San Jancinto Museum of History

Treasures Unveiled at the San Jacinto Museum of History

The San Jacinto Museum of History announces today the acquisition of two extraordinary Texas history artifacts to its permanent collection:

  • A rare signed photographic portrait of Sam Houston taken approximately between 1858 and 1863.
  • The original signed letter "Farewell of General Santa Anna to the Texan Army", written by Santa Anna following his defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto.

The photograph of Sam Houston, former Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army as well as former senator and governor of Texas, was discovered by Dr. Jim Harris of Tyler, Texas in an antique store in Las Vegas. This type of photograph is rare: a minimal number of portraits of Sam Houston currently exist. The fact that this portrait is signed by Sam Houston himself is extraordinarily rare.

The image features a seated Houston in his later years, most likely between 1858 and his death in 1863. The San Jacinto Museum is fortunate to have this rare piece: after purchasing the photograph, the Harris family chose to donate it to the museum in memory of Dr. Harris' parents, Charles and Mary.

The document "Farewell of General Santa Anna to the Texan Army" is a brief letter that Santa Anna dictated while he was a prisoner of war at Velasco after the Battle of San Jacinto. The letter, composed on June 1st, 1836, was most likely transcribed by an aide-de-camp. 

Although the original letter came into the possession of John Wharton soon after its composition and was published in both the Texas Almanac for 1861 and The Papers of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, its location was not publicly known until now. Descendants of Mirabeau B. Lamar, who have family connections with the Wharton family, have donated the original letter to the San Jacinto Museum of History's permanent collection.

The new acquisitions will be debuted to guests at the museum's annual gala, "Elegant Evening with History" on Thursday, November 5. Guests at the gala will receive a preview of these artifacts while the geneal public will be able to view the artifacts at the Museum in early 2010.

The San Jacinto Monument is located on the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, just 22 miles east of downtown Houston and is open daily 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. The public enjoys free admission to general Museum exhibits in the base of the building. For a modest fee, visitors can take the famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the Monument, view the digital presentation Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto in the Jesse H. Jones Theatre for Texas Studies, and tour the current special exhibit Developing Houston: Photographic Treasures from the Cecil Thomson Collection.

For more information on the San Jacinto Monument and Museum, visit the website or call 281.479.2421.

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