About Special Collections and Archives

rare book

Mission Statement

The Special Collections and Archives (SCA) division of Coates Library collects, organizes, preserves, and makes available rare books, manuscripts, other special collections, and archival material to the Trinity community and researchers at large. SCA documents the history of Trinity University and plays a central role in managing its institutional records. 

Vision Statement 

SCA aims to support Trinity University’s vision to become a national leader in interdisciplinary and experiential education through its commitment to the discovery, expansion, and expression of knowledge. 

1) SCA will work to sustain Coates Library as a critical intellectual resource for the campus by selecting, managing, and providing quick and easy access to digital and physical materials that support Trinity’s learning and teaching objectives. SCA prioritizes the acquisition of unique or uncommon materials. 

2) SCA will strengthen experiential learning opportunities by developing assignments, projects, campus collaborations, co-curricular activities, and internships that will impart practical and professional insight and enhance the experience of Trinity University students. 

3) SCA will support the management of campus documentation, recognizing the responsibility and ethical obligation to preserve official institutional records and the fundamental value of documenting our institutional history.

Collection Profiles

Special Collections: Special Collections support the teaching and learning objectives of the Trinity University community by collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary source materials that align with the curriculum. These materials include manuscript collections, ephemera, pamphlets, periodicals and newspapers, rare books, and noteworthy editions, as well as named collections of particular distinction. Special Collections also houses library materials that are particularly fragile. 

Existing Collection Strengths: Special Collections has extensive holdings of Texana, particularly of San Antonio history. Other areas of strength include American literature, archaeology, art and art history, fine printing, history of the book, Latin American history, Mesoamerican history, space exploration, and travel literature. Collections of note include the Claude & ZerNona Black Papers, the C.W. Miller Collection of Early Books and Manuscripts, the Oettinger Collection of Mesoamerican Resources, and the Beretta Texana Collections. 

Current Collecting Focuses: Special Collections seeks to support Trinity University’s mission as a transformational liberal arts and sciences university by collecting materials that can be used across the Pathways curriculum: through the Approaches to Creation and Analysis, Core Capacities, and the Majors. Special Collections actively seeks to increase its holdings of materials related to world cultures, women’s and gender studies, and twentieth-century history. As the curriculum evolves over time, Special Collections strives to identify new resources to support the demands of changing course offerings. 

University Archives: The University Archives document the intellectual, cultural, and organizational history of the university since its founding in 1869. Through official and non-official administrative and departmental records, faculty and alumni papers, records of alumni and student organizations, and university publications, this archive seeks to preserve the evolution of the institution, from the Tehuacana, Waxahachie, and Woodlawn campuses to the present. Records determined for permanent retention due to historical, evidential, and informational value are housed in the University Archives. The University Archivist also manages the capture of web pages, websites, and social media associated with Trinity. 

The types of materials the University Archives collects include, but are not limited to: 

– Reports, surveys, committee records, and minutes
– University publications, promotional materials, and catalogs
– Photographs, negatives, and slides
– Audio and video recordings
– Oral histories – Documentation of student life, including student organizations
– Archival records of departments, offices, and centers
– Architectural drawings
– Papers of faculty and alumni
– Serials, newspapers, and newsletters
– Books published by Trinity University Press
– Scrapbooks
– University websites, blogs, e-newsletters, and social media 

Existing Collecting Strengths: The University Archives has extensive records relating to the presidential tenures of Everett, Laurie, and Calgaard. The archives permanently retains Board of Trustee meeting minutes, official Course of Study Bulletins, and Trinity publications such as the Mirage yearbook(date range), the Trinitonian newspaper (date range), On Trinity Hill (date range), news releases, and the Trinity Magazine (date range). There is also a sizable amount of photo prints, negatives, and images from the university’s communications office. Records and papers of alumni and faculty include alumnus poet and playwright David Matias, alumnus and Board of Trustee member Walter Huntley, Professor Emeritus of Religion Dr. R. Douglas Brackenridge, Trinity University’s first tenured African American professor Dr. Earl M. Lewis, and Trinity’s Theater Department Director Paul Baker. 

Current Collecting Focuses: The University Archives actively seeks to collect materials from under-documented student organizations. The archives is interested in alumni materials that show institutional impact through life and career experiences. The archives is also focused on collecting material related Trinity connections with the San Antonio community. With very few exceptions, the University Archives is not interested in collecting personnel or student academic files, large Greek chapter composites, art, large objects such as banners, alumni yearbooks and artifacts such as beanies, and material to which access is restricted in perpetuity or for a period of time deemed by the University Archivist to be beyond a reasonable limitation.

Our full Collection Development Policy is available online

Statement on Culturally & Racially Insensitive Materials

Working with archival material requires us to acknowledge the past on a regular basis. Some archival materials may represent positions, cultural norms, and values that are no longer, or never were, acceptable. Individuals might come across insensitive and socially unacceptable descriptions and depictions within our older materials.

However, archives have a responsibility to maintain the historical integrity of the material and should serve as a means of accountability.

Similarly, there may be instances in which material has been described in an insensitive and socially unacceptable manner during acquisition or processing. Archival descriptions are not fixed documents and should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed. 

It is appropriate to bring problematic descriptions to the attention of the archivist or librarian if you feel comfortable doing so.

Take Down Policy

Trinity University makes available selected items online for education and research use only. We have tried to indicate what we know regarding copyright for our online collections. We are happy to hear from any rights owners so that we may obtain accurate information regarding the copyright of the items in our collection. Upon request, we can remove individual material from public view while we address any rights issues. If you have any questions you can contact Trinity University’s Special Collections and Archives by emailing us at or calling 210-999-7355

If you are interested in using items from our digital collections for any purpose other than education and research use, please note the following notice concerning copyright restrictions: 

Notice Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

General Assistance:
You may email us at or call us at 210.999.7355

University Archivist, Abra Schnur

Special Collections Librarian, Colleen Hoelscher

Archives Assistant, Rebeka Delgado