Right Under Baylor’s NoZe

by Joseph Griffith, Graduate Assistant

Circa 1941, the NoZe Brothers strike a pose. Notice the portrait of Brother Long Nose Shoaf, the first President of the club (center). General Photos collection, box 75.01, folder 1.

Hello! Or in the language of the NoZe Brotherhood: “Mini-Mini-Techni, Ufarsus; Keko-de-Muckity-Muck, Satchel!”

What did I just read, you’re asking? Welcome to the bizarre world of the NoZe Brotherhood, the secret and satirical society on the campus of Baylor University.

Named after its first president, Leonard Shoaf, whose nose was apparently so huge you could form a club around it, the NoZe Brotherhood was founded in the mid-1920s as a satire on men’s social organizations.

They’ve had a long and checkered history at Baylor University, to say the least. At best, university administration has tolerated their jokes. The oldest social club at Baylor University, the NoZe Brotherhood is not–I repeat, not–an official student organization.

And at worst, the university has banished the club altogether. In 1965, when the NoZe Brothers painted pink and set fire to a bridge over Waco Creek, the university burned its bridges with the club.

No skin off their noZes, the NoZe Brothers went underground … and have been causing trouble right under Baylor’s noZe ever since! Continue reading

Posted in Baylor University, NoZe Brotherhood, student life | 9 Comments

Jules Bledsoe: Waco’s Famous Baritone

by Amanda Neel, Graduate Assistant

Jules leads the program at New York City’s Town Hall on 28 July 1940. You’ll find this item in the Jules Bledsoe Papers #2086, box 4, folder 2, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The shelves here at the Texas Collection hold many collections about the lives and experiences of African American Texans. One of these collections, the Jules Bledsoe Papers, concerns the life and musical career of Jules Bledsoe. Julian (Jules) Lorenzo Cobb Bledsoe was born in Waco, Texas on December 18, 1898 and went on to travel the world for his career as a baritone singer. His papers include his library of sheet music, recordings of performances, personal correspondence, programs, and much more.

Jules served in the military during World War I and moved to New York City after the end of the war. While in New York, he received an Honorable Discharge. However, his stint in New York only lasted a short while. Jules signed a performance contract with the Young Men’s Christian Association, Colored Branch in Penniman, Virginia. While in Virginia, Jules sat for photographs in dress uniform for, in his own words, “40 years from now I might want to point back to when I was a soldier in the World War and you know nothing is better evidence than a picture.” Though he lived and performed in Virginia, he set his sights on returning to New York City.

Jules returned to New York by 1920 and saw his career take off by 1925. He performed in places like the Manhattan Opera House and critics hailed him as one of the greatest baritones of the day. His letters home mention his work with great New York composers. He even performed his own compositions during recitals, including his most well-known piece, “Old Man River.” Though based in New York City and traveling the world, Jules never forgot about home. He returned to Waco many times throughout his career and performed multiple times at the New Hope Baptist Church. Continue reading

Posted in archival research, Jules Bledsoe, New Hope Baptist Church | 2 Comments

Looking Back at Baylor: ‘In Beautiful Groves…on the Edge of a Vast Prairie’

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in November 1981, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

The beginning of this month marked the 173rd year since Baylor was chartered in Independence, Texas. This spring, it will be 132 years since Baylor moved to Waco, Texas. Which leads us to ask, what prompted the move? Read on to find out. 

In 1885 Baylor at Independence reached a turning point in its history. For the past quarter-century the forty-year-old school, whose heyday had occurred in the decade of the 1850’s, had suffered from a variety of social, political and economic problems in Southwest Texas which were beyond its control. The death in February, 1885, of President William Carey Crane, whose efforts alone had kept the struggle school alive, signaled the need of desperate measures if Baylor went to survive.

Drawing of the male campus of Baylor University, 1870s

Continue reading

Posted in Baylor at Independence, Baylor University, First Baptist Waco, Waco, William Carey Crane | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

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.

