in the Special Collections Division
The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Compiled by Shirley R. Rodnitzky
Edited by Gerald D. Saxon

Arlington, Texas
The University of Texas at Arlington

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Terms Used in the Text
Historical Manuscripts Collection
Texas Labor Archives
Texas Political History Collection
University Archives
Historical Photographs Collection
Unprocessed Texas Labor Archives, Texas Political History Collection, and University Archives


Compilation of a guide depends on the cooperation and assistance of the staff members and the graduate students who accession, process, describe, and catalog the collections. I would like to thank the following past and present UTA archivists who wrote collection descriptions for the guide’s first edition, upon which this second edition was based and expanded: Maritza Arrigunaga, Jane Boley, Katherine Goodwin, and Marcelle Hull. I especially thank Maritza Arrigunaga for her expertise with Spanish language entries and Sally Gross who read the descriptions in preparation for cataloging them and advised me on main entry and name authority identification. Student assistants, Sandra Ho and Nancy Vien, assisted me in converting the print version of several guide descriptions into electronic form. Most of all I want to thank Gerald Saxon who has been the driving force behind having a print version compiled and published. The project could not have been completed without his guidance and willingness to do whatever he could to make it successful.

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What follows is a guide to the historical manuscripts and archives holdings of the Special Collections Division of the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. All of the collections described in this guide were received and accessioned from 1967 through December 31, 1999. A first edition of the guide was produced in 1989, but during the past ten years our collections have grown enormously, necessitating a revised, updated edition.

In many ways, the guide is also a progress report, for it clearly documents the growth and vitality of Special Collections. By almost any standard (collection growth, patron use, grants obtained, and staff growth), the division has come a long way in a relatively brief time. In fact, the UTA Libraries have only been seriously collecting original records since 1967, and the Special Collections Division was not organized until 1974, a short twenty-six years ago. Today, the division has a full-time staff of eight, two part-time staff members, and several student workers; beautiful facilities on the sixth floor of the Central Library; and collections of major interest and significance to scholars and researchers in this country and others. It is for these scholars and researchers that this guide was written. It is our hope that the guide will encourage and facilitate the use of the division’s rich holdings, especially for those without ready access to the libraries’ online catalog.

In order to better explain the division’s holdings and its collecting strategy, it is necessary to trace the history of archives and manuscripts collecting at UTA. As mentioned above, the UTA Libraries began collecting original records in 1967, even before the formal establishment of the Special Collections Division. Spurred on by the efforts of Dr. George N. Green of the History Department and library director John A. Hudson, the library became the first in the South and Southwest to collect the records of labor unions and their officials. Dr. Green and colleague Dr. Howard Lackman, serving as the library’s field agents, began a concerted effort to contact each of the 2,500 local unions in Texas about their historical records. A number of unions responded to this solicitation and, as a result, the Texas Labor Archives was established. Also in 1967, Dr. Green initiated a modest oral history program, as he and some of his students and colleagues began tape recording interviews with the state’s labor leaders and rank and file members. Like many historians, Dr. Green realized that interviews served to supplement information found in the written record. Once interviews were completed they were accessioned into the archives where staff transcribed and provided access to them. The oral history interviews in Special Collections are not described in this guide, but they are in the libraries’ online catalog (PULSe). With Dr. Green championing the archives’ cause, a number of fortuitous events occurred in the late 1960s ensuring the collection’s rapid growth. The Texas AFL-CIO convention voted unanimously in 1967 to name UTA as the state union’s official depository. In 1968, the trustees of the M. M. McKnight Memorial Fund of Fort Worth provided funds for Drs. Green and Lackman to travel the state and collect even more records. A year later, UTA’s School of Liberal Arts funded additional fieldwork. By 1970, the Texas Labor Archives was well established and was collecting oral and written records statewide.

At about this same time, the collecting focus of the archives was expanded to include Texas political collections and historical records of the university. Because unions are constantly involved in political activity, the move to acquire political material seemed to be a natural step.

To date, the archives has acquired the papers of men and women who were elected to the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, the records of political action groups, and the personal papers of political activists. The archives also serves the UTA academic community by preserving university records of enduring value.

