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Thomas W. Streeter papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-1312

Scope and Contents

The Thomas W. Streeter Papers document the compilation of his Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955, 1956, 1960). Although the collection spans the dates 1861-1980, the bulk of the material falls in the period 1927-59, when Streeter was working on the bibliography. Thomas Streeter donated this Texana research material to Yale University.

The Streeter Papers are arranged in four series. Series I, Research Files for the Bibliography of Texas, is divided into a general subseries and a subseries for each of the three parts of the bibliography. Series II, Preliminary Entries and Drafts, has a parallel arrangement. Photoreproductions, Series III, contains copies of nineteenth-century material concerning Texas. Series IV, Background Material, is composed of six sections: Correspondence, General Subject Files, Files Given by Henry Raup Wagner, Files Given by Earl Vandale, Texas Maps, and Texas.

After 1845 Series V, Printer's Proofs for Part III, contains the galleys and page proofs of the final part of Bibliography of Texas. As far as possible, the arrangement of the papers preserves Streeter's organization of his files. In Series II, however, an artificial order has been imposed.

Research Files for the Bibliography of Texas (Boxes 1-12) are divided into four subseries: General Subject Files; Part I: Texas Imprints; Part II: Mexican Imprints; and Part III: United States and European Imprints.

General Subject Files contain Streeter's earliest notes on his Texas bibliography project. This includes checklists of Texas material found at Yale and other libraries, or noted in bibliographies such as Sabin. Streeter's thoughts on the style and organization of the Bibliography of Texas can be found in Box 1, folders 1 and 1.8. Bibliographic entries for imprints omitted from the final printed work are also found in this section. These entries, typed on small looseleaf pages, are in the form of bibliographic notation Streeter, used and similar specimens can be found throughout the collection.

Part I is composed of Subject Files, Location Research, and Newspaper Research. For Part II there are only Subject Files, although Part III has both Subject Files and Location Research. The subject files consist of correspondence, memoranda, lists, draft bibliographic entries, transcripts, articles, and clippings. Files may relate to a specific item in the bibliography, such as Kenneth Anderson's Circular (item no. 431) or to a group of items, such as Texas laws. The correspondence usually discusses the provenance of various imprints, sometimes documenting Streeter's own collecting. Photoreproductions and transcripts were used as a basis for bibliographic entries and notes. There is biographical data in the subject files of Series I on the authors represented in Bibliography of Texas.

Much of the material in the Part I Subject Files relates to the history of printing in Texas. For his essay "A Brief Sketch of Printing in Texas through 1845" in Part I of Bibliography of Texas, Streeter collected material on printing in various Texas towns (see Box 1B, folders 35-40, 42-45). He also gathered material on individual firms, such as the accounts of Baker & Borden, and discussed early printers with J. C. Wylie (see Boxes 1A-1B, folder 3, 42-45). The second section of Part I, Newspaper Research, also documents the history of printing. Other material concerning this subject can be found in Series IV, Files Given by Henry Raup Wagner and General Subject Files and in the correspondence of E. W. Winkler and Douglas C. McMurtie (See Box 67, 69-70, folders 590, 622-645).

The Location Research for Part I consists of correspondence with twenty to thirty institutions concerning the ownership of several items cited in the bibliography. This material is not as extensive as the location research for Part III.

Series I, Part I, Newspaper Research, contains the background data for Appendix A of Part I, volume II of Bibliography of Texas. Newspaper Research is divided into General Notes, Bibliographic Information on Texas Newspapers, Newspapers known only by Indirect Reference, and Location Research. The General Notes document the research process Streeter and Margaret McLean followed. Bibliographic Information on Texas Newspapers is arranged alphabetically by place of publication; within each city, newspapers are listed alphabetically by title. For almost every newspaper there are three lists: references to the newspaper and notes from publishing prospectuses, information on the holdings of Texas libraries, and a "Master Sheet" bringing together all publication and copy information. Streeter also collected citations to newspapers for which no copies could be found and verified existing issues through correspondence which can be found in Location Research.

Series I, Part II, Subject Files focus on government imprints concerning Coahuila and Texas. Streeter compiled lists of decrees by analyzing early anthologies of government publications, such as Arrilaga and Dublan.

Texas maps are well documented in Series I, Part III, Subject Files (Boxes 7A, 8-9, folders 189.1-189.7, 219, 223-228). More information can be found in the subseries of Series IV, Files Given by Henry Raup Wagner, Texas Maps, and Texas After 1845.