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

*Dr Pepper, America’s oldest major soft drink brand, had its origins in Waco, Texas.

*The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is housed in what was originally the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company. It would later become the first facility to produce the soft drink.

*This structure, located on the corner of 5th and Mary Street, Waco, Texas, was built in 1906 and designed by architect Milton Scott. Its brick walls measure 18 inches in thickness and are supported by a solid timber foundation.


1951 and 2018 Photos by Fred Marlar and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*Throughout the 20th century the building’s location on Mary Street allowed Dr Pepper easy access to shipping on the route of the St. Louis Southwestern “Cotton Belt” Railroad.

*On May 11, 1953, the structure was damaged by a large tornado that destroyed a section of the city’s central business district and caused the deaths of 114 people. The side of the building still bears the repair work done to the massive brick walls.


May 1953 and 2018 Photos by Unknown (General Slide collection) and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*The building served as the Dr Pepper Bottling Company for many years. When operations ceased at that location they moved to west Waco. In the 1980s businessmen Wilton Lanning and W.W. Clements conceived the idea to make it a museum dedicated to the soft drink, its history, and the idea of the free enterprise system. The museum opened to the public on May 11, 1991, the 38th anniversary of the tornado.

*At the time of its opening, it was viewed as a catalyst to revive that part of the downtown area. Its continued growth and success have helped Waco to become one of the state’s top tourist destinations.

Works Cited:

Ellis, Harry E., Dr Pepper-King of Beverages. Dallas, TX: Dr Pepper Co. 1986. Print.

Text and Meta Sliders by GH

Posted in Texas over Time, Waco | Leave a comment

Research Ready: January 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!

January’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Photo at Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site, Lamar, Missouri

Photo of Dr. Lois Marie Sutton, professor at Baylor University, at the Truman Birthplace State Historic Site. It was one of Sutton’s lifelong goals to see the birthplace of each United States president, and there are many pictures of her at these presidential sites in the collection. Lois Marie Sutton photographic collection, Accession #4035, box 1, folder 25, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

January’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Part of the Adams-Blakley collection, the volumes below recount the lives and legends of outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James.

James, Edgar. The Notorious James Brothers: the latest and most complete story of the daring crimes of these famous desperadoes ever published : containing many sensational escapades never before made public. Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1913. Print.

James, Edgar. The Notorious James Brothers: the latest and most complete story of the daring crimes of these famous desperadoes ever published : containing many sensational escapades never before made public. Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1913. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

 

The James Boys. A complete and accurate recital of the dare-devil criminal career of the famous bandit brothers, Frank and Jesse James and their noted band of bank plunderers, train robbers and murderers, specially compiled for the publishers. Chicago, He

The James Boys. A complete and accurate recital of the dare-devil criminal career of the famous bandit brothers, Frank and Jesse James and their noted band of bank plunderers, train robbers and murderers, specially compiled for the publishers. Chicago, Henneberry Co. [date of publication not identified]. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

Frank James and His Brother Jesse: The Daring Border Bandits. Baltimore, MD: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1915. Print.

Frank James and His Brother Jesse: The Daring Border Bandits. Baltimore, MD: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1915. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

Posted in American West, Books, frontier and pioneer life, Frontier and pioneer life, Old West, Photographs, Research Ready, student life, Texas, West | Leave a comment

Remembering Kent Keeth

by Carl F. Flynn, Director of Marketing & Communications for
Information Technology & University Libraries

Today at 10:00 a.m. our former director, Kent Keeth, will be laid to rest at a graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery, just a few blocks away from The Texas Collection. Keeth’s 30 years of leadership charted a course for our library that made The Texas Collection a vital resource for scholars and others interested in the history of Baylor University, Texas history, and the cultural development of Texas.

