Research Ready: August 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are August’s finding aids:

Baylor Round Table Anniversary Dinner invitation

The Baylor Round Table celebrated its 40th birthday in 1944 with a dinner in Catherine Alexander Hall. The invitations of this era often were beautifully handmade, and the menus for the organization’s older events are a bit of a curiosity to us today. Highlights from the menu for this dinner included: half grapefruit, broiled chicken with gravy, baked potato, whole tomato salad, rolls, cake, ice cream, and coffee. BU records: Baylor Round Table #BU/39, box 16, folder 15.

    • Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200): These papers include information on issues, people, and events in Central Texas during the career of Thomas E. Turner, Sr. as a newspaperman for the Dallas Morning News, Central Texas Bureau, and as a Baylor administrator. Materials primarily cover current events from the 1940s-1980s.
    • William A. Mueller papers, 1871-1995, undated (#3959): Materials include the reading and lecture notes, sermons, and teaching materials from the long and productive career of a German-American Baptist seminary professor of theology, philosophy, church history, and German intellectual history.
Baylor Female College, Independence, Texas-October 1969 (1)

This photo, contained in the Baylor University General Photo collection, shows Tommy Turner standing between the remaining columns of the female dormitory at the site of Baylor University in Independence, Texas. You can find more photographs like this on Central Texas and Baylor University in the Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200).

Posted in Baptist universities and colleges, Baylor Round Table, Germany, Journalism, Lithography, McLennan County, Printing, Research Ready, Theology study and teaching, Uncategorized, Waco | Leave a comment

What I Did This Summer: Graduate Student Projects at The Texas Collection, Part 1

Baylor basketball film, pre-processing

Basketball film before: The Texas Collection receives athletics films in canisters of all shapes and sizes! Photo by Texas Collection staff.

This summer, The Texas Collection was fortunate to have four graduate students working with our staff and in our collections. As the summer comes to a close, we asked them to share a little about their projects and what they have learned. We’ll hear from two today, and two next week. This week’s post demonstrates the wide variety of materials we house at The Texas Collection, from the papers of Baptist theologians and missionaries to Baylor basketball film!

My name is Alyssa Gerhardt, and I am a fourth year history PhD student from Sutter, Illinois. I have been working at The Texas Collection for the summer, helping to process materials in the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive. [Alyssa’s work was funded by the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive endowment.] While it is common knowledge that Baylor University has gained a lot of national attention for its athletic teams in the past few years, it may come as a surprise to learn that The Texas Collection serves as the repository for materials documenting Baylor sports history. Although The Texas Collection holds a wide variety of Baylor sports material, my main job this summer was to process film from the men’s basketball team. Dating as far back as 1960, most of this film was in 16mm format and was in a range of conditions. It has been my job to identify all of these films, put them into archival-grade containers, and catalog them for future patrons’ use.

Baylor basketball film, organized, rehoused, and labeled

Basketball film after: Processing film meant putting them into uniform archival canisters and adding clearly-marked labels. Photo by Texas Collection staff.

Today, we take the process of watching movies or film for granted, but this project has helped me gain an appreciation for the development of both film and film technology over the last fifty years. Because I was working with film reels that had not been properly stored for many years, they were too delicate to simply put on a projector and watch. Instead, using a homemade film reel holder and a handheld microscope, I worked frame-by-frame to pick out players, uniforms, scores, or anything else that would help with identification. Then, using that information, I used sports reports from the Baylor Lariat, team photos from the Round-Up, or game statistics from an athletic department almanac. Needless to say, this could sometimes be very tedious work!

As an avid Baylor sports fan, however, I found the process fascinating. It was interesting to learn about key basketball players throughout the program’s history and feel connected to a long tradition of school pride. It was also intriguing to see how the sport of basketball has changed over the years, something I had not previously given much thought to.

Working at the Texas Collection has given me new appreciation for the range of materials that archives preserve and gave me a glimpse into the many fun and surprising sources we have for learning about the history of Baylor University.


