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Angelo State University
Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection

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“Excellence in West Texas History” Fellowship

West Texas Regional Archives

West Texas has a number of very good regional archives available for researchers. Fellows must use the archives and libraries in West Texas as part of the Fellowship program. Below is a partial listing of the regional archives.

The Amarillo Public Library has been serving the region for over 100 years. They have a large collection of photographs that show many aspects of Texas history and reveal the everyday life of people in the Texas Panhandle.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, located in Canyon, TX, is the largest history museum in Texas. Their collections cover more than 500 million years of the history that covers the 26,000 square miles of the Texas Panhandle. The library and archives houses books and periodicals, oral history, manuscripts, trade literature, photographs, architectural drawings, and maps.

The Southwest Collection, the Special Collection Library of Texas Tech University, is located in Lubbock, Texas. The Collection encompasses approximately 23 million leaves of documents, fifty thousand books, over a million photographs, thousands of oral history tapes and reels of microfilm and over a thousand films and videos relating to the history, economy, military affairs, culture, natural history and ethnic diversity of the U.S. The Southwest Collection contains the largest collection of ranching related materials in the U.S.

In addition, there are numerous important collections relating to: architecture, religion (Jewish Archives and other denominations), sports, farming, Archives for the History of Financial Planning, oil, water resources, politics (including gubernatorial and congressional collections), radio broadcasting, advertising, urban development, commercial and business growth, waste disposal, industrial development, science and technology [including, wind and atmospheric sciences (Tetsuya “Ted” Fujita Papers), federal solar power projects, the Mohole Project, and nuclear waste disposal project], immigration, minority studies, and the environment. In recent years the Southwest Collection has become the repository for the personal papers of prominent natural history writers, such as Barry Lopez, and others of international repute.

The Hardin Simmons University Library in Abilene houses a History Center which includes a photograph collection of over 40,000 images. The photographic holdings are made up of four major collections donated to the university.

The McWhiney Collection at McMurry University in Abilene houses materials from the personal library of the late Dr. H. Grady McWhiney, one of the distinguished Southern historians of the second half of the 20th Century. The special interests of the Collection are the American Civil War, Southern history, American military history and Central West Texas Studies.

Abilene Christian University’s Brown Library holds a number of items in the Special Collection area including the Honorable Omar Burleson Congressional Library, the Robbins Railroad Collection and a large collection of religious material.

The West Texas Collection is located at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. The Collection houses numerous historical and archival collections. Major topics of study include: ranching, civic and political history, regional history, the Mexican Revolution and Pancho Villa, the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway, geology, spelunking, World War I and II, Hispanic history, churches, schools and families, community and county histories, sheep and wool industry, social history of the area, maps, photographs, diaries and letters.

The Haley Memorial Library & History Center is located in Midland, Texas and was founded to preserve the western heritage. The research center houses 26 major collections including the research of J. Evetts Haley founder of the library, 38 small collections, the Texas Confederate Museum Collection, a large photo collection and more than 25,000 books and manuscripts. The collections cover the ranching history of West Texas, military history, railroads and many other topics of interest to West Texas.

The Petroleum Museum in Midland contains one of the most complete and comprehensive archival collections of the petroleum industry in the nation. The center was established in 1967 to collect, preserve and disseminate knowledge of the Permian Basin petroleum industry. The holdings include private papers, company records, manuscripts, sound recordings, scrapbooks, photographs, motion pictures film and maps.

The J. Conrad Dunagan Library at University of Texas Permian Basin in Odessa houses original manuscripts and movie scripts of Larry McMurtry; the Gordon Bankston Collection and J. Frank Dobie Collection; Frederick Francis Nye papers; histories of Texas counties; petroleum in the Permian Basin; the Jon Ben Shepperd Collection; and the Permian Historical Society Archives.

The Archives of the Big Bend is a department of the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. The archives concentrate on the area west of the Pecos River and east of present-day El Paso County as well as related areas in northern Mexico.

The Center for Big Bend Studies located at Sul Ross State University has a specialized library centered mainly on the various fields of anthropology and its related subjects such as history, geology, geography and sociology among others. The research library of J. Charles and Ellen A. Kelley forms the foundation of the holdings.

The Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute in Fort Davis, Texas promotes public awareness, appreciation, and concern for the natural diversity of the desert region through research and education. The institute conducts events through the year to encourage the study of nature.

The University of Texas at El Paso’s library houses the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department. The book collections include the Chicano Collection, the Judaica Collection, the S.L.A. Marshall Military History Collection, the Southwest and Border Studies and other rare books. The photographic collection consists of over 52 individuals collections many pertaining to the border history. Finding tools are available on their website.

The El Paso County Historical Society maintains the Jane Burges Perrenot Research Center. The Center focuses on photographs, archival collections, and postcards. They collect specifically the history of El Paso and generally the history of Texas.

The El Paso Public Library houses the Border Heritage Center. The Center was formed by combining three major collections: Southwest, genealogy, and Raza. The Southwest Collection contains reference works and specialized monographs, photographs, architectural drawings, manuscripts, clippings files, periodicals and other materials. The Raza Collection contains the history of the movement along with poetry and fiction. Another major collection is the Otis A. Aultman Photo Collection from the Mexican Revolutionary period.