TABLE OF CONTENTS
Texas Historical Commission:
An Inventory of Historical Commission Meeting Records at the Texas State Archives, 1953-2017
The Texas State Historical Survey Committee (TSHSC) was created on a temporary basis in 1953 (Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, 53rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to administer a comprehensive state program for historical preservation; it was given more permanent status in 1957 (Senate Bill 426, 55th Legislature, Regular Session). In 1962 the TSHSC formed the Official Texas Historical Marker Program to record Texas historic sites in all 254 counties. The TSHSC became the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in 1973 (House Bill 1512, 63rd Legislature, Regular Session). In the 1980s and 1990s the commission continued to work on the identification and preservation of historic sites. It administered a number of grant programs, including the Texas Historic Preservation Grant Program, Texas Preservation Trust Fund, and museum grants. It also administered special projects such as the Old San Antonio Road project and Women's History Month. The commission worked to conduct extensive surveys of historic properties across the state, along with reviews of the impact of construction and other building projects on historic and archeological sites.
The THC administers programs to preserve the architectural, archeological, historical, and cultural resources of Texas. The mission of the THC is to protect and preserve the state's historic and prehistoric resources for the use, education, economic benefit, and enjoyment of present and future generations. Duties of the agency include preservation consultation with the public; providing leadership to heritage organizations and county historical commissions; working with communities to protect Texas' architectural heritage, including operation of the Texas Main Street Program; administering the state's historical marker program; working with property owners to save archeological sites on private land; ensuring archeological sites are protected as land is developed for public construction projects; consulting with citizens and groups to nominate properties for historical and archeological landmark status and for the National Register of Historic Places; and making historical attractions a cornerstone of the Texas travel industry. The THC also maintains the , a database of more than 300,000 historic site records; was involved with the La Salle excavations; and was involved with the development of the Bob Bullock State History Museum that opened in Austin in 2001.
The Texas Historical Commission is composed of 11 members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, serving overlapping six-year terms. Members must be citizens of Texas who have demonstrated an interest in the preservation of the state's historical heritage and represent all geographical areas of Texas. Beginning in 1995, the membership must include a professional archeologist, a professional historian, and a licensed architect, and two of the members must be from counties with populations of less than 50,000. The governor names the chairperson. The members appoint an executive director to administer the agency.
In the late 1990s, the Texas Historical Commission went through an agency restructuring in which several divisions were combined. As of 2017, the agency consists of eight divisions that carry out the responsibilities of the agency. The Administration Division oversees budgetary, planning, and other executive functions. The Community Heritage Division acts in partnership with communities and regions to revitalize historic areas, stimulate tourism, and encourage economic development. This division operates the Main Street Program, the Heritage Tourism Program, and the Certified Local Government Program. The Archeology Division works to identify, investigate, record and preserve Texas' archeological heritage and engages in a number of programs to educate and assist the public in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act and the Antiquities Code of Texas. The Architecture Division is dedicated to protecting Texas' diverse historic architecture by administering architectural grants, monitoring the state's National Historical Landmarks, and reviewing proposed changes to Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks. The History Programs Division provides preservation assistance to county historical commissions, museums, nonprofit preservation organizations, state and federal agencies, local governments, students, educators, and the general public. This division operates the National Register Program and the Local History Program. The Historic Sites Division is responsible for overseeing the agency's 21 historic attractions located throughout the state. Staff members in this division welcome visitors, provide educational opportunities and exhibits, preserve historic structures and artifacts, and work with partner organizations in their communities. The Marketing Communications Division is responsible for developing outreach programs and increasing awareness of the agency's projects and initiatives. This division issues a monthly newsletter, The Medallion, provides production services for other departments, assists with public outreach, and helps coordinate the agency's annual museum conference. Staff Services handles personnel, accounting, and other staff functions.
