Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center

By: Robert L. Schaadt

Type: General Entry

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: February 5, 2019

The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, a part of the Regional Historical Resources Depository and Local Records Division of the Texas State Library, dedicated on May 14, 1977, is located on Farm Road 1011 three miles north of Liberty. It is governed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The center's purpose is to serve as a public research and archival facility for Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler counties. This geographical area was based on the original boundary of the Atascosito District of the Republic of Mexico. The center collects artifacts, photographs, maps, publications, manuscripts, and business and local government records that document the area's history. It also has a Texas and genealogical library. On September 27, 1973, Price Daniel, Sr., and his wife donated 116.97 acres for the building site. Local sponsorship and fund-raising were organized by the Atascosito Historical Society, with Charles W. Fisher, Jr., as president, and by the Building Committee, cochaired by Ambassador Edward A. Clark and Camilla Davis Blaffer from 1973 to 1976. The Lamar University Board of Regents voted on November 7, 1973, to join as regional sponsors and to establish an extension program at the center. In 1975 the center's construction was named as a Texas State Library American Bicentennial Project. When construction began in the fall of 1976, more than $700,000 had been raised from private donations. The facility, completed in May 1977, comprises 17,600 square feet divided into classrooms, offices, exhibit areas, and the archives. Additional support for programs is donated by the Atascosito Historical Society and the Friends of the Sam Houston Center. The two groups sponsor special events, book purchasing, exhibits, and publications.

In 1980 the 1848 Gillard-Duncan house, the oldest unmodified dwelling in Liberty County, was donated by Elizabeth Gay Bennett and moved to the center's grounds to be renovated and used as a museum containing the original furniture and artifacts of the Gillard-Duncan family. In 1992 the Norman House, built in 1883, which had been given to the Atascosito Historical Society by Edna Norman, was given to the Texas State Library and Archives. As of 1994 the staff had 742 manuscript collections that occupied 5,100 cubic feet and 4,300 cubic feet of local government records and had processed more than 15,000 photographs, 200 music scores, 44 newspaper titles, 5,273 books, and more than 5,000 maps. During the fiscal year 1993–94, the center had a total of 15,552 visitors and researchers. Some of the notable collections at the center are the papers of Price Daniel as attorney general, United States senator, and governor of Texas; the papers of Martin Dies; the Hardin family papers, which include the archives of the Atascosito District; the Julia Duncan Welder Collection; the Jean Laffite Collection; the Mrs. F. T. Baldwin Collection of Sam Houston Pictures; and the Capt. William M. Logan papers. The dedicated exhibit rooms are the Governor Bill Daniel Room, the Martin Dies Room, the Sam Houston Room, the Julia Duncan Welder Room, and the Price Daniel, Jr., Room. In 1993 the center's theme was a celebration of Sam Houston. From January 2 to December 1 the exhibit The Genius of Sam Houston: Images and Writings of Sam Houston was on display.

Joyce Calhoon, "The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center," Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record 15 (1979). Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton, 1974).

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

Robert L. Schaadt, “Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995
February 5, 2019