Musician Phil Collins might be British, but he has a love for Alamo artifacts that could rival any Texan’s.
Last month the 63-year-old singer, drummer and former member of the band Genesis, announced he was donating the large collection of material he has collected regarding the San Antonio mission and its role in Texas independence to the Texas General Land Office.
The GLO manages the downtown San Antonio shrine to Texas independence, and Collins is said to have the world’s largest private collection of Texas Revolution artifacts, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said.
Collins has said he owns “hundreds” of cannonballs, documents and other artifacts from the Alamo, with his most prized item being a receipt signed by Alamo commander William Barret Travis for 32 head of cattle used to feed the Alamo defenders.
The collection includes such “invaluable artifacts” as Jim Bowie’s knife, one of four remaining rifles once owned by Davy Crockett, missives from from William Travis and “many other historical documents that shed insight on early Texas history,” according to a GLO press release.
“I am enormously pleased and proud to have my collection ‘going home’ to the Alamo,” says Collins. “It has been, and will continue to be my passion, and I shall continue to gather relics and documents, and forward them so they can be enjoyed.”
Collins’ interest began in his youth as he was a 5-year-old English lad who saw actor Fess Parker portray Davy Crockett in a 1950s Disney miniseries. Parker, whose hits include “In the Air Tonight” and “One More Night,” has said he has passed on his appreciation for the Alamo lore to his five children.
The General Land Office is developing plans for an Alamo visitors’ center to provide more space to exhibit artifacts about the fort and the 1836 battle that made it famous.
“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,” Collins said.