UTSA Special Collections Acquires Southwest Voter Registration Education Project/William C. Velásquez Institute Records
On Friday, May 8, 2015, UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo and Antonio González, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) and the William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) signed a formal agreement deeding both organizations’ records to UTSA Special Collections. I had the honor of attending the event to witness the historic signing.
The signing took place on the eve of Willie Velásquez Day at a reception preceding the annual Southwest Voter Fundraising Dinner. Four of the mayoral candidates: Tommy Adkisson, Ivy Taylor, Leticia Van de Putte, and Mike Villareal were in attendance and during the dinner, participated in a short panel discussion before being whisked away to their next event. Senator José Menéndez was the keynote speaker and Antonio González closed the event.
We are very honored to be selected as the stewards of the SVREP/WCVI Records. We’ve received the first twenty years of the organizations’ records, totaling more than 450 linear feet of material (and counting!). The collection contains extensive data and research on elections and voters including: voter exit polls; opinion polls; election records and statistics; redistricting maps; political research reports; occasional papers; legal documents from voting rights lawsuits; GOTV training documents and GOTV planning documents; position papers; and more! The collection is rich with primary source material that will be valuable for scholars and researchers from across the country.
This collection will be by far our largest archival collection. Over the next few months we will blog about our experience taking physical custody of such a large collection. It required many trips to a storage facility where we sorted through roughly thirty years’ worth of boxes. The experience was interesting, rewarding, sometimes surprising, and at times exhausting (though never dreaded!). With each new box we discovered many archival treasures, which built excitement and kept us eager to go back again and again until the storage unit was clear.
We are currently seeking funding to help process the collection and to digitize portions of it. We will keep you posted!