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Special Collections Exhibits for Spring 2015

March 9, 2015

Beginning Spring 2015, UTSA Special Collections has installed new exhibits in the John Peace Library reading room. Each exhibit represents a different unit within Special Collections: City of San Antonio (Photograph Collections), Southwestern Chromolithographs (Rare Books), Eugene Whitmore Collection (Manuscripts), and the Gil Barrera Collection (University Archives).

Photograph Collections Highlight Bird’s-Eye Views of San Antonio

From 1884-1940, this photograph collection illustrates the progression of downtown San Antonio’s growth. Each photograph captures iconic streets, buildings, and architecture unique to San Antonio. A Bird’s-Eye View of San Antonio allows the viewer to see the changes in the downtown area of San Antonio.This exhibit showcases the vast array of photographs available through UTSA Special Collections.


Alamo Plaza south from Post Office, circa 1910. (MS 362 83-484)


Picturesque Southwest. Chromolithographs of the Southwestern U.S. Compliments of the Missouri Pacific Railway Passenger Department. Ca. 1870.

The expansion of railroads revolutionized American life in the mid-19th century, largely replacing stagecoaches and canals as the dominant modes of transportation and supporting economic growth in the West. Additionally, railroads facilitated and encouraged the rise of leisure travel. Railway companies published numerous viewbooks and travel accounts to advertise the natural, cultural, and economic attractions of their routes. Picturesque Southwest. 78 Chromolithographs of the Southwestern U.S. is a particularly lavish example of this type of publication, and somewhat unusual in that it includes images provided by several different companies.


F396.P53 1870 Chromolithographs of the Southwestern U.S.


Picturesque Southwest features chromolithograph plates of scenes in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Mexico: 29 of the views are provided by the International & Great Northern Railroad, 9 are provided by the Texas & Railroad, 9 are provided by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad, 1 is provided by the St. Louis, Ft. Scott & Wichita Railroad, and 14 views of Mexico are provided with no mention of a railroad affiliation.

Views of Texas in the portfolio include scenes around San Antonio, the Sierra Blanco Mountains, Colorado, Texas, the area around Waco, the Colorado River near Austin, a cattle ranch in Brushy Creek, a view from Cedar Mountain, Galveston Bay, bird hunting in Houston, Fort Bliss, and many more. A selection of the views that chronicle what a rail traveler through Texas in the 1870’s might have enjoyed are on display in the JPL reading room.

Historic San Antonio: The Mission City

In 1941, Eugene Whitmore completed a manuscript draft with the working title of Historic San Antonio: The Mission City. As stated in the foreword, his intent was to “capture in print only a partial record of San Antonio, emphasizing the old, the historic, and the unusual features of the modern city which set it apart and give it an atmosphere and individuality found in no other city on this continent.”

Special Collections acquired the Eugene Whitmore Collection in March 2011. The collection consists of 11 chapters on historic San Antonio landmarks, as well as, 29 black and white photographs depicting the landmarks.


MS 351 Eugene Whitmore Collection, 1941


UTSA’s Library: Scenes of the Early Years, 1973-1975

UTSA’s earliest students and librarians had their first dedicated library space at the Koger Center’s Goliad Building. This area provided space for department offices, a library reading room, and limited circulation materials while construction was ongoing at the permanent campus.  This exhibit showcases the various places and spaces the Library called home as students and staff anxiously awaited the completion of what would be the John Peace Library.

Photographs come from the Gil Barrera Photographs of the University of Texas at San Antonio (MS 27); publications are from the UTSA Office of University Communications Publications Collection (UA 1.02).


UTSA Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 7, Summer 1974, UTSA University Publications Collections, UA 1.02, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.


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