Balmorhea State Park Pool

After a two-year closure for a renovation project, the Balmorhea State Park pool in West Texas has reopened, offering visitors the opportunity for a refreshing dip into the spring-fed waters once again. In celebration of this Texas landmark, let’s dip into the collections at the State Archives for a look at historic images related to Balmorhea.

The popular summer swimming destination has been attracting travelers for decades. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the park and its structures, including the pool, as part of the federal government’s effort to provide employment and a reliable paycheck for Americans suffering poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Image: Swimming pool springs 4-miles out, Balmorhea, Texas, 1936. William Deming Hornaday Photograph Collection,1975/070-5412. TSLAC. View in TDA.

The State Archives has in its collections the CCC drawings for Balmorhea and other Texas State Parks. Explore the collection online through a searchable database specifically designed for these materials here:

An extensive gallery of archival images of the Balmorhea project is also available for easy browsing online through the State Archives’ Flickr page:

Balmorhea State Park – Master Plan Cover Sheet – SP47-100
Balmorhea State Park – Development Plan, Solomon Springs Area – SP47-100-3

Texas State Parks Board records housed at the State Archives include images, promotional materials, correspondence and other items connected to the Balmorhea project. Though most of these records have not been digitized, several images below offer a glimpse of the kinds of research materials one might discover in these files.

San Solomon Springs – #558 – Balmorhea, Texas, 1939. Acquisition and development files, 2005/041-11. Texas State Parks Board records. TSLAC.

In a 1944 letter, the district engineer for the Texas Highway Department seemed perplexed by a request from the Texas State Parks Board to “place a reflectorized sign at the entrance to Balmorhea State Park.” The sketch in the image below was provided as evidence of the work having been completed several years prior.

Letter to Quinn from Killner, March 4, 1944. Acquisition and development files, Texas State Parks Board records, 2005/041-11. TSLAC.
Sign design for Balmorhea State Park, September 28, 1940. Administrative subject files, 2005/041-11, Texas State Parks Board records. TSLAC.

Would you rent a bathing suit at a swimming pool? According to this “notice to the public” about Balmorhea, bathing suits for sale or rental were available on site.

Notice to the public, undated. Acquisition and development files, Texas State Parks Board records, 2005/041-11. TSLAC.

The State Archives library collections also have publications on Balmorhea State Park and related topics. Here are examples of titles with links to the records in the online catalog:

Balmorhea State Park activity book / P500 B215AC 1998 / Texas Documents Collection

Birds of Balmorhea State Park & vicinity : a field checklist / P500 B215B 1992 / Texas Documents Collection

General community profile on Balmorhea / I400.7 G286BALH 1978 / Texas Documents Collection

Rebirth of a desert wetland : the San Solomon Ciénega / P500 B215SA 2004 / Texas Documents Collection

For information on how to find these and other materials about Balmorhea State Park, please contact our reference staff at or call 512-463-5455.

Americans with Disabilities Act at 30

In recognition of the thirtieth anniversary of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in July of 1990, we offer a sampling of our collections and publications related to disability history. As part of our mission to preserve records produced by state government and agencies, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) houses materials relevant to the historical efforts to provide services to Texans with disabilities. TSLAC also preserves materials from other entities and individuals that contains information related to this theme. Our reference library serves as a federal depository and therefore includes numerous US government publications on the ADA along with titles specific to Texas. All of the publications listed are also available online.

View of institute for the blind from the street, 1894.
Institute for the Blind, 1894 [Austin]. 1/2 26. Artwork of Austin (Chicago: W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894). Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Archival Collections Related to Disability History in Texas

Texas State Board of Control records, 1854, 1885-1890, 1909-1979, undated (agency with oversight of the state schools and hospitals, and schools for the deaf and blind from 1920-1949).

Texas Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools, Texas Confederate Woman’s Home resident files, about 1900-1965.

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

Texas Governor records

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Texas Research and Oversight Council on Workers’ Compensation records, 1989-1999.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired meeting files, 1856-1919, 1979-2015.

Texas School for the Deaf minutes and agenda, 1982-1998.

View of school for the deaf, 1894.
School for the Deaf, 1894 [Austin]. 1/2 76. Artwork of Austin (Chicago: W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894). Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Texas Commission for the Blind records, 1932-2003, undated.

Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing records, 1972-2004.

Texas State Department of Health records, 1853, 1899-1901, 1910, 1921-1955, undated.

Texas Bureau of State Health Planning and Resource Development. Texas Medical Facilities Inventory and Utilization reports, 1973-1983.

Texas Department of Public Welfare Executive Office central files, 1943-1977.

