AUSTIN — Santa Claus isn't widely known for his important role in Texas history, but no one else is doing more than him to help save it. Christmas map sales are now the biggest annual fundraiser for the conservation of historic maps and documents in the archives of the Texas General Land Office.
"Santa is literally helping to Save Texas History," said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. "Texans waking up to find a reproduction of a historic map in their stocking not only know they have a great gift, but they know they are helping to preserve some important piece of our state's legacy."
Historic map reproductions from the General Land Office archives are available for as little as $20. The colorful maps are rich with historic details such as old forts, Spanish missions, land grants and roads to colonies and settlements. Suitable for framing, they can be purchased securely online and delivered to your doorstep. Best of all, proceeds from map sales go directly toward the preservation of other historic maps and documents that tell the tale of Texas. Donations made to Save Texas History are tax deductible.
Patterson began the annual holiday season map sales push in 2004. Map sales each year since have broken records. This means more maps and other historical documents will be preserved, digitized and made available online for historians worldwide to use with the click of a mouse. Purchasing a map is easy and they make great gifts for home, office or classroom. The collection can be viewed by logging on to www.savetexashistory.org.
Maps ordered before Monday, Dec. 19th can be shipped in time for Christmas Eve delivery. Orders can be purchased online or called in directly to the Archives and Records Division of the Land Office at 1-800-998-4GLO (4456). Maps may be purchased as late as December 22nd by walking into the General Land Office in Austin at 1700 N. Congress Ave.
The Save Texas History Program is a unique campaign that brings together private and government efforts to preserve the 35 million maps and documents at the Texas General Land Office. The maps, land grants, surveys and field notes - the very documents that trace the creation of modern-day Texas - include Stephen F. Austin's original Spanish field notes and records bearing the signatures of Alamo defenders Jim Bowie, William Barret Travis and Juan Seguin. Also at the Land Office is a document granting 1,280 acres to the heirs of Davy Crockett.
After items are conserved, they are digitally preserved and made available to the public via the Internet. The Digital Preservation Project of the Save Texas History Program has been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission for its monumental effort to digitally preserve these historic treasures.
"It is our goal to scan and digitize all 35 million documents housed in our archives," Patterson said. "This is a weighty task, and when completed, will be unparalleled by any other historic preservation initiative in Texas. I am proud to lead this initiative and I hope all Texans will join this effort."
To search for maps, place orders, or make a monetary donation to the Save Texas History Program, visit www.savetexashistory.org or call the GLO toll-free at 1-800-998-4GLO.