Hill College W.R. Auvenshine Library Receives Over $13,000 Grant for Light Crust Doughboys Collection

  Hill College
  Monday, September 9, 2019 12:00 PM
  General Events

Hillsboro, TX

The Hill College W.R. Auvenshine Library at the Hill County Campus in Hillsboro was recently awarded $13,236 in grant funding, under the TexTreasures Grant program, (TXT-20006). This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Texas State Library & Archives Commission (TSLAC). 

The Auvenshine Library will provide digitization and public access to the Light Crust Doughboys Archives beginning Oct. 1, 2019. Patrons will be able to view the collection digitally through the Library’s catalog and be able to search the collection using the finding aids on the LibGuide pages. The public is invited to see the collection on permanent display at the Library during regular hours, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Fridays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at 112 Lamar Dr., Hillsboro. 

“This makes a great piece of Texas music history accessible for generations to come,” said Eve Bowen, library assistant and grant writer. 

The Hill College Library will create access to the collection by cataloging and preserving the papers of the long-time Light Crust Doughboy’s band leader, Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery, and other members of the 88-year-old band. This growing, unique hidden collection includes music, photos, correspondence, ephemera and artifacts, including items and correspondence once belonging to historical figures like W. Lee O’Daniel, former governor of Texas. It is a multi-year project to digitize, catalog, and create a finding aid for researchers to use this rare collection and a permanent home for the traveling exhibit now in storage. This project will give access to a slice of previously unavailable Texas music history. 

There is a hidden collection located in the heart of Texas, one that sings about our great state. It documents the rise of the Texas music industry, contains stories about the author of the state song, “Beautiful Texas,” and many other people. The collection contains items that cannot be found anywhere else. Most of it sits in plain view on the walls of the lower floor of the Hill College Library in Hillsboro, Texas. The Light Crust Doughboys Collection at Hill College provides a unique snapshot of Texas music and music industry at-large for the last 87 years, with most of it focusing on the 20th Century. A September 2017 concert at Hill College by the current Light Crust Doughboys drew a packed house of 420 attendees. This doubled the number of people attending the post-concert reception from 75 to 150, proving this long-running band is still of interest to old and young alike. Interest in their archives is slowly increasing as parts of the collection become available. 

Since 1931, the Light Crust Doughboys were a lunchtime staple for radio listeners until television replaced the radio as a means of entertainment. The band was also the first to be features on Dallas television when it went live under one of the band’s many aliases, the Flying X Ranchboys. These cultural icons represent a unique part of Texas history encompassing politics, the rise of Western movies, the use of popular music in advertising and the beginning of the genre known as Western Swing. 

Legendary Texas figures such as W. Lee O’Daniel, Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Tommy Duncan, Walter Cronkite and Smokey Montgomery have all been associated with the band. Other historical figures associated with the band are Gene Autry, who did two movies with them, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hank Thompson, Artie Glenn, perennial favorite Lawrence Welk, Sherry Davis, Slim Whitman and Cowboy Bill Boyd. Their 2001 Grammy included work with James Blackwood. They have played for governors, presidents and had the Beatles open for them. 

This project is just one of 44 made possible this year by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. “Communities in every corner of Texas will benefit from the resources that have been made available through this list of forward-thinking grant proposals,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. 

TSLAC awards competitive grants annually, as funding allows. For the 2020 fiscal year, which runs from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020, TSLAC has awarded approximately $1.23 million in competitive grants. The TexTreasures Grant will provide assistance and encouragement to 12 libraries to provide access to their special or unique collections and to make information about those collections available to library users across the state, including the Hill College Library’s project to digitize the Light Crust Doughboys. 


Formed in 1909, TSLAC is committed to giving Texans access to information and programs to improve their lives and communities. TSLAC provides historical and genealogical search assistance, federal and state government documents, electronic research and library services to all Texans, including those who are unable to read standard print material because of physical or reading disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.