The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 198
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Association personnel, members of patriotic organizations in Texas,
and, most especially, Professor Eugene C. Barker, after whom the cen-
ter had been named.2
By the time the center opened in 1950, the University possessed a
vast collection of books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, broadsides,
photographs, and other historically valuable material documenting the
development of Texas and the Southwest. Such raw material had made
possible the modern scholarly writing of Texas history in the early
twentieth century. With the creation of the Barker Center, the board
of regents officially recognized the unique value of these materials to
the University and to the state; elevated the status of the collections on
campus; paid homage to the man who symbolized the professionalism
of Texas history; and assured the proper housing, permanent existence,
and growth of one of the most important regional history collections
in the United States.
While the official existence of the Barker Texas History Center dates
from its opening in April, 1950, its beginning is deeply rooted in the
early history of the University of Texas. Such developments and events
as the professionalization of the Department of History, the matura-
tion of the University as an institution of higher learning, the influ-
ence of Major George W. Littlefield, the evolution of the field of Latin
American studies, the impact of the Great Depression and the New
Deal, the careers of J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb, and the
Homer P. Rainey affair all had a profound effect on the development
of the Texas history collections and the creation of the Barker Center.
The actual creation of the center marked the culmination of over sixty
years of effort by a small group of University faculty, staff, alumni, and
friends, chiefly under the auspices of the TSHA, to locate, collect, and
preserve the historical records of Texas.
The University established two departments within the framework
of its library system to receive and make these collections available for
use: the University Archives and the Texas Collection Library. The
history of the development of these two separate but allied departments
is the story of the origins of the Eugene C. Barker Texas History
2Carroll to B. E. Gates, Feb. 1o, 1950; Carroll to Orville Bullington, Mar. 4, 1950, TSHA
Records; Dorman H. Winfrey to D. E. C. and K. J. A., Jan. 15, 1982, interview; Austin
American, Apr. 28, 1950; "Introduction of Honor Guests," TSHA Records; Herbert Gam-
brell, "The Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
LIV (July, 1950), 1-5; Daily Texan (Austin), Apr. 26, 1950.
sThe term "archives" is used in this article to describe a collection of primary-source
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/234/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.