Texas Board of Human Services

  • Meeting files, 1933-2004.
  • Records (copies of handbooks/manuals and some historical files), 1954-1981 (this finding aid is not available online)

Texas Department on Aging records, 1957-2002.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs records, 1972-2001.

Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services records, 1992-2000.

Texas Adjutant General’s Texas State Troops records, 1861-1865, undated.

Texas Comptroller Confederate pension application records, 1899-1979 (you had to be indigent and unable to support yourself, the applications note a number of diseases and disabilities).

Texas Veterans Commission records, 1918, 1935-1937, 1944, 1947-2006.

Texas Youth Commission Morales case files, 1949-1990 (health care and lack thereof was one of the issues in this landmark lawsuit).

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director and Librarian’s records (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

Texas Library and Archives Commission chairman’s files (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

Texas State Library and Archives Commission, records (include records of programs/services for blind and physically handicapped patrons).

A one sheet piece of paper from circa 1953 with type writer written text and with heading text of Service for the Blind surrounded by a thick blue border. The text reads: 
For many years the State Library has been the depository of reading matter for the blind. Until 1934 the books were those printed in Braille or other kinds of raised type that could be read by touch. To read in this method it was necessary to learn a difficult art and so the number of borrowers was limited, and persons who became blind late in life were not always able to enjoy the books. 
But now that the Talking Books are available in quantity and machines with which to listen to the records are furnished without coast, the number of borrowers has grown enormously, until now the State Library has the names of over 900 blind borrowers in its list. 
Talking Books are one of the most dramatic developments in service to the blind, and they bring to these persons the great world of books, for either entertainment or study. Imagine the pleasure and satisfaction of being able to listen to a well-trained voice reading to you the type of book that holds your interest and attention.
In many households, members of the family literally do not have time to read aloud to their blind relatives, and these Talking Books can take their place in this respect.
The special machines on-which the records must be used are furnished by the State Commission for the Blind, and, since these are on deposit and not for sale, no cost except that of transportation from Austin, is involved. If you know of a person in your community whose vision is so impaired that he can no longer read print, he can write to the Commission for the Blind and find out the details of how he can obtain one of these machines. 
Once a borrower has obtained such a machine, his name is sent to the State Library and he becomes a borrower of Talking Books. 
Talking Books are records and are sent to the State Library from the Library of Congress without cost. These records of books are packed in stout containers and the Government carries them through the mails without cost. 
The selection of books is excellent and the Bible is included, as well as many of the classics. Some of the very latest books can be found recorded, and the Reader’s Digest and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine are released almost as soon as the monthly issues in print are placed on newsstands.
By means of a unique system of charging these books the borrower is given a special service. Once he has indicated the type of reading in which he is interested, Talking Books are sent him, and as soon as he returns one book, another is mailed. This method keeps the flow of books moving without the need of correspondence. 
This is a joint operation of your Federal and State government, and it is something of which all of us can be proud. 
For information from the State Commission for the Blind write to Mr. Lon Alsup, the Director, in Austin. For this borrowing of the Talking Books write to either Miss Adele Mitchell or to Miss Emma Harrell, Texas State Library, Austin.
[Texas State Library Scrapbook] 1980/219-227-21, about 1953. Records, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. [Read Transcript]

Texas Rehabilitation Commission records, 1969-1996 (this finding aid is not available online).

Austin State Hospital bulletins, 1960-1964 (this finding aid is not available online)

Austin State School records, 1917-1919 (correspondence of J.W. Bradfield, superintendent of the school) (this finding aid is not available online).

Josephine Lamb collection, 1931, 1942-1969, undated (head of psychiatric nursing in the state hospitals in the 1950s-60s).

Anne Michel valedictory address (valedictory address made by Annie Michel at the Texas Institution for the Blind, dated 1884).

Zachary Taylor Fulmore biography (contains photographs, correspondence and biographical notes pertaining to his support for education in Texas including the Stuart Female Seminary; Austin Public School; State School for the Blind; Colored Deaf, Dumb and Blind School and others, dated 1954. Fulmore (1846–1923) was a lawyer, judge, author and charter member of the Texas State Historical Association).

“The Lone Star” Graduation Numbers (Graduation editions – referred to as numbers – of the “Lone Star,” a magazine produced by the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas. The magazines are dated 1933-1938).

Republic Claims, particularly pension claims, which may include claims by veterans injured while serving in the Republic of Texas:

Governor George W. Bush, Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities records

Texas Confederate Home Roster (available in Archives Reading Room Transcriptions of entries from the roster and the ledger are available by request, by emailing The original records are not available to view).

