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Corpus Christi historian donates over 500 books to the South Texas Archives

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KINGSVILLE (March 23, 2021) — Corpus Christi native Lee Govatos is an architectural historian and a storied former substitute teacher. He also is a collector of books about architecture and the allied arts who recently donated 530 books from his collection to the South Texas Archives at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


The collection is still being cataloged, but when that is complete, the books will be housed in the Special Collections Annex, next to the library administration office on the first floor of Jernigan Library, said Dr. Maria Ayala-Schueneman, associate director for public services and interim university archivist.


Once the collection is in place in the Special Collections Annex, the public will be allowed to access it by request, Ayala-Schueneman said.


Govatos earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. He did graduate work in architectural history and art history. From 1986 through 2020, Govatos was a substitute teacher in the Corpus Christi Independent School District.


As a historian, Govatos is president emeritus of the Nueces County Historical Society, vice chairman and member of the Nueces County Historical Commission, a founding member of the Corpus Christi Landmark Commission, trustee of the Corpus Christi Area Heritage Society, a founding trustee of the Friends of the 1914 Courthouse Inc. and a charter member of the Friends of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library.


Govatos is the author of The Big House (King Ranch): An Architectural and Photographic Essay that he prepared for Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg. It is now housed at the King Ranch Museum.


He also has written numerous architectural descriptions for city and area Texas Historical Commission markers; and articles in local publications relating to historic buildings like the Jalufka-Govatos House in Heritage Park.


He also wrote architectural descriptions of Wynn Seale Junior High School for a National Registry of Historical Places designation; of Sidbury, Lichtenstein and Gugenheim Houses I Heritage Park; and of Broadway Bluff Improvement.              



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