Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with TSLAC Resources
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s (TSLAC) Archives and Information Services Division holds a wealth of primary source archival documents, genealogy research resources, books, and more to spark your own research. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s kick things off with an overview of a few of our holdings that may be of interest.
State Archives Collections
The Hispanic heritage of Texas is integral to our history. Our flagship building, the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, located in the Capitol Complex in downtown Austin, is named for Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sáenz, first vice president of the Republic of Texas. TSLAC holds many original documents relating to Zavala’s life and work, including writings, correspondence, documents from the Texas Revolution and early Republic period. Explore these on our Giants of Texas History: Lorenzo de Zavala website.
The significance of the Hispanic foundation of Texas is also reflected in part through early records held by the State Archives. The Nacogdoches Archives is a collection that includes 18th century Spanish colonial and Mexican national government records. TSLAC also has in our holdings the draft 1836 constitution for the republic with the bill of rights both in English and Spanish.
Correspondence, publications, broadsides and maps in Spanish illustrate how significant Hispanic culture is to what is now the state of Texas. Last year, we highlighted the Harry Lund collection in our Hispanic Heritage Month blog post. The Harry Lund collection contains more than 200 photos from the Morales Studio depicting the people of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in the first half of the 20th century. This collection is now fully digitized and browseable in the Texas Digital Archive (more below). Learn more about how to explore the Prints and Photographs Collections by visiting our research guide on the Archives and Reference website.
The Texas State Archives preserves and documents the heritage and culture of Texas by identifying, collecting, and making available for research the permanently valuable official records of Texas government, as well as other significant historical resources. Maintaining the official history of Texas government, the State Archives includes archival government records dating back to the 18th century, as well as newspapers, journals, books, manuscripts, photographs, historical maps, and other historical resources. By these records, all three branches of Texas government are accountable to the people. Taken together, the holdings of the Texas State Archives provide a historical foundation for present-day governmental actions and are an important resource for Texas studies.
Browse hundreds of archival collections, maps, prints and photographs, and more on our website. We make many thousands of digital resources available, as well—visit our Online Collections to learn about accessing records, databases, and Ancestry.com through TSLAC (free for Texas residents). There is also a wealth of curated online exhibits available to view on our website, with topics ranging from historic flags to women’s suffrage.
The Texas Digital Archive (TDA) manages, preserves, and facilitates access to the electronic records collections of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, including those transferred by state agencies or digitized by the State Archives. The TDA now makes more than 5.5 million records of state government, as well as business, family, and organizational papers, prints and photographs, artifacts, audio, and video available for free online at www.tsl.texas.gov/texasdigitalarchive, with more being added every day. All records in the TDA are unrestricted, and are thus available for public use, including for scholarly research, journalism, teaching using primary source documents, genealogy and family history, and creative arts purposes. Patrons may browse collections, perform keyword searches, and view and download records through the online portal.
An overview page listing all of our collections—archival and historical, digital, exhibits, genealogical, library, local, maps, newspapers, oral histories, and photographs—is also available on our website.
Genealogy Resources at TSLAC
Vital statistics indexes are an important part of the genealogical resources available at the library. While we do not have access to the certificates themselves, the library does own selected indexes to Texas births, deaths, marriages and divorces. The indexes are available for on-site use.
Texas county tax rolls on microfilm are available for on-site use from the early years of each county through the late 1970s.
Our index of county records on microfilm is available online, along with instructions for borrowing rolls through interlibrary loan.
Our City Directories include print and microfilm records.
Our newspaper collections include newspapers on microfilm, original print newspapers, and online newspaper subscriptions.
This is just a snapshot! Browse our other genealogy resources.
TSLAC Library Catalog
Did you know our catalog is searchable on our website at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/catalog?
By searching the library catalog, many of TSLAC’s titles and holdings can be discovered from the comfort and convenience of home.In the library catalog, you can find publications covering topics such as: Texas history, genealogy, United States federal documents, and much more! In fact, the State Archives’ finding aids can also be found in the library catalog. Check out our previous blog post, Out of the Stacks and into the Catalog: The Basics, which explores the features, functions, and various search strategies that you can use for navigating the library catalog.
While most of the books in TSLAC’s collections are in English, some patrons may prefer the experience of using Spanish-language navigation while searching the library holdings. Aunque la mayoría de los libros en las colecciones de TSLAC están solamente en inglés, el WebCat en español le puede ayudar con sus necesidades generales de búsqueda.
Other TSLAC Resources
Talking Book Program Recommended Titles
The Texas Talking Book Program (TBP) recommends titles on its blog. The “Staff Picks” series can be browsed going back to 2012, and many of the titles focus on Texas, the Southwest, the border region, and several titles are specifically recommended as Hispanic Heritage Month reads.
Texas Center for the Book Programs
The Texas Center for the Book, based at TSLAC, chooses a Great Read each year to promote statewide. The 2018 Texas Great Read, Shame the Stars by Guadalupe García McCall, is set during the explosive years of Mexico’s revolution, and has been called “a Texas reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.” Information about this book, as well as a video interview with the author and educator resources, are available on the Texas Center for the Book’s website.
This summer, the Texas Center for the Book launched the 2021 Literary Landmarks Roundup to double the number of landmarks in Texas. Four new sites were announced in August, including the Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Landmark at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Library In Edinburg, Texas. Anzaldúa’s book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, published in 1987 became a foundational work in the areas of border studies, Chicana feminism, and LGBTQ rights. A ceremony unveiling the new Literary Landmark will be held this fall. Stay tuned to the Literary Landmarks website for more information.
This year, Texans celebrated 25 years of Children’s Day, Book Day / Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, a national initiative founded in 1996 by author and literacy advocate Pat Mora in celebration of children, culture, and literature. The Texas Center for the Book coined the term Lone Star Día for the Texas event and encourages statewide participation. On even numbered years, grants for the First Book Marketplace are made available through the Texas Center for the Book. Nationally, libraries, schools, churches and organizations are encouraged to discover “bookjoy” year-round—most events occur around the official national celebration, April 30th. TSLAC Information about the 2022 celebration will be posted in the new year. Meanwhile, a wealth of resources is available year-round on the Lone Star Día website, including a video from founder Pat Mora, information documents, handouts, downloadable artwork, and more. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by starting to plan for your community’s 2022 Día now!
Learn more about the statewide programs of the Texas Center for the Book.