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

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

Five Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Texas Collection (Unless You Just Spent Ten Weeks Here)

by Emily Starr, Summer Intern

  1. Bring a sweater. The collections here are kept at 65°, which means it’s chilly. Even on the hottest 110° days, you’ll probably need an extra layer, but it’s for the good of the collections, so it’s worth it. There are really old books, maps, and other valuable pieces of history on paper, so it’s important to do our best to preserve them.
  2. Texas has really weird towns. The Texas Collection has a vast map collection, housing about 14,000 maps of mostly Texas, and I worked with over 2,500 of them. Scranton, Movie Mountain, and Blanket were some of my favorites. You can take a tour of Europe if you’re interested, including towns like London, Paris, Oxford, Dublin, Edinburg, Florence, and Athens. If you don’t believe me, just head to the map room in The Texas Collection. The collection houses a very extensive array of maps, and another thing you might not know is how beautiful they are! From really old historical maps of the U.S. and Texas to maps of Waco, many research needs can be met in the map room.
  3. We are a photogenic school. If you need any historical pictures of Baylor or Waco, The Texas Collection can help you out. Maybe you work for The Lariat, maybe you need vintage fashion inspiration, or maybe you’re just upping your Instagram game – regardless the reason, the archives are your gold mine! If you are like me, and you aren’t the first in your family to come to Baylor, it’s especially fun to see photos of Baylor and Waco when our parents and grandparents were here.
  4. You should start your research paper here. Not only are the resources available valuable for your research, but the reading room is a quiet space for any studying needs. There is always someone at the desk to help you, and it’s a nice change of pace from the other libraries that can be crowded at different points throughout the semester.
  5. If you leave when it’s closing time, you get to hear the bells. Although Carroll Library closes at 5:00pm, one of the best parts of my days this summer has been on the walk back to my car. I try to leave right on time just to to hear the bells because it’s a fun reminder of how the history housed in The Texas Collection is still reflected throughout Baylor today.

Looking Back at Baylor: The “Philos” and the “Sophies”

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in April 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.

With the start of the fall semester kicking off this week, we welcome a new class of students who will begin to make new friends and join new organizations as Baylor becomes their home. There was a time when Baylor did not have national fraternal organizations for students to join and in the early years many students belonged to literary societies. Read on to learn about their competitiveness and “rush season”, as told by a 1909 Baylor graduate.
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Texas Over Time: McLendon Hardware and Higginbotham Hardware Company Building, 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.

Higginbotham Hardware/McLendon Hardware Building, Waco, TXContinue Reading

Research Ready: July 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

Part II: A History of the Baptist Joint Committee and the Protection of Religious Liberty

Pictured here is Joseph Martin Dawson, the first Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee.
Baptist Joint Committee records, Accession #3193, Box #652, Folder #23, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

This blog is the first of two that highlights a recently processed collection, the Baptist Joint Committee records, and its place in history.

The 1930s were a desperate time in the history of the United States.  The nation had been plunged into the Great Depression following the crash of the stock markets.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his brain trust crafted the New Deal in an effort to combat unemployment and economic depression.  In order to enact Roosevelt’s proposals, however, the powers of the federal government began to increase dramatically.  Concerned about potential infringements on individual freedom, particularly religious liberty, Baptists across the country began to organize.

In 1936, the Southern Baptist Convention created a Committee on Public Relations to monitor the government’s activities.  Rufus W. Weaver, a prominent Baptist educator and writer, served as its first Chairman.  Under his leadership, the committee tackled various church-state issues including American attempts at diplomacy with the Vatican, the mistreatment of missionaries in Romania, and the formation of the United Nations.  Weaver also facilitated cooperative efforts among the Southern Baptist Convention, the Northern Baptist Convention, and the predominantly African American National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc. to maximize their ability to enact change.Continue Reading

Part III: The Red River Resolution: Defining the Border Once and for All

by Rachel DeShong, Special Event Coordinator and Map Curator

This blog post is the third and final post in a series of three highlighting John Melish, a 19th century cartographer, and the impact his 1816 map,  Map of the United States with the Contiguous British & Spanish Possessionshad on U.S. history.

As the United States acquired significant territory through the 1840s and 1850s, borders between newly admitted states followed boundaries established in the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. Border disputes between states emerged as a result of several inaccuracies in Melish’s map. One particular hotbed of contention was the Red River area.

According to the Adams-Onís Treaty, the boundary between the Spanish colony of Mexico and the United States began at the mouth of the Sabine River, went north to the 32nd degree latitude line where it intersected with the Red River, and then followed that river west until it reached the 100th Meridian. However, there were several problems with Melish’s depiction of the area. Firstly, his 100th Meridian was off target by nearly 90 miles. Secondly, Melish only recorded a single fork in the Red River while, in actuality, there were two. These errors became problematic in deciphering the border between Texas and the Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

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Part I: Why Do Baptists Care About Religious Liberty?

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

This blog is the first of two that highlights a recently processed collection, the Baptist Joint Committee records, and its place in history.

Of all the rights and freedoms guaranteed to American citizens by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion has proven to be one of the mostly hotly contested.  Throughout the history of the United States, stretching back to the early years of British colonization in the seventeenth century, religious liberty has been at times both staunchly protected and unequivocally denied.  Baptists, due in part to the histories of their denominations, have often stood as key proponents of religious liberty for all.Continue Reading