Ervin Sewell Perry and Carlos Eduardo Castañeda

The Perry-Castañeda Library is named for two former University professors, Ervin Sewell Perry and Carlos Eduardo Castañeda.

Ervin Sewell Perry

Ervin S. Perry, the first African American to be appointed to the academic rank of professor at the University of Texas at Austin, was an associate professor of civil engineering at the time of his death in 1970. He received the M.S. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961 and the Ph.D. in civil engineering from the university in 1964, working in the areas of materials science and structural mechanics. Before his untimely death, Dr. Perry was a prominent figure in engineering. In 1970, he was named to receive the National Society of Professional Engineers’ first “Young Engineer of the Year Award.” He had been similarly honored at state and county levels by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers.

Ervin Perry was graduated from Prairie View A & M University in May 1956 with a B.S. in civil engineering and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After two years of military service, he taught at Southern University in Baton Rouge before deciding to pursue graduate work. He first came to the University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1959 when he entered the graduate school to study civil engineering. He took a brief hiatus from his studies to serve on the engineering faculty at Prairie View A & M University. From the summer of 1960 until December of 1970, Ervin Perry was connected in some way with the university and brought distinction to himself and his institution.

He was awarded the M.S. in civil engineering in June 1961; he chose the title, Bond Stress Distribution in Concrete Beams and Eccentric Pullout Specimens, for his master’s thesis. Three years later in May 1964, Perry was awarded his Ph.D. His dissertation, A Study of Dynamically Loaded Composite Members, described his research in the areas of materials science and structural mechanics.

Ervin Sewell Perry was born on a farm in Coldspring, San Jacinto County, Texas, in 1935, a twin son of Willie and Edna Perry. He grew up with four sisters and a twin brother. The close-knit family was inspired by their father and schoolteacher mother to move toward higher education: all of the Perry children hold degrees from Prairie View A & M University, where their mother attended school.

Headlines over the state carried the news when Ervin S. Perry was named assistant professor of civil engineering in the Fall of 1964, the first African American ever appointed to this level of academic rank at the University of Texas at Austin. Widely sought by other top-ranked colleges, Perry elected to stay in Austin and to make noteworthy contributions to his own university.

Early in 1970 Dr. Perry became ill and went to M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston for treatment. He resumed his teaching later in the year, but illness recurred that fall in Berlin, Germany, where he was representing the university at an international engineering conference, presenting papers based on his research on the basic properties of concrete. Ervin S. Perry died at the age of 34 in December 1970.

View the biography of Dr. Perry in the Handbook of Texas Online

Carlos Eduardo Castañeda

Carlos E. Castañeda played a central role in the early development of the Benson Latin American Collection, which is considered one of the world’s foremost repositories of Latin American materials. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he earned the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Castañeda was librarian of the Latin American Collection from 1927 until 1946 and is given principal credit for acquiring the incomparable private collection of Garcia Icazbalceta of Mexico. Recognized as an authority on the early history of Mexico and Texas, Dr. Castañeda served as a part-time associate professor of history from 1936 to 1946, when he was named professor of Latin American history, a position he continued until his death in 1958.

Carlos Castañeda was born in Camargo, Mexico, in 1896. He attended schools in Matamoros until the sixth grade when his family moved to Brownsville. He quickly learned English and was graduated with highest honors from Brownsville High School in 1916. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, young Carlos assumed the responsibility for himself and his four unmarried sisters. After graduation he taught in a school at Las Palmas.

Castañeda enrolled in the University in 1917 as a student of engineering and took a part-time job working for Dr. Eugene C. Barker in the History Department. This work with Dr. Barker led Castañeda to discover history and to change his major. He was graduated with an A.B. in history in 1921 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation he taught in the public schools of Beaumont and San Antonio before returning to the University of Texas at Austin to work on his M.A., which he completed in 1923. His master’s thesis was titled A Report on the Spanish Archives in San Antonio, Texas .

Carlos Castañeda was an associate professor of Spanish at the College of William and Mary from 1923 to 1927. He returned to the University of Texas at Austin and was named librarian of the Genaro García Collection, now the Benson Latin American Collection, in 1927. He retained this association while serving as associate professor of history from 1939 until 1946 and developed that collection into one of the most distinguished in the United States.