William Mueller and colleagues at the Baptist World Congress in London, 1955

William Mueller attended a number of the Baptist World Congresses in the mid-twentieth century, including this one in London in 1955. With fluency in more than five languages, he often served as one of the primary interpreters. William A. Mueller papers #3959, box 1, folder 3.

My name is Cody Strecker, and I am a doctoral student of early Christian theology in Baylor’s Religion Department. The most interesting, and most daunting, of my tasks this summer as the Baptist Collection intern has been preparing the William A. Mueller papers. This German-American’s life spanned the majority of the twentieth century. His work as a young interpreter in post-World War I French-occupied Rhineland, as a Brooklyn pastor of a bilingual German congregation, as a student of Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary, and as a professor of history, theology, and philosophy at half a dozen Baptist seminaries and American universities, brought him into contact with a great host of fascinating events and figures. He is, in short, a historian’s dream—not only because of his encounters and activities, but because he took notes on what he read and heard with what appears to have been an obsessive compulsion. And his hundreds of lovely, flowing letters reveal a gregarious man of great faith and good humor. If you desire a lucid summary of Kierkegaard’s thought or a list of the most brutal one-liners uttered by the inimitable Archie Bunker in 1976, look no further.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary report, 1958

After disagreements between the president and faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary resulted in the dismissal of 12 professors in 1958, a report was submitted to the American Association of Theological Schools. Mueller, who was on the faculty at the time and had written the history of the seminary, left little question of his feelings on the matter when he titled his copy of the report “South[ern] Seminary Debacle 1958.” William A. Mueller papers #3959, box 8, folder 9.

But this historian’s dream was an archives processor’s nightmare. Although the collection’s folder titles proved that there had been a system of organization, somewhere along the line someone had taken a diesel leaf-blower to the material remnants of Dr. Mueller’s mind. Four weeks of pulling rusted staples, deciphering shaky German handwriting, and reuniting long-lost pages has resulted in twelve boxes of neatly ordered documents, summarily described. Few tasks in my professional life have been for me more satisfying. I look forward to seeing the products of such an active and thoughtful man mined for greater insight into the complex history of modern German theology, or of Baptist higher education in twentieth century America.

Posted in Baptist history, Baylor athletics, Baylor University, William Mueller | Leave a comment

Lifting the Veil: The Ceramic Legacy of Harding Black

Harding Black in the studio

Harding Black maintained a passion for teaching the ceramic arts throughout his life. After retiring from his teaching position at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Black continued to work with at-risk children on his own time. Harding Black Collection and Archive #3911, box 11, folder 6.

Harding Black flame glaze test bowl, MG0931

This test bowl features a flame glaze, a composition that Black spent decades developing. By applying a second glaze on top of a base glaze, a linear pattern may emerge as the topmost glaze flows downward, which can form the image of a flame motif. Harding Black Collection and Archive #3911.

By Josh Garland, Museum Studies graduate student

On August 14, The Texas Collection opened a special exhibit of ceramic works by Harding Black, one of the pioneers of the American studio ceramics movement.

Harding Black was born near Aransas Pass, Texas, in 1912. As a young man, he became interested in pottery after excavating ancient Native American sites near Big Bend, Texas. These early explorations would set Black on the path to rediscovering some of the ancient world’s most elusive glazes.

Heralded in his own lifetime as “the Dean of Texas Ceramics,” Black had no formal training in the fields to which he dedicated his life. He was taught to throw clay in the early 1930s by his friend Rudolf Staffel, who would himself go on to be recognized as a master ceramist. Black began teaching children’s ceramic classes at San Antonio’s Witte Museum soon after, and also supervised projects for the Works Progress Administration.

Although Black was capable of producing remarkable ceramic forms–bowls, vases, sculptures–his true passion, and indeed the foundation of his legacy, lay in glaze research. By building on the work of prominent researchers such as Charles Fergus Binns and Edgar Littlefield, Black succeeded in his pursuit of the ancient Chinese copper red glaze, publishing his findings in the inaugural issue of Ceramics Monthly, in January 1953.

