Preserving Texas history

The West Texas Collection offers students a glimpse into the past

By Eunice Tibay
On March 29, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro
Amber Peterson, junior, utilizes the West Texas Collection’s reading room for study and research.

 

For over four decades, the Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection has provided students with historical documents and artifacts for research.

According to Suzanne Campbell, head of the WTC, they have historical collections including photographs and letters donated by San Angelo families.

WTC exhibits artifacts and documents from different periods in American history such as the American Civil War, the Border War during the Mexican Revolution and both World Wars.

They also have books on genealogy, Texas history and folklore, which students can borrow and use within the vicinity of WTC.

In addition, they exhibit items related to ASU and its history.

However, most of what the WTC has are general pieces of information that are related to the history of West Texas.

“We have all sorts of things on the history of this region,” Campbell said. “We try to keep it within kind of the Concho Valley area. Now, we take in Runnels and Coke County and Sterling and things like that. But we try to keep it in that region.”

Students also go in the WTC to research.

“We have a lot of students and a lot of classes who come in and do research,” Campbell said. “And so they can do their research in here, and we just pull out what they need, and then we try to preserve all this research.”

Campbell also added that students are welcome to study at the WTC in addition to doing research, stating that they can utilize the spaces available in the room.

Rolando Chavez shared how the West Texas Collection helped him as a student.

“I think it’s offered a lot of insight of things they didn’t know about what an archive was and what it was to work in public history,” Chavez, senior, said. “I’ve always wanted to work in public history—that is what I’m studying to do. And this opens minds a lot more, and definitely showed me the different paths to just working in an archive, period, and that we can preserve a lot more than just books and letters.”

WTC is named after Dr. Ralph R. Chase, a pediatrician who worked to help underprivileged children in Concho Valley and was honored as Pediatrician of the Year in 1978.

Dr. Chase was also named Citizen of the Year in 1988.

WTC is also a part of the Porter Henderson Library.

 

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