AUSTIN, Texas—The Jamail Center for Legal Research at The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a $20,000 TexTreasures grant by the Texas State Library to digitize the historic Texas constitutions.
The grant will enable students, faculty and researchers across Texas and around the world to access a complete collection of the numerous constitutions that have governed Texas in its days as a Mexican state, as an independent republic, and as a state up to the adoption of the present constitution in 1876.
The digitized constitutions will be available as facsimile page images from the original editions, and as searchable text files. They will be located on a Web site devoted to the Texas Constitutions, said UT Austin Professor Roy M. Mersky, the William Stamps Farish Professor of Law and director of research at the Jamail Center for Legal Research, Tarlton Law Library. In addition to the Constitutions, the project Web site will include explanatory and illustrative material about the Constitutions, bibliographies, and a brief user survey form,
Mersky said the project not only will make these fundamental documents available to a wide audience, but also will help to preserve the originals in the Jamail Center’s Rare Book Collection, many of which are rare and fragile. In addition, the project furthers the stature of the Jamail Center as a leader in Texas legal research and Texas legal history.
The Jamail Center has the most complete collection of Texas Constitutions in their original published forms. The project will include the Mexican Constitution of 1824 (in English and Spanish), the Constitution of Coahuila and Texas of 1827 (in English and Spanish), the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, 1837, and the Constitutions of the State of Texas of 1845, 1861, 1866 (in English and German), 1869, and 1876. Texas is still governed by the 1876 Constitution, which has been amended 308 times. The project will include only the original, unamended version of the 1876 Constitution.
Mersky said the successful grant application was prepared by Archives Assistant Stephanie Swenson Towery and Jill Duffy, a Tarlton Fellow, under the supervision of Deputy Law Librarian Keith Ann Stiverson, Assistant Director for Bibliographic Services Brian Quigley and Mike Widener, archivist/rare books librarian. The scanning and indexing will be done by Information Access Institute of nearby Georgetown, a nonprofit organization with extensive experience in the digitization of historical documents.
For additional information, contact Widener at the School of Law, (512) 471-7263 or via email at email@example.com.