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Elizabeth Howard West Papers

Identifier: MS 111

Scope and Content

The Elizabeth H. West Papers contain copies of documents spanning three centuries with a focus on the Spanish colonial period in Florida and the era of Texas independence. More than half of the collection consists of reproductions of documents in handwritten Spanish, some translated by West, along with typed transcriptions of documents in English, a few copies of handwritten English documents, and some typed transcriptions of documents in French. Subjects include early Spanish settlement in Florida, the Indian trade in the Southeast with specific focus on the operations of the Panton Leslie and Company trading firm, along with notes on the events leading up to Texas independence and life in Texas during the 1830s. There is also material on the Democratic National Convention of 1844, related to West's interest in the political career of Martin Van Buren. Folders include West's personal correspondence regarding her research in the aforementioned areas. With respect to Florida, most documents pertain to Spanish relations with the Creeks, correspondence with Alexander McGillivray, and papers pertaining to Panton Leslie, including a typescript of the 1802 suit filed against the firm for monopolizing the Indian trade in Florida. The final box in this collection consists of West's personal notes about numerous aspects of Texas history in the early nineteenth century.

The first box consists of Photostats of legajos from Papeles de Cuba related to Florida. Some Photostats are nearly illegible and this is noted where necessary. An index to the legajos is included in the first folder of Box 1. The collection contains duplicates of some legajos, as well as translations or transcriptions, and the Department of Special Collections also has many of the same legajos on microfilm. Boxes 2-8 are primarily typewritten transcriptions or translations. Box 9 contains additional typewritten material and West's handwritten correspondence.


  • Creation: 1526-1946



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elizabeth Howard West, a librarian and educator, is noted for her research in Mexican and Spanish archives and her writings on early Texas; she also prepared work on colonial Florida that is now housed in the UF Library. West served as the Texas State Librarian from 1918-1925 and went on to become a noted research librarian at Texas Technical College. Born March 27, 1873, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, she was a graduate of Mississippi State College for Women in 1892 and went on to earn her graduate degree at the University of Texas. In addition to her work at the Texas State Library, she served as a schoolteacher in Mississippi before joining the staff of the Library of Congress in 1906. From 1930 to 1932 she conducted research in archives in Spain for the Library of Congress. She was also the librarian of the San Antonio Carnegie Library, although her principal career (1925-1942) was as a research librarian at Texas Technical College. West published frequently in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, as well as is the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. She worked with Julian Yonge, founder of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, on research about the Panton Leslie Company, an important firm in Florida's colonial Indian trade, with headquarters in Pensacola and St. Augustine. West died in Pensacola, Florida, on January 4, 1948.

Besides her work on Texas and Florida, West also created the Calendar of the Papers of Martin Van Buren (1910) and the Calendar of the Papers of Mirabeau B. Lamar (1914).

Source: Journal of Southern History, Vol. 14 (May) 1948, p. 289. See also: Texas History Online.


3.75 Linear feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers of historian and librarian Elizabeth West which contain her personal research and notes on Texas as well as photostats, transcriptions, and translations of documents from foreign archives concerning early Florida history.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Gift of Elizabeth Howard West.

Related Material

Texas Tech University holds a collection of Elizabeth Howard West Papers.

A Guide to the Elizabeth Howard West Papers
Finding aid created by Timothy Fritz
November 2008
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America