Libraries Special Collections Enrich Scholarly and Popular Works

May 16, 2013

The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections continues to hold true to its mission to preserve and make accessible the legacies of San Antonio and South Texas.

Within the last two years, there have been almost 2,600 visits to its reading rooms and 80 million visits to its digital collections — offering local, national and international scholars and researchers important resources in their work.

“We acquire and make accessible collections such as Rosita Fernandez’s papers and the records from HemisFair ’68 for students, faculty, the public, and visiting scholars to engage with the original sources of history,” said Mark Shelstad, head of Special Collections. “These collections support the academic and research needs of UTSA, and bring state and national distinction to the university by advancing scholarly research and education.”

UTSA’s Special Collections appear in two notable recent publications:

"Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War" by Claire Fox

Professor Claire Fox made several trips to UTSA when researching her book, delving into the university’s extensive collection of materials from the San Antonio Fair. The collection consists of more than 500 boxes relating to the planning, financing, and construction of HemisFair with large sets of director’s correspondence, committee reports, financial records, press releases, blueprints and maps, artwork, oral histories, and film and sound recordings from the fair, which ran from April to October 1968. Fox devotes one chapter of her book to examining the exhibiting countries’ use of art to further their own cultural and public relation agendas.

"Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda" by Deborah Vargas

This book, authored by professor and San Antonio native Deborah Vargas, explores the careers of several Chicana singers and musicians within the larger American, Tejano, and Borderland identities. Vargas made use of several oral histories, photographs, and the papers of Rosita Fernandez to complete her book. Fernandez, a pioneer of Tejano music, gained international fame as a recording artist and for performances on film, television, radio, and stage. Her 60-year career began in the 1920s, and she was named “San Antonio’s First Lady of Song” by Lady Bird Johnson, and had a bridge named in her honor on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

In the last year, the UTSA Libraries’ Special Collections have been featured in variety of scholarly and popular works, including:

"Texas Dames: Sassy & Savvy" by Carmen Goldwaite
"Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food" by Jeffrey Pilcher
• "The Daughters, A Dozen Decades of The DRT" by Karen Thompson
• Texas Public Radio - three part series on the history and future of HemisFair Park
• Images used in exhibits at the Eiteljorg Museum, Chilsholm Trail Museum, Witte Museum, and Houston Museum of Fine Arts
• And in many other scholarly and popular works