And Then There Were 9,601: A Big Update on the Spencer Sheet Music Collection

It’s a collection that’s been at Baylor University since the middle of last century, with items spanning back to the 1700s. There are more than 28,000 items in that collection including a first edition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Jingle Bells. And as of this week, it’s reached a milestone: more than 9,600 digitized items from the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music are available online for free.

We’re closing in on 10,000 items, which will mean 30% of the total physical collection digitized. We thought we’d celebrate this milestone by putting some of the most interesting recent additions in this blog post. Feel free to click into the collection and explore each piece further, including looking at the lyrics for each.

 

There’s a lot more to this latest batch (422, to be exact) and we encourage you to take a look at them all. We’ll continue to update you as we add new content to this collection, and if the previous 9,000+ items are any indication, we’re in for quite a ride before this collection is completely online!


Learn more about the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music at the collection’s homepage.

 

Political Maneuvering: Updates and Changes to the Digital Collections, Fall 2015

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Screengrab of portion of the new BCPM homepage, available at http://www.baylor.edu/lib/bcpm

We’re taking the opportunity of this week’s blog post to highlight some changes to one of our partner institutions and – as it directly relates to us – their digital collections.

Announcing the Baylor Collections of Political Materials
Digital Collections!

Our friends at the W.R. Poage Legislative Library recently announced a return to their longstanding practice of referring to their unit as the Baylor Collections of Political Materials (BCPM), housed in the W.R. Poage Legislative Library. Debbie Davendonis-Todd, the Bob Bullock Archivist at the BCPM, sent along this history on the use of the BCPM name:

In 1979, the W. R. Poage Legislative Library Center was established to honor the public service of former Representative and Baylor alumnus W. R. “Bob” Poage. The Center has been home to a number of departments including a unit of the Baylor Libraries focusing on legislative materials. On April 18, 1991 an official name was unveiled: Baylor Collections of Political Materials or BCPM.”

Returning to a previous moniker and launching a shiny new website meant we had a chance to do a little reorganizing of the BCPM digital collections, with some collections relocating into new, thematically-focused curated collections and others receiving updated branding to reflect the Poage/BCPM name change.

The BCPM Digital Collections
These collections, created from materials housed in the BCPM, have been updated to reflect their holding institution’s name change; they can all be accessed from the BCPM institutional page in our Digital Collections site, or via the links below.

Two New Curated Collections

The JFK Assassination Analysis Collection
This collection contains materials related to the ongoing analysis surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Its contents span the spectrum of thought on Kennedy’s murder in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The JFKAAC is comprised of the following collections:

Political Campaign and Propaganda Materials
This collection contains materials related to political campaigning, propaganda and the pursuit of political office, as well as ephemera related to political campaigns. The PCPM is comprised of the following collections:


 

We hope you’ll take a moment to peruse the new BCPM site, and to take a look at the materials in the collections highlighted in this post. We’ll be adding new content from the BCPM in the coming weeks and months, and as new batches are ready for public consumption we’ll be highlighting them in this space. In the meantime, please follow the BCPM’s blog, “like” their Facebook page and check out their Tumblr site.

Thrown Down, Fired Up and Glazed Over: Introducing the Harding Black Collection

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.03.34 PMHow do we honor an innovator? Do we associate their name with their creation forever, like Eli Whitney and the cotton gin? Do we raise a statue in their honor? Do we put their name on a piece of currency?

Around here, we make a digital collection out of their work, like we did with Harding Black.

From the 1930s to the 1990s, Black was a master ceramist operating out of San Antonio. His pieces are sought after by collectors and, thanks to his long friendship with a Baylor art professor, hundreds of them have been housed in the Department of Art since Black’s retirement in 1995.

Black is perhaps most known for his innovations in the realm of color. Black kept notebooks filled with his formulas –  labeled with codes like C543, D349 and 4FUY30 – that specified the mix of pigments to create colors like Orange-Peel Oxblood and Pale Blue Celadon.

Now, thanks to the efforts of Museum Studies graduate student Josh Garland and professor of art Paul McCoy, Baylor’s collection of Black’s work has been photographed and cataloged and loaded into our new Harding Black Collection. In the collection, you can view hundreds of examples of Black’s work, watch videos of interviews with and about Black and even peruse his glaze formulas notebooks.

Special thanks to our metadata librarian, Kara Long, for guiding the staff at The Texas Collection to ensure these items have robust, searchable metadata and to Amanda Dietz for coordinating the project in your neck of the woods.


Sample Items from the Digital Collection


Connect with Harding Black Materials Online

Harding Black Portal

Digital Collection

Discovering Harding Black (via the Department of Art)

(And, as ever: Fire the Cannon!)

The Spencer Collection Marches On With 400+ New Titles!

Unlike some of our never-ending projects (ahem, Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, ahem), there are some projects that we’re making slow, steady progress on every day. And that’s why we’re announcing a new batch of items in the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music – 461 all told!

The items span a century’s worth of song craft from 1845 to the 1950s. There are marches, waltzes, and tons of comedies.

And if you’re in the market for a love song, there are 143 of them ready to inspire even the most hapless of Romeos.