Publications Related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Disability History

From isolation to participation– : a history of disability in Texas, 1835-1999
G1001.8 F925 1999 OVER-T
Available online:

Disability history [electronic resource] : an important part of America’s heritage : defining the next generation
L 41.2:D 63/3 (electronic resource)
Available online:

History of the provisions of old-age, survivors, disability, and health insurance, 1935-1996
SSA 1.2:OL 1
Available online:

Beyond the cases: 26 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act : the lives, faces, and stories behind the ADA
J 1.2:D 63/10 (electronic resource)
Available online:

An Act to Restore the Intent and Protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [electronic resource]
AE 2.110:110-325 (electronic resource, also available in print)
Available online:

The impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : assessing the progress toward achieving the goals of the ADA
Y 3.D 63/3:2 IM 7/3 (electronic resource)
Available online:

Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : challenges, best practices, and new opportunities for success
Y 3.D 63/3:2 IM 7/2 (electronic resource)
Available online:

NCD and the Americans with Disabilities Act [electronic resource] : 15 years of progress
Y 3.D 63/3:2 AM 3/4 (electronic resource)

Available online:

Wilderness accessibility for people with disabilities [electronic resource] : a report to the President and the Congress of the United States on Section 507(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Y 3.D 63/3:2 W 64
Available online:

Legislative history of Public Law 101-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act : prepared for the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, second session
Y 4.ED 8/1:102-C
Available online:

An Act to Establish a Clear and Comprehensive Prohibition of Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
AE 2.110:101-336
Available online:

The American with Disabilities Act Public Law 101-336 [electronic resource]
L 41.2:2004018154
Available online:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the health professional : an introduction to what health professionals need to know about employment of people with disabilities
PREX 1.10:H 34/2/BRAILLE
Available online:

The Americans with Disabilities Act : how is Texas doing? : the initial report of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities on the state’s implementation of the ADA
G1001.8 AM35
Available online:

Veterans with service-connected disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [electronic resource] : a guide for employers
Y 3.EQ 2:8 V 64
Available online:

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : hearings before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources and the Subcommittee on the Handicapped, United States Senate, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on S. 933 … May 9, 10, and 16, and June 22, 1989
Y 4.L 11/4:S.HRG.101-156
Available online:

Joint hearing on H.R. 2273, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : joint hearing before the Subcommittees on Select Education and Employment Opportunities of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, hearing held in Washington, DC, July 18, 1989
Y 4.ED 8/1:101-37
Available online:

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989 : hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on H.R. 2273 … August 3, October 11 and 12, 1989
Y 4.J 89/1:101/58
Available online:

Americans with Disabilities Act : hearing before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, first session, on H.R. 2273 and S. 933, bills to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability, September 28, 1989
Y 4.EN 2/3:101-95
Available online:

Featured Collection: Census 2020

By Sean Wood, Library Assistant

Featured books currently on display highlight publications related to the U.S. Census from 1937 – present.

Every ten years, the United States Census Bureau conducts a census of population and housing. As the 2020 census begins, it is interesting to consider the variety of uses this accumulated data will have. The current Featured Collection focuses on the Census Bureau’s efforts over the years to retrieve, analyze, and distribute that data, as well as other institutions’ use of demographic information.

Our featured book display,”The U.S. Census,” includes questionnaires, signs, reports, guides, and maps from the Texas State Library and Archives collection. For information about the current census or pasts censuses, please visit

U.S. Imports & Exports: Information Now Available on Compact Disks for Use on Your Personal Computer; TSLAC U.S. Document collection.

Although our reading room is currently closed to the public, a booklist of all featured titles is listed below. For more information about access to the titles on display, please contact TSLAC reference services at or call 512-436-5455.

Women-Owned Businesses 1972; TSLAC U.S. Document collection.

District profiles: congressional, state senate, and State Board of Education districts; TSLAC Texas Document collection



Call number


Census 2000 Island Areas Summary File

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.223/23-2:2000 PHC-4-08-USIA/CD


LandView IV [electronic resource] ” the Federal geographic data viewer

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Geography Division

C 3.301:L 23


Making Indian Country Count: Native Americans and the 2020 Census

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs

Y 4.IN 2/11:S.HRG.115-210


Beyond the Citizenship Question: Repairing the Damage and Preparing to Count ‘We the People’ in 2020

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Reform. Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Y 4.OV 2:116-52


Getting Counted: the Importance of the Census to State and Local Communities Field Hearing

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Reform. Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Y 4.OV 2:116-30


Hearing with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Oversight and Reform

