It’s the week of Halloween and there’s no better time to highlight some items from our University Archives collections, specifically the Baylor Roundup (our campus yearbook) and The Phoenix (a literary magazine sponsored by the English Department). First up, a poem called Halloween from the 1902 Roundup.
Oh, man. Let all that mid-90’s goodness settle in. It’s so perfect, it’s causing a Pavlovian response in my mind where everything tastes like Surge and smells like CK One and is swathed in flannel.
The context on this piece is that, in celebration of Baylor’s sesquicentennial year (1995), a fundraising packet was sent to previous donors and members of the Sesquicentennial Associates group encouraging their support of a major fundraising campaign. The video – on VHS, natch – was included along with a standard form letter.
A friend at the Mayborn Museum Complex, Trey Crumpton, found it in their archives and gave it a watch. It was important to his team because it mentions the goal of raising money for a new home for the Strecker Museum, which was then housed in the basement of the Sid Richardson Building. It was important to OUR team because, as the digital repository for the University Archives, it is our responsibility to preserve, provide access to and promote resources like this.
Plus, it’s really, really rad.
Let’s break it down from start to finish, shall we?
First off, that’s not legendary voiceover actor Don LaFontaine (a.k.a. the “in a world” movie trailer guy, a.k.a. “Thunder Throat”). I KNOW, RIGHT? I asked my friends in university marketing if they could find out who it was, and Brenda Tacker dug into her personal archive to come up with a name: John William Galt of the Dallas area. Yes, the V/O was done by a guy whose name is synonymous with a character in an Ayn Rand novel. And that’s just within the first five seconds.
Football Throw Fake Out Kid
C’mon, kid, we all know you wanted to throw the ball; why’d you choke? Sweet “bear paws on shoulders” jersey, though.
THAT HAIRCUT THO
That is the bowliest of bowl cuts, a true paragon of the Moe Howard School of 90’s Haircuts. (This coming from a guy who once rocked the George Clooney/Caesar Cut for a BIT too long past its expiration date, so I’m able to cast a few stones here.)
You have more computing power in your smart phone than that entire lab did 20 years ago.
“We’re walking, we’re walking, we’re walking … ”
And that’s a whole ozone layer’s worth of hairspray, too.
It’s Like Watching A Blacksmith Train His Apprentice!
No one under 25 knows how to develop and print their own photos anymore. But that is one tastefully lit darkroom shot!
Dead Things In The Basement
“Any ideas how we can make our natural history museum less creepy?”
“Stop making people go underground to see mounted skeletons?”
Bold Vision, Avant-Garde Scene Framing
“See the artist in his natural habitat, as framed through the slats of his studio’s staircase!”
A Democrat Governor of Texas!
Oh, look, it’s alumna and former governor Ann Richards. That’s one pink ensemble, Madame Governor!
All He’s Missing Is A Member’s Only Jacket
Man, Bugle Boy. That takes me back.
The Best On-Screen Graphics Money Could Buy
Take a good look at that logo, cause now it’s reserved for use with materials related to the President’s Office exclusively!
Those are just a few of my favorite moments found in this 7-minute treasure, but let us know if there’s something here that really brought you back to the Clinton Era. And, as a bonus, if you saw yourself somewhere in the video, tell us and we’ll add your name to this post (if you give permission, of course; you might have a deep-seeded aversion to people knowing about your questionable fashion choices)!
You can view the entire record for this video in our Digital Collections here. Special thanks to Lori Fogleman, Brenda Tacker, Trey Crumpton and everyone involved in making, saving and unconditionally loving this video.
That all of us at the Digital Projects Group are big fans of your work on America’s #1 Zombie Apocalypse Themed Television series is no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. Over the course of five seasons we’ve seen you grow from startled victim to grizzled leader of a hardened band of survivors. And far be it from us to tell you where you should go with Rick’s character development in season 6, but we found some information in our Baylor archives that we think would add some unexpected depth to a man pushed to the edge by events he can’t understand, let alone control.
I’m talking, of course, about playing the organ and joining a fraternity.
Now, hear me out. At first glance those don’t seem like the kind of skills RICK GRIMES would need in his tool set. But that would mean ignoring the contributions of two very real men named Rick Grimes, who happened to be Baylor students in the 1960s and the 1970s.
Rick Grimes I (The Organ Playing One)
The first Rick Grimes to show up in our records does so by way of an announcement of his junior organ recital.
“Big deal,” you’re probably saying to yourself in your real, English accent. “So he could play a bunch of songs on an organ. How does that help Sheriff Rick?”
Well, take a listen (and look) at this clip of what the Toccata and Fugue in D minor sounds like, and tell us if that isn’t the perfect score for the post-zombie apocalypse.
