oscar Strahan was done with Texas Tech Univeristy in 1972, it is apart of their Oral History Program at the Southwest Collection. Please see their catalog for access.

Oscar Strahan photographs and papers
Tracey Howerton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 April: Revised for ArchivesSpace, Nicole Critchley

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Alkek Library Room 580
601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA