A Sweet (and Sparkly!) Canvas

By Amanda Norman, University Archivist

A few weeks ago, we found a most unusual specimen among the records of W.R. White, Baylor president from 1948-1961. Museum studies graduate student Valencia Johnson is processing this collection, and she was surprised to find a portrait of White—painted on a block of sugar!

Sugar portrait of Baylor President W.R. White, 1956

Imagine pulling this out of a box! This artifact is part of BU records: Office of the President, Chancellor and President Emeritus (W.R. White) #BU/142.

Fortunately, I immediately knew its context. Before coming to The Texas Collection, I was a writer in University Development and went to the home of Jerry and Mary Marcontell to interview them for Baylor’s planned giving newsletter. Jerry was a key member of the 1957 Sugar Bowl team, and hanging on a wall in their house was a portrait of him on a block of sugar—one was presented to each athlete.

And apparently, administrators got them, too! Since becoming University Archivist, I had remembered that sugar portrait and rather hoped that no one would bring one to us. Cultural heritage professionals prefer not to have food in the stacks, both because it can invite critters who are detrimental to the records and because, well, food isn’t meant to last that long and thus is hard to preserve. But, it turned out that we already had White’s portrait in the house, tucked away in an unassuming archival box for decades. (We hadn’t found it before because the collection was restricted till just recently. Now, maybe we should inspect other old accessions to see what other surprises lurk…)

Fortunately, whatever they did to that sugar to prepare it for painting, it must have also deterred ants, roaches, and other insects who love sugar. There are a few baby roaches who appear to have met their demise in what looks like a tape frame around the object. (I’ve taken a picture of this but am told it’s rather unappetizing, so we’ll spare you.) There otherwise is not too much evidence of nibblings. It has lasted this long—almost 60 years now—and quite frankly, is an amazing object, so we decided to investigate ways to preserve the portrait.

White-Sugar Portrait-Angle

From an angle, you can really appreciate the sparkly canvas. (And see the crack that has formed.)

At this point, in email consultation with some archivists and conservators, there seems to be consensus that the primary threat to this item is water and moisture. Fortunately, while maintaining humidity in our stacks, especially in the summer, is a constant struggle, it’s not nearly as humid here as in a coastal area, so that will help. We are investigating housing possibilities, likely a custom box with rigid support (to prevent future cracks) and desiccants (to prevent moisture build-up). And we’ll definitely keep a close eye on bug traps around it to make sure it’s not attracting anything! (Many thanks to Susan Russick, Karen Pavelka, Suzy Morgan, and other conservation/preservation specialists who have weighed in on our piece.)

We’d love to hear if any other archives, museums, or other repositories have a sugar portrait in their holdings and how you’re going about preserving it. From the research we’ve done, it sounds like the Sugar Bowl had these portraits created for at least 10 years, so there must be more out there! Also, the enclosure and support of the portrait has a stamp for Krauss Co. Ltd., which from some quick Googling tells us was a New Orleans department store—perhaps the sugar artist was housed there?

We can’t afford to take in additional sugar portraits—one is enough for research value and display, and we can’t afford all of the custom boxes and space it would take to preserve them. However, we’re delighted to have found this artifact—and with a few months to spare before the 60th anniversary of Baylor’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl!

Posted in Art, Baylor University, Sugar Bowl, W.R. White | Leave a comment

A Look at Alexander Hamilton’s World through Texas Collection Maps

by Jeanne Dittmann, Heart of Texas Regional History Fair Coordinator and Map Curator

Map: 1752 Bowen’s close up of Louisiana

Detail of Bowen’s “A new and accurate map of Louisiana, with part of Florida and Canada.”

Oh, Alexander Hamilton
When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same

259 years after his birth—give or take a year, as his year of birth is noted as either 1755 or 1757—the world is certainly singing for Alexander Hamilton, and just as these lyrics suggest, the world certainly changed dramatically during his life. But what did the world—especially the world that he knew and helped shape—look like during Alexander Hamilton’s life? Historical maps can show us a certain part of the world at a certain time, and while Texas wasn’t really one of Hamilton’s concerns, The Texas Collection holds some maps that give an interesting perspective on that transformative time in our nation’s history.

