Texas Over Time: Waco Shakespeare Club Monument: “Immortal Be His Name”

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

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 Meta Slider’s that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, street scenes, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Waco Shakespeare Club Monument, Waco, TX

Along University-Parks Drive near the entrance to Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo lies an easily overlooked memorial that pays tribute to William Shakespeare (1564-1616), perhaps one of the most well-known and acclaimed writers in the English language. How and why is it there? In 1916, on the three hundredth anniversary of his death, the Waco Shakespere Club had it constructed and designed by Paul G. Silber, Sr. According to the Waco Shakespeare Club record’s at The Texas Collection, Baylor University, the organization began in the late 1890s at the Waco home of Kate Harrison Friend and her mother, Arimenta Harrison Friend, “conducting a private school guaranteeing their pupils thoroughness for higher grades.” Here, Kate Friend “…organized a class in the study of Shakespere for the single young ladies of the elite of Waco. Here so much profit and enjoyment was experienced, that on request, a class for young matrons was formed.” Thus officially forming the club in 1899.

Kate Friend also had the distinction of being internationally known as a Shakespeare scholar and authored several works on the subject. In 1900, she won a Shakespeare Association of America competition receiving a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom, Shakespeare’s place of birth. Waco’s Shakespeare memorial still stands as a reminder of the Englishman and “Miss Kate,” founder and director of the Waco Shakespeare Club, editor of Artesia, and animal rights advocate who loved his literary works and helped leave this lasting tribute to the betterment of her community.

Below are photos of just after the site’s construction in 1916, by E.C. Blomeyer, from the E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection #3880, and in 2019, by GH:

 

The memorial reads: “Shakspere! [SIC] Daign to lend thy face this romantic nook to grace where untaught nature sports alone since thou and nature are but one…1899-1916.” One side reads: “Immortal Be His Name, Waco Shakespeare Club, 1899-1916.” Photo by GH, 2018.
Women of the Waco Shakespere Club pose near Cameron Park in the 1920s. Waco Shakespeare Club records #745, Box 5, Folder 2.

 

The Founder and director of the Waco Shakespeare Club, Kate Harrison Friend, circa 1900, Kate Harrison Friend papers #202, Box 2 Folder 9

 

Close-up of memorial inscription, 2018, photo by GH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Ready: December 2018

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. The books included this month are not new to our holdings but were deemed appropriate as a celebration of the Christmas season. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading

Fred Gildersleeve and An Amazing Journey

Format Gallery

by Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

and John Wilson

Fred Gildersleeve, sister-Jessie Ellen Gildersleeve, mother-Sarah Pew Gildersleeve

The man who would become Waco’s most famous photographer, Fred A. Gildersleeve, was born near Boulder, Colorado, on June 30, 1880, to Captain Allen Jesse and Sarah Ellen Pew Gildersleeve. His father, Allen Jesse Gildersleeve was a Civil War veteran having served as a Union Army Captain in the Missouri Cavalry, 14, Regiment, Company D, and died in 1881 at the age of 46. After the father’s death the family moved to Kirksville, Missouri, near the mother’s family. There, young Fred attended the Model School (part of the Normal School) graduating at the age of 16. His photography career began at the age of eighteen when he was given a Kodak box camera by his mother. He photographed students at the school and sold them for twenty-five cents each. In 1903, Gildersleeve graduated from the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Illinois, and soon after, his career as a professional photographer began.

In 1905 Fred Gildersleeve came from Texarkana, Arkansas, to Waco to work in the photography business having had a brief photography career in that city. His sister, Jessie Ellen, arrived in Waco around the same time to work as a doctor of Osteopathy. Their mother, Sarah Gildersleeve later joined them and lived with her daughter. Fred married Florence Jennette Boyd on December 24, 1908, in Texarkana, Arkansas, who then joined him in Waco. They had no children.

Fred Gildersleeve became a pioneer in the field of industrial photography in Texas. Examples include his commercial photography from the air in the mid 1910s. He photographed oil fields in Mexia and took the first aerial photos known to exist of Baylor University. His ability to use magnesium powder to create “flashlight” to illuminate night-time photographs broke national records. His 1911 photo of Waco’s Prosperity Banquet set a record for being the largest flash photo ever at that time. The event seated 1200 people and ran the length of two city blocks. His skills at photo enlargement also set records. In 1913, he enlarged a panoramic photograph of Waco’s Texas Cotton Palace to 120 inches wide becoming the largest photo print made up to that time. He had a representative from Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, bring him the photo paper to do so. He also photographed the construction of the Amicable Life Insurance Company Building “Alico” in Waco. The structure, being 22 stories tall, held the title of being the tallest building in the Southwestern United States upon construction in 1911.Continue Reading

Research Ready: October 2018

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading

StuFu for You: Baylor’s Student Foundation Serves Students

by Joe Griffith, Graduate Assistant

Student Foundation members are perhaps best known around campus for their green- and white-striped rugby shirts. BU395 – Box #41, Folder #21, circa 2004-2005.