Black’s love of ancient glazes would lead him to significant developments not only in copper reds, but also in Eastern glazes such as celadons and oilspots, along with Scandinavian satin mattes, and many others. Black shared his research freely, asking only that others continue to extend his work.

Harding Black celadon test vase, MG2005

Black’s true passion in life was glaze research. He was particularly interested in ancient Eastern glazes, such as celadon, seen here on a test vase. By altering the composition of the glaze, Black was able to achieve a variety of hues, ranging from the traditional pale green, to brilliant blues and yellows. Harding Black Collection and Archive #3911.

Black continued to work into his 80s, but decades of throwing clay and mixing glazes had taken a toll on his health. In 1995, Black donated his extensive collection of research notes and nearly 12,000 ceramic objects from his personal collection to Baylor University.

In 2015, The Texas Collection partnered with the Department of Art on a major effort to process and digitize Harding Black’s extensive collection of glaze notebooks and photographically document thousands of ceramic pieces to create a digital collection of Black’s work, ensuring that his research would be available to future generations of ceramic artists and researchers. Texas Collection staff member Amanda Dietz supervised the project, with museum studies graduate student Josh Garland and undergraduate student Amanda Means contributing.

Harding Black Test vase, blue-green lava glaze,-MG2400

Although known primarily for his work with Eastern glazes, Black also conducted significant research on Western glazes. This test vase features a lava glaze, and illustrates Black’s ability to craft ceramic objects that seem almost to have been pulled from nature. Harding Black Collection and Archive #3911.

With archival efforts completed, The Texas Collection is proud to host the exhibit, Lifting the Veil: The Ceramic Legacy of Harding Black. This exhibition features dozens of stunning pieces by Black, curated by Baylor University professor and ceramist Paul McCoy. The exhibition runs from August 14 – October 14, at The Texas Collection. In addition, The Texas Collection will host a reception on September 24, from 3:30 – 5 pm, where McCoy will present a lecture on the life and art of Harding Black. Located in The Texas Collection’s Guy B. Harrison, Jr. Reading Room, the exhibition, lecture, and reception are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Paul McCoy at

Posted in Baylor art department, Baylor University, ceramics, Harding Black | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Congress Avenue, Austin

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Austin-NorthCongressA few notable superlatives centered around Austin’s Congress Avenue…

  • The Bosche-Hogg building was the site of the first steam laundry west of the Mississippi, circa late 1890s.
  • At nine stories, the Littlefield building (c. 1912) was briefly the second tallest building west of the Mississippi behind the ALICO, which was completed the year before, in 1911. (Many Austin sources state it as being the tallest, despite it being shorter than and built later than the ALICO.)
  • The street was home to a mule powered streetcar line starting in 1875. It was later upgraded to an electric line. The street was the first in Austin to be paved, in 1905, reportedly causing horses and buggies to fall whenever it rained, as they weren’t used to making fast turns on the pavement.
  • The Angelina Eberly/Texas Archives War statue (between Sixth and Seventh Streets) is one of the only public sculptures celebrating archives. Eberly is depicted firing a cannon to alert the people of Austin (in 1842) that Sam Houston’s men were stealing the Republic of Texas’ archives, part of President Houston’s efforts to relocate the capitol to Houston. Eberly, who ran a boarding house, fired off a grapeshot load from a cannon, sending soldiers on their way to head off the records thieves and ultimately, preserve Austin as the state capitol.


Castle, Melissa Allen. Austin Through a Century: Know Your Capitol. Austin: S.n., 1939. Print.

Historic Walking Tours: Congress Ave. & E. 6th St. Austin, TX: Visitor Information Center, 1995. Print.

Hodges, Rob. “Angelina (Peyton) Eberly—A Pioneering Spirit.” Texas Historical Commission, 2013. Web.

Humphrey, David C. Austin: A History of the Capital City. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1997. Print.

Jackson, Pearl Cashell. Austin Yesterday and Today: A Glance at Her History, a Word about Her Enterprises, a Description of Her Big Banking Establishment. Austin, TX: E.L. Steck, 1915. Print.