The second section of Series I, Part III is Location Research for the items listed in United States and European Imprints. These files are similar to the newspaper location material, since Streeter was contacting the same institutions, but far more extensive. The correspondence follows a general pattern. Streeter wrote library directors requesting names of people who could check the institution's holdings against his lists. He then communicated directly with the individual. Finding lists, used by the checkers to note locations, accompany the correspondence.

Series II, Preliminary Entries and Drafts (Boxes 13-61), contains looseleaf notebooks documenting the growth of the Bibliography of Texas. These notebooks are divided into the three groups reflecting the divisions of the bibliography, Texas Imprints, Mexican Imprints, and United States and European Imprints. The volumes are arranged to represent the order of production. Within each part, pre-draft notes, preliminary checklists, and special information generally come first, followed by full drafts. Most of the notebooks are heavily annotated in more than one hand. Streeter often made carbon copies of drafts and any notes made in one set were usually transferred to others. This makes it difficult to ascertain the function of any one set of notebooks or its relation to other sets. Dating the notebooks also poses a problem. Annotations are often dated, showing when an entry was first made, revised, or omitted; date of purchase, and other provenance information are sometimes given. The plethora of dates and the fact that the notebooks took years to compose make precise dating impossible. Finally, a notebook of Winkler's research (see Box 13, folder 318) suggests that Streeter began his bibliography with a different structure: Part I--Texas Imprints, Part II--Material about Texas but printed elsewhere, and Part III--Mexican Imprints . This accounts for volumes labeled "Part III" being placed with material for Part II.

Series II, Part I: Texas Imprints contains Margaret McLean's research on public printing in the Texas State Library and the University of Texas. Streeter also benefited from notes on Texas material at Yale taken by E. W. Winkler in 1929 and updated by Elizabeth Greene in 1939. Winkler and Greene are both mentioned in the annotations of the first draft, "Preliminary Entries" (see Boxes 15-19, folders 321-329). Following this draft is a set of notebooks with only the explanatory notes. There is another draft for each of these sets.

Series II, Part II: Mexican Imprints contains a number of preliminary "checklists." Much of the early work was done by Henry Raup Wagner, Winkler, and Greene. As in Part I, there are notebooks containing entries that were omitted from the printed bibliography. Only one full draft of this section can be found in the collection, but there are "Location Reports" from Texas by Margaret McLean which are similar to the full draft.

Series II, Part III: United States and European Imprints, has few preliminary notes, although there are several variations of the pre-print drafts. The first two drafts, "Preliminary Entries" and "Printer's Copy," are followed by two sets of notebooks containing the explanatory notes. Separate carbon copies of both bibliographic entries and the notes follow. Possibly the carbon sets were used for location purposes, since in one set the bibliographic entries are arranged alphabetically. Such an arrangement would facilitate checking against a library's catalog. The last set of notebooks consists of cross-references.

Series III, Photoreproductions (Boxes 62-66) contains copies of imprints or title pages that were cited in, or considered for, the bibliography. These have been arranged by Streeter's numbering system, or in the case of omitted items, by date of publication. Streeter annotated these copies for locations and bibliographic information. Yale has added to Streeter's set of copies (See, for example, Box 63, folder 444).

Series IV, Background Material , (Boxes 66a-83) is similar to Series I, but has a broader scope than the Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845. Series IV is comprised of correspondence, lists, notes, photoreproductions, typescripts, articles, and clippings. Correspondence is divided into Individuals, including collectors, librarians, and researchers, and Institutions, a combination of libraries and dealers. Streeter discussed his own and other Texas collections, exchanged news on figures in the field of Texana, provided information to libraries and researchers, and asked for help on various topics related to his Texas bibliography. Within the correspondence files for Texas State Library and University of Texas Library are agreements to exchange items with Streeter. Both the individual and institutional correspondences include documentation regarding the location of items cited in The Bibliography of Texas (see Albert Allen, John E. Harrison, and most of the library files).

General Subject Files, arranged alphabetically, contains further information on Streeter's published bibliography. The first folder of this section, "Streeter's organization of his files," provides an insight into the changing arrangement of his research material. There is information on Streeter's acquisition of major Texas collections and on Texana exhibitions which borrowed from his collection. Texas Maps has research material used in shaping Bibliography of Texas. Elizabeth Greene was responsible for some of these notes. Texas Maps and Texas After 1845 contain draft bibliographies that are similar in format to those in Series II. Bound in black looseleaf notebooks, these lists are annotated to indicate the source of entries and location information. Frequent references to Winkler show a dependence on his early work in the field. Texas After 1845 contains two substantial bibliographies of material outside the range of Bibliography of Texas, "Texas Biography, Autobiography, Poetry and Fiction, 1846" and "Texas Catalog, 1846-1955." In preparing "Texas Catalog", which lists post-1845 imprints, Streeter made use of Wagner's heavily annotated copy of Raines's Bibliography of Texas (see the Henry Raup Wagner Papers, Yale Collection of Western Americana).

