Stephen F. Austin’s Map of Texas placed in special exhibition case

By Marketing and Communications | 05-21-2021

One of the most important and rare artifacts of Texas history is getting the royal treatment -- quite literally. The rare, first-edition 1830 Stephen F. Austin’s Map of Texas, which was acquired through the generosity of several donors including a lead gift by The Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp ’72, members of the Board of Regents, and Bonnie and Otway Denny ’71, has a new home. 

A special exhibition case was installed at Cushing Library in April to house the map. The display case was made in Milan, Italy by Goppion S.p.A., who have manufactured cases for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and for British crown jewels displayed in the Tower of London.

Austin’s Map of Texas is sometimes called the “Birth Certificate of Texas”. The information for the map took Austin five years to compile and the map was drawn in 1830, six years before Texas declared independence from Mexico to become the Republic of Texas. The map is the second map of Texas to ever be printed, and the first to be printed in the United States and the Libraries’ copy is only one of 10 left in existence.

Because of its rare and delicate nature, members from Cushing Library, the Libraries’ Preservation department, and the Architecture department worked together to create the specifications for the case based on the unique needs of this map. 

The display case features several different technologies aimed to make sure the artifact remains in pristine condition while also being able to be viewed by patrons visiting Cushing Library. The case is a free-standing case that features several high-tech, unique, and/or patented features that provide the highest level of artifact protection and will mitigate threats of vandalism, inadvertent damage, theft, and deterioration caused by environmental hazards including a built-in LED lighting system and climate control functions. 



Media contact: Angel Franco,

The Cushing Memorial Library and Archives is the rare books, special collections, manuscripts and archival repository for Texas A&M University Libraries. The collections of the Cushing Library reflect the comprehensive nature of the educational and research enterprise at Texas A&M as well as the wide diversity of interests found among current and former students, faculty, staff and friends.