We’re including a gallery of some of our favorite covers here, but be sure to check out the whole collection to find your own favorites. And when you’re on the collection landing page, look for the RSS button to sign up and receive updates whenever we add new items to the collection.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.42.04 PMThe Bowery by Hoyt & Gaunt, 1933

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.43.22 PM Salut a la France (France Ever Glorious) by Donizetti, 1855

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.45.16 PMThe Man in the Moon is Looking, by Lonsdale & Eaton, 1878

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.46.17 PMThe Della Fox Little Trooper March by Johnson, 1896

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.47.26 PMEv’ry Life Is But A Clock by Skiff & Vynne, 1893

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.48.31 PM Mary Ann Marie from Hoyt’s A Stranger in New York by Hoyt & Stahl, 1898

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.50.50 PMThe Little Church Around The Corner by Gray & Carroll, 1913


The Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music has nearly 7,000 digital items available from a collection of nearly 30,000 pieces housed in the Crouch Fine Arts Library. See the entire collection here.

 

When The Day’s Work Is Done: The George W. Truett Sermons Project, Complete

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G.W. Truett's signature from a letter dated January 3, 1942. Digital image from an original held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, TX

G.W. Truett’s signature from a letter dated January 3, 1942. Digital image from an original held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, TX

 

If you’re a loyal reader of this blog, you’ll no doubt remember that we’ve been talking about the George W. Truett Sermons project for quite some time. From their original arrival in late 2012 to an exploration of the story behind their original recording and broadcast via a Mexican “border blaster” radio station, we’ve documented these amazing discs’ life from creation to long-term preservation and 21st century access. On a personal level, I have invested hundreds of hours in the creation of metadata, transcripts, images and digital archival objects for this collection, so it comes as a big point of personal and professional pride to announce that the project is officially complete! (FIRE THE CANNON!)

The project (which also includes 26 commercially produced albums released by Word Records in 1966) presents the largest known collection of Dr. Truett’s unedited sermons in a single source, with a major emphasis on the final years of his life, 1941-1943. Users can now listen to the original audio, view images of the 16″ radio transcription discs, read full transcripts and explore the enduring genius of Dr. Truett’s messages all in one simple interface. The amount of metadata associated with each sermon, as well as the presence of full-text transcriptions, means greater discoverability via online search engines like Google and Yahoo!, making it more likely that these priceless resources will find their way into the hearts and minds of researchers, seekers and the curious alike for generations.

 

By The Numbers

* 66 total sermons (57 full sermons, 9 sermon segments)

* 258,359 total words generated during transcription process

* 33 hours of audio content

* 74 major Scriptures referenced (39 from the Old Testament, 35 from the New Testament

 

Interesting Findings

Dr. Truett most frequently cited from the books of 2 Chronicles, the Psalms, 1 Corinthians, Romans and the Gospel of Luke. His most frequently cited passage overall was a three-way tie between 2 Chronicles 29:27, Psalm 43 and Romans 8:28.

– The sermons are loaded with quotations from sources named (John Bunyan, David Livingstone, Martin Luther, John Wesley, William Jennings Bryan and Theodore Roosevelt, to name but a few) and unnamed (Oscar Wilde’s definition of the word “cynic” is cited at least twice without his being named the source). Dr. Truett also frequently quotes poetry and the lyrics to hymns, most often without naming their author or lyricist. Whether this was a simple omission or the result of an assumption on his part that his audience would be familiar with the source of these words is unclear.

– Three voices other than Dr. Truett’s are heard in the course of the recordings:

  • “Brother Coleman,” assumed to be either an associate minister or perhaps a lay reader, delivers a prayer in the sermon titled, “Prayer and Personal Witness for Christ” on March 31, 1941.
  • Several sermons capture brief moments of singing at the conclusion of the recording, and we are presented of the dual treats of the First Baptist Choir and organist, as well as Dr. Truett’s enthusiastic vocal stylings.
  • Throughout the sermons, at times of particular emphasis or emotion, we hear an unidentified man utter a heartfelt, “Amen!” His voice is deep and reverential, at times almost mournful. Because of the clarity of his voice in the recordings, it is assumed that he is an associate pastor or some other member of the church staff with a seat very near to the pulpit. Though he never offers more than his simple statement of agreement, his voice is as indelibly a part of these sermons’ fabric as that of Dr. Truett himself.

– There are two separate sermons, delivered a little more than a year apart, in which Dr. Truett cites “reports” that the wives of poor farmers make up the largest proportions of populations in insane asylums “than any other group in the country.” He blames this sad condition on the fact that these women lead lives of dull monotony, with the daily routines of farm living providing no hope or encouragement but plenty of hardship, so much so that a complete mental breakdown was all but inevitable.

I was able to trace this story back to a widespread assertion made by several reform-minded speakers in the early 19th century, but the claim was debunked by a Dr. George W. Groff (director of a sanitarium) whose report to the 1909 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Board of Agriculture rebutted these rumors with specific statistics and the opinion of a professional in the field. It is interesting to see how, even thirty years later, those rumors were still being presented as truth by even educated men like Dr. Truett.

These are just a few of the interesting items I came across in the two years our team spent creating this collection, but there are no doubt many, many more hidden gems, major revelations and eye-opening statements to be found. We encourage you to dig deep and find your own, and please drop us a line (digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu) with anything you think should be highlighted in this blog, on our social media sites or elsewhere.

We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering this collection as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it, and we welcome your feedback at any time. And if the mood strikes, please share this post – or our other social media outlets – with anyone you think would be interested in this collection. We want to ensure it gets the kind of exposure it deserves, a goal that Dr. Truett would surely agree is a “worthy ambition.”


You can access the full George W. Truett Sermons Collection here, and be sure to follow the @GWTruettSermons Twitter stream for twice-weekly excerpts from the collection. A special thanks to our friends at the Crouch Fine Arts Library and The Texas Collection for their contributions to this project.