Christmas Poetry, from 19th Century Poetess Adelaide Procter

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas from all of us at the Digitization Projects Group!

If you’re looking for some inspiring readings for the day, check out the 19th Century Women Poets Collection. Drawn from the holdings of the Armstrong Browning Library, these works contain dozens of poems related to Christmas and its iconic imagery.

Click here to read “Christmas Flowers” from Adelaide Procter’s The Poems of Adelaide A. Procter, With An Introduction by Charles Dickens.

 

On Carroll Field, White Bread, and the Comfort of Electric Power

While working through some exciting new pieces we’re adding to the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive (BULAA) in the next few days, I spotted a couple of interesting items in a 1934 program from the Homecoming game against Texas A&M.

The first thing to note is the location of the game, Carroll Field. Throughout its storied history, Baylor football games have been played in no less than five locations:

  • Prior to 1906, games were played in an unnamed field adjacent to Old Main.
  • Carroll Field
    1906 to 1925, and from 1930 to 1935
  • Waco Cotton Palace
    1926 to 1929
  • Waco Stadium/Waco Municipal Stadium
    1936 to 1949
  • Baylor Stadium/Floyd Casey Stadium
    1950 to present

Carroll Field is seen in the photograph below, just to the right of Carroll Science building.


In the above image, the field is configured for baseball season, but the white picket fence around the field is visible in the background of this photo of a football game against an unknown opponent, circa 1916.

Digging deeper into the program, readers encounter this advertisement at the top of page 5.


A number of assertions in this ad may cause modern viewers to ask some fundamental (if a bit silly) questions. Questions like, “Why is white bread considered energy food?” or “Why is it such a big deal that the bread is sliced?” and “What happened to the Jones Fine Bread Co.?”

Although many today consider white bread a nutritionally neutral option at best, for many in the 1930s, bread was a major staple of their daily diet. But because poorer families often bought bulk flour and baked their own bread or biscuits at home, the idea of buying “light bread” from a grocery store could be a hard sell. Therefore, commercial bakeries used any number of selling points to make their case to consumers – including the idea that their bread would provide the energy needed to make it through a busy day.

Also, because many baked (and sliced) their own bread at home, the idea of buying a loaf of pre-sliced bread was both a novelty and a convenience. While the idea of pulling two slices of bread out of a package to make a quick sandwich means little to us today, the idea of saving a few precious moments by using pre-sliced bread was a luxury to many during the Great Depression.

Lastly, the Jones Bread Company seems to have been a local bakery in the Waco area that supported a unique program called the “Jones’ Fine Bread Kiddie Matinee Show.” According to this article from the Waco History Project by Teri Jo Ryan, the show, which was hosted by Mary Holliday, was a kind of forerunner to American Idol that gave local kids a chance to showcase their talents on a weekly radio program.

Our final point of interest is the ad from the back cover of the program, this one for Texas Power and Light.


The benefits of electric power are listed in relation to something we give little thought to today: the ability to lessen the strain dim lighting puts on our eyes. In a time when large numbers of Americans – especially those in rural areas – were without power beyond what could be provided by candles and gas lamps, the idea of having a home full of evenly distributed, reliable light was nothing short of miraculous. And until the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935, there were often few opportunities for people in rural areas to take advantage of such a modern luxury. This ad reminds us of a time when something we take for grated today was considered big enough news to warrant two-thirds of a prominent advertisement on a program seen by thousands of people attending a Baylor University football game.

The entire program, part of the Baylor University Athletics Archive, is available at http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/ref/collection/33athletics/id/2745.