Name: Historical Collection (University of North Texas)



Historical Note:

Dr. Joseph Lyman Kingsbury, a member of the History faculty, founded a museum on campus 1925 “In the two and one half years that I have been engaged in this work the Historical Collections have grown from a few hundred items to about seven thousand and we are now occupying three rooms of the third floor of the Library building of the Teacher’s College….It is the ambition of both President Marquis and myself to make the Historical Collections the largest in the United States…We are determined to make a collection that shall be comprehensive.”[ a letter from Dr. Kingsbury to Mr. Dick Chapman, 1928-11-01]

            “In the spring of 1925, the students of the Criddle Society voted to sponsor a museum in memory of E. D. Criddle, the history department head who had just died.  The first few exhibits were quartered in the history offices in the Administration Building [now the Auditorium Building]. A year later the Board of Regents named Dr. J. L. Kingsbury of the history faculty a curator of the Historical Collection, which was given one room on the third floor of the Library Building [now known as Curry Hall].  Two ore rooms had been taken over by 1929.  In March 1930 the legislature designated the college museum as a State Historical Collection.  Dr. Kingsbury by 1931 had developed a collection of manuscripts and documents, arms and weapons from 1840 through the World War, articles representing American economic and industrial development, foreign items, and archives of the college.” [The Story of North Texas, James Rogers, p174]

            Eventually the Historical Collection would be moved down stairs and take over all the rooms on the first floor.  The museum had a large collections of firearms, dolls, blue glass, and ethnographic artifacts.  It was closed in 1986. Part of the collection went to the Layland Museum in Cleburne, Texas.  Artifacts that had been placed on loan to the museum were returned or became the property of the state. Some of the artifacts remain in the collection of Special Collections.



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