William B. Travis' 'Victory or Death' letter returned to Alamo

Travis' famous letter to make historic trip

SAN ANTONIO - The famous "Victory or Death" letter written by Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis on Feb. 24, 1836, will make a historic return to The Alamo.

"It is a Texas treasure. It is the Mona Lisa of Texas," said Michael Waters, with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

In a vote of 6-1, TSLAC approved the letter's return Wednesday.

"This will be the most significant return in Texas history," said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Patterson has been pushing for the return since this summer.

But this homecoming will not be a permanent one.

The letter, in which Travis vows never to surrender, will only be on display at the Alamo from Feb. 23 through March 6 to coincide with the 177th anniversary of the siege by Santa Anna's men.

Some Alamo visitors who spoke to KSAT 12 were surprised to hear it doesn't live at the Alamo year-round.

"To be honest, I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't live here permanently," said Shannon Greene.

"I think if this is where it originates, then it seems this is probably where it belongs," added Martin Sharp, who was visiting from Albuquerque.

The letter is permanently housed at the Texas State Library.

Due to its fragile condition, a fine arts shipper will transport the letter to the Alamo City.

"The ink is faded; the paper is thin. It's actually ripped in two or three places," said Waters.

The Department of Public Safety will even provide a security escort for the trip.

Of course, there is the question of cost. Patterson is now trying to raise $100,000 to facilitate the trip and display.

That amount also covers some what the Texas General Land Office calls "educational outreach" -- things like history programming in schools and also printing up copies of Travis' letter that visitors can take home for free during its display.


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