Through this Thursday, William Travis’ 1836 “victory or death” letter is on display at the Alamo in San Antonio. Returned for the first time to the site where it was penned, the Travis letter is protected by a $20,000 display case, black curtains and temporary AC units.
But these measures aren’t enough to protect a relic that holds this much historical significance. So not far from the letter, during every minute of public display, representatives from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin are taking turns keeping watch. Just in case.
I met two of these archivists-turned-guards recently, during a visit to the Lorenzo de Zavala State Library and Archives Building near the Capitol Building. It’s safe to say that guard duty wasn’t part of the job description when John Anderson and Laura Saegert became archivists for the State of Texas over three decades ago. Although they’re filling an unusual role now, I believe their motivation has remained constant throughout their notable careers. John, Laura and their team members are dedicated to preserving Texas history and expanding public knowledge of the treasures they preserve. [Read more…]