Map: 1752 Bowen’s: A new and accurate map of Louisiana

A comprehensive depiction of parts of North America in 1752 from the British perspective. 1752 Bowen’s “A new and accurate map of Louisiana”

This first map was created in 1752 by one of the leading English engravers and geographers of the time, Emanuel Bowen. The British colonies are colorfully highlighted in contrast to the much-larger French territory of Louisiana. We can see nearly the entire area that would soon become the United States of America and much of the territory that would eventually join that new country, including an as-yet-unnamed Texas. Keep in mind that this map was drawn from the British perspective—their lands, their colonies, all that for which they would soon be fighting a war.

Map: 1766 Desnos’ Nouveau Mexique, Louisiane, Canada, et Nouvelle Angleterre.

A comprehensive depiction of more of North America in 1766 from the French perspective. 1766 Desnos’ Nouveau Mexique, Louisiane, Canada, et Nouvelle Angleterre.

This second map is from 1766 and drawn from a French perspective. This map shows most of North America in great detail for the time—though the placement of mountain ranges was clearly speculative, given the long range of mountains stretching through Central Texas. Geographic regions are noted, but political divisions are not the focus of this map. “Nouvelle Angleterre” (French for New England) is depicted as a unified body, which from an outsider’s perspective, it might have appeared to be as it prepared to fight for freedom. Yet we know how the colonies’ individual characteristics and needs played out in the creation of the new nation.

Map: 1785 Wilkinson's map, United States (Etats-Unis)

An early depiction of the new United States (Etats-Unis) in 1785, without interior borders. 1785 Wilkinson’s map, United States (Etats-Unis)

The third map, from 1785, is among the first to show the fledgling nation, and most interestingly, the first map to list the proposed states of the Jeffersonian Ordinance of 1784. While this Ordinance ultimately was adopted only partially, this map captures the possibility of what could have been, even while depicting some of what was known of this new nation at that tumultuous time. Note the area out west labeled Grand Espace de Pays Qui N’est Pas Connu (Great Tract of Country Which Is Not Known), where Texas is labelled Tecas.

Map: 1812 Wilkinson’s United States

An accurate depiction of the new United States in 1812, with interior borders. 1812 Wilkinson’s United States

And this last map is from 1812, just a few years after Hamilton’s untimely death in 1804. The mapmaker chose to show only the new United States, with hints of the future acquisitions shown at the western and southern margins. The new country that Hamilton helped to birth was constantly changing, and this is another map that captured a hint of what might have been—regions of Franklinia in present day Tennessee and Indiana in present day West Virginia—had different decisions been made by the leaders of the day.

While most of our map collection has a fixed gaze on Texas and the regions closest to Texas, many of our maps also give insight into other parts of our country, our continent, and the world at large. If these brief glimpses of North America at the time of the American Revolution have piqued your interest, make plans to come by the Texas Collection and visit the map room to see more of our collection.

Click on the image below to view the full Flickr album.

Alexander Hamilton’s World through Texas Collection Maps

Posted in Alexander Hamilton, American Revolution, American Revolutionary War, Emanuel Bowen, Maps, United States history | Leave a comment

Understanding a Derailment: Camp MacArthur Train No. 264

by Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (8)

On June 18, 1918, a troop train carrying soldiers from Camp MacArthur’s 80th Field Artillery left East Waco traveling eastward on the Cotton Belt line on a trip to a southern training camp. After traveling for 15 minutes (about 7 miles), the train derailed just north of Selby (no longer on the map). Two troops, Corporals Laurn Harrell and August Handschumacher, Jr., were killed, and about 30 military personnel and four employees of the railroad were injured.

In these photos taken by Edward Charles (E.C.) Blomeyer, of Waco, Texas, we can see the aftermath of the crash. Blomeyer was not involved with the railroad but rather was president of The Texas Telephone Company—while also pursuing amateur interest in photography. Blomeyer (1883-1964) lived in Waco from about 1912 to 1920. His collection of nearly 1,500 negatives and prints allow us to be an eyewitness to historical events that otherwise might be lost to time.

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (7)

According to the Interstate Commerce Commission’s report on the incident, the train consisted of 14 passenger coaches, 6 freight cars, and a caboose.  Troop train no. 264 left East Waco at 3:25 p.m. and after traveling eastward about 7 miles and approximately 1.1 miles north of the town of Selby (no longer on the map), the train derailed at approximately 3:40 p.m. The locomotive was a Baldwin Consolidation-type, 2-8-0, #510, of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas, also known as the Cotton Belt line.