Shelton, Emmett. My Austin: Remembering the Teens and Twenties. Boston, MA: American, 1994. Print.

See all of the images in our Flickr set. GIF and factoids by Braxton Ray, archives student assistant.

Posted in Angelina Eberly, Austin Texas, Bosche-Hogg building, Congress Avenue, Littlefield building | Leave a comment

Research Ready: July 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are July’s finding aids:

Virginia and Paul Smith with King Hussein, undated

One of the Virginia and Paul Smith’s largest—and most successful—initiatives was founding the Jordan Baptist School in 1974. Securing approval from the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and finding land for the school buildings took many years, but the school’s survival was assured when the King of Jordan enrolled three of his daughters. Here Virginia and Paul Smith greet King Hussein during his unannounced visit to the school. Virginia and Paul Smith Missions papers, 1955-2010, Accession 3953, box 1, folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

    • Virginia and Paul Smith Missions papers, 1955-2010 (#3953): This collection describes the pastoral, educational, and humanitarian activities of two Southern Baptist missionaries that lived in the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, and Lebanon. Materials include correspondence, photographs, and twenty years of Jordan Baptist Mission Board of Directors minutes.
President Samuel Palmer Brooks address, 1915

Every Baylor student has heard Brooks’ Immortal Message to the class of 1931 (“to you I hand the torch”). But as president, he gave many commencement addresses, many of which are in his papers. In this address to the class of 1915, one can see Brooks’ eloquence was not limited to the speech for which he is best known. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers, 1880-1937, Accession 91, box 30, folder 2.


Posted in Baptist missions, Commencement, missionaries, missions, Photographs, Research Ready, Samuel Palmer Brooks, Southern Baptist Convention, Texas Baptists | Leave a comment

Looking Back at Baylor: The Campus as Playground

Baylor University, aerial view, 1920s

1920s aerial view of the Baylor campus by Fred Gildersleeve. This is what the campus looked like at around the time Albert Meroney was born. At the time, the campus consisted of Old Main, Burleson Hall, Carroll Chapel and Library, Carroll Science Hall, and Carroll Field, and Brooks Hall is under construction in the top left corner. Residential neighborhoods surround the small campus. General photo files: Baylor–Aerial Views–1920-1929.

Children are often on the Baylor campus today, but they are usually accompanied by their parents or teachers. However, back in the first half of the 1900s, residential areas were much closer to campus, and children—particularly those of faculty/staff—made good use of the campus as a playground. Albert Meroney, the son of sociology professor William Penn Meroney, lived at 1417 South Seventh Street (about where Alexander Hall now stands). The following are excerpts from a short memoir he wrote in 1994 (now housed at The Texas Collection) remembering the campus from a child’s perspective.

“Waco Creek ran at the north end of Carroll Field where Baylor played football. There was a high fence around the field, and at the creek end there were trees whose limbs hung over the fence. We would climb the trees to watch a game and then out on the limbs and when no one was looking would drop down inside and run….Every Sunday during the fall they would water the field with a fire house. A bunch of us would slip in and get in the water and have a big time until the day watchman would catch us—it would be Bill Boyd or Neill Morris, and they would scare us but not call our folks….

View of Carroll Chapel and Library and Burleson Quadrangle from Old Main tower, Baylor University, February 5, 1922

Among Meroney’s recollections of mischief are sneaking into the Old Main towers. What a view! However, he wouldn’t have seen quite this scene–this photo is dated just a week before a fire gutted the Carroll Chapel and Library in 1922 (the year Meroney was born), and the dome was not restored. General photo files: Baylor–Buildings–Rufus C. Burleson Quadrangle.

Right behind the girls’ dorm, Burleson, was an enclosed swimming pool for girls only. It seemed huge to us kids but was only about 20 x 30 feet and had a concrete dome roof….There were no classes on Sunday, and a few of us would open one of the windows, which were at ground level, and take us a swim until we got caught.

