November 07, 2014

Alamo Welcomes Battle Relics

Last Tuesday, Texas welcomed home a trove of special artifacts from the private collection of british pop-rock artist, Phil Collins. Among the 200 items were Jim Bowie’s famous knife, a fringed pouch that belonged to David Crockett, and letters written by William B. Travis.

Collins announced his decision to donate the collection in June, to the surprise of many. At that time he explained that his interest in the Alamo developed from watching the Davy Crockett Disney miniseries. During the press conference held at the arrival of the items, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson highlighted the commonality between he and the Grammy winning drummer-singer. “Phil Collins and I have one thing in common and it’s not talent. He and I both grew up as little guys watching Fess Parker play Davy Crockett and we both had coonskin caps,” said Patterson.

As much as he’s enjoyed collecting these items, Collins is ready to complete the journey which started almost 60 years ago. “I’m enormously pleased and proud to have my collection ‘going home’ to the Alamo,” he said. To make sure the items were handled with care, Collins personally oversaw packing and paid to ship them from his home in Switzerland.

Aptly referred to as the “mother of all Alamo collections,” the collection will need a bigger space to be displayed in it’s entirety. A recently formed Alamo Endowment board is in the process of raising funds for a premier new visitors center to house the items “ … where all can see them and study from them and learn about how Texans won our liberty,” said Patterson.

Donating his collection completes a journey Collins has been on for 60 years. In parting with his treasures, Collins explained what each relic meant by saying, “To me, these items aren’t just about a battle. They are about the idea of these men and women having a choice and staying to fight for what they believed to be just and right. That’s what makes these things special.”

And that is what makes Phil Collins an “honorary Texan.”