The Daughters of the Republic of Texas – the former stewards of the Alamo – settled a lengthy legal battle with the state’s General Land Office last month. The dispute was over who owned over 38,000 items in the Alamo Library, a collection of Texas letters, books, maps and artifacts. The settlement favored the Daughters, so they get to keep the collection and picked up $200,000 in legal fees from the land office.
But the Daughters didn’t have much time to enjoy their victory. The state owns the building that housed the collection. Under the agreement, the collection had to be removed by July 11. That meant quickly moving out thousands of items – many of them fragile and precious to Texas history.
The collection is now in temporary storage. Its new home will likely be at the Texas A&M University – San Antonio campus. Leslie Stapleton, the library’s director, says the key to moving has been finding the right people.
“Everything has to be done very carefully and with a lot of forethought,” she says. “You don’t just throw it in a box and move it.”
One of the biggest challenges – literally – was a map case, more than six feet across, couldn’t fit through the door, Stapleton says.
“They wound up pulling the drawers out individually,” she says, “so then they got them out flat and we sent one truck… it looked empty but the drawers were laying flat on the floor of the truck. We sent it across town and put the case back together on the other end.”
Stapleton says because the collection has irreplaceable pieces, a police escort accompanied the moving trucks. While the school organizes a home for the Daughters’ archives, the Daughters and their affiliates have collected funds to pay for the move. Much of the collection itself comes from the Daughters and their relatives, so it is a family effort.
“This collection is all about its donors,” she says.
Post by Hannah McBride.