The campus and especially Waco Hall had so many good sidewalks that all of us had roller skates….The campus sidewalks were also a great place to ride bicycles. We used to make a sort of polo mallet and get a tin can and play bicycle polo. Hard on the spokes….

The heating plant was by the creek and is now Neill Morris Hall. It had large boilers that generated steam to heat all the campus buildings. The steam lines ran through a tunnel that went all over the campus. We used to get in the tunnel at a manhole and go every which direction and hide out….Also on the side of the building there was a ramp to the top so that trucks could drive up and unload coal into the bins for the furnaces. We used to ride our bikes up and down it, and it was real great when it would ice over in the winter and we would slide down on anything we could find. We always had someone at the bottom to watch out for cars [on Seventh Street] but one time we forget and Marshall Cunningham went down and went completely under a car and out on the other side….

Burleson Quadrangle looking at Old Main, Baylor University, circa 1920s-1930s

You can see the benches (and the many trees!) in Burleson Quadrangle, behind which a mischievous Meroney hid to surprise courting couples. Today, benches and swings still are a popular place for couples on the Baylor campus. General photo files–Baylor–Buildings–Rufus C. Burleson Quadrangle

Scattered across the campus and under the trees were benches for students to use for courting. One of my favorite stunts was to slip up behind a couple and scare the daylights out of them. Also, coins could be found under the benches….[Another] of our favorite stunts was to slip in Old Main, open the door that went to the attic and to the towers…and catch squabs to take home to cook and eat….

When Pat Neff got Baylor in the black [after the Depression] there was a building boom. Up until about 1941 I “supervised” it all. In other words I was in everybody’s way and playing all over.”

Meroney went on to use his insider knowledge of the Baylor campus as a student, graduating in 1948 after he served in World War II.

This blog post is an edited version of William Albert Meroney’s memoir, as prepared by  former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth for The Baylor Line, Summer 1994Blogging about Texas periodically features “Looking Back at Baylor” selections, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

Posted in Albert Meroney, Baylor University, Looking Back at Baylor | 3 Comments

1966: The Year Waco’s ALICO Building Meets Mid-Century Modern

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

Amicable (ALICO) Building, Waco, TX., c. 1926

This Fred Gildersleeve image shows the Amicable Building in about 1926. Waco’s famous Old Corner Drug Store occupied a wing of the street level at the time. This same part of the building is still attached, as can be noticed in the modern image of the structure below. The original design of the front and side facades are evident, as well as the original design of the first few upper floors. General photo files: Waco–Business–Amicable Life Insurance Building (Exterior).

Between 1958 and 1978, Waco underwent major changes through the federally funded Urban Renewal Agency of Waco. Areas impacted included numerous city blocks between LaSalle Avenue and Waco Drive. The project greatly affected the city’s people, businesses, schools, and buildings.

Between 1964 and 1966, the city’s landmark ALICO (American Life Insurance Company) Building received major updates as well. The largest and most significant addition to the structure was the ALICO Inn and its convention facilities. The 22-story ALICO Building, originally known as the Amicable Building, was completed in 1911, and designed by architects Roy E. Lane and Sanguinet & Staats. When built, it was the tallest office building in the southwestern United States. Its location was once in the city’s central business district, and it was a vital part of the city’s economy. To remain that way, it needed to keep pace with the rapidly changing business climate of Waco in the 1950s and ’60s.

The ALICO Center Building, ALICO Inn, Waco, TX, 1966 (6)

This view from 5th Street shows the changes in architecture to the original ALICO office building and adjoining conference center and hotel. Most of the façade still remains, but seeing the 1966 structure helps give an idea of the architects’ original intent with the building’s design. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

With the closing of the Roosevelt Hotel and its conversion into a retirement facility, more downtown hotels were needed, and the Waco Chamber of Commerce was receptive to ideas like the creation of the ALICO Center. The city wanted to attract conventions and shoppers to the downtown area. The center’s proposal was initiated by 29-year-old architect Jay Frank Powell, owner of Down-Tel Corp., a company specializing in building motels in downtown areas. According to the September 20, 1964, Waco Tribune-Herald, the Waco Chamber, when presented with the ALICO Center plan: “pounced on Powell like a piece of beef dangled before a starving lion.”

