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  Books Written and Published About the New London School Explosion  
  One Day in New London
P.L. Spangler

One Day in New London is a historical fiction novel focusing on the NLSD event. The story is told through the eyes of Alfred Townsend, an eighty-year-old man that returns to his hometown after seventy years. His purpose is to make peace with a day that took the lives of almost everyone he cared for as a child - including his entire family. Alfred relays his tale while sitting among the dead with his daughter and grandchildren in the cemetery. He tells of a town that struck oil during the Great Depression and how people used their wealth to build a one million dollar school that was the finest learning facility in the nation. Yet, he also tells of townspeople that found themselves being divided into social classes after becoming prosperous and slowly loosing their ties to people that they once believed they could not exist without. It is the struggle of the characters to retain their sense of belonging to others, in the midst of social change, that sets the stage for the story prior to the explosion.

Currently out of print.


Gone at 3:17
David M. Brown

This book is a sweeping account of the oil boom that financed building the wealthiest rural school system in the nation in 1934, the faulty heating system that permitted raw gas to accumulate beneath it and, at 3:17 on March 18, 1937, the resulting explosion that laid waste to a town's future.

The story continues through the aftermath: mass funerals, a military court of inquiry amazingly convened only three days after the explosion, at which school Superintendent Chesley Shaw has a nervous breakdown, and the survivors who spend much of their adult lives fighting off memories of the tragedy and refusing even to speak of it.

Their silence began to give way over the last several decades, in no small part due to relationships David built with the survivors, and a diligent approach that convinced many of them that this story needed to be told.

Buy your copy from the Museum
using PayPal:
Price is $32.00, includes tax and shipping. Please mention in comments that you want to purchase a copy of Gone at 3:17 and list the address where to send.

My Girls And Boys Are In There
Ron Rozelle

My Boys and Girls Are in There: The 1937 New London School Explosion is a meticulous, candid account by veteran educator and experienced author Ron Rozelle.

Unfolding with the narrative pace of a novel, the story woven by Rozelle—beginning with the title—combines the anguished words of eyewitnesses with telling details from the historical and legal record.

Released to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New London School disaster, My Boys and Girls Are in There paints an intensely human portrait of this horrific event.

On March 18, 1937, a spark ignited a vast pool of natural gas that had collected beneath the school building in New London, a tiny community in East Texas. The resulting explosion leveled the four-year-old structure and resulted in a death toll of more than three hundred—most of them children. To this day, it is the worst school disaster in the history of the United States.

Buy your copy from the Museum
using PayPal:
Price is $27.00, includes tax and shipping. Please mention in comments that you want to purchase a copy of My Girls and Boys are in there and list the address where to send.


The London Museum is pleased to announce that reprints of Living Lessons from New London, Texas, the first book written about the explosion, are now available.

The book was written by Reverend R. L. Jackson, New London Methodist minister from 1937-39, and was originally published in 1938. The book has been reprinted in its entirety with the exception of the chapters on "First Aid" and the "Control of Gas" which were judged to be somewhat out-of-date.

Included are interviews with survivors and over 40 photographs.

Buy your copy from the Museum
using PayPal:
Price is $12.50, includes tax and shipping. Please mention in comments that you want to purchase a copy of Living Lessons and list the address where to send.

Excerpt from Walter Cronkite's Book, "A Reporter's Life".

"We hurried on to New London. We reached it just at dusk. Huge floodlights from the oil fields illuminated a great pile of rubble at which men and women tore with their bare hands. Many were workers from the oil fields, but among them were office workers and what appeared to be housewives. Many were parents, other volunteers, searching desperately for children still buried in the debris. Before they were through, they would bring 294 shattered, crushed bodies out of what had once been a two-story building, only four years old and considered one of the most up-to-date school structures in Texas.

The architect had reinforced the building with vertical rows of tiles. The building was heated with residual gas from the oil fields, gas so volatile and unstable that it is usually burned off in the flares we see around most oil fields. The gas is odorless and invisible. It leaked somewhere in the subbasement of the school building. It filled those vertical columns of tiles. The school was a bomb waiting to explode. Two minutes before classes were to be dismissed for the weekend, a student in the basement woodworking shop switched off a band saw. The spark did its work".


  An American Holocaust: The Story of Lataine's Ring
Kerry L. Barger

  New London, 1937: The New London School Explosion, 1937 : One Woman's Memory Of Orange And Green
Lorine Zylks Bright

  1937 Disasters: 1937 Natural Disasters, New London School Explosion, Ohio River Flood of 1937, Elixir Sulfanilamide
LLC Books

  Music Written and Published About the New London School Explosion  

New London Set Me Free
by Jillinda Palmer
(featuring Tommy Santee Klaws)

Sound Cloud with the lyrics and all the additional info.

  Plays Presented About the New London School Explosion  
  Subject: A presentation of A Texas Tragedy by Dr. Bobby H. Johnson
From: "AJ O'Pry"
Date: Mon, April 25, 2016 2:20 pm

To Whom It May Concern at the New London Museum,

Our high school preformed Dr. Bobby H. Johnson’s play, A Texas Tragedy (A play about the New London School explosion). We performed the play several times and placed second place at the Regional competition held on March 24th.

Our Theatre team received many awards at the regional level. These awards include: best actor, five all-star cast awards, one honorable mentions, best lighting technician, best stage manager, and finally best crew.

Thanks Arthur “A.J.” O’Pry, theater director,
Calvin Nelms High School, Katy Texas