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Eberstadt collection

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00022

Scope and Contents

Many documents of great significance to the history of Texas can be found in the Eberstadt Collection. Among them are: a number of early Spanish documents, of which those relating to Father Margil and the development of the missions as well as autographed royal documents and censuses are of particular interest; items having to do with Austin's Colony and other colonization endeavors, the Revolution, and the Republic including the autographed English version of the Convention of 1833 Memorial; a number of headrights, deeds, land grants, and title books; early records of various kinds from twenty-two Texas counties; and some early documentation of the oil industry, though in this case only peripherally pertaining to Texas.

This is an artificial collection of individual documents that are for the most part unrelated in time or content except for the broad designation of Texas and the Southwest. Even that designation is not totally applicable because a few subcollections have no relation to the area. Consequently, there is no intrinsic order. When the collection was received by the Center for American History, it had been arranged alphabetically by famous autographs to a large extent. In order to make the documents more accessible for both historical research and genealogy, the collection has been reorganized alphabetically by the predominant individual or organization producing each document, regardless of the historical importance of that person or organization. The inventory to the collection lists each subcollection individually with dates and a brief description of the transaction. In the case of a few larger subcollections, the documents are not listed individually, but are grouped together by date and record type. The whole collection has been thoroughly indexed, although it is sometimes impossible to identify persons involved in a transaction from one discrete item. The Oil and Gas Collection, because of its comparative size, has been handled differently. It has been placed at the end of the collection and arranged in larger units, but extensive access to it is available through the inventory and descriptive register.

Because of its diversity, the Eberstadt Collection contains virtually all ordinary record types and kinds of copy.


  • Creation: 1699 - 1959


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of this collection is stored remotely; contact repository in advance for retrieval.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Historical Context of the Collection

The Eberstadt Collection began with a few books that came into the possession of Edward Eberstadt (1883-1958) around the turn of the century while he was working in the West. He later realized their value and the potential of such items and took up book collecting as a profession in New York City. By the 1920s he had become a millionaire, and he weathered the Depression by means of his books.

Eberstadt's sons, Lindley and Charles, joined him in the business, and by the time they retired in the late 1960s their private collection of Western Americana had become legendary.

John H. Jenkins, bookseller and publisher of Austin, Texas, with the backing of Robert Venable, lawyer and oilman of Dallas, bought the collection in August of 1975 and moved it to Austin where it was sorted into subject components. The Texas and Southwestern materials were purchased that fall by the regents of The University of Texas.

For an account of this acquisition, see: John Holmes Jenkins, The Eberstadt Caper (Austin: The Pemberton Press, 1975).

A large part of the archival material acquired by The University at that time has come to rest in this collection in the Center for American History, although some documents are to be found in the Benson Latin American Collection and in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, as well as in other components of The University of Texas System.


4.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian



Collection aquired from Edward Eberstadt & Sons, booksellers, that includes source materials related to the early history of Texas and the Southwest.

Accession Number(s)


Processing Information

Revision to box 3N183 by Colleen Hobbs, August 2019.


Genre / Form



Eberstadt collection, 1699-1959
Ready To Publish
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • Tue Jul 22 15:26:14 CDT 2003: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00022 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (20030505).
  • 2019-08-06: In box 3N183, deleted description for John Lucius Woodbury; replaced with the following: "Petition with William Parrot for empressario contract, Jan. 16, 1823; Woodbury petition on behalf of Joseph Uilhlein for empressario contract in Texas coastal reserve. Petition approved by central government of Mexico in 1828."

Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712