Keeth was born on August 25, 1938, in Marshall, Texas, to Lonnie and Hazel Keeth. He attended Baylor University and graduated in 1960. He majored in history, but had a wide range of interests and skills, minoring in English, Spanish, philosophy and economics. He went on from Baylor to earn an M.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961 and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley the following year. From 1962-1964, Keeth organized and began operation of a new library at the Malaysian Teachers College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Then, from 1965-1968, he worked as a reference librarian for the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress. As part of his duties, he performed reference and research services for Members of Congress, Congressional Committees and their staffs. Keeth then returned home to Texas, serving as an archivist for the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. On June 1, 1973, at the request of Baylor President Abner McCall, Keeth returned to his alma mater as director of The Texas Collection.

Keeth believed that The Texas Collection should serve as a repository for early Texas history while also having an eye toward researchers years from now who will want to understand Texas culture. Under his direction, The Texas Collection acquired maps, documents and other artifacts that told the story of a time before Texas was a Republic, along with contemporary books, magazines, papers, postcards, photographs – anything that captured Texas as it developed. In addition, The Texas Collection gathered materials that recorded the history of Baylor University, and Keeth quickly became the unofficial historian of the university. In fact, the thing most people associate with Keeth are his “Looking Back at Baylor” articles that regularly appeared in the Baylor Line magazine. Keeth enjoyed researching and writing these articles and his work lives on through The Texas Collection’s online resources as we continue to share his work. Continue reading

Posted in Baylor University, Kent Keeth, The Texas Collection | Leave a comment

Today in Texas: January 24th

by Leanna Barcelona, University Archivist 

Seventy years ago on January 24, 1948, three Texas cities became one. Formerly known as the “Tri-Cities,” the towns of Baytown, Goose Creek, and Pelly unified as what is known known as the city of Baytown.

Goose Creek Oil Field was discovered in the 1910s, which allowed for rapid growth in both the economy and population in neighboring communities, Pelly and Baytown. With the construction of an oil refinery, jobs were created and many people flocked to the area. Around the time the oil was found, Humble Oil and Refining Company built their refinery in the Baytown area. Today, this refinery is one of Exxon-Mobil’s largest refineries. The oil company, in conjunction with World War II, helped bring the Tri-Cities together.

Ralph Fusco, in his chapter titled “World War II’s Effects on Consolidation” in the book, Baytown Vignettes, describes how Baytown came to be:

“Despite such storm beginnings, these feelings slowly subsided and the construction and subsequent wartime expansion of the refinery proved the beginning of a stable community. Even with the seeds of unity planted by the formation of the Humble Oil and Refining Company, sectionalism hung on in several towns that survived. It took the drastic and rapid changes brought about by World War II to weld these separate districts into a single homogeneous city. While these changes initiated the breakdown of the old social, economic and geographic barriers, they also encouraged the ultimate consolidation of Goose creek, Pelly and Old Baytown into the present day city Baytown. Through precipitating these changes, World War II provided the catalyst that sped this consolidation. 

From Pictorial History of the Baytown Area, Edited by Gary Dobbs. p. 4

The many changes in this community due to the war effort included the government funded expansion of the Humble Oil and Refining Plant. The company received the first government contracts for toluene (toluol) production, an intrinsic part of the make up of TNT, in 1941. The toluene project, built on Humble Refinery sites at the cost of twelve million dollars, employed two hundred people, and included a barracks that would accommodate three hundred workers.

World War II, with its rationing, increased demand for industrial output, and creation of new employment opportunities caused the Tri-Cities area to grow and served to unite the area. New people coming into the area helped combine the separate groups that existed before the war into a single more homogeneous group. old geographic boundaries were being rapidly erased, and old community isolationism disappeared. Rapidly occurring changes lent a feeling of oneness to the area. In this sense World War II became a major contributing factor for change when earlier attempts at consolidating the Tri-Cities had failed. In 1949 the are communities joined and incorporated into one city, the City of Baytown.”

At The Texas Collection, we collect materials related to any Texan town. Click here for more resources available on Baytown, TX and stay tuned for more Today in Texas blog posts to come!

