The Archives of the Big Bend is proud to share the news of three new collections available for viewing and research starting in the Spring of 2024.
Over the last several months, the Archives acquired three sizeable donations, including Fort Davis National Historic Site’s entire microfilm collection, the John Gage Ketzle Collection and the Don Burgess Collection.
The Fort Davis National Historic Site donated almost 300 rolls of microfilm from their library. These include thousands of records, including census records from 1850-1930, military journals and reports, correspondence, registers of enlistment, muster rolls, inventory and supply records and medical records. Items of note are the papers and scrapbooks of Dr. John Vance Lauderdale (1838-1931), the extensive correspondence and personal papers of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson (1826–1911), and records documenting the service of Lt. Henry O. Flipper (1856 –1940) and other Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Fort Davis.
“We are especially grateful for the efforts of FDNHS volunteer Al Gonzales who generously donated his time and efforts safely storing and transporting the collection to its new home,” said Archivist Victoria Contreras.
The John Gage Ketzle Collection was generously donated by his son, Dale Ketzle. It consists of 179 Kodachrome transparency slides depicting the stunning landscape, flora and fauna of Big Bend National Park in its infancy. John G. Ketzle was one of the park’s first surveyors and he took stunning photographs of the park, survey work and his family until his death in 1953.
The Don Burgess Collection has been years in the making. Burgess treasured his childhood in Alpine, was a proud Alpine High School Buck, and dreamed of having his life’s work housed in the same repository as his father’s famous photographs. Thanks to the efforts of his family, especially Dr. Lisa Maria Burgess Noudehou and Bryan Burgess, Don Burgess’ lifetime of photographs, research and publications dealing with the Rarámuri (a.k.a. Tarahumara) people of Chihuahua have found their new home alongside his father’s (Glenn Burgess) long-standing photography collection in the Archives of the Big Bend.
This collection includes his Alpine High School memorabilia, thousands of photographs from the 1950s through his last visit in 2021, artwork, maps, oral histories, Burgess’s research and manuscripts for his many books on the indigenous people and their language, and the most comprehensive tri-lingual library of books, articles, short stories and folklore of or by the Rarámuri dating back to 1900.
“These collections are a goldmine of beauty and knowledge for visitors and researchers of all fields, especially history, anthropology, geology, biology and photography,” said Contreras.
All three collections are in the early stages of processing. Contact Contreras at email@example.com or 432-8378388 for more information on the collections and to schedule time to view the materials.
Photo: “Urique Canyon Tarahumara woman” by Don Burgess (2012). Image courtesy of the Don Burgess Collection, Archives of the Big Bend, Sul Ross State University.