The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library is a part of the historical complex of the Alamo in San Antonio. It is supported and maintained by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and serves objectives included in their charter of 1895: encouraging research into early Texas records and preserving documents. The library operates under the direction of a library committee, which is responsible to the board of management of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. It is open to researchers free of charge six days a week.
The DRT Library was established on October 12, 1945, in Alamo Hall, a building southeast of the Alamo, with opening ceremonies honoring Dr. William Eager Howard, who donated the nucleus of its collections. The forerunner of the library was the William E. Howard Library and Collection-over 2,000 Texas books, documents, manuscripts, and paintings-presented to the Daughters on June 10, 1943, and housed in Alamo Hall.
The present library building, built immediately west of Alamo Hall, was opened on December 2, 1950, and was constructed with funds donated by Sallie Ward Beretta honoring the memory of her husband, John King Beretta, who had been a friend of Howard's. An extension between the library building and Alamo Hall, for additional study and work space, was opened on February 6, 1964. An addition to the north side of the building, which contains a vault, a map room, study carrels, and storage, work, and office space, was dedicated on April 19, 1971, and on April 11, 1975, an addition of a meeting room and more work space to the south side of the building was dedicated.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library is a noncirculating research library of Texas history, with particular emphasis on the republic period and on the Alamo and San Antonio history. The collections include books, newspapers and periodicals, family papers, genealogical records, documents, maps, architectural renderings, clipping files, fine arts, artifacts, and photographs-notably the Grandjean collection. Among primary source materials are Spanish royal and viceregal documents dating from the sixteenth century, the Bustillo, Cassiano-Perez, and John W. Smith manuscript collections, and the Gentilz art collection (see GENTILZ, JEAN L. T.). The library's materials are acquired through direct gifts and through purchases made from donated funds. Donors to the library have also established endowment and trust funds to support its operations.
The library has published a catalog of holdings and books and booklets on Texas historical subjects; it issues a periodic newsletter. The DRT Library is a member of the Council of Research and Academic Libraries and the Texas Archival Network. It also maintains memberships in national and regional historical, archival, and library associations.
When the library began its first year of operation, it was open three days a week and employed a single librarian. By 1984 its staff had increased to seven. Patrons during the 1980s approached 2,000 a year, and the library responded to approximately 350 written and 4,000 telephoned inquiries annually. In 1994 the library had five professional and three paraprofessional staff positions, and the size of the general collection had reached 17,500. Other library holdings include manuscript collections, maps, photographs, periodicals, newspapers, clippings, and sheet music.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library was initially supervised by Mrs. Leita Small, custodian of the Alamo, and has been under the direction of librarians Cora Carleton Glassford, Marg-Riette Montgomery Hamlett, Carmen Perry, Catherine McDowell, Sharon Crutchfield, and Cathy Herpick.