Baylor University’s Student Foundation was born in a turbulent time.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, relations between college students and administrators deteriorated. On March 4th, 1970, as thousands of college students at Kent State University protested American involvement in the Vietnam War, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire, killing four students and wounding nine others. When over 400 million student went on strike in the coming weeks, over 450 universities, colleges, and high schools shut down.

“We were dealing with a very unique situation at that time,” recalled Bill Harlan, one of the founders of Student Foundation.

Modeled after the 600-member Indiana University Foundation, Baylor University’s Student Foundation (aka “StuFu”) was founded in 1969 as a way to make Baylor University a better place. Its motto is straightforward and simple: “Students Serving Students.”Continue Reading

Research Ready: September 2018

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading

Lives in the Archives: The A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 1.
Reilly’s criminal libel suit later became the subject of this pamphlet, written to show that God protects those who preach his truth.

by Jackson Hager, Graduate Assistant

One of the great joys of being able to work in an archive like The Texas Collection is how often one, amid the stacks and piles of collections, encounters remarkably human stories. Even when the collection is just a few folders, an archivist can sometimes feel like they have encountered a real person, with all the flaws and perfections that come with being a human. That was my experience as I was processing the A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland papers, where I came to catch a glimpse of the Waco’s past through the eyes of a passionate Baptist preacher and his wife.

Antonio Reilly Copeland was born on January 7, 1889, in Marquez, Texas. His future wife, Eunice Bessie Tooley, was born in Buffalo Springs, Texas, on November 30, 1891. The couple first met in 1903 and married in the summer in 1916. While Eunice studied music in Houston, Reilly attended college first in Commerce, then Tehuacana, Rome, and finally the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After the couple had had several children, the family made their entrance into Waco history when they moved there in 1923, as Reilly had been offered the pulpit at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 1500 15th and Clay Street.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 5.
Reilly’s writings show both a deep knowledge of scripture and a deep sense of God’s involvement within the world, as evidenced by the first page of one of his journals, titled “Some Signs Before Great Tribulation”

During his four decades of leading the Tabernacle community, Reilly was a prolific speaker and writer. His writings reveal a strong sense of right and wrong, and a zeal for adhering to what he saw as biblical truth. His confrontational style of writing, however, brought conflict. The most famous example of this is when Reilly was charged with criminal libel in 1925, after writing several letters detailing the moral failings of local Waco politicians. The charges were dropped in 1928, however, and Reilly continued to preach and write. He spent the latter half of his career delving deep into biblical study and debate. As evidenced by his letters, Reilly participated often in the debates surrounding Fundamentalism and Neo-Orthodoxy, and his journals show a deep interest in biblical prophecy and how it related to world at large. Reilly’s preaching was not just reserved for the pulpit, as he hosted a radio program for station WACO from 1941 to 1954. By the time of his resignation in the early 1960’s, Reilly had been a public voice for Baptists within the Waco community for almost forty years.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 3, Folder 7.
Eunice’s memoir covers nearly a century and contains a large amount of photos from nearly every decade of her life.

While Reilly’s writings may provide one picture of who he was, Eunice’s own memoirs help fashion a fuller image. Eunice dedicated more than half of her book to her time with Reilly and the family they made together, and we find that Reilly was a kind and loving husband and father. Eunice’s writings help shine a light on what it was like to be a preacher’s wife in the early 20th century, and how they dealt with the many changes that occurred during those turbulent years.

The lives of A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland may appear, in the grand scheme of things, of little impact. But it is through the small, personal stories of regular people that we obtain a deeper human connection to our past.

If you are interested in learning more about A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland, feel free to contact us at The Texas Collection and view the collection’s finding aid here!

We Want That Picture! Fred Gildersleeve’s Record Breaking Texas Cotton Palace Print

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

In 1905 or 1906, Fred Gildersleeve came from Texarkana, Arkansas to Waco to work in the photography business. He later became a pioneer in the field of industrial photography in the state. One of his more famous pieces of work was his enlargement of the Texas Cotton Palace Main Building in Waco, Texas. Shown is a picture of the enlargement being processed. At the time, this photograph set a world record among photo prints at 120 inches wide. A representative from Eastman Kodak personally delivered the large roll of photo paper it required and supervised the enlargement process. The photo was exhibited for some time until it was sold for $50.00 to the building’s architect, Roy Ellsworth Lane. Gildersleeve later recalled that was “a good price in those days…as you remember, at that time 1913 the largest enlargement ever made. Eastman Kodak sent George McKay to supervise this. It was written up in Studio Light Magazine and also used this photo.”Continue Reading

Research Ready: August 2018

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!Continue Reading