Municipal Archives & Records

Reference and Research

Office

  • Mailing/Physical Address:
  • 719 S. Santa Rosa
    San Antonio, TX 78204 (Map)
  • Phone
  • 210.207.4214
  • Fax
  • 210.207.6539

Email

Staff

  • James L. WilsonEmail City of San Antonio
    Assistant City Clerk, 210.207.4214
Reference and Research:

The Archives is a closed stack facility that is accessible to the public through appointment only.  All visitors will be asked to sign in and out and to follow our Policies and Procedures for safe handling of  fragile historical materials. To schedule a visit or request to research materials, please email archvies@sanantonio.gov. 

Researching Historical documents

The City of San Antonio Municipal Archives & Records is a division of the Office of the City Clerk. It is a repository for the historical government records of the City of San Antonio. It contains records created by various City departments over time, including maps, printed materials, photographs, electronic material, and audio/visual material. While some materials are only available for viewing at the Municipal Archives & Records, many materials have been digitized and are available for search online in our digital collection.

The Archives serves two purposes: to collect records to ensure their preservation for future generations, and to make these records available to the public for research. 

Starting your research

The Municipal Archives & Records performs limited research for the public. To begin your research, start by reviewing the finding aids to the processed collections available online. Next, search the online Digital Collections. If you don't find what you are looking for, please feel free to email the Archivist at archives@sanantonio.gov so they may assist you in your research needs. Below is reference materials to assist in your searching of certain collections:

CONTACT US BEFORE YOU VISIT

All researchers must call or email the facility to make a research appointment. Our telephone number is (210) 207-5076, and email may be directed to archives@sanantonio.gov. Appointments are scheduled Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, except for holidays. 

Active Government Records Request

  1. Researchers are required to fill out an Open Records Request online or at the Municipal Archives and Records.
  2. The Texas Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552), gives you the right to access government records; the officer for public information may not ask you why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public, although certain exceptions may apply. Governmental bodies shall release requested information as promptly as possible unless the information is exempt from disclosure under the Public Information Act. 
  3. Click Here for fees associated with Open Records Request
  4. Click Here for the Attorney General's Office Open Government Website.

 

 

Visiting the  Municipal Archives & Records

  1. When visiting our facility, please take a ticket at the facilities digital queuing terminals.
  2. On your first visit, complete a registration form. The researcher registration form may be completed online, Registration Form (PDF), and a copy printed or filled out at the facility. The registration form establishes the researcher’s identity, defines the scope of research, and signifies the researcher’s agreement with the requirements of the Municipal Archives & Records.
  3. A photo identification is also required. Staff will make a photocopy in order to complete the researcher registration packet. Acceptable forms of identification are Driver’s License, Military Identification, Passport, or a State ID.
  4. All coats and outerwear must be left in the assigned area.
  5. All briefcases, book bags, handbags, books, newspapers and other personal belonging must be left in the assigned area.
  6. Laptops, digital cameras and recording devices are permitted in the research area providing their use does not disturb other researchers and that such use does not physically damage the records. Outlets for laptops are available.
  7. To avoid being a distraction, please turn off phones or set ringers to vibrate.
  8. Personal papers are not permitted in the research area. For security reasons, papers may be reviewed by staff prior to leaving the facility.
  9. Eating or drinking is not permitted in the research area.
Policy for researching records
  1. To help protect the records, we require pencils to be used for taking notes.
  2. Researchers are required to not lean on the records or rest other books or objects on the surface of the records.
  3. When handling records, gloves are required and will be provided by staff.
  4. Handle any photographic image by the edges.
  5. Do not make notes in the margin of the records or attempt to correct any misspelling.
  6. Do not make marks on the records.
  7. Tracing is not permitted.
  8. Records may only be used in the research area. They may not be removed to any other part of the building
  9. Only one box or book may be used at a time. Remove only one folder at a time. Use the out-cards provided by the staff to mark the folder’s place in the box. Return folders in the same order and facing the same way they were retrieved.
  10. Any person found stealing, defacing, mutilating or damaging the records will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These activities will be grounds for permanent removal from the Municipal Archives & Records Facility.
  11. Copyright: All photographs, documents, videos or other artistic works contained herein are the copyrighted works of the City of San Antonio. Any use without the written permission of the City of San Antonio is forbidden.

Records Management Program

Maps1 Maps2 Maps03

The City of San Antonio’s Municipal Archives & Records (MARs) staff, working with the Development Services and Information Technology Services departments, has completed a major records management project to identify, classify, inventory and bar code over 25,000 architectural drawings.

Knowing the sheer volume of their record holdings,the Development Services Department (DSD) was understandably overwhelmed by the prospect of having to inventory the architectural drawings prior to their acceptance for storage at the MARs. During the course of discussing the project with the client, it was revealed that Development Services staff routinely logged requests for building permits into a legacy mainframe computer application. Working with the Information Technology Services Department, MARs Staff was able to extract certain information from the mainframe application using simple delimited files. This information was then imported into an MS Access database and compared against the Texas State Library and Archives Commission records retention schedules for records of this type, which are governed by the Commission’s Public Works (PW) schedule.

The purpose of the architectural drawing (new structures, interior renovations, etc) and whether the drawings were, or were not, granted permits determines the length of retention. This information was also imported into the MS Access database and, upon importation of the delimited files, the records were automatically assigned the appropriate classification codes and retention periods. Each architectural drawing is assigned a bar code number, which is affixed to the drawing and "mated" with a shelf location. The exact location of a drawing can be determined in seconds.

For more information or a demonstration of the process, contact James L. Wilson at (210) 207-6993.

Local retention schedule information can be found at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission website.

To obtain additional information regarding the Records Management Process city employees may visit the intranet site at cosaweb/rlo. If you have other questions, please email the Archives Division of the Office of the City Clerk at archives@sanantonio.gov.