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Wednesday Book Signing at TAMIU Focuses on Forgotten Crystal City History
Posted:4/23/15

Book Signing at TAMIU April 29 Focuses
on Forgotten Crystal City History

Jan Jarboe Russell, the author of “The Train to Crystal City” will be featured in book signing and lecture Wednesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. at Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library’s Helen Richter Watson Art Gallery.

Jan Jarboe

Jan Jarboe

Russell’s “The Train to Crystal City” (Scribner’s, 2015) is a dramatic and true story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Crystal City, TX during World War II, where thousands of families—many US citizens—were incarcerated.

From 1942 to 1948, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to the small desert town at the southern tip of Texas. They carried Japanese, German, Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during World War II, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.”

During the course of the War, hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City, including their American-born children, were exchanged for other more important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, physicians, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

Russell’s story focuses on two American-born teenage girls who were interned, the struggles of their fathers, their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan, and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists.

Russell will lecture to TAMIU students earlier in the day.

Originally from Beaumont, she landed her first writing job at age 16 at the hometown weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Advocate, beginning a lengthy career as a journalist and author.

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She worked briefly as a reporter for the Savannah Morning News, and in 1973 became a political reporter at The San Antonio Light. In 1976, she joined the Hearst Bureau in Washington, D.C., focusing on Texas politics.

In 1984, she was a Nieman Fellow At Harvard college, one of 12 American journalists to study there that academic year.  In 1985, she joined Texas Monthly magazine as a senior editor, writing critically acclaimed stories.  She continues there as contributing editor and her articles have appeared in other magazines such as Slate and The New York Times.

In 1999, Scribner’s published her well-received biography of Lady Bird Johnson, “Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson.”

From 2000 to 2004, Russell wrote a twice-weekly column for the San Antonio Express News syndicated nationally by King Features.

In 2007, she compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale, under The Explorer’s Club imprint in New York, New York.

A member of The Texas Institute of Letters and the Philosophical Society of Texas, she is vice president of Gemini Ink, San Antonio’s literary organization, and vice president of The Linda Pace Foundation, supporting the work of contemporary artists.

For additional information, contact TAMIU’s Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2189, email prmis@tamiu.edu or visit www.tamiu.edu


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu