The research collection has a wide range of materials—correspondence, maps, negatives, photographic prints, pedigree charts, research for Sanders’s publications, as well as a few of those publications—concerning the families and places of East Texas. The majority of negatives and prints are photographs of other photographs or documents. Several prints, especially those of a 1928 lynching at the Center Courthouse, are particularly graphic.
There are several oversize documents in the collection which researchers might find particularly interesting. There is a 40-page supplement to The Champion dating to August 7, 1929. It is a special issue celebrating not only the 25th anniversary of the Farmer’s State Bank in Center, and its move to a brand new building downtown, but the general development of the town since the turn of the century. The supplement features congratulatory statements from almost every business in town, as well as articles on the bank, its history and photographs of every current employee. There are articles about local organizations like the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Music Study Club, Parent Teacher’s Club, Rotary, Sam Samford Masonic Lodge, Women’s Reading Club, and the Women’s Study Club. The supplement also features articles on local agriculture, businesses and businessmen, churches, the fire department, town government (includes photos of officials), hospitals, schools and the Shelby County Fair.
Other interesting items in the collection include a 1909 issue of the Tenaha Messenger and a 1931-1932 Shelby County School Report.