The University Archives is located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library, within the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. The Archives contain original materials that document the history of the Health Science Center and the development of medicine in Bexar County and South Texas. Archives around the world document the rich history found in manuscripts, photographs, letters, organizational records, and other original materials. The HSC Archives staff have created electronic finding aids that make the information about the HSC’s archives available to researchers and the public searching the Internet for original materials. Archival records have also been added to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO), a repository of descriptions of archival collections throughout the state. The wide availability of information about the university’s archival records has led to many interesting research requests and visits to the HSC by historical researchers. Here are a few recent examples:
- A historian of the United States and Mexico is working on a book about migrant labor in the shared history of the two countries between 1880 and WW II. One of the themes running through the book is the urban dimension of migrant workers’ lives during the winter months. He sought public health records located in the HSC Archives to help document the lives of migrant workers during the months they spent in urban environments.
- A historian from the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden in Brazil is conducting research about a Brazilian naturalist who corresponded with Louis Lapicque. The historian requested information about two lab notebooks by Lapicque held in the HSC Archives (“Experiences du Bresil,” 1913 and 1927).
- A graduate student from UTSA used the archives to conduct research on tuberculosis in San Antonio.
- HSC faculty, staff and students frequently request photographs relating to the history of the university or to local medical history. Other universities, historians, and the general public also request research into available photographs located in the Archives. The HSC Photography unit recently donated a large collection of photos that are being processed for preservation and are available for research.
- The Crown Jewel: the Story of the First 50 Years of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio written by Will Sansom in 2009 used many of the resources and pictures in the Archives. The archives contain collections of records documenting the history of the university from the beginning when the medical, dental, and nursing schools were first established. University records include recordings of the meetings of the San Antonio Medical Foundation which planned the medical school, oral histories for the founding faculty, old yearbooks, graduation programs, photographs of faculty and staff, old student catalogs, departmental newsletters, presidential records, news clippings, and many other important documents.
In addition to university records, the Archives has many manuscripts and correspondence from early Texas physicians practicing in San Antonio in the 1800’s and 1900’s. These include case books by George Cupples, a pioneer Texas surgeon, describing removing arrow heads or treating traumatic tetanus; manuscripts and notes from Dr. P. I. Nixon for the writing of his books on the history of medicine in Texas and San Antonio; and correspondence and reports from early physicians describing epidemics and problems with TB, poliomyelitis, syphilis and other health problems in San Antonio.
Donations of historical materials about the Health Science Center or medicine in early San Antonio or Texas are always welcome. To donate or to find materials on your subject contact Anne Comeaux, Assistant Director for Digital and Special Collections, at 210-567-2428 or Mellisa DeThorne, Archives Library Assistant, 210-567-2470.