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (9)

The derailment occurred as the train approached a trestle crossing the Tehuacana Creek. After an investigation by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), and upon hearing statements from the train’s engineer, Statham, the agency came to the conclusion that a sun kink was the main factor of the accident. Sun kinks can occur during extreme heat causing rails to bulge or spread. At the time of the accident on this June day, it was reported to be 103 degrees.

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (2)

Statham reported to the agency that the sun kink was “3 to 5 inches in width and about half a rail length long, located about 400 feet south of the trestle; he then set the air [brakes] in emergency and jumped.”

Another factor reported by the ICC describes the poor condition of the track: “this section was not properly supported by a ballast, and should not have been permitted to remain in that condition.” Based on the information, it was determined this resulted in the locomotive to begin its derailment 113 feet south of the trestle, causing the engine to turn over when it began to cross. A Waco News-Tribune account of June 19, 1918, states: “…at the time of the wreck [the train] was passing over a wooden bridge across Tehuacana creek. As the engine went onto the bridge timbers suddenly gave way and the locomotive ploughed through.”

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (5)

The ICC determined that there were no mechanical problems with the Baldwin Locomotive #510. However, the arrangement of the cars made the event more tragic: during the derailment, the engine’s tender cistern became unattached from its frame, and unfortunately, directly behind it was the first passenger coach, which was made of wood. The wooden coach was practically demolished under the tender’s frame and tank, and the two deaths and many of the injuries occurred in this car. The ICC claimed that placing this lighter wooden coach behind the locomotive with the heavier steel cars behind it “undoubtedly increased the danger of injury to the passengers.”

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264 (6)

After the incident there was much speculation as to the cause of the mishap. The June 19, 1918, Waco News-Tribune reported that: “The favorite opinion of the hundreds of officers, camp and railroad officials, and citizen spectators, was that the bridge or the rails had been tampered with, by persons knowing of the troop movement.” With the U.S. into its second year of involvement in World War I, it is not surprising that such theories of sabotage were being put forth.  Just a few days after the derailment, these theories were debunked by the investigation reports.

E.C. Blomeyer and camera, Cameron Park, Waco, TX.

All of the above photographs were taken by Edward Charles (E.C.) Blomeyer, of Waco, Texas. See more of the photos from this accident in our Flickr album below:

The Derailment of Camp MacArthur’s Troop Train No. 264

Posted in Camp MacArthur, Cotton Belt Rail Line, Locomotives, Rail Road, Texas railroads, Trains | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Texas Centennial Exposition

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.


  • The Texas Centennial Exposition was the official celebration of 100 years of independence for Texas and was quite the extravaganza. The exposition was described as a spectacle where industry met commerce and art met science.
  • There were celebrations all over Texas that begun in 1935, but the official exposition was held in Dallas, Texas, and opened on June 6, 1936.
  • Billed as the first world’s fair held in the Southwest, it commemorated Texas history with fifty buildings, exhibits such as “The Cavalcade of Texas,” and cost $25 million to build.
  • The colored searchlights seen throughout the postcards could be seen for more than fifty miles. The other light channels spread through the exposition illuminate the buildings and reflect on the water of the lagoons and fountains. The porticoes along the esplanade were given special light treatment to accentuate the magnificent murals.
  • Along with the exposition, monuments for more than twenty Texas heroes were erected, and historic buildings across Texas were restored.

Postcard descriptions:

  • C56 – Fountain and Statuary of the Reflection Basin, study in Art. The brilliant coloring with the Flare lighting making for some of the best studies for the Studies
  • C55 – Reflection Basin, Esplanade of State
  • C61 – Texas Hall of State, is typical of the Nation’s Largest Commonwealth. Built of native stone, the $1.2 million structure is 488 feet wide and 258 feet deep.
  • 1009 – United States Government Building, with “The Story of Life,” scientific exhibit, arranged by State and Federal Doctors and Scientists
  • C51 – Transportation Building


Night Scenes of Texas Centennial Exposition, n.d., The Texas Collection general postcard files, The Texas Collection, Carroll Library, Baylor University, Waco, TX..

