and Texas History Center
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Only collections with inventories are listed in alphabetical order through the links above. This represents only about half the total collections in the archives. Please contact the History Center regarding material not included.
The History Center traces its origin to the founding of the Galveston Historical Society on August 3, 1871. The Society was chartered to collect materials documenting the Republic of Texas and Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1894, it was renamed the Texas Historical Society. The Society stored its archives at the Rosenberg Library, which opened in July 1904. On April 29, 1931, the Library's Board of Directors assumed ownership of the Texas Historical Society's collection. Under Librarian Frank Chauncy Patten, 1904-1934, the Rosenberg Library acquired historical materials on its own.
Dedicated space for the archives finally came with completion of the Library's Moody Wing in 1971. In 1976, a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission enabled the Library to provide access to its archives. In July 1983, the Library's Board of Directors approved the renaming of the archives as the Galveston and Texas History Center. The History Center joined the Fox Rare Book Room and the Museum as part of the newly created Special Collections Department in 1985. This organization remained in effect until 1994, when the Museum became a separate department.
The History Center collects materials pertaining to Galveston during all time periods and Texas from the Spanish period through the end of the Civil War. Acquisitions conform to the Collection Development Policy, revised in October 2001.
Description: Manuscripts comprise the History Center's largest and, in many ways, most significant component. These include personal and family papers and records of businesses, military units, social and cultural organizations, and religious institutions. The manuscript collection documents Galveston throughout all periods and Texas from the Spanish period through 1865.
Significant holdings include papers of Gail Borden, Jr., James Morgan, Samuel May Williams, and A. R. "Babe" Schwartz; and records of the Galveston Wharf Company, the Galveston Cotton Exchange, and various Kempner family business interests. The History Center also holds a sizable volume of the Rosenberg Library's records.