In 1974, the Special Collections Division, which was at this time to be administered separately from the archives, was created. The division was established as a result of the donation of more than 10,000 books, documents, graphics, maps, periodicals, manuscripts, newspapers, and pieces of sheet music by Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins Garrett of Fort Worth, Texas. UTA constructed special rooms on the sixth floor of the Central Library to house the Garretts’ generous gift. Not surprisingly, the Garretts’ original gift helped to define the collecting focus of Special Collections. For many years prior to their donation, the Garretts collected historical materials related to the history of Texas, Mexico, the Mexican War (1846-1848), as well as maps, which depicted the cartographic history of the Gulf of Mexico region and the greater Southwest. Since the Garretts’ original gift, Special Collections has continued to focus on collecting in these areas.

With the assistance of the Garretts and many other donors, as well as the support of the libraries and university administration, Special Collections has grown rapidly since 1974. In 1976, Dr. Malcolm D. McLean joined UTA as a professor of history and Spanish and as a staff member of Special Collections. With him came the historically rich Robertson Colony Collection and the publication of the series titled Papers Concerning Robertson’s Colony in Texas. In 1979, a room was designed on the sixth floor of the library for the specific purpose of preserving, compiling, transcribing, translating, editing, and publishing the original manuscripts of the Robertson Colony Collection. Since the collection covers the early period of Texas colonization through the formation of the present Texas constitution, it forms an integral part of the Special Collections Division. Dr. McLean retired in 1992. His office records and the papers of the Robertson Colony Collection are preserved and maintained with the historical manuscripts collection in Special Collections.

In 1978, the Cartographic History Library, another integral part of Special Collections, formally opened, providing storage and research facilities for researchers of the division’s collection of historical maps and atlases. The nucleus of the map collection was formed when maps were purchased from the Eberstadt Collection. Funding for the purchase came from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the University of Texas System Board of Regents, UTA, the T. J. Brown and C. A. Lupton Foundation, Inc., and Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins Garrett. Over the years the libraries purchased additional antiquarian maps and received donations of many fine rare atlases and maps as well as twentieth century publications from benefactors and Friends of the Libraries. In 1990, Mrs. Garrett donated her collection of some 400-plus commercial atlases, and in 1997 she gave her personal collection of more than 900 historic maps focusing on the Gulf of Mexico and Texas to the Cartographic History Library. The library was renamed the Virginia Garrett Cartographic History Library in her honor at a special dinner celebrating the gift on October 1, 1997.

By 1980, the Special Collections Division had a noted book, manuscript, and map collection, and was widely recognized as one of the leading historical collections in the state. The 1980s saw other changes come to Special Collections. In 1981, the libraries’ administration consolidated the Texas Labor Archives with Special Collections. A few years later, the Meso-American Center was also added. Since the early 1970s, Maritza Arrigunaga, archivist in charge of the Spanish historical manuscripts in Special Collections, has conducted a number of microfilming projects in the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Central American country of Honduras under the guidance of John Hudson. In fact, the documents preserved on film and now located in Special Collections include municipal, ecclesiastical, notary, and civil records which span nearly four centuries of the history of Yucatán and Honduras.

In 1984, the division received the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, which included clippings, close to one million photographs and negatives, and vertical files and ephemeral materials. The division also added a staff member to process and provide access to the images in the collection. The addition of the Star-Telegram Collection provided the impetus for the division to begin collecting other photograph collections. Among them are the collections of Basil Clemons of Breckinridge, Texas, Bill Wood and the W. D. Smith Company of Fort Worth, and the archives of the Fort Worth News-Tribune and Arlington Citizen Journal, two local newspapers no longer being published. Today the division holds nearly 3, 600,000 photographs and negatives.

In 1987, as a response to Special Collections’ rapid growth, the staff began investigating ways to improve access to the division’s holdings. Since adequate bibliographic control existed for the books and serials, the staff concentrated most of its efforts on the archives and manuscripts. A two-step approach to improve access to these materials was decided upon, with the first step being the production of the first edition of this guide in 1989 and now the second edition.

