Battleship Texas Plans and Records Now Online at the State Archives

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce a major digitization effort that provides online access to more than 3,000 ships plans and records from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) collection documenting the USS battleship, Texas. Also known as BB-35, the dreadnought was commissioned in 1914 and participated in both World War I and World War II, including as flagship during the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. USS Texas went on to become the first memorial battleship in the United States and serves as a national historical landmark.

State Records Center Imaging Specialist, Melanie Saegert prepares to digitize materials from the TPWD battleship Texas collection. Thousands of plans and records from the collection are now online in the TDA.

The recent addition to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Battleship Texas ships plans and records online collection is the culmination of a multi-faceted initiative involving conservation work, preservation, processing and archival housing of oversized materials, and a successful collaboration between TSLAC’s Archives and Information Services Division (ARIS) and the State Records Center (SRC) to engage in a mass digitization initiative together. SRC staff converted the thousands of blueprints, documents, manuals, booklets, and other paper materials into digital files for ARIS staff to organize, manage, describe, and ultimately upload to TSLAC’s digital repository, the Texas Digital Archive (TDA). Visitors to the site will find information about the battleship in the finding aids and an extensive series of detailed images of plans and records from the entire lifespan of the Texas.

TSLAC Conservator, Heather Hamilton demonstrates the protective measures the State Archives staff are employing to preserve oversize materials from the battleship Texas collection. Learn more about the State Archives’ conservation efforts on this project on the Conservation blog.

The battleship Texas records include oversize schematic drawings up to six feet long. Conservator Heather Hamilton analyzed the preservation challenges the size and nature of the drawings presented and determined the best solutions for repair and housing. Tears in the plans had been taped in the past and the paper was breaking along the creases created when folded and stored in boxes. The new housing employs archival quality plastic sheeting and the plans will be rolled as opposed to folded to help prevent further damaging the paper. Read more about the project on the Conservation blog.

While the State Archives is taking care to preserve the original plans and records for the battleship Texas, the digitization project has opened access to the collection for anyone with an internet connection. No need to pull the enormous plans from the stacks if one is able to click on a link to a digital image and download as needed. The partnership between the Archives and the SRC on this effort offers a model for future mass digitization projects.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Battleship Texas ships plans and records, 1900-1990s, undated

Creator: Texas. Parks and Wildlife Department.
Title: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Battleship Texas ships plans and records
Dates: 1900-1990s
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) manages the conservation of the state’s natural and cultural resources, conservation education and outreach, and interpretation of cultural and historical resources. The USS battleship Texas served in both World War I and World War II and was decommissioned in 1948 in Texas to become a memorial and exhibit. The ship was first managed by the Battleship Texas Commission, then in 1983 administration transferred to TPWD with input from the Battleship Texas Advisory Board.

In 2019, the ship closed to the public for a major restoration effect. These records document the ship during both active duty and as a memorial and exhibit. Materials consist of original ships plans and plans reproductions, prints, posters, audiovisual materials, and records of the Battleship Texas Commission and the Battleship Texas Advisory Board. Records are dated 1900-1990s, undated. Most of the original ships plans, as well as all of the reproductions, prints, posters, and audiovisual materials have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

Click here to enter the records

Click here to access the online finding aid

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