Aside from it being atmospherically perfect for the blighted, paranoia-inducing nightmare landscape Sheriff Rick has to operate in every single day, the sheer complexity and overwhelming nature of it would stun every walker within a two-mile radius into complete submission by its awesomeness.
And 1961 Baylor student Rick Grimes played it – and five other pieces – to perfection.
Sure, toting around a gigantic pipe organ would be unrealistic. We’ll give you that one. But Sheriff Rick Grimes’ group spent time in a church this past season, and it’s not unrealistic to think that, now that you’re all in Alexandria, VA, you couldn’t just pop over to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and use its 1938 Skinner and Son Organ Company organ to effectively neutralize the zombie menace in our nation’s capital. We’re just saying.
Rick Grimes II (The Fraternity One)
Maybe more practical skills are the kind of thing you’d like to bring to your character next season. Fine – how about the companionship, leadership abilities and general bonhomie to be found in a fraternity? Then you could take a tip from 1970s Baylor student Rick Grimes, who was a member of Kappa Omega Tau (KOT), a local fraternity.
… not unlike a certain group leader, whose steely reserve has seen his ad hoc family through a series of increasingly desperate trials.
You’re practically twins!
We’d never presume to tell you how to play your character next season. Heck, we’re just so excited to see what you’ll do now that you’re poised to assume an even larger role in the leadership of the Alexandria Safe Zone that we’d be happy if you wound up doing a total 180 with Sheriff Rick and turning him into some Father Gabriel style pacifist. (Actually, scratch that. We wouldn’t like that at all.)
But if season 6 finds you seated at an immense pipe organ, wearing a sash with Greek letters on it and grimly dispatching of rotters, walkers, biters and the like with just the skill in your fingers and the determination in your heart, we wouldn’t have a problem with that, either.
This post is part of a series of Open Letters to musicians, authors and others that we hope will connect our collections to prominent people in America. If you have someone to suggest, or if you’re the subject of this post and want to drop us a line, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Front Elevation and Detail of Inscription in Architrave Over Columns, Women’s Memorial Dormitory, Baylor University. Birch D. Easterwood, architect. June 10, 1929.
Daniel Hudson Burnham was one of the most influential architects of the late 19th century, helming major projects like the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and his master plans of cities like Chicago, Manila and San Francisco, as well as myriad public and private buildings around the country. This post’s title is taken from one of his famous quotes:
Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die. – Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912)
We took Burnham’s words to heart and have “aimed high” by creating our latest digital collection: the Architecture Collection! If, as Goethe said, architecture is “frozen music,” you could consider this collection as an assembly of scores written by virtuosos with names like Birch Easterwood and J. Riely Gordon. And we think placing samples of these documents online will aid in “remembering” these diagrams as the two-dimensional elements essential to the final rendering in brick and stone of many of our most treasured local landmarks.
One of the first things that you’ll notice when you browse the collection is that some buildings may have one or two renderings included, while the record for Brooks Hall – the version demolished in 2006, not the current structure – includes 32 plans. Why the discrepancy? Simply put, we only want to include images that represent one of three major types:
1. Elevations: What a building’s exterior looks like. The “view from the street” document.
2. Cross-section Diagrams: Side views of elements or entire structures
3. Details: Closeup views of ornamentation and embellishments, primarily.
We have omitted any structural, mechanical or other engineering-related documents in order to keep sensitive material shielded from public view for security considerations. The only exception to this policy will be when plans are added for buildings that are no longer extant, like the aforementioned original incarnation of Brooks Hall.
The material presented in this collection is shown as it was captured from the scanner used to capture it (our Cruse CS-285 large format scanner, for the record). That means we haven’t added any additional digital enhancements to them so researchers and scholars can see them in a form as closely related to the originals as possible.
But we know people like seeing things from numerous viewpoints, so we added a selection of materials to our Flickr account as a new set. We started with nine samples, but we plan to add more in the future.
Enhanced front elevation plan for Brooks Hall (demolished, 2006) via Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Flickr photostream. Click the image to access our Flickr account!
Also, we thought it’d be fun to add an exclusive item to our Tumblr account (http://baylordigitalcollections.tumblr.com): an animated GIF of a plan for the dome of the McLennan County Courthouse showing the unretouched and the digitally enhanced versions overlapped on each other. We think it shows the possibilities of what digital enhancement can add to a project without sullying the original.
Preview of McLennan County Courthouse GIF via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections Tumblr account, Digitized and Randomized. Click image to view the GIF!
Take some time to look at the collection and see what you discover. For my money, one of the more interesting finds was the two hand-written notes on the elevation plan for Waco Hall labeling the two statues over the entrance – one depicted as female, the other as male – as “Mother” and “Dad.”