Y 4.OV 2:116-11


The Importance of Accurate Census Data to Small Business Formation and Growth

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Small Business. Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Capital Access, and Tax

Y 4.SM 1:116-029


Demographic Trends in the 20th Century

Hobbs, Frank

C 3.205/8-3:4


Portfolio of United States census maps, 1950 : a selection of maps used in the publications of the 1950 censuses of population and agriculture.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Geography Division

C 3.950/2: M 32


Questionnaire : quarterly interview survey : consumer expenditure surveys

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census; U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

C 3.272:CE-302/994


¡Atencion! Se necesitan enumeradores para el censo de agricultura [picture]

Departamento de Comercio de los EE.UU., Negociado del Censo



Current population survey. Income and poverty 1993

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Data User Services Division

C 3.224/12-2:993


United States census 2000 : making it count : address list review opportunity 1998.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.2:C 73/10


U.S. Imports & Exports. Information Now Available on Compact Disks for Use on Your Personal Computer

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.2:EX 7/6


Estimates of population and per capita income compared with numbers from the 1980 census of population and housing for Texas counties and incorporated places : containing figures derived by the US Bureau of the Census

Texas State Data Center

I1150.7 D262 NO.85-3


Redistricting, Part One: The 1990 Census

Vargas, Tom

L1801.7 H816 NO.158


Redistricting, part 2 : the 1980 census

Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Study Group

L1801.7 H816 NO.49


Census 2010 : implications for Texas

Howe, Tom

L1801.7 H816SEF NO.81-10


Redistricting by the numbers : issues for census 2000

Graves, Patrick K.

L1801.7 H816SEF NO.76-20


The status of women and girls in Dallas County : a comparative analysis from the 2000 census

Weinstein, Bernard L.

Z N700.8 ST29WO


The demography of the Texas elderly population

Saenz, Rogelio

Z TA455.7 T226 NO.95-1


Patterns of ethnic change in Texas 1980 to 1990 : the 1990 census

Murdock, Steve H.

Z TA455.7 T226 NO.91-2 V.2


Patterns of ethnic change in Texas 1980 to 1990 : the 1990 census

Murdock, Steve H.

Z TA455.7 T226 NO.91-2 V.1


1980 Census Tracts. Austin. Tex., Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.223/11:980/80/MAPS


1960 Census of Housing. Texas. State and Small Areas

U.S. Bureau of the Census

C 3.224/3:960/45


District profiles : congressional, state senate, and State Board of Education districts

Texas. Legislature. Legislative Council

L1400.7 IN2 NO.88-5C


Your daily expenses : help us learn about the buying habits of people in the United States

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.272:CE-801/2005


Statistics in Schools and the 2020 census (Administrator guide) [Administrator guide].

Statistics in Schools, [U.S. Census Bureau]

C 3.2:SCH 6/2


Pocket Data Book. USA 1976

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.134/3:


U.S. Industrial Outlook 1977

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Industrial Economics

C 57.18:977


Frozen Cooked Food Survey

U.S. Dept. of Commerce

C 57.2 : F 73


Texas county population changes in the 1970’s

Skrabanek, R. L.

Z TA455.7 T226 81-5


Electronic Data Processing Equipment for Census ’70

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.2:EL 2/2


Women-Owned Businesses 1972

United States. Bureau of the Census

C 3.250:72


Mastering census & military records 2nd edition.

Quillen, W. Daniel

929.10285 Q414m


Religious Bodies: 1936 – Selected Statistics for the United States by Denominations and Geographic Divisions

U.S. Bureau of the Census

C 3.35:936 A


Estimated impacts of the 2010 census on the Texas transit funding formula

Eschbach, Karl

T1311.7 R311 NO.6199-1


 A timeline of census history [2019 edition].

U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.2:T 48/2019


Red River County in 1890 : the year of the missing census

Lee, Johnie, compiler

976.4212 L513r


U.S. Census jobs opening in your area! : work for the U.S. Census Bureau and be part of the 1990 census : take a temporary job that counts for YOUR community

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

C 3.2:J 57/3


Households, Families, and Children: a 30-Year Perspective

Lugaila, Terry

C 3.186:P-23/181


How We Live: Then and Now

Linden, Fabian

C 3.2:L 74

USD Census Bureau’s new data dissemination platform : frequently asked questions and release notes

U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.2:D 26/14


Your guide to the 2020 Census : how to respond to the 2020 Census paper questionnaire Large print.