The second step was the cataloging of the collections described in the guide using a machine readable format so that the bibliographic records created can be included in OCLC, a national bibliographic utility. The guide entries compiled in step one greatly facilitated step two, the cataloging of the archives and manuscript collections. And, indeed, in 1992 cataloging of the archives and manuscript collections in OCLC and the libraries’ online catalog began. This cataloging continues today. Each descriptive entry in the guide, whether or not a collection is processed, is accessible to the world through the UTA Libraries’ online catalog PULSe. Most of the processed collections also appear in FirstSearch’s WorldCat database. The division has also begun placing its completed finding aids on its website, further improving access to its holdings.

In brief, this guide describes each archives and historical manuscript collection (including photograph collections) received and accessioned through December 31, 1999. In order to produce the guide, staff members had to examine each collection, noting significant information and the format of the research material found in it. After this examination and the completion of any additional research that had to be done, a guide description was written, edited, and input electronically into computer files. When necessary the division’s holding files were updated to reflect any new information resulting from this collection-by-collection analysis. In addition to adding new descriptions of collections that were received between 1989 and 1999, the compiler reviewed, edited, and sometimes revised each entry that appeared in the 1989 edition.

The entries in this guide are organized into six parts according to content: the Historical Manuscripts Collection, the Texas Labor Archives, the Texas Political History Collection, the University Archives, the Historical Photographs Collection, and Unprocessed Collections. The Historical Manuscripts Collection contains papers from the Garretts’ original gift and those collections acquired subsequently that pertain to Texas, Mexico, and the Mexican War. The Texas Labor Archives Collection contains labor union records and the papers of union members and attorneys with labor clientele. The Texas Political History Collection contains the papers and records of politicians and political action groups held at UTA. The University Archives houses the UTA Presidents’ Papers and historical materials of lasting value relating to the university and its forerunner schools. The Historical Photographs Collection contains photographs and negatives that depict scenes, people and subjects in north, central and west Texas. The Unprocessed Collections, which include collections from the Texas Labor Archives, the Texas Political History Collection, and the University Archives, are described in brief here. The Historical Manuscripts Collection and the Historical Photographs Collection include both processed and unprocessed collections.

This guide provides researchers access to information at the collection level. A researcher must next go to the finding aid, inventory, or collection itself for more detailed information. Because Special Collections continually acquires new collections, a guide like this one is outdated as soon as it is completed, so researchers are advised to consult with the staff or search the UTA Libraries’ online catalog for new acquisitions.

The Special Collections Division has indeed come a long way since its establishment. As we move into the twenty-first century, we encourage researchers and scholars to use our collections and our expertise whenever possible. With the completion of this guide, it is our hope that researchers will be better able to determine if we have collections that satisfy and meet their information needs. As time allows, the guide will be mounted on the worldwide web and made accessible through the Special Collections homepage.

Gerald D. Saxon
September 25, 2000


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Abbreviations and Terms Used in the Text
ALS    Autograph letter(s) signed in the hand of the author.
b.    Born.
bulk     The dates for which the materials bulk largest or are most significant.
ca.        Circa, about. Used for undated items when an aproxímate date can be estimated from internal evidence or other sources.
cc    Carbon copy.
d.    Died.
fl.    Flourished. Used when a person’s life span is not known, but the person is known to have been active on or about a certain year or years.
ft.    Feet. The collections are measured in linear feet.
Leaf    Two pages, one on each side, used to describe unnumbered printed or typed pages. The plural is leaves.
LS    Letter(s) signed. The signature only is in the hand of the author.
ms.     Entirely handwritten.
MsD    Manuscript document; an official item, entirely handwritten, possibly in more than one hand.
mss.    A group of handwritten manuscripts.
n.d.     No date, date could not be determined.
n.p.    No place or no publisher.
p.    Page.
pp.    Pages.
TL    Typed letter(s) lacking handwritten signature.
TLS    Typed letter(s) signed by the author.
Typescript Entirely typewritten manuscript.
U.S.    United States.

Top of Page    Table of Contents
Acknowledgements    Introduction     Abbreviations      Historical Manuscripts Collection
Texas Labor Archives    Texas Political History Collection     University Archives     Historical Photographs Collection
Unprocessed Collections    Guide Index

Special Collections
The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries
Phone: (817) 272-3393 * Fax: (817) 272-3360 * E-mail: Reference Desk

This page last update on Wednesday, June 25, 2003