The Texas Antiquities Committee was affiliated with the Texas Historical Commission until it was abolished in 1995. The Texas Antiquities Committee was created by Senate Bill 58, 61st Legislature, 2nd Called Session (1969). This committee was the legal custodian of all state archeological resources and it adopted rules to protect and preserve these resources. It designated state archeological landmarks, issued permits for activities that impacted archeological sites, oversaw staff efforts to ensure compliance with the Texas Antiquities Code, maintained an inventory of items recovered and retained by the State of Texas, and contracted or otherwise provided for discovery operations and scientific investigations of sunken or abandoned ships and their contents. In 1995, the committee was abolished (Senate Bill 365, 74th Legislature, Regular Session). Its duties were absorbed by the Texas Historical Commission and are carried out through its Archeology Division. The legislation that abolished the Antiquities Committee allowed for an advisory body to be created to assist the Texas Historical Commission on issues relating to the Antiquities Code of Texas. In 1995, the THC created the Texas Antiquities Advisory Board. The board provides recommendations on proposed State Archeological Landmarks designations and assists in resolving disputes regarding issuance of Texas Antiquities permits.
Also affiliated with the Texas Historical Commission between 1971 and 1983 was the Texas Historical Resources Development Council. The council promoted communication among its member agencies in their coordinated efforts to develop and publicize the historical resources of Texas.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, various editions; General and Special Laws, various years; the Texas Historical Commission website; and Latimer, Truett, and Laurie E. Jasinski, Texas Historical Commission, Handbook of Texas Online, both accessed on February 2, 2018; and the records themselves.)
The Texas Historical Commission protects and preserves the state's historic and prehistoric resources for the use, education, economic benefit, and enjoyment of present and future generations. Records are minutes, agenda, and exhibits of the Texas State Historical Survey Committee meetings, from 1953 to 1973; and of the Texas Historical Commission, dating 1973-2017. Materials present include agenda; minutes; exhibits presented at meetings; correspondence and memoranda, generally between the executive director and the TSHSC/THC members or staff; and materials sent to the committee/commission members for discussion or review prior to meetings, including committee reports, resolutions, lists of appointees to associated boards, quarterly reports from programs, rules and regulations, historic preservation and antiquities laws and/or changes to the laws, copies of agreements, press releases, lists of sites nominated for historical markers or landmark status, historical marker dedication calendars, lists of gifts and donations, lists of grants approved, attendance sheets for guests at the meetings, and newsletters, reports, and other publications of the agency. Minutes, agenda, and/or exhibits are not present in all meeting files.
Topics discussed at the meetings include division activities, changes in or addition to historic preservation or antiquities laws, significant archeological discoveries, preservation and/or outreach activities underway by the agency, actions of associated boards, grant programs including Texas Preservation Trust Fund, historical markers to be awarded, and sites receiving landmark status.
This finding aid describes meeting files of the Texas Historical Commission records. See Texas Historical Commission: An Introduction to Records for more records series.
Restrictions on Access
Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, certain email addresses (Texas Government Code, Section 552.117) and home addresses and phone numbers of government employees and officials (Texas Government Code, Section 552.137); an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).
The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (email@example.com), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.
Materials housed in the State Archives do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas Historical Commission meeting records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 1998/066, 1999/088, 1999/174, 2000/020, 2000/079, 2001/056, 2002/122, 2003/071, 2007/075, 2007/100, 2007/108, 2008/045, 2009/047, 2010/041, 2010/101, 2011/126, 2011/134, 2012/089, 2013/020, 2014/065, 2015/052, 2016/069, 2016/148, 2017/044, 2017/092, 2017/137, 2018/065, 2018/088
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Historical Commission on December 7, 1997; January 11, June 24, September 28, and December 20, 1999; March 7 and November 6, 2000; April 4 and October 25, 2002; December 18, 2006; February 23, March 7, and October 23, 2007; October 27, 2008; November 17, 2009; April 5 and November 17, 2010; December 15, 2011; September 25, 2012; January 23 and October 30, 2014; June 23 and November 12, 2015; November 9, 2016; March 8 and August 14, 2017; and January 23, 2018; and from the Texas Legislative Reference Library on September 14, 2010 and December 13, 2012.
Laura K. Saegert, April 1999
Additional accessions added by Laura K. Saegert, November 1999, May 2002, February 2004
Additional accessions added and DACS compliance by Laura K. Saegert, September 2008
New accessions added and arrangement in a single series by Halley Grogan, February 2018