Welcome to the Archives
Billy W. Sills Center for Archives:
The Billy W. Sills Center for Archives of the Fort Worth ISD supports the philosophy of the Fort Worth Independent School District of preparing ALL students for success in college, career, and community leadership. The Archives Center has as its primary role the acquisition, preservation, and sharing of materials associated with the school district. The Archives Center serves the community and students as a research center and a home for artifacts and other materials that reflect and record the history of the school district. The Center strives to make these materials available to educators, students, and the community for scholarly study and research.
Soon after becoming a social studies teacher in 1950, Billy Sills began collecting artifacts and other material about the Fort Worth ISD and its history. In 1963 when he was appointed the first full-time social studies consultant, he, along with the help of the Fort Worth Council for Social Studies and others (significantly Lawrence Maynard, Leon Mitchell, and Ann Cotton), continued to collect artifacts and history for the Center’s collection. The Board of Education honored Billy in 1983 by naming the archives the Billy W. Sills Center for Archives of the Fort Worth ISD. The Center now occupies a beautiful space in the District Service Center located at 7060 Camp Bowie Blvd.
The Center offers a variety of resources for researchers or those wanting to know something about the Fort Worth ISD or Tarrant County schools their parents, siblings, relatives, and/or friends attended. The most popular and the most in-demand resources are the yearbooks. The Center houses approximately 1,000 yearbooks from most of the schools that issued yearbooks through the years. Because the Center depends on donations of yearbooks, complete collections do not exist. Other sources for research include PTA scrapbooks, biographical information about individuals significant in the history of the district, detailed histories of every school that ever existed in the district, curriculum materials such as textbooks and courses of study used by students and teachers over the years, as well as teaching tools such as slides, transparencies, and maps. Among the Center’s most prized collections are the school board minutes from the first board meeting in September 1882 to 2004 and the Works Progress Administration correspondence among FWISD administrators and government officials, along with photos documenting the WPA’s projects during the years of the Great Depression.
In addition to serving as a research facility, the Archives Center houses a variety of artifacts on display and available for public viewing. The museum side of the Center includes desks, ink wells and bottles that made pigtail dipping possible, classroom equipment such as typewriters, microscopes, stereoscopes with cards for viewing, examples of cursive letters, maps, etc., prints, display cabinets and library furniture from past classrooms (the artifacts are on display on a rotating schedule). The Center has a huge collection of photos depicting people (faculties, administrators, students), places, and events important to the development and history of the district. The Center also has a collection of clothing and textiles including prom dresses, band, twirler, drum major, and cheerleader uniforms. On permanent display is a collection of Bror Utter watercolor paintings he made during a visit to Alice Carlson Elementary School classes.
Billy W. Sills Lecture Series:
In 2010, the Billy W. Sills Lecture Series was established. One of the goals of the series is to draw the attention of the community to the Billy W. Sills Center for Archives and its collections. Another goal is to offer the community an opportunity to learn about the importance of preserving and celebrating the history of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Independent School District, and Texas. The speakers for the series have included university professors, business professionals, authors, poets, journalists, and homemakers. The public and district employees are encouraged to visit, to learn from, and to contribute to the Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday - Thursday
7060 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76116
The Billy W. Sills Lecture Series
March 23, 2024
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Peggy Hendon, past president of the League of Women Voters