Mary and Jeff Bell Library

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Drs. Rose and John Tunnell

John W. Tunnell, M.D. Texana Collection

The John W. Tunnell, M.D. Texana Collection consists of over three hundred books and other titles dealing with Texas and local history. Many of these items relate to the Nueces County/San Patricio County region. Raised in Gregory, Dr. John Tunnell (1914 - 1999) earned his M.D. from Baylor Medical School in 1942. While there, he met and married fellow medical student Rosalie Newman.

After World War II, the Tunnells established their practices in Taft, Texas, near Corpus Christi. Dr. John and Dr. Rose, as they were affectionately known, became two of Taft's most respected citizens, not only as physicians, but also for their numerous civic endeavors. They retired in 1984.

One of Dr. John's many interests was history. He was an avid collector of coins, stamps, barbed wire, Indian artifacts, and other historical memorabilia. In addition, he was president of Taft's Blackland Museum that chronicles the San Patricio County area. He began to collect books on Texas in the early 1950s.

While the Tunnell Collection contains many standard Texana reference works, it also contains obscure local pamphlets, periodicals, maps, brochures, and other printed ephemera dealing with Taft, Sinton, Mathis and surrounding areas. The Tunnel Collection was donated by his son, Dr. John W. "Wes" Tunnell, Jr., Director of the Center for Coastal Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and a daughter, Mrs. Nancy Tunnell Hutto, as a lasting tribute to their father.

We invite questions and/or comments and look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us at or (361)825-4500.

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