U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.6/2:R 31/LARGE


Health insurance coverage by type of coverage and state : 2018

Conway, Douglas

C 3.297/3:18-03


Explore Census Data

U.S. Census Bureau

C 3.300/2


2020 Census : actions needed to address key risks to a successful enumeration

U.S. Government Accountability Office

GA 1.5/2:GAO-19-588 T


2020 census: status update on early operations : a report to congressional requesters

U.S. Government Accountability Office

GA 1.41:GAO-20-111 R


Privacy impact assessment for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration-related information sharing with U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

HS 1.2:C 33


The American Community Survey : development, implementation, and issues for Congress

Williams, Jennifer D.

LC 14.23:R 41532


Striking a Balance: Preserving Delicate Documents while Providing Access

by Caroline Jones, Reference Archivist

An essential component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s (TSLAC) mission of providing Texans access to the information needed to be informed, productive citizens is preserving the archival record of Texas. But what if archival materials are too fragile to be regularly handled? How do we balance preservation with access to the information? Efforts to both preserve records and maintain public access to them has changed over time as technology advances. In celebration of the American Library Association’s Preservation Week (April 26-May 2,2020) we are highlighting one of our collections that exemplifies this balance: Texas Adjutant General’s Department Civil War military rolls.

The Texas Adjutant General’s Department Civil War military rolls include muster rolls, payrolls, rosters, returns, and election returns of Confederate States Army, Texas State Troops, and Army of the United States units that were stationed in Texas during the Civil War. A typical military roll includes the soldiers’ names and ranks, their commanding officer, a description of the organization, enlistment and discharge data, descriptions of individuals, when and where they were stationed, and arms issued. Much of this information can be seen in the muster roll for Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops included below. Because of the level of individual information contained within the military rolls, researchers and genealogists consider this a highly valuable resource.

Figure 1: #101, Captain John W. Bone, Captain J.J. Harrison, Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops, July 24-August 6, 1863. Image accessed through the Texas Digital Archive (TDA).

Preserving Original Documents with Conservation Treatments
Many of the military rolls are extremely fragile. The more the paper is handled, the more likely it is to tear or curl. In addition, inks, like iron-gall ink, eat through paper and can make the rolls illegible, while also destroying the stability of the paper. In the early-to-mid 1900s many of these rolls underwent a common conservation treatment of the time called “silking.” Silking was a process of adhering a thin piece of silk to the front and back of the paper to support it. Despite best intentions, archivists and conservators now know that the silks’ acidity causes the paper to become more brittle and discolored over time. Between 2010 and 2019, TSLAC Conservation tackled this collection and addressed these issues in the military rolls. The oversized Confederate military rolls were conserved by removing the silk, deacidifying the paper, stabilizing the iron gall ink, and mending tears. This extensive project has allowed for more access to the physical rolls and prepared them for the digitization process.

Figure 2: A “de-silked” military roll in the conservation lab.

Enhancing Access through Digitization
These Civil War military rolls are currently being digitized to preserve the original records while still making them available to the public. Digitized military rolls are available online through our Texas Digital Archive (TDA) at: Researchers can view and download watermarked versions of these military rolls on the TDA.

Prior to the conservation and digitization of these military rolls, their information was only accessible through transcriptions. In the early 1900s almost all of the Civil War military rolls were transcribed onto three by five inch index cards. These cards provided researchers with a way to find the information included within the military rolls without having to pull the rolls out of archival storage. There are three different sets of index cards: “Abstracts of Muster Rolls,” “Captains,” and “Units.” The largest of these is the “Abstracts of Muster Rolls” which fills 65 drawers of the card catalog in the Archives Reading Room. An example of a typical abstract card is shown below.

Figure 3: Abstract card file for 2nd Sergeant Isaac Stewart, Civil War Index- Abstracts of Muster Rolls, Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900. Image accessed through

This abstract card is for 2nd Sergeant Isaac Stewart of Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops. Below is a closer look at the Texas State Troops muster roll from Figure 1, showing Stewart’s rank, age, and enlistment information.

Figure 4: Portion of roll #101, Captain John W. Bone, Captain J.J. Harrison, Company C, 15th Brigade, Cavalry, Texas State Troops, July 24-August 6, 1863.

Not only do these transcriptions help preserve the original rolls, they allow researchers to search by name without needing to know what unit an individual served in. These cards are regularly consulted instead of pulling the original military rolls. This has helped to preserve these documents for future generations of researchers. For those unable to visit our location in Austin, there has always been an option to contact our Reference team to have up to five names searched in the card index.

The Civil War military rolls index cards became accessible online through within the database “Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900.” The digitization of these cards not only preserves these heavily used reference materials for future use but allows for greater access to them. The database gives researchers the opportunity to browse the cards as well as search by name, date, location, or keyword. This database is accessible to all Texas residents through our website at:

TSLAC continues to fulfill its mission to preserve archival records while maintaining public access to them. As shown by the history of our Civil War military rolls, methods of preservation and access evolve as new technologies become widely available.

