The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History's Research and Collections Division contains a collection of more than 200,000 books, periodicals, sheet music, and pamphlets, many of which are rare or scarce, that reflect the Briscoe Center's collecting scope, namely the history of Texas, the South, the Southwest, the Rocky Mountain West, and the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, the Division's library holdings support its archival and manuscript holdings on such topics as congressional history, photojournalism, media history, and the history of the petroleum industry. Library resources are stored in closed stacks and must be used in the James Stephen Hogg Reading Room. Bibliographic descriptions of all library materials cataloged are accessible on the University's on-line library catalog (UTCAT).
The core library collection in the Research and Collections Division is the Texas Collection Library, whose origins can be traced to books and periodicals about Texas acquired by the University faculty beginning in 1883. Today the Texas Collection Library contains more than 130,000 books and periodicals about Texas, published in Texas, or produced by writers strongly associated with Texas.
Stephen F. Austin, Translation of the Laws, Orders, and Contracts, on Colonization (1829).
The earliest books associated with Texas:
- Cabeza de Vaca, La Relacion (1555), the first book published about Texas
- Henri Joutel, Journal Historique de Dernier Voyage . . . (1713), an eyewitness account of La Salle's last expedition
- [anonymous] L'Heroine Du Texas . . . (1819), the first novel with a Texas background
- Timothy Flint, Francis Berrian, or The Mexican Patriott (1826), the first novel in English about Texas
- Stephen F. Austin, Translation of the Laws, Orders, and Contracts, on Colonization (1829), the first book published in Texas
Ashbel Smith, An Account of the Yellow Fever . . . (1839), foth_0421.
- Mary Austin Holley, Texas: Observations, Historical, Geographical and Descriptive . . . (1833)
- Detlef Dunt, Reise nach Texas (1834)
- [Robert Coleman] Houston Displayed, or Who Won the Battle of San Jacinto? (1837)
- Joseph Field, Three Years in Texas . . . (1836)
- Ashbel Smith, An Account of the Yellow Fever . . . (1839)
- Henri Castro, Le Texas en 1845 (1845)
- Thomas Bell, A Narrative of the Capture and Subsequent Sufferings of the Mier Prisoners . . . (1845)
The personal libraries of notable Texans such as Stephen F. Austin, Ashbel Smith, James Harper Starr, Miss Ima Hogg, and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough.
The Texas Juvenile Collection, containing children's books with a Texas setting.
The Texas Directories Collection, containing telephone directories for most Texas cities and towns from roughly the late 19th century through the present day.
In addition to these Texas-related library holdings, other notable library resources in the Research and Collections Division include books, periodicals, and pamphlets assembled by collectors or funded by benefactors. These include:
- Frank Kell Library of approximately 2,000 books and pamphlets documenting the history of the Rocky Mountain West with an emphasis on exploration, Native Americans, the cattle industry, western railroads, Mormon history, and biography.
- C. R. Smith Collection of approximately 500 books on the history of the West, with a particular emphasis on exploration, cattle trails, Native Americans, and painters and illustrators.
- Eberstadt Western Americana Collection of more than 3,000 volumes on the West and Southwest, especially those states that were originally part of Texas, and on the westward movement generally, including rare titles such as Patrick Gass, A Journal of Voyages and Travels (1807); William Darby, The Emigrant's Guide (1818); Henry Ker, Travels through the Western Interior of the United States (1816); and James Linforth, Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley (1855).
- Harwood P. Hinton Arizona Collection of more than 1,600 books, periodicals, and pamphlets relating to the history of Arizona collected by Dr. Harwood P. Hinton, historian, author, and former history professor at the University of Arizona.
- Vandale Collection of Western Americana, including more than 4,000 books, many of them classics of their type, with special emphasis on exploration and travel, the cattle industry, outlaws and lawmen, and Indian wars.
- The Natchez Trace Library Collection, containing several hundred pamphlets and periodicals documenting life and culture in the lower Mississippi River Valley from the late seventeenth century through the early twentieth century. Includes speeches, lectures, sermons, almanacs, seed catalogs, and popular reading materials.
The Littlefield Rare Book and Pamphlet Collection, an extensive collection of unique, rare, or scarce books, pamphlets, song sheets, broadsides, and periodicals relating to the history of the South, purchased by the Littlefield Fund since 1914. Special subject strengths include slavery and the antislavery movement, the Confederacy, and the Civil War; other topics covered in depth include religion, the cotton economy, transportation, medicine, and law.