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The University of Texas at Austin

Research Visit


What happened to the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Briscoe Center?
In 1991 the Barker Center became a collection component of the newly organized Briscoe Center for American History and was renamed the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Collection. The Barker Texas History Collection remains an integral component of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and its holdings still represent the core of the Briscoe Center's greatest collection strength, the history of Texas.

Which of the Briscoe Center's resources are available online?
All of the Briscoe Center's books, periodicals, and historic newspapers have been cataloged and, as a result, bibliographic descriptions of these resources are accessible online via UTCAT, the University's library computer catalog. Briscoe Center staff is cataloging its archival, manuscript, sound, and photograph collections and so bibliographic descriptions of some, but certainly not all, of these resources are also searchable on UTCAT. To be sure that you know about all the Briscoe Center's research resources, you will need to come to the Briscoe Center's Research and Collections Division, located in Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2 on the Austin campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Facsimile reproductions of some Briscoe Center holdings can be seen throughout the Briscoe Center's Web site. Top.

Can I check out Briscoe Center materials and use them at home?
No, the Briscoe Center's research collections are all room-use only and may not be loaned out. Patrons must use them on-site in the James Stephen Hogg Reading Room at the Briscoe Center's Research and Collections Division, which is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday (when U. T. classes are in session - see our hours for exceptions). Some of this division's collections are housed off-site and require at least 2-3 days for retrieval. The material culture collections housed at the Briscoe Center's Winedale, Briscoe-Garner Museum, and Sam Rayburn Museum divisions are also noncirculating and must be viewed at each location. Top.

Can I borrow Briscoe Center materials on Interlibrary loan?
Some, yes. Patrons should direct their requests to University of Texas Libraries Inter-Library Service department (512/495-4134). The Briscoe Center will loan published items (books, periodicals, and newspapers) and then only as reproductions (photocopies or microfilm). ILL requests will first be sent to other, circulating libraries before they are considered at the Briscoe Center. Briscoe Center staff may decline to reproduce an item for loan because of condition. Microfilm reels will be loaned only if an ILL copy exists. Top.

Does the Briscoe Center have materials for genealogy research?
Yes, the Briscoe Center owns extensive collections and published materials relating to individuals and families in Texas and the 19th-century South. Nonetheless, the Briscoe Center does not function primarily as a genealogical research facility. We urge genealogy researchers to visit the Texas State Library's Genealogy Collection (512/463-5463) and the Texas General Land Office, both located approximately one mile from the Briscoe Center for American History.

The TSL's Genealogy Collection includes: microfilm of the federal census schedules for all states through 1910, the 1920 census film for selected states, printed family and county histories, a variety of Texas government records, Vital Statistics Indexes, Index to Confederate Pension Applications, Index to Adjutant General Service Records, Index to Republic Claims, Confederate Indigent Families Lists, County Tax Rolls,County Records on Microfilm, City Directories, Telephone Directories, Newspapers on Microfilm, and 1867 Voters' Registration.

The Archives & Records Division at the Texas General Land Office "holds valuable information for a large number of public users, particularly genealogists, surveyors, attorneys, historians and individuals seeking family background" and is the repository for archival records, manuscripts, maps, and other historical documents relating to Texas' public lands. Top.

Can Briscoe Center staff tell me how much my books, photographs, or historical documents are worth?

No, but we can help. The Briscoe Center staff can help you identify standard published reference works such as American Book-Prices Current and Bookman's Price Index that contain information, such as past auction records, that might help you determine the market value of your items, especially books.

Additionally, we can give you a list of area book dealers and appraisers (PDF) whom you might wish to hire to establish market value. We suggest that you also contact rare, used, or out of print book dealers in your area. We also suggest contacting the reference department in your local library for more assistance. For further information on questions about rare books and book values, please visit the Association of College and Research Libraries' Rare Books and Manuscripts Section web page "Your Old Books." Finally, some bookdealers' searchable inventories are available online at:



How do I best preserve the materials I have?
We like to stress these basics: protect your materials from light, temperature fluctuations, pests, and careless or prolonged handling; store your materials in acid-free and lignin-free containers; and do not write on them in ink or affix any paperclips, tape, or pastes to them. We also refer our users with questions about conservation and preservation to Karen Pavelka, at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. She can be reached at the School of Information, UTA 5.422, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, telephone: 512/471-8286. We also urge you to visit a list of preservation and conservation online resources at, or see the Library of Congress's Preservation Directorate website. Top.

Can I order reproductions of materials at the Briscoe Center?
Yes, although all requests for the reproduction (photocopy, photograph, microfilm) of Briscoe Center materials are subject to the approval of the Briscoe Center staff. Most materials must be copied by the Briscoe Center staff only and so will require patrons to place an order for the reproduction. Some Briscoe Center materials may be photocopied by patrons upon BCAH staff approval. Turnaround time for photocopy, photograph, microfilm varies considerably, so please contact the Reference staff (512/495-4532) for specific information. Top.

I have some old materials, do you want them?
Maybe! The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History always is interested in hearing about and possibly reviewing materials for possible acquisition. Please see the Support section of this website for more information. If you are in doubt about the suitability of your materials for donation, please telephone us. Top.

Can I study for my classes in the Briscoe Center's Reading Room?
Sorry, no. The Briscoe Center's Reading Room has been designed specifically for patrons using materials from our collections. Space is limited and our security procedures prohibit your bringing books, notebooks, and personal possessions such as purses and backpacks into our Reading Room. Because we have only a few computers, we limit their use to people doing research in the Briscoe Center's collections. Top.