Handbook of Texas Online, “Texas Centennial,” accessed April 21, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/lkt01.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other Texas Centennial Exposition images in our Flickr set.


Posted in Dallas, Fair Park, Texas Centennial Exposition, Texas over Time | Leave a comment

Research Ready: May 2016

By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

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!

Here are May’s finding aids:

Robert E. Lee's General Order No. 9

This unsigned copy of General Robert E. Lee’s General Order No. 9 was given to acting brigade commander Jonathan E. Spencer in the first few days after Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant. J.E. Spencer papers, 1861-1865, circa 1911, 1929 (#3957), box 1, folder 2, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

  • J.E. Spencer papers, 1861-1865, circa 1911, 1929 (#3957): This small collection contains Confederate surrender documents and a photograph of a Baylor University women’s tennis team, plus clippings and Confederate rosters and bonds. You can read a transcript of the document on the left here!
  • Thomas Dudley Brooks papers, 1926-1932, undated, (#104): Correspondence from his many roles at Baylor University and the community: Chairman of the School of Education, Professor of School Administration, Chairman of the Committee of Placement of Teachers, Dean of Summer School, contributing editor of the Texas Outlook, and mayor of Waco 1928-1929.
  • House of Poetry collection, 1903-1997, undated (#2064): Collection of published and unpublished poems written by various members of the House of Poetry, an organization that promoted writing and reciting poetry. The Poetry Society of Texas helped support the group by donating financially and giving poems to be preserved.
  • Janie Pender Castellaw papers, circa 1968, undated (#818): Photographs, literary productions, collected materials, and correspondence collected by Janie Pender Castellaw. Topics include Castellaw’s monetary donation to Baylor University, religious faith, and various prose and poetry topics.
  • Bachman family papers, 1886-1925, undated (#2422): Includes correspondence, financial materials, and photographs on the Bachman family in Texas. This collection particularly spotlights a few courtships carried on via correspondence.
  • Robert Grundy papers, 1804-1946 (#30): This collection includes many of Grundy’s unpublished manuscripts on early Texas and Western people and other topics. Other materials include personal and family financial documents, land deeds, and other resources.

Here are May’s print materials:
Camp Bowie and Lake Worth, Fort Worth, Texas. [Fort Worth, TX]: [Reimers], [19–?].
Typically, military souvenir books focus on a particular camp or regiment, but this volume is unique because it also describes Fort Worth’s Lake Worth. In addition to wonderful photographs of military life at the camp, the pamphlet also features photos of activities visitors can enjoy at the lake. This little pictorial volume is as much a promotional for Fort Worth as it is a glimpse into Camp Bowie. Check out a few more pages from this piece on our Flickr page.

DelRiosmallSouvenir of Fourteenth Cavalry in Camp at Del Rio, Texas. [Del Rio, TX]: circa 1916.
Filled with ads from Del Rio businesses and group photos of the troops and camp, this volume also provides a lengthy history of the Fourteenth Cavalry. Events covered include their founding in 1901 and various expeditions and tours up until 1916. Check out a few more pages from this piece on our Flickr page.

CampSwiftsmallA Camera Trip through Camp Swift, Texas: A Picture Book of the Camp and its Activities. Brooklyn, NY: Ullman Co., [194-?].
One of the most impressive aspects of this book are the sheer volume of photographs included, many of which offer a candid view into Camp Swift. The diversity of the camp is evident based on images that include women, minorities, and varied worship services. Check out a few more pages from this piece on our Flickr page.

Posted in American South, Archives, authors, Baylor English department, Civil War, Confederate States of America, Del Rio, female poets, Fort Worth, Frontier and pioneer life, Immortal Ten, letters, Mayors, Research Ready, School of Education, Texas Mayors, World War I | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Texas State Capitols

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.


