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Blume Library: Special Collections

Description and Collections

Special Collections is a limited access area available by appointment only. It is located on the 3rd Floor of the Blume Library. The collection includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

University Archives

Materials generated by St. Mary's University throughout its history. Materials include, but are not limited to, University publications, yearbooks, meeting minutes, and photographs.

The Spanish Archives of Laredo

See the Portal to Texas History for online access to the Spanish Archives of Laredo collection and indexes.

The Spanish Archives of Laredo, informally called the Laredo Archives, cover a period from 1749 to 1872 and consist of 3,452 handwritten official documents totaling 13,343 pages. Although the first document is dated 1749, the bulk of the collection begins in 1768. The Spanish papers in the archives contain records of boundary surveys; land allotments; Indian raids; church, school, and social development; royal decrees and edicts; local laws and ordinances; civil and criminal litigation; census, tax, and trade statistics; and wills and estate settlements. The documents of the Laredo archives are in chronological order.  The documents range in size from a portion of a page to many pages. 

Brother Robert D. Wood created seven indexes that listed the microfilm and file location, date and contents of the Archives and serve as the main finding aids for this collection.  Many of these indexes also include some translation (from Spanish into English) of the documents. Print copies are located in the Blume Library.

Felix D. Almaraz Collection

 Dr. Felix D. Almaraz, St. Mary's graduate (1959, 1962) and internationally known historian has donated his personal papers, lectures, speeches, articles and book manuscripts to the Special Collections of the Louis J. Blume library.

Colonel Martin L. Crimmins Collection

Col. Crimmins (1874-1955), a member of the U.S. Army from 1898 to 1926, was a Roosevelt Rough Rider, traveler, herpetologist and military historian. He had more than 200 articles published. The collection includes letters, military papers, articles he wrote, fort plans and valuable information on many forts, particularly in the southwest. There is also a large collection of maps and plans. See the link for a detailed list.

The Mathematics Collection

Originates from a school maintained by the Society of Mary at the University of Fribourg and includes approximately 250 nineteenth century imprints. Most of these items are in the French language.

The Military Collection

Contains about 200 titles on the history and art of war on land and sea, on tactics, strategy, training maneuvers, infantry, cavalry and other special services. Another 200 books cover the history of the Peninsular War, 1807-1814. Also includes books on other wars of the nineteenth century. Gifts of Charles Gruzevski and Colonel Martin L. Crimmins.

The Pola Negri Collection

Includes personal and family papers, photos (many in albums), religious items, political items, albums of newspaper and press clippings, film festivals, awards received, video tapes of several of her movies, her personal record (music) collection and some books. There is no personal correspondence except fan mail.

Old Spanish Trail Association

Records, clippings, brochures and correspondence, kept by two of the Association's leaders, Mr. Harral Ayres and Mrs. Henry Drought, documenting the plans for the highway that connects Texas with both eastern and western states, preserving the relics and ruins of five great missionary centers: San Augustine, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, and San Diego. The plans began circa 1912 and continued into the 1930s.

Vance Papers

Extensive collection of materials on Henri Castro and his colonists. Includes 12 of the 27 shipping lists recorded by Henri Castro and copies of many of the Medina County Court records from 1844 to 1898. Named for the donors, Frank X. Vance and Dorothy Lobitz Vance of Castroville.

Most of these collections are not described in the Library Catalog. Please contact Jill Crane or the library office at 210-436-3441 for more information.

Questions? Ask Us


Research Librarians

Special Collections Hours

Access by Appointment Only.


Jill Crane
210-431-2299 x1314

Records Transfer Form

Digital Collections