Posted in Baytown Texas, Humble Oil and Refining Company, Oil, Print Peeks, special collections research, Texas, The Texas Collection, United States history, World War II | Leave a comment

Looking Back at Baylor: The Spirit of Abe Kelley

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in September 1976, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

This January marks the 91st year since the accident that took the lives of the Immortal Ten. We take a moment to remember those were lost, and learn more about one individual in particular. Please note, that this publication stated the Immortal Ten accident occurred on January 21, 1927 but further research shows that the accident occurred the following day, January 22, 1927. 

January 22, 1927 LariatFront Page

One of the greatest tragedies that Baylor has ever experienced occurred on January 21, 1927. On the morning of that day the university bus carrying the Bear basketball team to a game with the University of Texas, travelling in a misting rain on a slick road, collided with an Illinois and Great Northern railway train at a level-grade crossing in Round Rock. Ten students were killed in the accident, and most of the other passengers were injured. The university, Waco and the state were stunned by the catastrophe. Hundreds of messages of condolence poured in from individuals, groups and other universities; and a crowd of three thousand attended the memorial service held on campus for the victims. Among those killed was Clyde “Abe” Kelley, Baylor’s all-round athlete and star halfback of the 1926 season. Described as being equally proficient in football, baseball and basketball, Kelley had been selected only a month before his death to be captain of the 1927 Bear football team. In tribute to his ability, and perhaps also as a memorial to the “Immortal Ten” who died in the wreck, Kelley’s captaincy of the team was not rescinded. A newspaper article datelined Waco, August 6, 1927, (sent to the Baylor Line by James A. Fox Jr. ’28 of Lufkin) announced: “The spirit of Abe Kelley again will direct the Baylor Bears when the Green and Gold jerseyed football team takes the field next month to make a try for honors in the Southwest conference. It was decided not to elect another captain, but to let “Abe” continue to run the team in spirit, if not in actuality. A member of the team will be appointed before each game to act as captain.” The “spirit of Abe Kelley” continued to manifest itself on Baylor’s campus for some time. Nearly five years after the accident Dave Cheavens, who had traveled with the team that day as sportswriter for the Lariat, described the incident to the student body. “I saw Abe Kelley pick up his best friend and throw him out the [bus] window when he could see the train bearing down to a certain crash. That was the true Baylor spirit.” The impact of the tragedy was not confined to Baylor. Among the many Texas newspapers which editorialized against the level-grade crossings used by railways throughout the state, the Daily Texan, student publication of the University of Texas wrote: “The slaughter of ten men of Baylor University . . . brings home to Texas the tragedy attendant on the grade crossings which at resent exist by the thousands in Texas. The only thing that will entirely remove grade crossing deaths is their complete elimination. This accident was preventable.” Other publications and groups continued to prosecute the campaign against level-grade crossings, and with the recent Baylor incident to support their arguments, they succeeded in bringing their message to the ears of state highway planners and railroad officials. The November, 1937, issue of Texas Parade—at that time the organ of the Texas Good Road Association—published a photograph of a recently completed railroad underpass at Round Rock. The picture’s caption read: “Had this underpass been in existence eight years ago several Baylor students would not have been killed.” Because the 1927 Round Rock tragedy epitomized the need for improved standards of safety in highway construction, its long-term effects have been beneficial. Texas motorists for the past fifty years have traveled under the protection of the spirits of Abe Kelley and the others of the Immortal Ten.

Posted in Baylor University, Clyde "Abe" Kelley, Immortal Ten, Kent Keeth, Looking Back at Baylor | Leave a comment

Remembering Their Sacrifices: Baylor Faculty and Students During World War II

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

World War II witnessed the rise of the United States as a global superpower and the establishment of a new world order.  Historians, amateur and professional alike, devote their entire lives to studying the complexities and intricate details of “The Good War” including its battles, politicians, military commanders, causes, effects, etc.

