The Barry A. Crouch Collection consists of research notes, monographs, and historical records created or collected by Dr. Barry A. Crouch throughout his productive career. His family donated these records to the library following Crouch's death in 2002. The collection is contained in over 195 linear feet of archival boxes and housed in the Victoria Regional History Center. In addition, the family contributed numerous books from Crouch's personal library of American and Texas History
The interests of Barry A. Crouch (1941-2002) spanned a variety of subjects and yielded numerous published articles and books. One his major contributions to the body of Texas History is to the field of Reconstruction Texas. The University of Texas Press published his book, The Freedman's Bureau and Black Texans, in 1992.
Born in Glendale, California, on February 26, 1941, Barry Crouch spent most of his childhood in Syracuse, Kansas, and later in Norwood, Colorado. He studied at Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison and the University of Wyoming and received his Ph. D. at the University of New Mexico.
Barry Crouch’s career included various academic teaching jobs and fellowships. He taught at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas from 1967 to 1970. In 1970, he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Black American Historical Studies at Howard University. From 1972-1973 he worked as an assistant editor on the Booker T. Washington papers at the University of Maryland and then taught at Bowie State College in Maryland until 1979. For twenty-one years, beginning in 1980, he was a history professor at Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. where he produced articles and monographs from his research, much of it funded by grants from NEH.
While teaching at Angelo State University, Crouch developed what would be a life-long interest in Texas history. He mined the Texas Freedman's Bureau Records at the National Archives for a dozen journal articles over a twenty-year period and, in 1992, his monograph, The Freedman's Bureau and Black Texans, was published. That year, Professor David Donald wrote a full page review of this book in the Sunday New York Times Book Review. Donald remarked that the "episodes in Texas Reconstruction history that Mr. Crouch relates, perhaps do more than broad generalizations to explain how the Freedman's Bureau failed, and how we lost the peace after the Civil War".
In the last decade of his life, Barry Crouch turned his research interests to the outlaws and bandits in the South after the Civil War. He co-authored with Donaly E. Brice the book Cullen Montgomery Baker: Reconstruction Desperado (Louisiana State University Press, 1997), which challenges popular culture’s romanticized image of such men as Baker and John Wesley Hardin.
Barry Crouch died on March 13, 2002. Two monographs he was collaborating on have been published posthumously: Murder and Mayhem: The War of Reconstruction in Texas by James A. Smallwood, Barry A. Crouch, and Larry Peacock (Texas A&M University Press, 2003) and The Governor's Hounds: The Texas State Police, 1870-1873 by Barry A. Crouch and Donaly E. Brice (University of Texas Press, 2011).