The largest known private collection of artifacts from the Texas Revolution and the Battle of the Alamo has come home.
Today, former Genesis drummer, Oscan winner, multiple Grammy Award winner and Texana collector Phil Collins joined Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson at the Alamo to announce the donation of his famed collection of rarities to the state of Texas.
“These artifacts belong here,” Collins said. “Deciding to donate this collection to Texas and the Alamo was an easy decision.”
The private collection was popularized in Collins’ 384-page book, “The Alamo and Beyond” in 2012. “I am very committed to helping historians discover as much as possible about the Alamo and the history of Texas,” said Collins. “I am hooked on the history of what happened here, on both sides of the wall.”
Patterson said Collins’ decision was swayed by the Texas General Land Office being granted authority over the 300-year-old former mission in 2011. Patterson personally closed the deal that Land Office staff and Collins had been discussing for several months.
“I am honored by the trust Mr. Collins has placed in us, and proud to be able to bring this collection back to Texas and the Alamo,” Patterson said. “As we did with the return of the Travis Letter last year, we’ve shown that the Alamo remains the cornerstone of Texas history and we have a responsibility to preserve this history for future generations.”
For many of the items, the donation will mark their first return to the cradle of Texas liberty since the legendary defeat of Texian forces there in 1836.
“To me, these items aren’t just about a battle,” said Collins, “they are about the idea of these men and women having a choice and staying to fight for what they believed to be just and right. That’s what makes these things special.”
Collins’ Alamo collection includes invaluable artifacts like Jim Bowie’s legendary knife, and one of only four remaining rifles owned by Davy Crockett. Collins has Crockett’s leather shot pouch and two powder horns he allegedly gave a Mexican officer before his death. There are letters from William B. Travis and many other historical documents that shed insight on early Texas history.
However, due to the size of the collection, the proper facilities may not yet exist at the Alamo to properly store and exhibit the items.
“This is the mother of all Alamo collections,” said Patterson, an avid student of Texas history. “It needs a world-class facility to be stored and display in – under archival standards – so future generations can be inspired by it.”
As chair of the recently created Alamo Endowment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for the Alamo, Patterson will personally lead a massive, private fundraising effort to build a suitable visitor center to house and display Collins’ treasures.
“Under GLO guidance the Alamo is regaining its status as the cornerstone of Texas history,” said Collins. “This collection will be in good hands and I know they will treat it with respect.”