The purpose of the Research Library and Archives is to acquire, preserve, and make available for research materials which document the history of Fort Concho and its environs, with an emphasis on subjects of special interest to a frontier military post including military affairs, settlement, neighboring town development, farming and ranching, business and trade, social conditions, and politics and government.
Fort Concho National Historic Landmark is owned and operated by the City of San Angelo, Texas. Since 1969, a reference library and archival collections have been maintained as a resource for the operation and management of the site and for research on frontier and military history.
Today, the Museum Research Library and Archives houses archival materials, books, journals, maps, microfilms, oral histories, slides, and photographs. Holdings are concentrated on the American Indian Wars Era (1865-1891) with special emphasis on the West Texas military frontier. Information on aspects of frontier and pioneer life, the military, Native Americans, and nineteenth century material culture can be found in our collections. The facility also houses documentary materials on period political, economic, social, and cultural institutions.
Among the materials available to aid research projects are the photographs of William G. Wedemeyer, an officer who served at the fort in the 1880s, and M.C. Ragsdale, San Angelo’s pioneer photographer; the William S. Veck Papers, documenting the life of a post trader and early area businessman; the S.L.S. Smith Papers, recording the activities of a post surgeon and first permanent physician in Tom Green County; and the Oscar Ruffini Papers, the architectural collection of an early West Texas architect.
Arguably the most important component of our research holdings is the microfilm collection, which consists of a variety of records which are preserved in the National Archives. In these records are found the post correspondence; scout reports and maps; inventories and schedules; census records; medical, commissary, and quartermaster records; enlistment records; and regimental returns for each unit that served the post. A few individual military records also are available.
Research is crucial in supporting the fort’s goals to maintain and develop its interpretive, educational, and preservation objectives. Fort exhibits, displays, and publications are produced through research in military letters and documents, diaries, and journals. Moreover, the Museum Research Library and Archives also houses records related to the history and management of the site as a National Historic Landmark and on fort archaeology, restoration, and museum activities.
The Museum Research Library and Archives is administered by the fort’s historian/archivist. A research room is located on the west side of Officers’ Quarters 7, and is open to the public Monday through Friday on an appointment basis. Please contact us so we may arrange a time and help you plan your visit and research strategy. All researchers are required to register and are provided a copy of library rules.
Funding for the research facility is provided by Fort Concho NHL and by grants and donations and contributions, which are tax-deductible. Members of the Fort Concho Membership Association receive notification of library acquisitions and activities. A brochure detailing membership categories and benefits is also available.