Beginning earlier this week, public reference services at the Briscoe Center started operating from the special collections reading room in the LLILAS Benson Latin American Collection, our good neighbors in Sid Richardson Hall Unit 1.
In short, that means three things.
First, if you want to come to the Briscoe Center and conduct research in our collections, you still can—you just need to make an appointment online and visit us next door. We will be open at LLILAS Benson Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Briscoe Center staff will be there to help you. Offsite materials will need to be ordered in advance. You can find more information on the “Plan Your Visit” section of our website.
Second, the center will continue to acquire important new collections. This month, we’re announcing the acquisition of three Robert E. Lee letters, which offer details about Lee’s controversial handling of several slaves that he inherited from his father-in-law. The letters are an important acquisition for the center and another example of why the renovation is such a positive development. When our public service space reopens in 2017, we are planning to premiere a major exhibit on the center’s southern collections, and I am sure that one of these letters will be prominently featured.
Third, the center will continue to hold public programming during the construction work. Earlier this month, we worked with the Friends of the LBJ Library to bring former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson back to campus.
Richardson, whose papers we acquired last year, spoke about his experiences as a Cabinet secretary, U.N. ambassador, international hostage negotiator and congressman. I’d like to thank Gov. Richardson for his continued advocacy of the center and the fruitful partnership here on campus that we’ve been able to cultivate since the donation of his papers.
The center is now busy working with the LBJ Presidential Library on their upcoming Vietnam conference in April. Besides hosting a panel discussion during the conference, the center will present Vietnam: Evidence of War in the LBJ Library’s temporary exhibit space. The conference and exhibit promise to be truly illuminating experiences for those interested in exploring one of the most tragic, destructive and divisive wars in U.S. and South Asian history.
Don Carleton, Ph.D.
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History
P.S. Congratulations to editorial cartoonist Ben Sargent, whose archives are housed at the center, on his induction into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame last month. Ben has provided his readers with a perceptive, satirical visual commentary on Texas and American politics during the past 40 years. I’m proud that his archive will continue to showcase his legacy for the benefit of scholars for years to come.