Castañeda was granted his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1932. His dissertation, Morfi’s History of Texas, is a critical edition from an original manuscript by Fr. Juan Augustin Morfi that Dr. Castañeda discovered within the archives of the convent of San Francisco el Grande in the National Library of Mexico. In 1946 he was named professor of Latin American history, a position he continued until his death in 1958.

View the biography of Dr. Castañeda in the Handbook of Texas Online

As we Return…

Welcome and welcome back, Longhorns!

We hope you had an exciting and/or restful summer reprieve, with time to reflect on your successes so far, and to look ahead to the coming academic year.

We’re feeling optimistic about the ongoing reset after our experiences with the health crisis, and the work of UT Libraries is returning to a sense of normalcy and stability that begins to recall its former state.

We have learned much in the past few years, and now that we are feeling more confident in the outlook, we’ve begun to apply that knowledge to our planning for the future. Much of this work revolves around the different ways in which people learned to use libraries during the pandemic when operations moved to remote then hybrid environments, and the residual practices that users developed out of that experience. But a key area to which we have committed our efforts is one that found currency during the crisis and was motivated by social upheavals and the subsequent reflective period that occurred as a result.

The concept of Inclusion/Diversity/Equity/Accessibility – IDEA in our work, but recognizable elsewhere as components of DEI – has become a priority for the Libraries. Our staff committed extraordinary effort and time to reviewing our systems and developing an IDEA implementation plan for beginning the ongoing work of integrating IDEA concepts into the normal operations and systems of this institution. We felt this work was such an imperative that we began work before we could feel the ground settle beneath our feet, and we know that moving forward, our recovered stability will help to advance at a greater pace to address inequities that have gone too long overlooked.

This work cannot be ours alone, though. As always, we can only succeed in partnership with our users, advocates and friends. We need praise and recognition when we are making progress, but also criticism and accountability when we fall short. This long journey has begun, and we ask that you accompany us and help navigate these Libraries towards its best future.

We wish you the best for the coming year, and brighter days ahead.

A Year in, Cambridge Agreement Pays Off

Part of UT’s mission is to “contribute to the advancement of society through research, creative activity, scholarly inquiry and the development and dissemination of new knowledge”. One way we can help fulfill that mission is by making more of the University’s research and scholarship available open access. Open access (OA) is the free, immediate access to research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment (definition from SPARC).

One way UT Libraries is trying to facilitate greater access to UT Austin research is through open access deals with publishers. The University of Texas at Austin signed an agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP) in 2021 that gives the UT community access to over 400 CUP journals and gives UT Austin authors the option to make their articles in any of those journals OA without needing to pay an article processing charge (APC). We were able to get all of this for only a very modest increase in price over our previous deal.

From January 2021 (when our deal went into effect) through June 2022, there have been 77 articles published by UT Austin authors, of which, 60 are available open access on the CUP platform, and a further eight are available OA on open repositories like arXiv and PubMed Central. If we had to pay those APCs individually, they would have cost us $117,043.50 in 2021 and $62,147 so far this year.

Giving our authors the option to publish OA with Cambridge allows us to share the knowledge being created here with people in Austin, in Texas, and around the globe. Here’s just one indication of the importance of sharing our research more widely — these 77 articles have been downloaded over 64,000 times.

UTL is excited about this Cambridge deal for several reasons. CUP journals are valued by our faculty, students, and staff both as journals to read and journals to publish in. CUP includes many journals in the fine arts and humanities; disciplines which are not always well represented in open access publishing initiatives. CUP offered us a deal that is financially sustainable for us long-term and which increases access to the research being done at UT. The CUP deal includes unlimited OA publications by UT authors. This means we don’t have to monitor a fund, we know exactly how much it will cost us this year, and we don’t have to tell any authors “sorry, this year’s funding has run out”.

Our agreement with CUP is part of a larger effort to engage with and support open access initiatives that help create a more sustainable (both financially and operationally) and equitable scholarly communication ecosystem for readers and authors. 

UT authors who are interested in publishing with a Cambridge University Press journal can find out more about their journals on the CUP website. The process of selecting open access for accepted articles is relatively straightforward. More information about all our open memberships, and contact information for those with questions, are available on our Open Access LibGuide.