UT Arlington Library's Special Collections serves as the repository for one of the most comprehensive archives relating to the U.S. - Mexico War in either the United States or Mexico. The core of these holdings was acquired by Fort Worth attorney Jenkins Garrett, who in 1973 donated to UT Arlington his collection of more than 10,000 discrete items on Texas and the war with Mexico, including broadsides, sheet music, manuscripts, maps and graphic materials. In 1995, Garrett and Special Collections librarian Kit Goodwin compiled a bibliography of the collection entitled The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848: A Bibliography of the Holdings of the Libraries. Garrett continued to add to the collection until his death in 2010. The UT Arlington Library is continuing to expand these holdings.
The UT Arlington Library has a collection of 536 broadsides, the majority of which were produced in Mexico during the war years. The use of broadsides was the preferred means of disseminating political news and official information in Mexico during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Printed in large numbers and posted in public places where they could be read by as many people as possible, broadsides were common in areas that lacked access to more conventional forms of print media. These official communiqués cover a wide range of topics, including government accounts of the latest war news; decrees and pronunciamentos by state and federal officials on such matters as the conscription of troops in Mexican states; the levying of taxes on various forms of property to pay for the war effort, etc. The U.S. army also relied on broadsides to convey information to the Mexican people during its occupation of the country, which cover such topics as appeals to the Mexican populace to lay down its arms, warnings to U.S. recruits not to take advantage of the local populace, monetary rewards for information leading to the capture of Mexicans conducting guerilla operations against U.S. forces, etc.
There are 142 separate items of graphic materials in the Garrett Collection depicting the major events and key figures of the U.S. - Mexico War. These include lithographs, etchings, photogravure, photo-offsets, engravings, and other printed matter.
The Garrett Collection also includes an excellent archive of 85 separate pieces of sheet music published in the United States during the years 1846-1848. Written primarily for the piano forte, these materials include marches, quadrilles, waltzes, and ballads. Much of this music was intended for a nationwide audience, composed to capitalize on public interest in the war, often celebrating specific events (e.g. U.S. victories) and the achievements of major military figures. Some pieces were intended for a much narrower (usually regional) audience, composed to celebrate the service or the return stateside of specific volunteer regiments.
The collection includes 80 maps relating to the conflict with Mexico, depicting battlefield and military operations, as well as maps that deal with territorial boundary issues after the war. The collection includes lithographs published in Washington by the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, as well as sketches composed in the field by engineers during the U.S. campaigns.
UT Arlington's Special Collections has fifty manuscript collections relating to the U.S. - Mexico War, including diaries, letters, and journals of U.S. soldiers serving in Mexico. Particularly noteworthy are the family papers of George Wilkins Kendall, editor of the New Orleans Daily Picayune, widely regarded as the first American war correspondent.
Among the holdings of the Garrett Collection are official documents relating to the war issued by the U.S. federal government and various state governments. These include independently printed congressional speeches on the war; petitions to state legislatures for veterans' pensions, etc. The collection also has more than 150 General Orders issued by the War Department, dealing with a wide range of issues, such as the recruitment of volunteers; clothing and equipage of U.S. troops; camp regulations and decrees detailing punishments for various military infractions; courts of inquiry and courts martial; rules governing the occupation of Mexico City, etc.
The UT Arlington Library's periodical holdings include sixty-three newspapers published in the United States and Mexico during the mid to late 1840s. These include daily newspapers in major urban centers, such as El Siglo Diez y Nueve and Diario del Gobierno; the Niles National Register and the New York Herald; illustrated "mammoth" weeklies popular in the United States during this period; and newspapers published during the conflict by the U.S. army, such as the American Star, which was published tri-weekly in English and Spanish during the occupation of Mexico City.
Addresses, Sermons and Memorials
The collections include approximately 70 public addresses from private citizens relating to the war, including numerous antiwar sermons delivered by Congregational ministers in the Northeast.