Archives of the Big Bend

By: Kenneth D. Perry

Type: General Entry

Published: June 1, 1995

The Archives of the Big Bend was established in 1976 and is located in the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine. The archives 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 modernized the museum operation and establish the archives. 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 this beginning was selecting a name, Archives of the Big Bend, and developing an Archives Record Manual for processing collections. Today the archives houses broadsides and posters, ephemera, manuscripts, maps, microforms, motion pictures and videotapes, newspapers, oral history, periodicals, photography, artistic pictures, documentary pictures, reference materials, scrapbooks, sheet music, sound recordings, and the Sul Ross State University archives. 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.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kenneth D. Perry, “Archives of the Big Bend,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995