About Bybee Library

Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Library

The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Library and Study Center at Round Top Festival Institute was dedicated on Saturday, March 24, 2018. The newest addition to the Institute's Library and Museum Collections is located on the second and third floors of the Festival Concert Hall.

The Round Top Festival Institute Library and Museum Collections is home to the books of noted preservationists and collectors, Faith Bybee and her husband, Charles, who are best known for forming the Texas Pioneer Arts Foundation and Henkel Square in Round Top, Texas. Faith was a ceaseless collector of American antiques, early Texas furniture and material culture. The extensive collection traces the Bybee's interest in all things antique including historic tools and their uses, American silver and Federal furniture.

The Bybee Collection includes more than 800 books and periodicals that served as research material for Faith's many interests. Many of the books are inscribed by friends and colleagues. A particularly important signature is from Lady Bird Johnson.

Round Top Festival Institute has long been active in collecting books of similar interests with the intent to establish a world class research, study and reference library.

Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Library and Study Center
Bybee Reading Room
Bybee Reading Room
looking toward stacks
Bybee Reading Room
Bybee Reading Room
looking toward west side
Festival Institute Collections Gallery
James Painter Paintings on Exhibit


Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Library and Study Center

The Round Top Festival Institute Library and Museum Collections is a vast collection of rare books, manuscripts, architectural artifacts and historical museum objects which are made available to the general public. With over 40,000 books, archives, artworks and historical objects, the Bybee Library and Study Center is an archive, library and gallery. It will be open free of charge to all individuals interested in history, art, architecture, literature and historic objects by appointment.

The Festival Institute Library special collections include the Institute's nearly fifty years of archives. The original music library at Festival Hill was founded in 1982 by Dr. William C. Wiederhold, Director of the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. The founding book collection was gifted in 1992 by Texas State Librarian Dr. Dorman H. Winfrey. It includes many inscribed first edition J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb books. The Library houses the three largest Texas history archival collections in the area, including the David W. Guion, the Dr. Dorman H. Winfrey, and the Chester V. Kielman collections. The Library also houses an archival collection of Country House photographs and the Fernando Bengoechea Collection. Archives also include materials and memorabilia on the 1936 Texas Centennial, and World's Fairs.

For those interested in learning about objects in the Festival Institute Library and Museum Collections, or about antiques in general, the library's reference collection includes invaluable resources such as dictionaries of silver and china marks, biographies of artists and craftsmen, and scholarly articles and books on the creation and production of American decorative arts. The Bybee Library Collection of American art and decorative arts of the 17th through the 19th centuries contains not only books and periodicals, but also an array of auction catalogs and museum collection catalogs.

The Library can also assist students, teachers, historians, collectors and the curious person interested in the history of America, Texas, and Fayette County, including books, paintings, furniture, ceramics, silver, glass and textiles.

The Gallery displays rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections. The inaugural exhibition will be the paintings of Round Top and Houston artist James Painter and the items from the June and James Painter Collection of Toys, Dolls and Antiques.

The non-circulating Library and Study Center offers a natural light-filled space with views of the surrounding landscape. The Study Center has a reading room for students, teachers and scholars, with helpful staff to assist users in finding information. It will be available for all visitors to use the library materials in-house to study, research and advance their knowledge.

Major Donors to the Library Capital Campaign that funded the construction include The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Foundation, The Tocker Foundation, The Lola Wright Foundation, Betty Stieren Kelso, Norma Mary Webb, Sandy Meyerson Construction, and Cutright and Allen Architects. The Library is especially grateful to the donors who gave valuable books to the collection, patrons of the Adopt-a-Book Program, annual silent auctions and the annual Dick Smith Valentine Benefit Concert which funded book acquisitions and archival materials for the library.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 979-249-3129, ext. 20 or email library@festivalhill.org.