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Carter Family Papers additions now processed

June 17, 2010

by Melissa Gohlke, Graduate Assistant

Unidentified women and children at a birthday party picnic, 1902

The Aline B. Carter Family Papers, housed at the UTSA HemisFair Campus, offer those who study and research San Antonio history, a rich and extensive source of primary documents. Spanning five generations, the papers contained in the Carter Collection cover the years from 1823 to 2003. Many of the documents in the collection are from the 1800s and offer insight into the lives of early settlers in San Antonio. Indian Depredation reports reveal the often tenuous quality of life on the Texas frontier as they documented the many lives that were lost during raids by Lipan and Kickapoo Indians. Correspondence underscores the struggles that early San Antonians faced when disease and hardship took the lives of loved ones.

Indian depredation report, 1868

Those that overcame the challenges of frontier, such as Aline Carter’s grandparents, went on to build businesses and establish growing families in San Antonio. James Wilson Riddle (Aline’s grandfather) and Robert Eagar (Riddle’s brother-in-law) ran a successful general merchandise enterprise in San Antonio and Mexico. Robert Eagar secured government contracts to transport goods to military outposts across Texas. Through the bills, receipts, and correspondence kept my many family members, the nuances of life in 19th century San Antonio are reconstructed.

Receipt for dry goods, 1873

Through their involvement with the Daughters of the Revolution and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Aline’s ancestors documented the historic preservation and maintenance of the Alamo. Several early photographs of this iconic San Antonio landmark are housed in the collection and reveal how the Alamo has been transformed and expanded over the years.

Unidentified men inside the Alamo, circa 1908

The materials that constitute the Aline B. Carter Family Papers are a remarkable collection of documents that bring to the light not only the lives of five generations of a family, they also represent several decades of the evolution of the city of San Antonio. The collection is a valuable resource for any individual with a passion for the history of San Antonio.

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