More information on conservation at TSLAC can be found in our blog “TSLAC Conservation” at:

More information on our Civil War military rolls can be found in the online finding aid at:

Learn more about Preservation Week at

Reference and Research Assistance at the Ready: Remote Services Are Here for You

By Maria Barker, Access Librarian

Did you know that you can still visit us virtually from home during this period of social distancing? Not only is our reference staff ready to respond to your questions via email and voicemail, you may also access material through our digital collections and databases. For details about resources available to you from home, read on. For information about COVID-19 and the status of all TSLAC services please visit

Although our reference staff are away from their familiar spot at the reference desk while TSLAC”s reading rooms are closed, librarians are still available virtually to assist patrons with reference and research inquiries.

Reference Staff at the Ready

In addition to answering your reference questions at and 512-463-5455, consider seeking assistance with your research through the following services and resources.

  • City Directory Look Ups

We can search names or addresses in our collection of City Directories and respond with scanned results if a match is found. If we cannot find a match, we will provide referrals and alternative resource suggestions based on your area of research.

  • Vital Statistics Look Ups

Staff can search up to five names in our collection of Vital Statistics indexes and report back the results over the phone or via email. In addition, staff can provide background and referrals on the availability of this information based on the time period of interest and your research goals. 

  • 2nd Saturday Workshop Topics

While our live presentations have been suspended, workshop content and links to relevant resource pages can be found on our website. Here are a few select topics:

o   Introduction to Newspaper Collections

o   Introduction to the Texas State Archives

o Texas Collections

Research Using Online Collections

Put away the gloves and magnifying glass, our staff has done the heavy lifting. Learn more about our publications and original documents by visiting the databases and information pages tailored to our collections.

Publications and Government Documents

While state agencies may be closed, a record of their service and history lives on through the following TSLAC resources.

TRAIL captures and preserves information posted to state agency websites. Whether you are looking for a specific report or simply want to see a state agency website as it existed at a certain point in time, TRAIL can help.

Energize your research with a search through our online catalog. As a depository library for both state and federal documents, a home to archival collections, and an institution with roots dating back to the early years of our state, the range and depth of our material is substantial. See our Newly Added Titles and On Display pages for a slice of our latest collections. Contact reference at with questions about our records and access.

Recently registered?

If your registration is current, TexShare services are still available to you via your TSLAC library account. With a library of databases covering everything from health news to craft tutorials, this is a resource to have on hand if you want to learn something new. Email to confirm your current registration and receive the password to access this service.

We look forward to assisting you via or 512-463-5455.

Discover the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s Online Collections from Home

By Gina Watts, Reference Librarian

Unexpectedly find yourself spending some extra time at home? Have you run out of library books and need something new to entertain yourself? The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has just the thing.

Did you know TSLAC has more than five million records online? Governors’ records, historic maps, drawings, photographs and much more are all available for viewing from the comfort of your home. Here are just a few of TSLAC’s collections that are available online now.

Don Kelly Southeast Texas Postcard Collection

Postcard from Beaumont.
Figure 1: 1991.183-18, Don Kelly Southeast Texas postcard collection. Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Don Kelly was a community leader in Southeast Texas. He collected 1,473 postcards depicting notable scenes of the life, locale, and architecture surrounding the cities of Orange, Beaumont, and Port Arthur. These postcards also feature the Spindletop Oil Field, Sabine Pass, Sour Lake, the Sabine River, and the Neches River. Flip through the collection in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA):

Civilian Conservation Corps Plans and Drawings

CCC drawing for Inks Lake Park.
Figure 2: SP.64.30, Texas Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Drawings collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The United States Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt as an emergency program devoted to the care of natural resources. The program provided jobs and income to young men and served as an instrument for preserving natural resources and developing state park lands. TSLAC has digitized over three thousand of these drawings that were created in the process of improving state parks. These beautiful images, like the one of Inks Lake pictured above, include plans and renderings of state parks across Texas. Browse the collection on Flickr: or search the CCC database here:

TSLAC Map Collection

1720 map of New Mexico and Louisiana  Territory.
Figure 3: Map 00401, Texas State Archives Map collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Old maps are a window into the way people saw and thought of Texas long ago. This particular map was created circa 1720 and depicts New Mexico, the Louisiana Territory including Texas, and Florida. It includes geographic features like rivers and forests, man-made features like trails, forts and cities, as well as notes regarding Indians, explorers, topography, and French and Spanish battles and establishments. So if you’ve ever wondered what a part of Texas looked like on a map fifty, one hundred, or even 200 years ago, take a look here:

Other Online Collections

Many other collections can be accessed on our Online Collections webpage: For example, if you had ancestors in Texas during the Republic era, you may be interested in the Republic Claims database, which includes records of payments made to Texas citizens by the Texas government between 1836 and 1845.

