The Witte Museum will soon be the new home of the Battle of Flowers Association’s 125-year historical archive.

During an official document signing ceremony held at the Museum on Tuesday, Battle of Flowers Association President Rhonda Calvert and immediate past President Lynn Ziegler officially transferred the records into the care of the Witte for public access along with a $10,000 check in recognition of the museum’s efforts to preserve San Antonio’s history.

The archival collection spans from 1895-2011 and contains artifacts that detail the association’s history including minutes, rosters, yearbooks, reports, correspondence, financial documents, printed material, drawings, photographs, a motion picture film, a videotape, an audio tape and Fiesta artifacts from elected officials.

“As the stewards of Fiesta artifacts and archives, the Witte Museum is honored to be entrusted with the great responsibility of preserving the history of the Battle of Flowers Association,” stated Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott in a news release. “The Witte has a 90-year history and that legacy is shared with the Battle of Flowers Association. This gift preserves the bond linking the Witte and the Battle of Flowers Association and it furthers the role of the Museum as being a leading institution to learn about the history and culture of Fiesta in San Antonio.”

Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott (left) receives a check on behalf of the museum for $10,000 on Tuesday from the Battle of Flowers Association immediate past President Lynn Ziegler (middle) and current President Rhonda Calvert (right) to accompany the gift of their historical archive. Photo by Katie Walsh.
Witte Museum President and CEO Marise McDermott (left) receives a check on behalf of the museum for $10,000 on Tuesday from the Battle of Flowers Association immediate past President Lynn Ziegler (middle) and current President Rhonda Calvert (right) to accompany the gift of their historical archive. Photo by Katie Walsh.

The archive, which will be available to the public in about one month, is primarily a research collection, said Witte Chief Curator Amy Fulkerson. It is currently being transferred to the Museum, but when it arrives the public will be able to schedule an appointment to access the abundance of primary sources. The artifacts, Fulkerson said, will also feed future exhibitions.

“If you want to learn about Fiesta in San Antonio, we want everyone to know that the Witte Museum is the place to come,” she said.

The collection is more than just a resource for historians and researchers. It also contains lighthearted material that pertains to the city’s history including a 1910 children’s book, Mary Ware in Texas, which tells the tale of San Antonio’s San Jacinto Day celebration through the eyes of a young girl in the early 20th century.

The Battle of Flowers Association, a community of female volunteers known by the yellow dresses and hats they cheerfully dawn during the annual Battle of Flowers Parade, staged the first parade in 1891 to honor the fallen soldiers of the Battle of the Alamo and to commemorate the victory at San Jacinto.

Today, the female-led association works to preserve the traditions of San Antonio and educate residents on their city’s history. They organize several events during Fiesta including the parade, a band festival and an annual public speaking contest held at the Witte.

“The Witte has done a tremendous job preserving the cultural icons of San Antonio,” Calvert said. “The Battle of Flowers Association feels it is important to recognize the Museum for its quality work safeguarding the history of this city.”

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Top image: Members of the Battle of Flowers Association hold yellow balloons in preparation to kick off the parade. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh studies journalism and English at the University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in May 2017.