Series V, Printer's Proofs for Part III , arranged chronologically, houses galleys and page proofs with minor corrections. The initials of Howell J. Heaney and Esther Behnke appear on the various proofs.

Streeter and Scholars of Western Bibliography

The Thomas W. Streeter Papers document more than the compilation of the Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845. Because Streeter turned to many scholars and librarians for help, the collection has information on many leading figures in western bibliography.

Elizabeth E. Greene, Streeter's personal librarian from 1936-47, was involved at every stage of the research, one of her main specialities being Texas maps. Malcolm D. McLean, librarian and language professor at the University of Texas at Austin from 1946-51, corresponded with Streeter on a variety of subjects. His notes on printing in Texas and the Convention of 1836 can be found in Series I, Part I, Subject Files, while his correspondence with Streeter regarding newspapers is housed in Series I, Part I, Newspaper Research. Additional material can be found in Series IV, Correspondence. His expertise was particularly helpful to Streeter for the research on the decrees of Coahuila and Texas and the Diario del Gobierno de la Republica Mexicana 1836-45 (see Series I, Part II, Subject Files, and Series IV, Correspondence). Margaret S. McLean, Streeter's main researcher at the Texas State Library and University of Texas at Austin, probably did most of the location work for Texas newspapers (see Series I, Part I, Newspaper Research). McLean did similar research for all three parts of Bibliography of Texas, and many of her reports can be found in Series II. Carlos Eduardo Castañeda, a librarian and history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, gave Streeter his notes on Mexican imprints and corresponded on the topic (see Box 7, folder 183, Box 65, folders 554-60). Howell J. Heaney, who was Streeter's private librarian from 1947-55, researched and helped draft Appendix A of Part III, "Speeches on Texas in the Congress of the United States, 1836-1845" and proofread the galleys of Part III (see Series I, Part III , Series IV, Correspondence, and Series V). Streeter maintained friendships with other private collectors such as Edward Wallace, Clarence Wharton, and Earl Vandale, who not only wrote Streeter but also sent him transcripts of Texas imprints (see Series IV). Streeter's correspondence with Eugene Barker discusses historical figures such as Sam Houston and the Austins. E. W. Winkler, bibliographer at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1930s, contributed notes on printing in Texas, Henri Castro, and many other topics (see Box 1A-2, 7, folder 3, 12-17, 41, 49, 191-92). His correspondence with Streeter covering the period 1927-52 touches on every topic relating to Texas bibliography. Winkler's work can be found throughout this collection, but particularly in Series II. In addition to these people, there are librarians whom Streeter consulted regularly. The letters of Llarena Friend and Winnie Allen (University of Texas at Austin), Archibald Hanna (Yale University), Alice H. Lerch (Rare Book Room, Library of Congress), and Robert W. G. Vail (New York Historical Society) can be found throughout Series I, in the Subject Files, in the location correspondence of Part I and Part III, and in Series IV.

The restricted fragile papers in Box 91 consist of originals for which preservation photocopies have been made.

Other information on Streeter's Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845 and his long relationship with Yale can be found in the archives of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Library. To view this material contact the curator.


  • 1861 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1927 - 1959


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 91: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Thomas W. Streeter Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Thomas W. Streeter.


34 Linear Feet (95 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers contain Streeter's research notes, drafts, and proofs for his three volume Bibliography of Texas.


Thomas Winthrop Streeter was educated at Dartmouth College (1904) and Harvard Law School (1907). Beginning his career as a lawyer in Boston, Streeter soon moved into the business world, becoming involved with oil companies in Mexico. In 1917 he became treasurer, and later vice-president, of the American International Corporation. Streeter held other executive positions in the business and financial worlds until his retirement in 1939.

After 1939 Streeter devoted his time to book collecting and bibliography. He was interested in early Americana and specializied in Texana, amassing a collection which was second only to that of the University of Texas. From his years of experience Streeter compiled the five volume Bibliography of Texas 1795-1845, published in three parts. In 1957, he sold his Texas collection to Yale University, transferring the material in lots as he completed work on his bibliography. Streeter was associated with many libraries, such as the Huntington Library, the Grolier Club, and the New-York Historical Society. During the 1940s and 1950s he served as president of the Bibliographical Society of America and of the American Antiquarian Society.

Thomas Streeter married Ruth Cheney in 1917 and had four children. He died in 1965 in his hometown, Morristown, New Jersey.

Guide to the Thomas W. Streeter Papers
Under Revision
by Susie R. Bock
January 1988
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.