The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947

rezaa in the Nation's Capital*
LUTHER H. EVANS
LAST DECEMBER the Library of Congress celebrated the cen-
tennial of Texas statehood (1845-1945) by opening an ex-
hibition of Texana which occupied the whole of one of the large
galleries in the main building as well as the photographic gallery
in the basement. The exhibit was painstakingly assembled from
the various divisions and collections of the Library by Nelson
R. Burr, handsomely mounted by Philip F. Bell, acting exhibits
officer, and officially opened with an address by Congressman
Luther A. Johnson of Corsicana. The opening was attended
by most of the Texas delegation in Congress and by many mem-
bers of the Texas Society of Washington. While it was naturally
an occasion in which any Texan would take special pride, it was
but one of a series of exhibitions and addresses which the
Library has held and will continue to hold for the successive
anniversaries of the several states. The occasion offered a most
appropriate opportunity to survey the position of the Library
of Congress in the important field of Texana.
The object in this survey is not to parade strength, for
there is more Texana in Texas than there is in Washington.
Special circumstances and opportunities, however, have made
the Library of Congress strong in every field of Americana,
whether or not there has been any conscious or deliberate at-
tempt at specialization. The Library of Congress does have a
well-rounded collection of Texana, but it has perhaps an insuf-
ficient number of those rarest items upon which the specialist
collector delights to congratulate himself. A unique item cannot
be in two repositories at once; but it is true that the National
Library has too few of those rare specimens of Texana which
are known to exist in only one or two or three copies. The
reasons for this defect are fairly obvious, one of them being that
the Library of Congress has only been gradually accepted as
the National Library, whether by Congress or the public. The
earlier concept of its function tended to be too narrowly utili-
tarian, as the debates of 1815 on the purchase of Thomas Jef-
*This paper was presented as an address at the annual meeting of the
Texas State Historical Association in Austin on Aljril 27, 1946.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed May 29, 2015.