On April 27, 1950, the Barker Texas History Center opened on the University of Texas at Austin Campus. Today it is known as the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Collection.
It was named in honor of Eugene C. Barker, a very distinguished professor at UT and one of the major Texas historians of all time. Born in Walker County, Texas, on November 10, 1874, Barker first entered the University of Texas in 1895. He spent the rest of his life there. He received the B.A. degree in the spring of 1899 and the M.A. in 1900. He then worked in the university history department as tutor from 1899–1901, then as an instructor from 1901 to 1908), an adjunct professor from 1908 to 1911, an associate professor from 1911 to 1913, a professor from 1913 to 1951, and professor emeritus from 1951to 1956.
He was director of the Texas State Historical Association from 1910 to 1937. He collected, edited, and published The Austin Papers. This collection of Austin’s correspondence that covered the years from 1789 to 1837 was published by the American Historical Association between 1924 and 1928, and the University of Texas Press, 1927. He then published his classic, The Life of Stephen F. Austin was published in 1925. In addition to these significant accomplishments he also published Mexico and Texas, 1821–1835 in 1928; Readings in Texas History in 192); The Father of Texas in 1935, and in collaboration with Amelia W. Williams, The Writings of Sam Houston from 1938 to 1943. He also worked with William E. Dodd, Henry S. Commager, and Walter Prescott Webb on a series of public school textbooks for Row and Peterson..
The Barker Center originally was in the Old Library Building, now called Battle Hall.
It move in 1971 to Sid Richardson Hall, located on the eastern edge of the campus adjacent to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library. Then, in 1991 the Barker Center became a division of the university's newly organized Center for American History. The Center for American History is now the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The Center became an independent operating unit in August 1994.
The Barker Collection is a thing of wonder for many, especially someone like me. It has more than 130,000 books and periodicals, about 3,500 individual collections of personal papers and official records, and a vast newspaper collection. In addition to all of that treasure it also has about 750,000 photographs, 30,000 recordings and over 30,000 printed and manuscript maps. So, yeah, send me down to Austin to have access that and I’d be in heaven.
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