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Robert Bruce Blake Papers

Identifier: A-0007

Scope and Contents

The first three boxes of the collection consist of typescripts and carbon copies mostly duplicates of material found in the R. B. Blake Collection of 93 bound volumes in the East Texas Research Center. In some cases the original documents from which the typescripts were made are in other collections in this Department. Box 4 contains correspondence of Blake, L. W. Kemp, Lota M. Spell, Webb Roberts, John V. Singletary, W. Us Perkins, Addie Birdwell, Paul J. Folk, Lewis J. Wilson, and O. A. Zunwalt (Mayor of Columbus, TX). Most of the letters concern Texas history and the placement of historical markers in Nacogdoches and other East Texas counties for the Texas Centennial. Biographical data on Nacogdoches County citizens, and genealogical materials on the Brewer Family (compiled by Addie Birdwell), are included in the correspondence.


  • Creation: 1791-1938
  • Event: Donated in 1938


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Robert Bruce Blake, historian and compiler of Spanish and Mexican Texas documents, was born in Moscow, Texas, on September 21, 1877, the third child of Robert Bruce and Sarah (Pratt) Blake. While he was still an infant his father purchased a weekly newspaper, the News Boy, in Jasper, and moved his family there. As a youth Blake helped his father in the newspaper office. He later owned and published the News Boy for many years. On December 21, 1921, he married Belle Patten, with whom he had one son. The family moved in 1925 to Nacogdoches, where Blake took up a position as court reporter and county clerk. He developed a deep interest in the history of the area of Spanish and Mexican Texas, bordered by San Antonio on the west and Nacogdoches on the east, and dedicated himself to preparing a definitive documentary of that area. Over the course of the next three decades Blake translated and transcribed an enormous number of documents from the Nacogdoches and Bexar archivesqqv and various family collections. The documents, spanning the period from 1744 to 1837, included not only letters, financial records, censuses, muster rolls, family papers, and proclamations, but also a wide array of legal papers–jury verdicts, subpoenas, petitions, affidavits, summonses, bills of slave sales, orders, records of civil and criminal proceedings, bonds, minutes, and writs. Blake bound his typewritten transcriptions in large volumes, some ninety-three in all, each of approximately 400 pages. The transcripts, consisting of more than 3,500 pages, provide a unique documentary record of the region; they constitute what historian Charles A. Bacarisse called "the bed-rock for a history of East Texas." In 1942, in order to continue his research in the Texas State Archives and the Barker Texas History Centerqqv archives at the University of Texas, Blake moved his family to Austin, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died there on November 30, 1955. After his death, carrying out her husband's bequest, his wife turned his scrapbooks and other work over to Winnie Allen, archivist at the Barker Center, where they are now housed. Duplicate copies of the books are also available at the Texas State Archives in Austin, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, and the Houston Public Library. Christopher Long, "BLAKE, ROBERT BRUCE," Handbook of Texas Online


2.00 Cubic Feet

Related Materials

R. B. Blake Collection. ETRC Personal & Family Collection. A-0 Blake, Robert Bruce, 1877-1955. Early Spanish Missions built in Nacogdoches County--1716. Nacogdoches, Tex.,1936. ETRC F389 .B63 1936x Blake, Robert Bruce, 1877-1955. Location of the Spanish Missions in East Texas. Nacogdoches, Tex., 1941. ETRC F389 .B63 1941x Blake, Robert Bruce, 1877-1955. Nacogdoches, Texas centennial, 1716-1936. Nacogdoches, Tex.: Nacogdoches Historical Society, 1980. ETRC F394.N32 N3x 1980 Blake, Robert Bruce, 1877-1955. Nacogdoches. Nacogdoches, Tex.: Nacogdoches Historical Society, 1939. ETRC F394 .N32 B52 1939 (and later editions) Blake, Robert Bruce, 1877-1955. Sidelights on the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas Highway Dept. ETRC F390 .S52 1900x, v. 1-2

Guide to the Robert Bruce Blake Papers
Pam Palmer
1979, 1984
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository