"Such a library as ours would not only contain books and current periodicals,
but there would be...articles of historic, scientific, and artistic interest."
~ Frank C. Patten, Head Librarian of Rosenberg Library, 1904 - 1934
The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Displayed in these pages are the Library's "Treasures of the Month."
Captain Herbert A. Robertson (1877 - 1920)
This month marks the 100th Anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. Rosenberg Library honors Captain Herbert Allaire Robertson of Galveston as its Treasure of the Month and will exhibit items related to this fallen Galvestonian during April. The Library will also open a larger WWI exhibit on its fourth floor on April 20, 2017.
Herbert Allaire Robertson
Born in Galveston in 1877, Herbert Allaire Robertson was an accountant at Hutchings, Sealy, & Co. bank for 25 years and was manager of the Galveston Clearing House Association. During the First World War, Robertson was appointed commanding officer of Supply Troop, Seventh Regiment of the Texas National Guard. He was tragically killed when a fellow Guardsman, Private J.C. Tyler, accidentally shot him at the Fort Crockett guard station. Tyler was on sentry duty during the early morning hours of July 31, 1920. Captain Robertson was driving in his automobile when Tyler gave four separate commands to stop. When Robertson continued and passed the sentry, his vehicle was shot at in accordance with military policy. Though the sentry had intended to strike the vehicle’s tire, the bullet entered the rear windshield, hitting Robertson in the back. He was rushed to John Sealy Hospital for emergency surgery but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Private Tyler was placed under arrest, although several witnesses testified that he had indeed given multiple warnings before firing his weapon. At his court martial on August 5, Tyler’s attorney defended his client’s actions though he admitted that the young and inexperienced soldier missed his intended target — the car’s tire — and accidentally shot the driver. Evidence showed that he had followed orders in accordance with sentry training, and he was acquitted.
WWI helmet which belonged to Herbert A. Robertson
In 1983, Mildred M. Robertson donated the military-issue steel helmet used by Herbert Robertson during the First World War. After attending officers’ training school, Robertson won a commission as first lieutenant at Camp Travis with the Ninetieth Division. He served several campaigns with his division, including in the St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne, and the Belgian.
All of the banks in Galveston lowered their flags at half-mast as a tribute to Mr. Robertson following his death.
The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s historic second floor near the East Entrance. It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the Museum Office at 409-763-8854 x 125.