Republic of Texas claim by George Cartwright.
Figure 4: Cartwright, George W., reel 207. Texas State Archives Republic Claims collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

This particular document relates to a claim for George W. Cartwright and details his service in the Battle of Nacogdoches. Use the online search form to find more claims in the database by visiting here:


All of our exhibits past and present can be viewed online: Lobby exhibits feature digitized versions of the same historical documents, photographs, and audiovisual materials that can be accessed in person. For example, our current lobby exhibit titled “Women’s Power, Women’s Vote” is available here:

Figure 5: “Governor for a Day, Barbara Jordan, June 10, 1972,” image 1973/054-36, Current Events Photographic Documentation Program collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

This photograph features Barbara Jordan serving as Governor for a Day on June 10, 1972, during her tenure in the State Senate. You may notice that many of the examples we have given are part of the Texas Digital Archive. This is the primary location to find digital and digitized archival materials:

We hope you and your families are staying safe and well, and that our online collections spark some interesting conversations.

Featured Collection: Texas Visions and Voices

By Gina Watts, Reference Librarian

To celebrate the Texas Center for the Book’s 2019 Texas Great Read selection, “What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan” by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, our new featured collection focuses on the subject of that book, Barbara Jordan.

Featured Collection: Texas Visions and Voices on display in the Reference Reading Room.

Jordan, a former Texas Senator and Representative in the U.S. Congress, was a skilled orator known for her deep, very recognizable voice. The video on the Texas Great Read page provides an excellent sampling.

Along with books about the notable Texan, the featured collection includes titles in which the authors have employed the use of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s diverse and fascinating collections, especially those with audiovisual components.

Take a look through the Visions and Voices of Texas titles below:

Barbara Jordan
James Haskins
328.73092 J761H

Barbara Jordan, a self-portrait
Barbara Jordan and Shelby Hearon
923.2764 J761b

Barbara Jordan : American hero
Mary Beth Rogers 
923.2764 J761r

Barbara Jordan : freedom medalist and Texas treasure
Crystal Sasse Ragsdale
P2350.8 B232
Texas Documents

Barbara Jordan : speaking the truth with eloquent thunder
Barbara Jordan and Max Sherman
Z UA380.8 J761BA 
Texas Documents

Breaking the ice : the racial integration of Southwest Conference Football
Richard Pennington  
796.332 P384B

Houston Cougars in the 1960s : death threats, the veer offense, and the game of the century
Robert Jacobus
Z TA475.8 J159ho
Texas Documents

Thursday night lights : the story of Black high school football in Texas
Michael Hurd
Z UA380.8 H934th 
Texas Documents

Tomlinson Hill : the remarkable story of two families who share the Tomlinson name – one white, one black
Chris Tomlinson
305.896 T597t 

Wil the thrill : the untold story of Wilbert Montgomery
Edward J Robinson
Z TT422.8 R561wi 
Texas Documents

The Carrasco tragedy : eleven days of terror in the Huntsville prison
Aline House
365.641 H816C 

Eleven days in hell : the 1974 Carrasco prison siege in Huntsville, Texas
William T Harper
Z N745.7 C868crj NO.3

Texas state parks and the CCC : the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps First edition.  
Cynthia A Brandimarte 
Z TA475.8 B733te
Texas Documents

Fighting their own battles : Mexican Americans, African Americans, and the struggle for civil rights in Texas
Brian D Behnken
305.8 B395f  

Landscapes of exclusion : state parks and Jim Crow in the American South
William E O’Brien
305.8 OB69LA

Who gets a childhood? : race and juvenile justice in twentieth-century Texas
William S Bush
364.36 B963w

Parks for Texas : enduring landscapes of the new deal
James Wright Steely 
333.783 St325p

Please pass the biscuits, Pappy : pictures of Governor W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel
Bill Crawford
976.4063 OD1p

Ten dollars to hate : the Texas man who fought the Klan
Patricia Bernstein 
Z TA475.8 B458te 
Texas Documents

The featured collection display is on view in the Reference Reading Room in the Lorenzo de Zavala Texas State Archives and Library building at 1201 Brazos St. Austin, Texas 78701. For more information about the books and other materials available at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, contact the Reference staff at or 512-436-5455.

