The Tomorrow Librarian: Harold Billings' Legacy as Director of the University of Texas Libraries 1978-2003

Collection Development

While an advocate for technological innovation, Billings still simultaneously continued to build the print and research collections  at UT Libraries. A literary scholar himself, Billings' love of research and books carried over into his many roles over his career at UTL. He worked closely with Harry Ransom, who routinely commissioned Billings to purchase new materials for the collections throughout the 1960s and 70s, and sustained a good relationship between the general libraries and the Ransom Center as both continued to build their collections.

One notable addition to the general libraries' collection occurred in 1975 when The University acquired the Collection on Texas and the American West. This collection, in Billings' words, "establishes UT Austin as the finest center for Texas research in existence." With thousands of manuscripts, volumes, and maps, it is surely a tremendous resource for researchers of one of the subjects and places dearest to Billings' heart.

Literature was also a passion of Billings' that nicely complemented his efforts to contribute to the libraries' ever growing collection of research materials. He corresponded with many authors both in his personal endeavors in scholarship and in the process of bringing their materials into the collection. Years of letters from poet Jonathan Williams, now held in the Billings Papers at the Ransom Center, represent one such relationship as they worked together on projects involving a shared favorite poet, Edward Dahlberg, and Williams considered the proper home for his own papers.

With various acquisitions, Billings saw the library expand all of its collecting areas over the course of his career, from the 1 millionth volume added during his time as a cataloger onward.


This page has paths:

Contents of this path:

This page references: