Heritage, 2008, Volume 2 Page: 28
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Building a Collection in West Texas
Thirty-three years ago this July, the
Haley Memorial Library and History Center
opened its doors in Midland, Texas, with the
purpose of "preserving our western heritage."
J.P. "Pat" McDaniel, director of the
Library, recently spoke with John Dryden.
The Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library
was established in 1961 by cowman, author,
and historian J. Evetts Haley in honor of his
first wife. The collections at that time represented
the research files, photos, interviews, and
associated materials used by Mr. Haley in his
writings of the previous 40 years. These were
initially placed in the Panhandle Plains Historical
Museum and the library at what is now
West Texas A&M University, both located in
Canyon, Texas. The Haley Memorial Library
and History Center will begin its 33rd year in
Midland, Texas, on July 5th, what would have
been Mr. Haleys 104th birthday.
Mr. Haleys literary efforts had centered on
the historical background of the southwestern
United States. His books on Charles Goodnight,
Jeff Milton, George Littlefield, Charles
Schreiner, Earl Halliburton and essays on other
notables in the development and expansion of
the western frontier in Texas illustrated the codependent
relationships that existed between
the range cattle industry, the military, and the
railroadsfollowing the War Between the States.
His books on the XITRanch, Fort Concho, and
the Texasfrontier were acclaimedfor their readability
and thoroughness of research, and he remains
today a highly collectable author.
The present collections represent not only
Mr. Haleys research material but that of others
as well. Those include Robert N. Mullin,
the chronicler of the Lincoln County War and
Billy the Kid, along with Dan L. Thrapp, who
authored several items on the Indians of Arizona
and other notable works. The Library also
has the collections of Clayton Williams Sr. and
his father 0. W Williams, which focus on the
Trans-Pecos region of Texas and contain outstanding
primary source material not found
Our collections are used by researchers of all
persuasions. The unusual amount of primary
source material is sought after by graduate-level
students, professors, history buffs, genealogy
researchers, book and magazine publishers, as
well as writers for the regional historical associations.
Included in the Haley Library collections are
more than 600 interviews conducted by Mr.
Haley during a 50-yearperiod. We also administer
the reproduction requests ofpublishers for
more than 8,000 photographs. Our archivist
continually revises cross indexes of names, places,
and locations to assist researchers. For the past
several years we have managed and prepared
the Texas Confederate Museum Collection that
is owned by the Texas Division of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. This outstanding
collection of muster rolls, correspondence, and
military reports is an untapped resourcefor historians
of the period.
The Haley Library is also home to a wonderfulfine
art collection ofpaintings and bronzes.
The subject matter is in keeping with the collections
of the Library, mostly Southwestern
in nature. Major names in the art circles are
represented, including Charlie Dye, Joe Beeler,
Tom Ryan, Veryl Goodnight, Edward Fraughton,
and Fritz White, among others. The great
thing about the art collection is that it has all
been donated by patrons through the years. The
Library also has the Alamo mission bell, one of
four known bells to have hung over the Alamo.
This bell was cast in 1722 and was once owned
by Adina de Zavala.
Acquisitions of new collections present unique
situations. The Librarys success has been in part
because of the commitment to the focus" of
the collection, which is the development of the
range cattle industry during the expansion of
the Southwestern frontier. The Board of Trustees
is reluctant to allow placement of material
HERITA GE - Volume 2 2008
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2008, Volume 2, periodical, 2008; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45358/m1/28/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.