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The University of Texas at Austin


Message from Executive Director Don Carleton

September 2014

The fall semester is now in full swing, and I want to take this opportunity to welcome the class of 2019. Like every other unit on campus, the Briscoe Center exists primarily for you, in support of the university’s research and teaching mission. As a world-class archive and research center, the center has thousands of historical collections that you can draw upon to enhance your studies. For information about the center’s holdings and opening hours visit

Briscoe Center exterior sign at Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2

Students and campus visitors may notice that the outside of our Research and Collections division has changed. As part of our renovation of Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2, the center has recently finished the exterior signage portion of the project. The new signs, landscaped gardens, and seating area give the Briscoe Center some much-needed visibility for those on campus, especially for the 300,000 people who visit the LBJ Presidential Library each year.

I’m grateful to our donors—spread across 17 states and 72 cities—who have contributed to the renovation campaign. We are now over halfway toward meeting our goal. For more information on our campaign, contact our chief development officer, Lisa Avra, CFRE, at 512-495-4696 or

The fall is shaping up to be very eventful for the Briscoe Center. Our much-anticipated Willie Nelson display opens on November 7. I’m pleased to announce that the exhibit will be located in the North End Zone of the Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium. The exhibit will share the Briscoe Center’s collections with new audiences—not just on game days, but year round.

Several other exhibits are planned for the fall, including a World War I exhibit in partnership with Texas Performing Arts and a music collections exhibit at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Look for our October e-news for more information, as well as details regarding the opening of the Nelson exhibit in early November.

We’ll also announce some very exciting new collections this fall. This month we’re delighted to announce the acquisition of the Ron Bennett Photographic Archive. His archive include his Pulitzer Prize–nominated work documenting the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 and his coverage of the Watergate scandal, 40 years ago this year. Bennett retired in 2010, having spent the previous half-century documenting the American experience.

Photographic archives allow us to pry behind iconic images through the letters, notes, and negatives that are now open for research. With that in mind, I look forward to seeing students and teachers scour through Bennett’s archives, as well as those of other photojournalists housed at the center.

Don Carleton, Ph.D.
Executive Director
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History