The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 20
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of the important collection of official and unofficial documents
that accumulated in San Antonio while Texas was under the
administration of Spain and Mexico. It was, and is, one of the
greatest of Texas historical sources, and Bugbee was the first
historian to explain its importance.' The article became well
known in its time, and along with his other work, gained
Bugbee an appointment to the Public Archives Commission
of the American Historical Association; but Bugbee's vastly
more important work in obtaining the Bexar Archives for the
University of Texas is a story that has remained untold.
It will be remembered that he spent a large part of the
summer of 1898 working in the Bexar Archives. Early in the
summer he evidently wrote Professor Garrison --we haven't
his letter - that he thought there was a possibility of obtaining
the papers for the University; but Garrison was not much
impressed. He replied (June 30, 1898): "Certainly I should
be glad to learn that there is a chance to get the Bexar archives,
but it would be rather too enlightened unselfishness on the part
of the local authorities to give them up." Bugbee, however,
was not discouraged. In September, 1898, he published a brief
article in the San Antonio Express, telling how the collection
had grown up in San Antonio and explaining the importance
of the documents for the history of Texas. His friend, Frank R.
Newton, became deputy county clerk in November and carried
on a tactful campaign of education to persuade the county
commissioners to transfer the papers to the University. Bugbee
was sufficiently encouraged to take up with Judge T. S. Hender-
son, Chairman of the Board of Regents, the desirability of
building a fireproof vault for historical documents to forestall
objection that the archives would not be safe at the University,
and the vault was built. He enlisted the powerful influence of
R. L. Batts, even then wise in the ways of politics, loyal to the
University, and always alert to promote the interests of Texas
history. In January, 1899, Marshall Hicks, another friend,
became mayor of San Antonio and found himself in a position
to assist the county commissioners in deciding to transfer the
papers to the University. As head of the history department,
7I do not mean to say that up to this time Bugbee was the only historian
who was acquainted with the collection. W. F. McCaleb and I. J. Cox had
used it, and possibly Sidney Lanier and William Corner had fingered some
of the papers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/26/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.