The ALICO Center Building, ALICO Inn, Waco, TX, 1966 (8)

A passing image of the ALICO Inn and Conference Center soon after construction in about 1966. The view from Austin Avenue was far different from what had been there before the addition. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

When completed in 1966, the ALICO Center Inn contained 115 rooms for overnight guests, a second-floor meeting room that would seat 250 in a banquet or 1,000 to 1,200 people auditorium-style. It was described as a “downtown motor hotel with convention facilities, a motor bank and a five-story parking garage.” The ALICO Center was designed to match its changing surroundings, including part of Austin Avenue’s closure to make it into a pedestrian mall, another part of the Waco Urban Renewal Agency’s planning. [Check out our blog post on that subject.]

At the 1964 ALICO Center groundbreaking ceremony, the president of the Amicable Life Insurance Company, Franklin Smith, stated, “it will be not only a step toward completion of ALICO Center, but mark the beginning of a new atmosphere and a new enthusiasm in downtown Waco.” Additionally, Waco’s then mayor, Roger Conger, compared the event “to the historic groundbreaking for the Amicable Building more than 50 years ago.”

The ALICO Center Building, Hilton Inn, Waco, TX, Sep. 1971 (2)

The lower façade of the main ALICO Building fits in well with the recently dedicated Austin Avenue Pedestrian Mall, as seen here in 1971. In order to attract more shoppers who would park and walk, vehicular traffic was not allowed on certain parts of Austin Avenue. General photo files: Waco–Urban Renewal–Business–Alico Center.

The end result, completed in 1966, changed the design of the original 1911 ALICO Building, with the new hotel, convention center, parking garage, and motor bank, joined directly to it. As a result, the ALICO Center’s additions took up nearly the entire 400 block of Austin Avenue—stretching much of the complex back to Washington Avenue. Overall, it was impressive and imposing—different in every aspect of what that side of the 400 block of Austin Avenue looked like before. The entire redesign of the 1966 ALICO Center seemed well balanced in appearance—and represented the mid-century modern architectural style frequently seen during the period.

However, the ALICO Center as it appeared in 1966 is no longer. The hotel and convention center were demolished in about 1998, and the space is now used as a parking lot. The main vintage 1911 building and parking garage complex remain, and retain most of the later modifications. This includes much of the 1966 addition’s facade at street level, wrapping around Austin Avenue, the parking garage along 5th Street, and back to the Washington Avenue side of the complex.

The ALICO Building, 425 Austin Avenue, Waco, TX, 2015 (3)

What’s noticeable in this 2015 image of the ALICO Building is the lack of the hotel and convention center. The structure once joining the main building took up a large portion of the 400 block of Austin Avenue and extended back to Washington. The 5-story parking garage and section built for the motor bank are still present. The hotel and convention complex was demolished in about 1998 and is now a parking lot. Photo taken by Texas Collection staff.

In spring 2016, it will be fifty years since the ALICO Center opened for operations. The main building is now 104 years old. The structure has, and remains successful and its exterior is a mixture of old and “new.” Most importantly, it continues to be Waco’s most prominent downtown landmark.

Occupiers of the Inn and Conference Center at 411 Austin Avenue, according to Waco Polk City Directories include:

*ALICO Inn: 1966-1970
*Hilton Inn: 1970-1971
*Waco Plaza Motel: 1972-1978
*Brazos Inn: 1979-1982
*Rodeway Inn: 1983-1984
*Brazos Inn: 1985-1991
*Brittney Hotel: 1992-1994
*Vacant: 1995-1997
*Mark Domangue and Associates Security Brokers: 1998
*Building demolished around this time period-disappears from the records: 1999

See more images of the different looks of the ALICO building over time in our Flickr set.

Created with flickr slideshow.



“Architect Will Reach Goal In Building of ALICO Center,” The Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Sep. 20, 1964.

