A Guide to the Alamo Items, 1836, 1903-1942
Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo was approved by the viceroy of Mexico in 1716 and constructed in 1744. The original purpose of the mission was to bring Christianity and education to the Indians, though it later became a fortress and the site of many battles and conflicts.
It is believed that the name Alamo originated when a company of Spanish soldiers from Álamo de Parras, Coahuila, Mexico, took over the building as its barracks in 1803. Others believe it comes from the Spanish word for “cottonwood,” a tree which grows nearby.
Mexican forces occupied the Alamo for many years before they surrendered the mission to Texan forces in late 1835. Just a few months later, in February of 1836, the Mexican army laid a siege to the Alamo. The siege lasted thirteen days and resulted in the death of all Texans involved. In January of 1841 the Republic of Texas returned the Alamo to the Catholic Church, but in 1848 the United States government took over the mission. In April 1883 Texas regained ownership and placed the Alamo in the care of the city of San Antonio. In 1905 the Texas legislature ordered the transfer of the mission to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who, despite custody battles and boundary disputes, remain in custody of the Alamo today. Various sources of funding have been applied to the restoration of the Alamo, the largest being in connection with the Texas Centennial.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Alamo," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/AA/uqa1.html (accessed June 29, 2010).
The Alamo Items, 1836, 1903-1942 (bulk 1936) and undated, include newspaper clippings, correspondence, pamphlets, typescripts of letters and newspaper articles, and photostats of letters (1836) and newspaper articles, relating to the Alamo, its preservation, and its heroes. Additionally, the items include a poem, "The Alamo: a prize poem," by Mrs. Nettie Power Houston Bringhurst of San Antonio, Texas, the text of "Hymn of the Alamo" by B. F. Potter, and a related clipping donated by J. Frank Dobie.
Alamo Items, 1836, 1903-1942, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers