My great-grandparents, Herman and Ella Wilkerson, of Palestine, Texas, avidly documented family life during my mother and her cousins’ childhoods. As new technology became available for home use, Herman eagerly captured the Wilkerson family on 8mm film and magnetic reel-to-reel tape.

This project began in 2008, long before I began the MSIS program or had any notion of how digitization works. I took VHS copies of H.W. Wilkerson’s 8mm films to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image after a friend told me about their Texas Film Round-up program, wanting to obtain DVD copies for family Christmas gifts. My grandmother, Mary Jo Martin, had the VHS copies of these films made in the 80s. As it turned out, the films were projected on a screen (or maybe a wall), and videotaped as they played, resulting in a very poor quality copy. Three years later, after I began working at TAMI, we decided to find the original 8mm film and recapture the videos. During the hunt for the films, boxes of magnetic tape came out of the woodwork. The 8mm film was re-digitized in 2011 at TAMI. In Fall 2011, I was able to digitize the audio tapes as a project for Quinn Stewart‘s Survey of Digitization class. I also decided to digitize family letters and documents to accompany the audiovisual material.


The H.W. Wilkerson Collection – Films

Christmas 1954, Don, Ercie & Judy Bell 1953, etc.


View all videos from the collection on the Wilkerson Family Films page.

All films digitized by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image in 2011 as part of their Texas Film Round-up Program in partnership with the Texas Film Commission.


The H.W. Wilkseron Collection – Audio Tapes

Grandan’s Old Age Speech, recorded Christmas morning 1975

December 25, 1956 Wilkerson Christmas gathering, all family except Robert, Evedyne, and Luanne

Listen to more tapes from the collection on the Wilkerson Family Audio Tapes page.

Tapes were captured in their entirety using an Otari MX-5050 at 96kHz/24bitdepth in the iSchool’s Digitization Lab. Many of the tapes are quite damaged due to hydrolysis or print-through, so segments were chosen for this site. For copies of the complete recordings, please contact me. 


Wilkerson Family Documents

Poems by Granny, 1976

More family documents coming soon.

Documents were digitized using an Epson Perfection 4900 and ABBYY FineReader 10 in the iSchool’s Digitization Lab. 


The Weyman E. Martin Letters 

My grandparents, Weyman E. Martin and Mary Jo Wilkerson, met and became engaged while attending Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1938. Weyman finished school and left for Anahuac to continue his career in education, leaving Mary Jo at SHSTC to complete her degree. They were apart for almost an entire year from 1939 – 1940. During that year, they wrote to each other devotedly; they married in 1940. My mother discovered all of my grandfather’s letters to Mary Jo in 2009. She organized them for my granny, and presented them to her as a Christmas gift. I digitized them in 2011 as a project for Quinn Stewart‘s Survey of Digitization class.

Please visit the Weyman E. Martin Letters page to view all 253 letters.

Mary Jo and Weyman, August 23, 1940

Letters were digitized using an Epson Perfection 4900 and ABBYY FineReader 10 in the iSchool’s Digitization Lab. Transcripts available upon request.