BU Records: Armed Services Representative, Accession #BU/12, Box #2, Folder #25, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.<br />

Ray Priolo wrote this letter to Merle McClellan after his transfer from Baylor. Note that he only has kind words to say concerning Merle, Baylor students, and the campus. He even gives BU President Pat Neff a vote of approval.

While seeking to comprehend the broader historical and social implications of World War II, we sometimes forget how these events impacted the life of an individual.  Activities that we might take for granted, such as teaching and learning in a peaceful collegiate setting, were dramatically altered in a nation at war.  Over the past few months, I have processed two small but fascinating collections concerning Baylor University during World War II.  As a result, I have come to appreciate the sacrifices made by some of Baylor’s faculty and students during that time.

Merle Mears McClellan was one such remarkable faculty member.  Merle had earned a double major in history and science from the University of Texas in 1917 and had taught for years in the Gatesville area.  Following the death of her husband William, she earned her Master’s degree in 1941 at Baylor University where she taught various history courses over the next few years.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Baylor University President Pat Neff appointed Merle as the university’s Armed Services Representative in the spring of 1943.  In this role, she acted as a liaison between the university and the military.

Reflecting on her experiences, Merle was one of the few women who had been appointed to such a task.  In explaining why Neff had chosen her, she wrote, “He said, ‘You are a mother of one son in the Pacific.  Your normal reaction would be to send everyone to help him fight.  So if you say a boy is entitled to exemption no one on the McLennan Co. Draft Board will question your decision.  Furthermore, I know you and I know the Baylor boys will get everything to which they are entitled.”  Continue reading

Posted in archival research, Baylor University, military history, United States Armed Forces, United States history, World War II | Leave a comment

Research Ready: December 2017

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!

December’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Letter from Charles Wellborn to Elma Merle Mears McClellan Duncan

    Letter from Charles Wellborn, student at Baylor and future evangelist and pastor, to the Armed Services Representative for Baylor University. In the letter, Wellborn describes drilling for the past week, after enlisting in the United States Army in July 1943.

    • BU Records: Armed Services Representatives, 1942-1945, undated (#BU/12): Collection contains correspondence sent by former students, parents, and government officials to Merle Mears McClellan, Baylor University’s Armed Services Representative during World War II. Baylor President Pat Neff appointed McClellan as the acting liason between the university and the military, in conjunction with Baylor University becoming a training site for Army officers prior to World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Cunningham, Eugene. Famous in the West. El Paso, TX: Hicks-Hayward Co., [1926]. Print.

Cunningham, Eugene. Famous in the West. El Paso, TX: Hicks-Hayward Co., [1926]. Print. 

Originally published in El Paso as an advertisement for Rodeo Outdoor Clothes, this volume contains info on cowboys such as “Jim” Gillett, Dallas Stoudenmire, Billy the Kid, and Tom Threepersons. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

 

College, Belton: For Women. [Belton, TX?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1925 and 1929?]. Print.

College, Belton: For Women. [Belton, TX?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1925 and 1929?]. Print. 

The purpose of this volume is two-fold. The many photographs of the grounds and student body show a beautiful, thriving Baylor College campus while the new development campaign seeks $500,000 to pay university debts and $250,000 to build a permanent endowment. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

Waco 52 Playing Cards. [Waco, TX]: [publisher not identified], [2017]. Print.

Waco 52 Playing Cards. [Waco, TX]: [publisher not identified], [2017]. Print. 

Though not a traditional book, this set of playing cards is unique to Waco. Each card is designed by a different artist and contains images of locations throughout the city, including the ALICO building, Waco Suspension Bridge, Hippodrome, Lake Waco, etc. Click here to view in BearCat.

Posted in American West, Amicable Alico Building, Belton Texas, Books, Charles Wellborn, Cowboys, El Paso, Hippodrome, Lake Waco, letters, military history, Photographs, Research Ready, Texas, United States Armed Forces, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Waco, Waco suspension bridge, West, World War II | 1 Comment