This collection of approximately 11,100 specimens was made under the leadership of Dr. Elias H. Sellards between 1939 and 1942. At that time Sellards was director of Texas Memorial Museum and director of the Bureau of Economic Geology. He sponsored an average of nine field crews at any given time that collected fossil vertebrates at different locations across Texas. Approximately $300,000 was invested in this effort.
The WPA collection includes specimens from Permian and Triassic terrestrial sediments of North and Central Texas, from Tertiary terrestrial sediments of the Gulf Coastal Plain, from Tertiary terrestrial sediments of the Texas Panhandle, and from Pleistocene deposits throughout the state.
Much of this material has been prepared and published, and some of the finer specimens have been placed on display in museums around the country, including Texas Memorial Museum, the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), and the American Museum of Natural History.
Careful field records of locality and stratigraphic data for the WPA collection were made and preserved by the late Mr. Glen Evans and Mr. Adolph H. Witte.