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University History


Contact Information

Special Collections and Archives

Alkek Library, Room 580


The Special Collections and Archives at Texas State University is home to more than 2 million printed volumes and records, photographs, maps, prints, and audio-visual items. We offer primary source materials for a diverse community of researchers, who range from K-12 and TXST students, as well as scholars around the world. We collect in a variety of subject disciplines, a sampling of which includes water preservation, transportation, geography, and local San Marcos history, as well as university records and archives.

About Special Collections and Archives

Archives and Research Center

Schedule an Appointment

The Special Collections and Archives offer in-person and virtual research assistance. To view materials in the archival collections, please use the Archives & Records Request Form to indicate what materials or collections you'd like to view and schedule your visit. Our archival collections are stored in a climate-controlled preservation facility and require 1-2 days to acclimate to temperature changes.

For those who would prefer to research remotely, we offer virtual assistance. To request an in-person research appointment, a virtual consultation, or to ask questions about University History in general or our archival collections, contact us and we'll be happy to help with your research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I contact the Special Collections and Archives?

A: The easiest way is to use the Archives and Records Form and let us know what you are looking for. Please explain a bit about the topic you wish to research so that an archivist can identify materials that may support the research topic. Would you prefer to tell us about your research? Ask to schedule a virtual research consultation.

Q: I need information for a paper I'm writing. Will you send me the information I need via e-mail?

A:  Maybe! Many times, If a simple fact is needed, the archives may be able to provide that information via e-mail. And many of our most requested resources are available in Digital Collections. However, historical research is the same as any other kind of academic research - depending on your topic, you may need to allow yourself research time to review the information available and make decisions about what is relevant to the assignment. Reach out via the Archives and Records Form to let us know what you need so the archivists can determine if we have related collections that are already digitized or if the materials require in-person research.

Q: Can I buy a yearbook (the Pedagog)?

A: The Special Collections and Archives collects yearbooks for preservation in the collection, but does not hold extras to sell. The Pedagog is now accessible online, and bound issues are available for use in the general collection and preserved in the Special Collections and Archives. (If you are interested in owning a yearbook, we have noticed that Pedagogs are occasionally available for purchase on eBay.)

Q:  Do you have the Microfilm Collection of the Municipal and Parochial Archives of Mexico?

A: Unfortunately, no. According to the information we found, a consortium was created in 1969 and assigned areas of responsibility to thirteen member universities. Southwest Texas State University was assigned the area of Tamaulipas. However, it was noted that some projects were not completed and some records were simply not accessible for microfilming. 

The project is described in Municipal and Parochial Archives of the States of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, Mexico, 1599-1972. Under "Reasons for consideration" section there is a note that some of the projects were never started. Given that Texas State holds no record of the project and no microfilm from Tamaulipas, we concluded that the project assigned to Southwest Texas was one that did not get started.

Q: I have a relative who was the first student to [do something] at Texas State (or SWT). Can you send me something that verifies they are the first? 

A: With very, very few exceptions, there is no way for the Archives (or anyone in the University) to verify a "first."  The University does not have a mechanism to record, track, and/or identify individual student "firsts" in the normal course of business. For example, for approximately the first 70 years, the university did not track student demographics beyond female/male and undergraduate/graduate enrollment.

We know that many students are the first to do something! But because there are no records that identify a specific student as the first [race/ethnicity, age, religion, birthplace, achievement, etc.], no documentation exists to either verify or disprove that an individual student was a "first." The response is neutral - while there are no records that back up the claim, there is also no reason to think the claim isn't valid.

Texas State began as a Normal School. In the late 1800s-early 1900s, Texas had very few teachers in rural areas, so Normal Schools were established to educate teachers so they would have the qualifications to teach in rural schools across the state. So, in a way, starting with the very first 303 students who registered to attend classes in Fall 1903, the mission of the school was to encourage every student to be a "first" -- the first student from an area to earn a teaching certificate, or the first teacher to be employed by a school.

Other Resources

In addition to our own Digital Collections and Archives Catalog (Finding Aids), there are many resources that can help with research on subjects related to Texas.  This list is not comprehensive - it's simply a list of places to start.  Feel free to submit questions or requests for consultations via the Archives and Records Form - we're happy to help.