Former first lady Laura Bush was in Austin Thursday to help celebrate a new "literary landmark" designation for the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building.
"The archives provide a window into Texas history that historians and readers alike are thrilled with," Mrs. Bush said during a brief ceremony on the steps of the archives. "By protecting and preserving Texas historical treasures, you ensure that future generations not only remember the Alamo, but they can learn about it from first-hand accounts."
The new designation comes from the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, which earlier named three other Texas buildings as literary landmarks. They are the O. Henry House and Museum in Austin, the Menger Hotel in San Antonio and the Katherine Anne Porter home in Kyle.
"What it is intended to signify is that there are famous authors of note who have used our collection to do research, and out of that has come some of the best literature in the country," said Peggy Rudd, state librarian.
The archives were specifically honored for research done there by nationally known writers James Michener and Walter Prescott Webb, and graphic illustrator Jack "Jason" Jackson. All three based much of their work on Texas on historical documents house in the archives.
The archives houses documents dating back to the 18th century, including the 1876 Texas Constitution; William B. Travis' letter from the Alamo; and the Texas Declaration of Independence.
The building is undergoing a $15.5 million renovation that is expected to be complete in spring 2010.