November is the month of Thanksgiving, and the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation Library would like to express gratitude to the Summerlee Foundation and Humanities Texas for two timely grants.

Both organizations provided critical financial assistance after COVID forced the cancellation the Society’s major Fiesta fundraiser, A Night In Old San Antonio®. Our research library normally relies on NIOSA® funds to operate, providing the public with research assistance and access to materials that document San Antonio’s vibrant heritage and irreplaceable historic sites.  We benefitted from a $15,000 emergency operating funds grant from the Summerlee Foundation and a $10,000 Relief Grant from Humanities Texas using NEH funds, which have helped keep the librarian on staff.

During the spring closure, we added to our online offerings by starting a “Website of the Month” feature to highlight outstanding Internet resources for regional history.  When the stay-at-home orders lifted in May, the library reopened on an appointment-only basis with health precautions in place. Soon, a steady stream of property owners, tour guides, preservation professionals, students and other researchers began arriving in-person to confirm build dates and discover site histories.

Highlights of the summer included collaborating with the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum on a video countdown to Juneteenth and contributing an article to The National Standard about the historic Woolworth Building, an endangered Civil Rights landmark in Alamo Plaza.  We also made photos in our “La Chata” collection available to the Museo del Westside for their first online exhibit, “Women and Activism on the Westside” (see Beatriz Escalona).

A sincere “thank you” to both Humanities Texas and the Summerlee Foundation for helping keep the library open as a community resource!

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