Second Saturday Workshops Continue with Introduction to Newspaper Collections

Researchers encounter newspapers in libraries and archives on microfilm, in old bound volumes and through online databases that allow users to keyword search entire collections of digitized issues dating back decades and even centuries. The next installment in the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s monthly workshop series covers the various methods of locating and using these resources with an Introduction to Newspaper Collections.

Brenham Banner-Press, 12-8-1941. Original newspaper from the Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

TSLAC reference staff will guide participants through our newspaper resources in a free, 20-minute orientation session beginning at 10a.m. on September 14, 2019. Registration is encouraged but not required. Visit our workshop page for descriptions and a full schedule of topics or go ahead and register here.

TSLAC Reading Room Transition Complete

UPDATE (10/7/19) Due to work on the new library programming and event space, the Genealogy Collection will be temporarily unavailable from October 14-16, 2019. All other collections will be open and available.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has completed the remodel of the Reference Reading Room on the first floor of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building and welcomes visitors to explore the new configuration with the images below and in person during our regularly-scheduled hours.

Essential Genealogy resources like vital statistics indexes and city directories, along with a new Genealogy Reference section are now located on the first floor. Patrons will find all public computers, microfilm readers, photocopier and scanning equipment, and assistance from Reference Staff available in the Reference Reading Room.

Questions about our collections or conducting research at TSLAC? Contact Archives and Information Services at:

Inquiries about improvements at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building may be addressed to:

TSLAC Staff Participate in Council of State Archivists / Society of American Archivists National Conference

When the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) / Society of American Archivists (SAA) held their joint annual meeting in our hometown of Austin,Texas this summer, the name badges of Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) staff could be spotted throughout the conference. TSLAC archivists gave presentations, facilitated panel discussions and obtained vital information on current trends in the field. Colleagues from the State and Local Records Management (SLRM) division of TSLAC also presented and attended sessions relevant to government records.

TSLAC Archives and Information Division Director and State Archivist, Jelain Chubb served on a panel discussion about controversial monuments.

The CoSa/SAA program featured a number of TSLAC presenters. State Archivist and the division director for TSLAC Archives and Information Services, Jelain Chubb, chaired a timely panel discussion on the role government archives play in relation to controversial public monuments. Jelain also facilitated the session for CoSA’s invited speaker, former State Archivist for Texas and retired University of Texas professor David Gracy.

Archivist Anna Reznik found deeper meaning in records dealing with radioactive waste for a Science, Technology, and Health Care Section presentation and Jessica Tucker, another TSLAC archivist, facilitated a session on how student employees contribute to archival work. Both Anna Reznik and Rebecca Romanchuk, the team lead for our TSLAC archives unit, presented at a forum for the archives information database, ArchivesSpace.

TSLAC Archivist Rebecca Romanchuk presents at the 2019 CoSA/SAA joint annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

TSLAC invited conference attendees to explore the home of the State Archives with two behind-the-scenes tours of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Archives and Information Services personnel offered close-up views of the Summerlee Conservation Lab, archival storage and processing areas, the digital program, and reading rooms.

Digital Asset Coordinator, Steven Kantner gives a talk on TSLAC digitization projects for a tour group.

Digital Asset Coordinator, Steven Kantner, played a little hoe-down music from a Pappy O’Daniel radio program that he had reformatted to digital audio. Conservator Sarah Norris described how she approached a recent project to conserve a Texas Ranger company muster roll from the 19th century.

Conservator Sarah Norris provides a tour of her lab at TSLAC.

Sarah Norris describes the conservation techniques she applied to a Texas Ranger muster listing from the 19th century.

We had a great time hosting our guests and sharing a few of our techniques and procedures with fellow archivists from around the country. The annual national conference takes place in a different city each year and we look forward to when Austin once again welcomes archivists back to town. 


More scenes from CoSA/SAA 2019:

  • Archivists Angela Swift, Rebecca Romanchuk and Anna Reznik pose with former ARIS Preservation Officer, John Anderson.
  • State Archivist, Jelain Chubb gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the State Archives.
  • Rebecca Romanchuk stands ready at the registration desk for the ArchivesSpace forum.
  • Anna Reznik, second from left, with TSLAC colleagues from the State and Local Records Management division (L-R Erica Siegrist, Sarah Jacobson, Craig Kelso and Megan Carey)
  • Conference name badges with ribbons indicating presenters, first-time attendees, etc.
  • Archivist Tiffany Criswell demonstrates how a large trash can serves as a humidification chamber.
  • Tour group ready to explore the State Archives.
  • Anna Reznik speaks at the ArchivesSpace forum.