Heritage, Volume 18, Number 1, Winter 2000 Page: 7
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ted that day without having experienced
the awe of being in the presence
of living history.
The state of Texas has been preserving
significant flags since the Battle of San
Jacinto, but in recent years the resulting
collection, ravaged by time and by wellmeaning
but misguided preservation
attempts, had been relegated to storage
in the basement of the state archives
building. In all some 23 flags had survived,
and reflecting the priorities of previous
generations of Texans, all but a
AND THE STATE OF
~....~ *- - -^ /
Richey's fanciful reconstruction of the
San Jacinto battle flag.
ROBERT MABERRY JR., Ph.D.
n June 1999 scores of people
and statewide news media braved
Austin's early summer heat to attend
an event that was a watershed for the
preservation of Texas history. The occasion
was the unveiling at the Center for American
History on the University of Texas campus of nine
newly-conserved battle flags from the collections
of the Texas State Library. Few in the room depar
handful date from the Civil War era. Had
it not been for the dedication of concerned
Texans, it is unlikely any of the
flags would ever have been displayed
again. But private individuals, refusing to
let these treasures be lost, raised more
than $100,000 for the conservation of
the nine most significant flags. Despite
this success, preserving the historic flags
of Texas has not proved an easy task.
Aside from the flag carried by Texian
troops at San Jacinto the extant flags
associated with the early history of Texas
survived only because they were trophies
of war. General Sam Houston listed three
battalion standards as part of the "vast
amount of property" he took from Santa
Anna's Army at San Jacinto. These flags
remained with Texas military forces,
which unfurled them on patriotic occasions
up until 1900 when they were
turned over to the state library, too fragile
and tattered for display. Texans of the
time, however, thought little about preserving
their own flags. In 1836 the gov
HERITAGE * 7 * WINTER 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 18, Number 1, Winter 2000, periodical, Winter 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45388/m1/7/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.