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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Historic Preservation

Archives and Special Collections

Resources at UT

The Alexander Architectural Archives at the University of Texas at Austin is an architectural research center of national importance. As a unit of the University of Texas Libraries within the Architecture and Planning Library, the Archives support research and education about the history of the built environment by acquiring and preserving research collections and by making them accessible. The Archives also support learning opportunities and scholarly activities for students studying preservation of the cultural record and archival enterprise.

The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is one of the premier libraries in the world for Latin America and Latina/o Studies. In partnership with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies (LLILAS), the Benson is a global destination for research and study, with over a million volumes as well as a wealth of original manuscripts, photographs and various media related to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean and Latina/Latino presence in the United States.

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection (PCLMC), comprising more than 350,000 items representing all areas of the world, provides comprehensive cartographic resources to serve constituents both within and beyond the university’s walls. The collection consists of the historical maps, city maps, park maps, Sanborn maps, and topographical maps, as well as an online collection of scanned maps, including Texas Maps.

The Harry Ransom Center is an internationally renowned humanities research center, with collections of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts. The collections provide unique insight into the creative process of some of our finest writers and artists, deepening the understanding and appreciation of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts.

The Center for Transportation Research TxDOT Research Library contains  print and electronic transportation-related reports from different agencies (FHWA, AASHTO, TRB, state-level transportation agencies, City of Austin, SWUTC, and more), specializing in Texas transportation. Free full-text links are provided for over 60% of the collection, including most TxDOT research publications.

The Briscoe Center for American History is one of the nation’s leading research centers for historical study. The center’s archives, libraries, museums, and historic buildings are part of The University of Texas at Austin’s commitment to collecting, preserving, and making available the evidence of the past.  The Briscoe Center for American History collects preserves, and makes available documentary and material culture evidence encompassing key themes in Texas and U.S. history.

Texas History Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History is the most extensive collection of books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, photographs, and recordings related to Texas.

The University of Texas Archives at the Briscoe Center for American History is comprised of administrative papers of UT Departments and personal papers of leading academics.

Resources Beyond UT: TEXAS

The Texas Archival Resources Online allows you to conduct a search for the finding aids of many of these collections and others across the state.

Austin History Center has over 60,000 architectural drawings and documents from projects designed by over 150 local firms. Holdings are listed in the Austin Public Library online catalog.

The Houston Metropolitan Research Center is an archival branch of the Houston Public Library which focuses on the history of Houston. HMRC's collections include books, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, oral histories and other archival materials. An assortment of these materials have been digitized and are available via the Houston Public Library Digital Archives.

The Portal to Texas History offers a digital gateway to rich collections held in Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and private collections.

The Shape of Texas is a radio program hosted by the Texas Society of Architects. The program can be accessed on the Texas Society of Architects' website.

Texas Archive of the Moving Image includes home movies, amateur films, advertisements, local television, and industrial and corporate productions, as well as Hollywood and internationally produced moving images of Texas.

The Texas Historical Atlas features nearly 300,000 site records, including data on Official Texas Historical Markers and National Register of Historic Places properties in Texas.

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is the state agency for historic preservation.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) collects official records of Texas government and other significant historical resources.

Texas Secretary of State includes records, rules, and regulations. A selection of records are available via the Internet Archive.

William J. HIll Texas Artisans and Artists Archive was created by the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This freely-searchable online archive documents the lives, work, and products of Texas artisans and artists through 1900.

Beyond UT: National Resources

ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. 

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) contains metadata records —information describing an item —for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, films and video, audio recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Search the library catalog or explore digital collections.

Highlights include:

National Archives and Records Administration

Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept forever. Those valuable records are preserved in the National Archives. Search the National Archives catalog or explore by topic and record types

Please Note

  • Please be sure to consult the policies of the archives and repositories before visiting them  to ensure the accessibility of the materials and required documentation for access.
  • Some of the resources may have digital or online content that is accessible, while others may provide a finding aid to help you access the physical collection.

Sources for Research

While this guide, How to Research Architecture by Cynthia Van Ness, is local to Buffalo, she includes the types of resources that you might consider consulting as you look for material on your subject. Ignoring the Buffalo specific, think about where you might find some of these types of resources. If you are not sure, you can always consult your local librarian, Katie Pierce Meyer.

The Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University also has guide that identifies different types of resources one might consult while researching a house.

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