The History Center’s growing collection of archival resources includes more than 2,500 cubic feet of manuscripts, maps, newspapers, photographs, oral histories, and other materials. Our reading room is open to the public for research during regular hours (M‑F, 8 – 5 and S, 9 – 1). Staff will answer phone, letter, and electronic queries in the order they are received.
Finding Guides offer more information about specific collections and are helpful tools for researchers.
We are in the process of digitizing many of our collections and have decided to make some of them available to view and download online. Please check back often as we add to the online collection of digital resources.
The History Center’s oral history collection contains more than 350 interviews conducted between 1954 and the present, with most from the 1980’s. Most have been transcribed and indexed. Life experiences in East Texas sawmill towns and logging camps, especially Diboll and related communities, during the early and middle twentieth century are well represented. Thad Sitton’s and James H. Conrad’s Nameless Towns: Texas Sawmill Communities, 1880 – 1942, published by the University of Texas Press in 1998, prominently features many of these interviews.
The History Center’s photographic collections contain approximately 1 million images, dating from the late nineteenth century to the present. Images are primarily of people, places, and events in East Texas with an extensive representation of Diboll and Angelina County. Photographs, while not comprising the bulk of our holdings, are our most popular resources.
The History Center holds more than 65 linear feet of original printed newspaper issues and 700 reels of microfilm, mostly representing Angelina County from 1913 to the present. We also have a few issues from the cities of Galveston, Palestine, Pineland, and Rusk, among others. Notable collections include:
Our map collection consists of many thousands of maps of all sizes, primarily documenting East and Southeast Texas. Topographic, forest, highway, railroad, land ownership, and timber cruise maps comprise the bulk of the collection.
Our fastest growing archival component is our manuscript collections, which also comprise the bulk of our holdings. Most of these collections remain in an on-going state of processing. The largest business archives include records of Southern Pine Lumber Company and Temple Lumber Company, along with their various divisions and subsidiaries. We also have municipal records and a number of family and community collections.
In addition to the collections above, we have a number of other resources that are useful for family research, including various county and federal census records. We have federal population census records for most area counties for the years 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930. We also have nineteenth century federal agricultural, manufacturing, and social statistics schedules for area counties.
The History Center maintains a growing library of local history, forest, Texana, and railroad books. We also have a collection of Diboll High School yearbooks and an active vertical file collection of regional history subjects.