The Texas A&M University Libraries added a new crown jewel to its Floyd and Louise Chapman Texas and Borderlands Collection: a rare map of Texas created by the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.
Produced in 1830, Stephen F. Austin’s Map of Texas is only one of perhaps ten known to still exist. It has been described as “the first meaningful map of Texas” and represents one of the most important maps of the American West.
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72 provided the lead gift for the $335,000 map, while each of Texas A&M’s Regents also contributed to its acquisition: Chairman Charles Schwartz, Vice-Chairman Elaine Mendoza ’87 and members Phil Adams ’70, Robert Albritton ’71, Anthony Buzbee ’90, Morris Foster ’65, Tim Leach ’82, Bill Mahomes ’69 and Cliff Thomas ’72. Longtime University Libraries supporters Bonnie and Otway Denny ’71 also donated.
“Bonnie and I both wanted to support the acquisition because of the map’s tremendous historic and educational value,” said Otway, a member of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “This map will provide many engaging learning opportunities pertaining to Texas history, cartography and printmaking for Aggie students and faculty researchers.”
It took Austin more than five years to compile and draw the map using surveys conducted around the state. Produced as part of a land-grant agreement with the Mexican government, it illustrates many of the early Texas settlements including Brazoria, Gonzales, Harrisburg, Matagorda, Victoria and Waco Village. Used as a marketing tool to convince people from the East Coast and Appalachia to travel west and settle in Texas, it was also the first map to accurately depict the state’s rivers, boundaries and waterways.
“As the first public university in Texas, we are proud to bring this significant piece of our state’s history to campus,” said Board of Regents Chairman Charles Schwartz. “We’re honored to care for Stephen F. Austin’s 1830 Map of Texas for years to come. As a Texan who owns a parcel of land between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers, it is exciting for me to see the first depiction of my land as a part of a place called Texas.”
Austin’s Map of Texas will be housed and displayed in the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. You can view the map digitally by clicking here.
To support Cushing Memorial Library and Archives or any of the University Libraries, contact Adelle Hedleston '88 below.