The Archives of the Big Bend was established in 1976 in the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library. It is an outgrowth of the collecting efforts of the West Texas Historic and Scientific society, formed in 1926. The WTHSS collected some 200,000 leaves of manuscript material before it ceased operation in 1965. In 1968 all WTHSS collections were turned over to Sul Ross State University. Manuscript materials were placed in the rare book room of the library. This body of papers represents the organic collection of the Archives of the Big Bend.

In September 1975 a professional museum director, Kenneth D. Perry, was employed by the University to modernize the museum operation and establish the arcvhies. Archival operations began in earnest in 1976 with the processing of the first manuscript collection, organization of “type” collections, and acquiring a departmental budget within the library. Concomitant with the beginning was selecting a name, Archives of the Big Bend, and developing an Archives Record Manual for processing collections.

Since its inception in 1976, the archives has collected more than 1.6 million leaves of manuscript material, along with numerous photographs, oral histories, maps, and other materials. The archives is used extensively for research in the history and culture of the Big Bend region.

Quoted and adapted from the 1995 Handbook of Texas entry on Archives of the Big Bend by Kenneth D. Perry.

The Archives of the Big Bend logo was designed in 2021 by David Bell Creative.

Our Mission

The mission of the Archives of the Big Bend is to collect, preserve, arrange, and make available for research purposes the recorded history and culture of the unique and diverse Big Bend region of far West Texas.

last updated: May 12, 2021