Read All About It: Waco Historic Newspapers Digital Collection Launches

Masthead of the May 28, 1873 issue of the “Waco Daily Advance” newspaper.

Waco’s renaissance as a national name – due largely thanks to our resident “Fixer Uppers” Chip and Joanna Gaines – has done much to elevate the city’s name and reputation in the eyes of a national audience. But for the local audience of the late 1800s and early 1900s, if you wanted to read about the goings-on in “Six Shooter Junction,” (or “Athens on the Brazos” or the “Hub City,” take your choice) you could do so in any one of dozens of different local newspapers.

In today’s one-paper-per-market media climate, it can be hard to believe that there was a time when a city of Waco’s size could support not only multiple titles but multiple daily editions along with a smattering of weekly, monthly and irregularly published titles. The large number of media outlets at the turn of the last century was a significant indicator of Waco’s growing importance to the state and regional economy. For today’s researcher, they present an invaluable resource for daily news, commentary, rumor, social commentary and advertising.

The archival holdings of Baylor’s Texas Collection – a special library dedicated to state, local and Baylor history – include the largest known assemblage of historic Waco newspapers available today. Numbering approximately 21,000 total issues, the collection had previously been accessible to on-site researchers and spans dozens of titles and decades from roughly the Reconstruction Era (1870s) to the end of the “public domain” period (1923).

Now, the Digital Preservation Services team, in partnership with The Texas Collection, is proud to announce the availability of 5,375 issues of this important collection in the new Historic Waco Newspapers digital collection. Currently, there are eight titles available in their entirety:

  • The Artesia
  • The Waco Daily Advance
  • The Day
  • Waco Daily Day Globe
  • Waco Daily Examiner
  • Waco Daily News
  • Waco Evening News
  • Waco Evening Tribune

The digitization process for these materials involves a multi-step procedure starting with a careful organization and inventory of the physical issues; generation of cataloging metadata in a shared spreadsheet; digitization of the materials on one of two large-format friendly scanners (a Cruse CS-285ST large format scanner and a Zeutschel OS14000 A0 format scanner, if you’re curious); and, finally, ingestion of the images and metadata into our digital collections content management system (CONTENTdm).

The total amount of time needed to get all 21,000 issues online depends on a number of factors including availability of student and staff labor and the time-intensive nature of handling the fragile physical materials, but we hope to have every issue of The Texas Collection’s holdings from 1875-1923 online and publicly accessible within the next two years.

For now, we encourage you to head to the collection’s homepage and start your deep dive into this treasure trove of local Waco history. Here’s a fun one to get you started: try searching for the word “shiplap.” Yes, turns out JoJo’s favorite wall covering shows up at least six times in the collection, including this ad from the October 28, 1927 Waco Evening Tribune.

Turns out time is a flat piece of wood used as an interior or exterior cladding, not a circle, after all.

 

Sadly, the house at 916 Mary Avenue was demolished long ago, but fear not! You can visit the Magnolia Market, just a stone’s throw away, next time you’re in town. Be sure to pick up a t-shirt before you head home.


Special thanks to the staff at The Texas Collection for their care and maintenance of these archival treasures for more than 90  years.

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!)

A Campus Divided? The Historic Precedent for the “Bearlin Wall”

To the Baylor Campus Community,

As President Abraham Lincoln said during the dark days prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Those words may have slipped into the realm of cliche to those of us in the enlightened 21st century, but they hold truer than ever as we face the great struggle of our time: the Bearlin Wall.

The Wall

The Wall

Battle lines have been drawn. Entrenchments have been entrenched, forts have been fortified, provisions have been provided for: conflict is imminent. Passions are inflamed as loyalties are pledged to the King in the North (Art Briles) and the King in the South (Burt Burleson and/or Ken Starr – there appears to be a power struggle afoot).

But may we, your humble digital collections social media team, ask you all to cool your ardor for confrontation and consider that this divisive situation actually has historic precedent, as made evident by this surviving artifact of what became known as the 5th Street War of 1939*.

And this conflict featured a brick wall.

This hand drawn map, created by E.H. Ramirez, documents a time of division and turmoil that coincided with the general political unease felt around the world in the run-up to World War II. Here is the map in its entirety:

1939 map of campus by E.H. Ramirez (Click to enlarge)

1939 map of campus by E.H. Ramirez

As you can see, the majority of campus development at the time was in the more industrialized, heavily settled South. The dividing line then, as now, was Fifth Street. While the North was largely rural at the time of the 5th Street War, it did house the Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium, which meant the Northern forces had access to a swimming pool, so they had that going for them (which was nice).

But a closer look shows that even in the halcyon days of the late 1930s, there existed a structure whose very purpose was to divide, to exclude, to prevent the very kind of conflict we’re living through today: the Brick Wall.

inset-map-BU-1939

Inset of 1939 map.

Yes, in the days before the great edifice known as the Bill Daniel Student Center/the SUB was there to serve our every Dr Pepper Hour and last-minute Chik-fil-A craving, there stood an imposing barrier of brick and mortar, a stark delineation between the people South of the Wall and those North of It.

The Brick Wall’s ostensible purpose was to keep bystanders from wandering into the field of play while gridiron and baseball action was taking place on Carroll Field, but its real function became obvious in time: to keep the Others out.

