The Carter Library holds about 50,000 books on American art, the history of the western United States, and related topics, including an extensive collection of photobooks and some of the finest examples of rare illustrated books and periodicals from nineteenth-century American publishing.

How to find out about the library's resources

Library Catalog

Most of our material can be found in the Cultural District Library Consortium (CDLC) catalog, which also includes the collections of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.
A person looks at books on a shelf in the Carter library.

On-site Resources

At the Carter, researchers have access to JSTOR and multiple databases with auction or sale information, including:

The library also has a large collection of about 10,000 auction catalogues from the mid-twentieth century on, and maintains subscriptions to over 100 art and history periodicals, including Foam, Journal of the Print World, and Native American Art.

Microform Resources

The Carter library has extensive microform holdings, including 14,000 microfilm reels of nineteenth-century newspapers, periodicals, books, and primary material, and more than 50,000 microfiches of auction and exhibition catalogues, ephemera, and other material, only some of which is in the CDLC catalog. Major microform sets are listed at right.

An extensive set of nineteenth-century newspapers comprises one of the richest microform collections, representing strong holdings of titles published in Texas and the western United States. Amounting to over 5,000 reels, these newspaper titles offer an important record of the early history of the West.

Microfilm Newspaper Index

As an affiliated research center of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, the library also provides microfilm access to fifteen million unpublished documents relating to American artists, galleries, and collectors.

  • Contains 26,000 auction and exhibition catalogs published between 1812 and 1970 with annotations about prices and buyers, often with newspaper clippings relating to the artist, collector, or the sale itself. The catalogs are grouped by country, and then chronologically by date of sale.

  • A clippings and ephemera file of 1.5 million items on more than 80,000 painters, sculptors, architects, craftspeople, jewelers, furniture and interior designers, commercial artists, fashion designers, collectors, connoisseurs, critics, and curators.

  • A wide-ranging clippings and ephemera file on more than 15,000 printmakers, illustrators, and photographers, including reproductions of aquatints, engravings, etchings, linocuts, lithographs, mezzotints, photographs, screenprints, and woodcuts.

  • A collection of around 87,000 Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information photographs of American life arranged by region and subject, from the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

  • A core collection of 275 books and pamphlets selected from David R. Weimer’s Bibliography of American Culture, 1493–1875. Each title in this set is described in the CDLC Catalog.

  • Biographical entries for over 300,000 people who lived from the earliest period of North American history through the early twentieth century, compiled from 367 reference sources.

  • A collection of 124 photography journals, published from 1850 to 1904, drawn from the holdings of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, the New York Public Library, Columbia University’s Epstean Collection, and the Research Library of the Eastman Kodak Company. Each periodical in this set is fully described in the CDLC Catalog.

  • Assembled from the collections of Yale University Library and the Newberry Library, this collection of 7,000 items published from 1550 to 1900 constitutes a core set of printed sources relating to the exploration, settlement, and development of the Trans-Mississippi West. Each title in this set is described in the CDLC Catalog.

  • A collection of over 1,600 items about Texas, including books, pamphlets, broadsides, sheet music, maps, and proclamations, many in Spanish. Largely based on Thomas W. Streeter’s Bibliography of Texas, 1897–1845. Each title in this set is described in the CDLC Catalog.

  • The most comprehensive collection of American directories published prior to the Civil War, arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the locality and then chronologically. Based on the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.