SAN ANTONIO, TX (CBS/KENS) -- Known by nearly all Texans yet seen by only a few. An effort to bring William Travis' famous "victory or death" letter back to the Alamo is underway.
Inside the Texas State Library and archives is their history, including a letter so reverend and so protected, local station KENS wasn't even allowed to see where it's kept.
But inside a controlled laboratory one tightly secured, they were given a rare look. Preservation officer John Anderson, "I think it's really hard for a Texan not to feel some attachment to this letter."
Written in 1836 by Lt. Col William Travis, this letter is best known by a single phrase "victory or death". Mark Loeffler with the Texas General Land Office says, "We feel strongly that people can be inspired by seeing Travis' original pen strokes."
This is why the Texas General Land Office wants to put it on display for two weeks at the Alamo. It will be escorted, placed behind plexiglass, and guarded 24-7. Loeffler says, "It will not be more secure than it will be at the Alamo."
But the archive staff has said no to plan. Since the early 1900s, the letter has only been on public display a hand-full of times and outside Austin only three times and never back at the Alamo. Conservationist Sarah Norris says, "Light is our main concern with this document."
Conservationist Sarah Norris says the black ink has already faded to brown and paper is deteriorating. The staff says putting on display at the Alamo is too risky. Loeffler says, "They're right we cannot remove 100% of risk but that's the way life is a lot of times."
And for the 177th anniversary of the Battle at the Alamo, the General Land Office says the risk is worth taking.
The Texas State Library and Archive Commission will meet again later this month to discuss the proposal.
And if the General Land Office is allowed to bring the letter here, it would still need to raise more than a $100,000 to pay for the two week display.