Southwestern University’s Special Collections received a rare collection, the Michael Reed papers, as a gift from Reed descendants and Southwestern alumni, ​Will Reed ’75 and J.P. Reed​ ’79.  The papers are a significant addition of vital information about the Robertson Colony, a competitor with and contemporary of Austin’s colony, and add a great deal of economic and Texas history depth to the current collections.

The collection, consisting of 204 documents, date from 1818 and continue through to 1932. The papers focus on the Reed family, which moved to Texas in the early 1830s. In particular, the papers deal with the financial affairs of Michael Reed, and the legal affairs of his estate. Included in the papers are the receipt of application for a land grant in the Nashville colony, a competitor to Austin’s colony, a notable document itself. Documents related to the Robertson Colony are not widely publicly available.

“The breadth of these papers will make them of great interest to not only scholars of Texas History, but also scholars of economic and Civil War history,” said Dr. Ron Tyler, former Director of the Texas State Historical Association and former Director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. “It’s an important collection, and one that adds to Southwestern’s strong holdings of Texas related materials.”

The papers will also add depth to the resources Southwestern has available for students and researchers to use in classes and research. As unique documents, they will be digitized and posted online so that scholars worldwide can utilize them. They are also available to individuals interested in reading them.

Special Collections

Special Collections at Southwestern holds books, manuscripts, and objects of historical and scholarly value that support teaching and research by students, faculty, and the wider public. The department holds more than 13,000 rare books and over 1400 linear feet of archival manuscripts. Texas History, the history of Southwestern University and her root colleges, the life and work of J. Frank Dobie, and the professional papers of Senator John G. Tower are some of the strengths of the department. Materials in Special Collections can be identified by using the WorldCat Local catalog and through the use of databases in the department. We welcome all who want to see or use our materials. For more information, including hours, please visit Special Collections’ website at