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The University of Texas at Austin


History Revealed at the Briscoe Center for American History

Awarded an Archives Basics Grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in 2009, staff at the Briscoe Center for American History (BCAH) recently completed a two year endeavor to increase the accessibility of over 1,600 Briscoe Center collections.

The Briscoe Center’s collecting strengths are varied and extensive, with the first donation dating back to 1893. The archives reflect a variety of evolving descriptive standards, including indexes, printed finding aids, published guides, online library catalog records, and online inventories, or finding aids. At the outset of the "History Revealed," project nearly 4,500 collections were "hidden," with documentation of their existence and contents available only in the Briscoe Center’s Reading Room or through a mediated exchange with the Briscoe Center's Public Service staff. In many cases, these collections had no records at all in a public venue.

The purpose of the "History Revealed" project was to survey archival materials hidden in the BCAH backlog and to create collection-level library catalog records and online finding aids for 1,500 of these collections.

BCAH staff initially completed a comprehensive collection survey in order to identify hidden collections and gather information about the collections to aid with description and to identify additional collection needs and priorities. Next, staff began creating collection-level narrative descriptions of 1,500 priority collections. Researchers now have access to over 1,600 previously hidden BCAH collections on the Internet via online finding aids on the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) website ( or library catalog records in OCLC and in the University of Texas Libraries online catalog. 

Comprehensive List of Newly Uncovered Collections