University launches archives featuring first bilingual publication collection during Hispanic Heritage Month

By Office of Institutional Advancement & University Communications
Monday, 10 14 2013
First archive on San Antonio’s South Side opened by Texas A&M-San Antonio

Archives photo number oneSAN ANTONIO —The Texas A&M-San Antonio University Library has established the new Archives and Special Collections unit at Texas A&M-San Antonio, which gives access to a number of prestigious archival and newspaper collections as well as rare books. The first two collections housed in the unit are living pieces of South Texas history: the archives of La Prensa, the city’s first bilingual publication, and the Robert H. Thonhoff Collection, which features research on the history of Karnes County and other topics of Texas history. The earliest issues of La Prensa date from 1923, and the Magazine de La Prensa date from 1930.

The University celebrated the founding of the archives with a special reception at the Main Campus, on Thursday, October 10 at 4 p.m. Both La Prensa editor Tino Duran and noted historian Robert H. Thonhoff spoke at Thursday’s reception, sharing their personal stories of their collections. Tino and his wife, Amelia Duran, reopened the historic La Prensa in 1989, converting it to a bilingual paper and bringing a valuable voice to the local publication.

Archives picture number twoNoted historian Robert Thonhoff, author of several books, including The Texas Connection with the American Revolution, described the four decades he spent collecting historical documents and resources. His studies include the original Spanish land grants that include the land that is now the Main Campus of Texas A&M-San Antonio.
Dr. Amy Porter, associate professor of history, delivered a keynote address on academic value of the archives, reminiscing on the number of times she personally utilized Thonhoff’s texts to guide her research, and looking ahead to the future value for Texas A&M-San Antonio students.

University Librarian Stefanie Wittenbach said, “With our location in South Texas and a student body that is 65 percent Hispanic, the Texas A&M-San Antonio University Library is honored to house records of such historical significance to the mixture of cultures we serve.”

The unit also includes the records of Texas A&M University-San Antonio and its development along with rare books and collections of enduring historical value that are relevant to the University’s academic programs.

The Archives and Special Collections unit is housed at the Brooks City-Base Campus and is available by appointment. Contact the University Library at (210) 784-1500 or to make an appointment.

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