As the photo below – from Fort Worth Forum member “ramjet” – shows, the finished sculptures both appear to be male. Does anyone know the reason for the change? We’d love to hear from you if you know the scoop!
Special thanks to the Baylor University Architect’s office, the staff at Facilities Services, the McLennan County Archives and the staff at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) for their contributions to this collection.
Welcome to our first guest post here on the BU Libraries Digital Collections blog! We’re excited to welcome Sierra Wilson, a graduate student from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Library and Information Science. Sierra has been with us this summer working as an intern. Her assignment: the sprawling Baylor University News Releases project, outlined in a previous blog post. Take it away, Sierra!
My name is Sierra, and I was an intern this summer at Baylor’s Riley Digitization Center. My last day is on Friday, and I’m sad to be leaving the RDC behind to return to school. I am not new to Baylor; I grew up in Waco and graduated from Baylor in 2008. Last year, I started graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I study Library and Information Science. My main interest in grad school has been in archives and special collections, and how these materials can be made more accessible by the use of technology. My internship this summer was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the equipment and techniques libraries use to achieve this goal.
Although I have been lucky to work on many different projects this summer, most of my time here has been spent working on the Baylor Press Release project that Eric posted about earlier this summer. After we sorted thousands of press releases into chronological order (no small feat!), the next step was actually digitizing them. To do this, we load the press releases into binders and scan them with a machine called the Kirtas, which turns the pages of books to speed up the scanning process. This is the part of the process with which I have been the most involved. Back in June, I started scanning in 1960 (earlier press releases were scanned on a flatbed scanner); as of this week, my co-workers and I have scanned a decade and half of press releases!
I will admit that there have been times that I never wanted to see another press release again, but I’m sad that I’ll be leaving this project before its completion. Seeing this task go from a massive, daunting heap of boxes to an organized, streamlined system has been extremely satisfying. It’s been an important part of my learning experience this summer to see the digitization center’s staffers tackle such a hefty problem.
One of the most interesting parts of the project has been the opportunity to learn more about the history of Baylor and Waco. I read about the changing landscape of campus, with the addition of buildings like Moody Library and the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as the continual growth of the student body. Of course, sometimes Baylor history repeats itself: the Noze brotherhood was banned from campus in 1965.
Over the time I’ve spent working on this project, I started keeping a list of the most unusual press releases I came across. I found myself surprised (and often amused) by the nationally known figures that came to Baylor to speak or perform. Baylor folk often talk about the “Baylor Bubble,” that invisible barrier that sometimes seems to shield the campus from the outside world, but these press releases prove that Baylor has always played an important, active role in the world around it. Sometimes Baylor’s visitors were prestigious, and some are just downright unusual, and I would never have imagined before this project that any of them would have come to Baylor.
Sierra’s Top Five Unusual Press Releases
October 20, 1972
Jon Voight comes to Baylor to campaign for George McGovern
There’s something strange in the idea that a big movie star like Jon Voight would come to Baylor to campaign for McGovern. That’s like Brad Pitt coming to campaign for John Kerry in 2004: hard to imagine. But he did, not that it made much of a difference for McGovern’s campaign for president.
April 30, 1965
Nina Simone performs at Baylor May Day festivities
Nina Simone was a well-known singer-songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist, and I was shocked that Baylor would have brought in someone as famous as Simone to be their featured May Day performer. May Day seems to have been the predecessor to Diadeloso.
March 23, 1973 Lenore Romney speaks at Chapel
In March of 1973, Lenore Romney, the wife of George Romney and mother of current presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was a speaker at Chapel. She herself had recently lost a race for U.S. Senator in the state of Michigan, and spoke about her experience as a woman running for office. Who knew?
September 28, 1974 Erich von Daniken lectures at Baylor
If you’ve ever come across the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” program, then you are familiar with Erich von Daniken’s ideas about alien contact with ancient civilizations. At the time of this speaking engagement at Baylor, von Daniken had recently published Chariots of the Gods?, which details his unusual (and frequently discredited) theory that the development of human civilization could have aided by extraterrestrial contact. I wonder what the Baylor community thought about him?
May 28, 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson speaks at Baylor commencement
I bet you didn’t know that President Lyndon Baines Johnson had family ties to Baylor, did you? It turns out his maternal great-grandfather was the president of Baylor from 1861-2. LBJ wasn’t the first sitting president to speak at Baylor, either; he was preceded by both Eisenhower and Truman.
The Baylor University News Release collection is being scanned and processed at this time. Images above are for illustrative purposes and are not available via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections at this time. We’ll post an update to let users know when they can access this impressive collection!