Daniel E. Kilgore Reading Room Honors Memory of Historian Who Donated Extensive Collection of Rare Texana Materials

Published: March 08, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi honored the memory and contributions of one of the state’s most avid lay historians on Feb. 29 with the dedication of the Daniel E. Kilgore Reading Room in the Special Collections and Archives Section on the second floor of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library.

Kilgore, a certified public accountant by profession, devoted many years to documenting the history of Texas and the Coastal Bend. The Kilgore Collection in the Mary and Jeff Bell library, which consists of around 12,000 books and other printed materials, represents one of the best resources available in South Texas for research on state and local history.

Following his death in 1995, Carol Kilgore established the Daniel E. and Carol Kilgore Endowment for Texana. The endowment provides Special Collection and Archives with a perpetual fund to acquire rare Texana and related subject materials.

“Dan Kilgore was one of those patrons whose generous contributions to the University bring Texas history alive,” said University President Flavius Killebrew. “From the time he arrived in Corpus Christi in 1946 until his death in 1995, the materials he collected on events that shaped Texas have provided an invaluable window into our state’s history. Today the Kilgore collection is the centerpiece of the department’s holdings, and thanks to Mrs. Kilgore, it will continue to grow and develop as an important historical and educational resource.”

In addition to collecting Texas history literature, Kilgore also produced it. He authored numerous books and reviews, and wrote articles for local newspapers. For his literary contributions, he was made a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and an honorary member of the Former Texas Rangers Association. In 1984, Kilgore transferred his collection to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (then Corpus Christi State University) where it became part of the Library's Special Collections and Archives. He served as the department's Texana bibliographer ex officio until his death.

“Dan was proud of his collection and he remained close to it,” said Dr. Thomas Kreneck, associate director for Special Collections and Archives. “For Dan, Texana, whether books, historic maps, broadsides, or other printed items, were not simply sources of information. They were expressions of our culture, things to be treasured for their intrinsic value. The Kilgore Collection serves as Dan's lasting contribution to Texas education.”