Presidential Archives And Leadership Library
The Highest Office in the Land of the Free…
The Presidential Archives and Leadership Library is located on the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and is administered by the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. The archival collection was begun by local Odessa citizens as a memorial to the memory of President John F. Kennedy shortly after his assassination in 1963. There was such an overwhelming response with information about other presidents that a decision was made to create a unique collection that would be dedicated to the office of the presidency and an understanding of the electoral process. It is an outstanding collection of exhibits, campaign memorabilia, books, photos, magazines, and other historic collectibles that tell the history of the office of the president and of events that have shaped the American people. This dynamic collection continues to grow and expand as each new president takes office and is available to both the casual visitor and the serious scholar. Few experiences have greater impact than an encounter with history. The mission of the Archives is to have that impact.
The Archive’s Hall of Presidents features an informative and historic journey through time to illustrate the story of the presidency and the leaders who have shaped our country. Among the unique collections of the Archives:
Dishong Collection – Antique dolls dressed in miniature replicas of the First Ladies’ gowns.
James B. Mason Collection – Wooden mosaics of Presidential images made up of over 16 million chips of natural wood from over 170 varieties of trees.
Rainbo Collection – Presidential portraits, each including a historical scene from the president’s time in office, used to create a series of trading cards placed in loaves of Rainbo Bread in the 1970’s.
Chandler Collection – Presidential and First Lady portraits commissioned by Billie Trimble Chandler when she was a 6th grade history teacher in Japan in the 1970’s and painted by a Japanese artist.
Campaign Memorabilia – one of the world’s largest collection of campaign buttons, ribbons, posters and literature.
John Ben Shepperd, Jr. Memorial Library – Over 7,500 volumes, including rare and first editions and presidential papers. Click here for a partial listing of the books in our collection, or here for a PDF version.
Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday
10 AM – 5 PM Saturday
Please visit our Youtube channel for videos on presidential history featuring art and artifacts from the Presidential Archives.
Please visit our Flickr page to view photographs of and find information related to some of the artifacts in our collections.