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Center for American History Receives $3 Million Endowment

Former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. has established a $3 million endowment at the Center for American History to support programs, projects, collection acquisitions, or publications in Texas history.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. has established a $3 million endowment at the Center for American History to support programs, projects, collection acquisitions, or publications in Texas history.

The “Dolph and Janey Briscoe Fund for Texas History” is the largest gift an individual has given the Center.

“We are deeply grateful to Governor Briscoe for this magnificent gift,” said Dr. Don Carleton, director of the Center for American History. “The Dolph and Janey Briscoe Fund will make it possible for the Center to greatly expand its efforts to facilitate, encourage and support research and teaching in the field of Texas history.”

Briscoe cites his lifelong interest in Texas history and his enthusiasm for the Center’s Texas History program as the impetus for the endowment.

“The history of Texas has long been a passion of mine,” he said. “Accordingly, I have been an avid fan of the Center for American History, which has the largest collection of Texana in existence. I believe that the outstanding work that Dr. Carleton and the Center carries out should be continued, enhanced and expanded. It is for that reason that I have established this endowment, to provide excellence funds for the support of the Center’s educational, research and publications activities in Texas history.”

Briscoe was governor of Texas from 1973 to 1979. He graduated from the university in 1942 and served in the military in southeast Asia during World War II. From 1949 to 1957 he served in the state legislature and then returned to Uvalde to manage his family’s ranch and other businesses. His wife, the late Janey Briscoe, was a regent of the University of Texas System from 1981 until 1987.

The former governor has a deep interest in the history of Texas and in the educational and research activities of the Center. He donated his personal and gubernatorial papers to the Center, and he serves on its Advisory Council. He played a key role in making the John Nance Garner Museum in Uvalde, Texas, a division of the Center. Briscoe’s financial support also made it possible for the Center to recently publish the memoir of Ross Sterling, the founder of the Humble Oil Company and a former governor of Texas (1931-1933).

Dr. Carleton is helping Briscoe write his memoir, which will be published by the Center in 2008.

As an organized research unit of The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for American History facilitates, sponsors and supports teaching, research and public education in U.S. history. The Center’s Eugene C. Barker Texas History Collection was established in 1945 and named in honor of University of Texas Professor Eugene Campbell Barker, a pioneer in the field of Texas history. The Barker Collection includes books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, photographs, broadsides and recorded sound and constitutes the most extensive collection of Texas-related material in existence. The Center’s Texas history collection includes: the Bexar Archives, 300,000 pages of Spanish colonial and Mexican Provincial records of Texas, from 1717 to 1836; the papers of Stephen F. Austin; Lt. Col. Jose Enrique de la Pena’s eyewitness description of the Texas Revolution, including his controversial account of David Crockett’s death at the Alamo; the Governor Dolph and Mrs. Janey Briscoe 1849 daguerreotype of the Alamo, and the papers of many of the leading figures of Texas history.

For more information contact: Ramona Kelly, associate director, Center for American History, 512-495-4696.