DRT Library Collection Has a New Home

Posted on Posted in October 2016

DRT Library Collection Has a New Home

This summer has been a busy one for the DRT Library Collection, which is closed to the public while we move our historic treasure into San Antonio’s former Federal Reserve Building.

The building that once held billions in cash, located at 126 E. Nueva St., will make an ideal home for the DRT Library Collection. It was built in the 1950s and served as a prototype for other Fed banks across the nation. It has marble and granite everywhere, backup electrical systems, secure loading docks and not one but two climate-controlled vaults. It will almost triple DRT Library Collection’s space.

If you have not expressed your gratitude to everyone who worked together to make this happen, I would encourage you to do so now. They include Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and the Bexar County commissioners, County Clerk Gerard Rickhoff and City Councilman Roberto Treviño.

Judge Wolff heard of our deadline from the state to move the collection from the Alamo grounds, and worked with Texas A&M University-San Antonio to negotiate a lease for nearly 10,000 square feet of secure, museum-quality space.

“Texas A&M University-San Antonio and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas collections complement Bexar County’s Spanish archives,” Wolff said. “The accumulation of these historical documents will help researchers, historians and the general public understand the story of Texas.”

The new arrangement between the DRT, Bexar County and Texas A&M-San Antonio will make the DRT Library Collection available to even more researchers and will allow us to begin the process of digitization.

“We are grateful to Judge Wolff, the commissioners court and Clerk Rickhoff for their consideration. We applaud Texas A&M-San Antonio for the academic expansion they are bringing to the city and the focus they are placing on Texas history and the DRT collection,” said Betty Edwards, M.D., president general of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

“Even though other universities in the state expressed an interest in housing the collection, our first preference remains keeping it in San Antonio. The former Federal Reserve Building’s proximity to the Alamo and its archive-ready condition make this structure an appealing location for those who have an interest in researching and learning about Texas history.”

Bexar County bought the 90,980-square-foot building in 2014, and has used it to host the “Nuestra Historia, Our History: Spain in Bexar County” exhibit that wrapped up Sept. 4. The county had to prove to Spain that the building met museum industry standards in order to borrow historical documents.

According to the lease, Texas A&M-San Antonio will pay the county just over $25,000 a year to rent 9,937 square feet and will pay nothing to share another 1,184 square feet. The building will be open to the public on weekdays.

University Provost Michael O’Brien said the DRT Library Collection will help strengthen the university’s existing borderland studies, history and political science programs.

“This building will allow unprecedented access to the DRT collection, enhancing scholarly research and instruction within our academic programs,” O’Brien said.