No one knows who fired the first shots that eventually culminated in the 5th Street War of 1939. Perhaps it was a zealous Southerner, caught up in the unquenchable thirst for a dip in the pool. Or perhaps a nervous Northerner, long envious of the fine brick structures of the South, unloaded on a hapless Southerner after misunderstanding the punchline to a joke that was popular at that time. The historical record is silent on its cause, but the after effects of the 5th Street War of 1939 were stark. Consider:

  • In the years following the War, every structure shown on this map that lay to the North of 5th Street (except for Marrs McLean Gym) was destroyed. In its place today are structures like Morrison Hall, Fountain Mall, Sid Richardson Building and the Moody Memorial Library.
  • The South suffered loss as well: the Baylor Men’s Hospital, Little Theatre Work Shop, Baylor Beauty Shop and more were lost.
  • The presence of livestock near Waco Creek (represented on the map by a “contented” longhorn cow) was completely eliminated from the campus.

But despite the pain, loss and clutching of pearls that followed in the wake of the 5th Street War of 1939, the campus slowly mended its divisions in the ensuing decades and entered into a Golden Age of unity, presided over by the dual guiding lights of academic excellence and (eventually) football dominance.

Let us take our example from these previous generations and work to unite in the face of a potentially disastrous situation. We must embrace the things that make us all Baylor Bears, that transcend the temporary inconvenience of a few yards of construction barricade. After all, as the great Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie sang on their hit song “Black Sun,”

There is an answer in a question
And there is hope within despair
And there is beauty in a failure
And there are depths beyond compare
There is a role of a lifetime
And there’s a song yet to be sung
And there’s a dumpster in the driveway
Of all the plans that came undone

Let us choose the hope within despair, and let the dumpster in the driveway (5th Street) be hauled away, filled with the rubble born of aesthetic progress. If we can but hold firm for a few fleeting months, our fair Fountain Mall will once again bring forth sparkling waters from the fecund bosom of the Earth, as seen in this artist’s rendering.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 1.14.22 PMSo embrace your Northern kin, Southern Bear. Share a meal with one another, cavort on the mall, fling your green and gold afar, hand in hand as you go. The schism of today will be the fond memory of tomorrow, and we will live with the examples of both the 5th Street War of 1939 and the Great Unification of 2015 firmly in our hearts … together.

– Your Friends in the Digital Projects Group


*Not an actual war. This whole piece is, of course, a work of satire, based around the opportunity to showcase a really cool (and very real) map of the campus drawn by a student in 1939. But you all knew that already – after all, you ARE smarter than the average bears.

The 1939 Map of Campus by E.H. Ramirez is from the holdings of The Texas Collection. See the map in our Digital Collections 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.

Where The Bears Made Their Dens Back Then: A Multimedia Visualization of Baylor Student Housing From 1913-1914

Student housing, 1913 style. From “Baylor University Students of 1913-1914: A Multimedia Project,” via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Welcome back to a new year and a new post here at the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections blog! We’re excited to be back on campus and look forward to another year of providing you with unique insights into our ever-growing array of digital collections.

This week, we’re taking a multimedia look at a pair of resources related to Baylor University and Waco history: the 1913-1914 Waco City Directories and Baylor Round Ups

Abel Maud Miss, student Baylor Univ, res 727 S 17th

This entry for Maud Abel, a student at Baylor in 1913, is the first student-related entry in the 1913 Waco City Directory. The directory – which contains the names, addresses, ethnicities and occupations of Waco’s citizenry – is a rich resource for students of Waco history. While updating the navigation for a number of volumes this collection, I noticed a large number of entries for Baylor students and had an idea: what if we used Google Maps to plot the known addresses of those students on a current map of the city of Waco? And what if we added select photos of those students to the map, so modern researchers could get a sense of where Baylor students in the early 1910s lived during their tenure as Baylor Bears?

And so the Homes of Baylor University Students of 1913-1914 project was born. Using the names listed in the 1913-1914 directories and the 1913-1914 Round Ups, I plotted the hundreds of names in a custom Google Map, along with a sampling of photos of students, some single headshots and others group photos taken on the front steps of their boarding houses.

Exploring the Project

The Google Map plotting the student housing locations of 1913-1914. Click the image to access this resource.

The housing map is simple to navigate, but here are a few helpful tips to make your browsing more enjoyable.

–       You can navigate directly to an address by clicking on it in the list at the upper left of the screen. An entry marked with a blue star indicates a location marker that also includes a photo of the student(s) who lived there. Green markers indicate female students, yellow markers indicate male students, and brown markers indicate either mixed gender residences or students whose gender is unknown.

Navigation panel for the Google Map.

–       As you zoom closer to campus, you’ll see a green rectangle. This roughly represents the boundaries of campus as they stood in 1913-1914.

–       Clicking on a marker will pull up a list of the students who lived at that address. For large dormitories – like Burleson Hall – there are multiple markers with long lists of names.

Location marker for Maud Abel’s home address, 727 S. 17th St.

The photos for the project are housed as a set in our Baylor University Libraries Digital Collection’s Flickr photostream. In the descriptions of each photo, you’ll find a link to the corresponding page in the Round Up from which it was taken so you can explore each photo in its original context.

The Flickr set of images for the project. Click the image for access.

***

We hope you’ll enjoy exploring the topography of Baylor’s student housing in the earlier 1910s through this multifaceted project. Leave us your comments on what you found enlightening, interesting or confusing – we’d love to hear from you!

Images from the 1913-1914 Baylor Round Ups via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, digitized from originals held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, TX. To see the digital copies of the Waco City Directories or the Round Ups, visit our Digital Collections homepage. To arrange access to physical copies, or to see more resources related to Baylor and Waco history, contact The Texas Collection.