Commissioner Patterson, General Land Office: Retain the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library on the grounds of the Alamo
This petition had 280 supporters
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo is a historical research facility with important resources, both primary and secondary, relevant to the Battle of the Alamo, the establishment of the Republic of Texas, and the growth of the city of San Antonio. Bibliographic access to the collections is available through the library’s catalog at http://www.drtl.org where information about the library and its policies are also available.
Although the collections are privately owned, donated to or purchased by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the library has been open since 1945 to the general public without charge through the financial support of the Alamo Fund. Four professional staff members and four paraprofessionals are available to aide in-house research as well as local and international requests via telephone, e-mail and regular postal inquiries. In any given week, staff help architects, historians, professors, archaeologists, genealogists, fourth and seventh graders working on history essays or class projects, elementary or secondary school teachers, filmmakers, writers, or the curious visitor to the grounds who would like more information. Photographs and artwork are often provided as illustrations for history books, textbooks, and signage on the San Antonio River. Library staff maintain the Alamo’s architectural and technical drawings for ready access by Alamo staff. Yearly history forums highlight current research in Texas history. It is this research support for the Alamo Museum, its staff and visitors, which differentiates the Alamo from many historic sites.
Since the Texas Legislature named the General Land Office under Commissioner Jerry Patterson as custodians in 2011, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas have been retained as on-site managers. Both the Alamo and the DRT Library are undergoing an extensive inventory of documents and relics to determine ownership. It is disturbing that the November, 2012, report from the attorney general’s office falsely asserts that there is little reason for “State” funds to continue to operate the DRT Library as “the DRT largely excluded the public from its library and primarily used the DRT Library to house its membership records and genealogical research staff.” Use of the library has always been free and DRT membership records have always been housed in Austin. The writer of the report falsely assumed that the name of the library (Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library) indicated the nature of its collections rather than simply the name of its founding organization. The library’s collection overview easily dispels that assumption [ http://www.drtl.org/AboutTheLibrary/OverviewCollection.asp ]
The serious researcher is aware that the Daughters not only preserved the Alamo for future generations but that they also accrued an enviable collection of Texas history material that personalizes the 19th century conflict. Samuel Maverick’s personal copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence, annotated in his own hand, and Alamo defender Daniel Cloud’s letter to his brother are among many items to which denied access would be a tragedy. Members of the organization considered collecting and organizing original documents as much of a priority in telling the story of the Texas Revolution as the Alamo itself. It would be tragic for the citizens of Texas—indeed all interested parties--for such a carefully accumulated collection with such an important story to tell to be removed from the Alamo.
Therefore, we are petitioning Commissioner Patterson to continue the previously unwritten contract by formalizing it through a written memorandum of agreement detailing responsibilities of both parties which will retain this internationally recognized research facility on the grounds of the Alamo. After all, the library was initially established to serve the Alamo and its visitors; it currently resides in its most appropriate location.
Please sign our petition and, if so inclined, please write to one or more of the following state officials:
The Honorable Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
The Honorable Leticia Van de Putte
Senate District 26
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Texas General Land Office
1700 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701-1495
Mr. Larry Laine
Chief Clerk’s Office
Texas General Land Office
1700 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701-1495
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