“New Era Seen as Work Begins on Huge Motel,” The Waco News-Tribune (Waco, TX.), Dec. 8, 1964.

“ALICO Keeps Pace with Time,” The Baylor Lariat (Waco, TX.), Feb 26, 1966.

“Charles Hunton-Hilton Inn Manager,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Nov. 20, 1969.

“Conventions at Brazos,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Mar. 10, 1981.

“Rodeway Now Brazos Inn,” The Waco Citizen (Waco, TX.), Feb. 19, 1985.

Posted in Amicable Alico Building, architecture, Austin Avenue, Fred Gildersleeve, Historic Waco, Roy Ellsworth Lane, Sanguinet & Staats, Urban Renewal, Waco | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Franklin Avenue, Waco

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Franklin Avenue over timeImages from Waco–Streets–Franklin Avenue photo file

  • At 412 Franklin Ave, early millionaire J.T. Davis ran his oil and cattle empire, Rabajo Oil Co., from 1906 until the 1920s when he died.
  • From 1907 to 1927, the Waco Installment Co. sold secondhand items, which provided access to appliances and furniture for middle class families at an affordable price.
  • The longest lasting business on Franklin was the Nate Chodorow dry goods store (316 Franklin), from 1926 to 1970.
  • The Tom Padgitt Company (5th and Franklin) was one of the most successful saddle manufacturers of its day.

Sources from Franklin Avenue vertical file, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

Cruz, Jonathan. Four-Hundred (Odd) Franklin Avenue: Its People, Past and Places. Rep. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Dec. 10, 1997.

Roberts, Aileen. The Puzzle Pieces of Waco. Rep. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Dec. 10, 1997.

See all of the images in our Flickr set. GIF and factoids prepared by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.

Posted in Franklin Avenue, Historic Waco, Texas over Time | Leave a comment

Research Ready: June 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are June’s finding aids:

Harding Black photograph, circa 1990

This circa 1990 photograph of Harding Black features the noted ceramics expert in his San Antonio studio with one of his sculptural pieces. The photograph was taken by Baylor University Ceramicist-in-Residence, Professor Paul McCoy. Harding Black’s greatest contribution to the ceramics community was his glaze research, which included extensive work to recreate ancient Chinese glazes from the Song and Tang dynasties. Harding Black collection #3911, box 11, folder 7.


  • Harding Black collection, 1910-2014, (#3911): The Harding Black collection contains material on the life, legacy, and career of noted ceramic expert Harding Black. Harding Black’s greatest contribution to the ceramics community was his glaze research, which included extensive work to recreate ancient Chinese glazes from the Song and Tang dynasties.

You can view more of Harding Black’s ceramic art here or learn more about Harding Black here.

Posted in American South, Civil War, Confederate States of America, Harding Black, P.G.T. Beauregard, Research Ready, Slavery, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Crash at Crush

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Crash at Crush, TexasImages from the John Oscar Birgen “Swede” Johnson collection

  • On September 13, 1896, William George Crush organized the infamous collision of the Katy Roundhouses on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad.
  • Crush, as the new General Passenger Agent of the MKT System, had the idea to demonstrate a train crash as a publicity stunt and was assured by all but one mechanical engineer that the boilers of the trains would not explode.
  • For the price of $2 a ticket, over 40,000 spectators came out to the pop-up town of Crush, Texas, to see the “famous duel of the iron monsters.”
  • Just after 4 pm, Crush threw a hat up into the air, signaling red No. 1001 and green Old No. 99 to begin racing at 90 miles an hour towards each other. The thundering crash of the locomotives sent flying debris towards the massive crowd, causing three deaths and other injuries.
  • One of the two photographers capturing the event, Jarvis Deane, was among the injured. He lost his eyesight after a missile put out his eye and a metal bolt lodged into his head.
  • The incident inspired Scott Joplin to write “The Great Crush Collision March.”

See all of the images in our Flickr set. GIFs and factoids prepared by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.

Posted in Crush, Jarvis Deane, Kansas and Texas Railroad, Missouri, Texas, Texas over Time, William George Crush | Leave a comment