Control of priceless items of Alamo historical artifacts at issue

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Maintaining its control of 38,000 historic items, many of them rare and priceless, housed within the Alamo Research Center led  the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to seek a temporary restraining order against the state’s General Land Office.

The TRO was granted allowing a handful of DRT staff who’d been locked out Monday, to remain at the library for now.

The DRT had just terminated an earlier agreement regarding the library’s operation, with the GLO.

A court hearing is now scheduled Sept. 4.

“They’re going to do their due diligence and their duty to this collection that is rightfully theirs,” said Leslie Stapleton, director of DRT Library.

After 110 years as custodians of the Alamo, the Texas Legislature stripped the DRT of its lengthy responsibility for a variety of reasons including “failure to maintain and operate the Alamo complex in a good and prudent manner” and “failure to keep the Alamo in good order and repair.”

Before those findings, the Texas Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation.

When the time came for the transition in March, both sides agreed to work together.

“But this collection was absolutely given to the Daughters and is their property and they’re going to fight for it,” Stapleton said.

She said donors turned over valued pieces of Alamo and Texas history or made contributions to acquire them.

However, Stapleton said she believes the collection would be in jeopardy if the DRT no longer has control.

She said for example, there is concern that a planned expansion would not do enough to protect those items.

“Little things like that show me that the security of the collection, the safety of the collection is not the number one priority,” Stapleton said.

She said the DRT is in preliminary talks with Texas A&M San Antonio about possibly housing the collection there.

Stapleton said, “A&M is a young university and they just opened their special collections and they’re interested.”