  • Along with Washington-on-the-Brazos and Galveston, Harrisburg served as one of Texas’ temporary capitals. President David G. Burnet convened the provisional government at the John R. Harris home (image 1) in 1836.
  • Columbia was the first capital of an elected government of the Republic of Texas, but that lasted only from October-December 1836. The second capital of the Republic of Texas was in Houston, Texas (1837–1839, 1842). Sam Houston’s executive mansion and Harris County court house is pictured in image 2.
  • The modern-day Capitol in Austin, Texas, was constructed between 1882 and 1888 after there being a few prior buildings. A building commission was implemented, and Elijah E. Myers won the competition for the architecture design. Construction began in 1882, the corner stone was laid March 2, 1885 and it was ready for use in 1888. The building was built entirely of “sunset red” granite from quarries near Marble Falls, Texas.
  • At its initial construction, the capitol had 392 rooms, 924 windows and 404 doors. It is 311 feet tall, beating out the U.S. Capitol (288 feet), just by the height of the “Goddess of Liberty” statue that stands atop the dome.
  • The original zinc Goddess statue weighed almost 3,000 pounds. In 1986, it was taken down and replaced by a lighter aluminum version. The statue is now on display at the Bob Bullock State History Museum.

Image 1: John R. Harris home, Harrisburg, Texas (one of several Texas capitol locations in 1836)

Image 2: Sam Houston’s executive mansion in Houston, and the second capital of the Republic of Texas (1837-1839, 1842)

Image 3: First capitol in Austin (and the only capitol for the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas), 1839–1856

Image 4: Second capitol in Austin, built 1856, burned 1881

Image 5: Third capitol in Austin, completed 1888


Handbook of Texas Online, William Elton Green, “Capitol,” accessed April 21, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ccc01.

Handbook of Texas Online, John G. Johnson, “Capitals,” accessed May 12, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mzc01.

“The Goddess of Liberty.” SenateKids. Texas Senate Media Services, 1998. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these Texas State Capitol images in our Flickr set.

Posted in Austin Texas, Harrisburg, Houston, Republic of Texas, Texas historic buildings, Texas over Time, Texas State Capitol | Leave a comment

From Belgium to “Rough-and-Tumble Waco”: The Academy of the Sacred Heart and The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946

An exterior view of the Academy of the Sacred Heart at Washington and Eighth Streets in Waco, Texas. The buildings show the magnificent architecture worthy of such an institution. Photo by Fred Marlar on March 15, 1946.

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

On the corner of Eighth and Washington in Waco, Texas, once stood a Catholic school and convent that taught thousands of students during its years of operation from 1874-1946. This institution was the Academy of the Sacred Heart. It was given this name because the property it stood on was purchased June 12, 1874—the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (7)

Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on April 4, 1946.

The academy had its origins in Namur, Belgium, through the Institute of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. The Cistercian Father Nicholas Joseph Minsart was one of the founders, and after his death, he elected Sister Claire (originally Rosalie Niset) to preside over the community in Belgium. In 1863, the now Mother Claire encouraged a group of Sisters of St. Mary of Namur to come to the United States to assist Catholic immigrant communities.

The Sisters of St. Mary set up their first house in Lockport, New York. Then, in 1873, at the request of Bishop Claude-Marie Dubuis of the Diocese of Galveston, a group of the Sisters were sent to Waco from New York, to start a house and establish a school. This would soon become the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (8)

Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on March 15, 1946.

On October 1, 1873, the school opened in a facility at Sixth and Washington Avenue. The first Sisters of St. Mary to begin instructing at the Waco academy were Mother Emelie, Sister Mary Angela, and Sister Stanislaus. Only three students attended that opening day.

Although it had a humble beginning, Dr. Carlos E. Castañeda states in Our Catholic Heritage in Texas that: “The Academy of the Sacred Heart…proved to be a most fruitful mission in Central Texas. Not only did it become a large and flourishing institution, but it led in rapid succession to the establishment of eight more schools in the State…” (The Sisters went on to establish several schools in various cities in north and central Texas.)

The mission initially was devoted to the education of girls, but the Waco academy made exceptions. It was a day school with grades one through twelve. Boys were allowed to attend until the eighth, and ninth through twelfth were reserved for young women. Only girls were allowed boarding privileges.

Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX, 1946, classroom (1)

Inside one of the classrooms of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Waco, TX. Photo taken by Fred Marlar on April 12, 1946.

Students from non-Catholic denominations were welcome, too. The 1876 Waco city directory describes it as follows: “…Its course of study is complete and comprehensive, and among its patrons and pupils are the representatives of the various denominations of the city and county. Its conduct and discipline are free from sectarianism…”

But by 1946, student enrolled had dwindled. Only six boarded that year, and this would be the last year of operation for the academy. On May 24 of that year, The Waco News-Tribune reported that “With the singing of the class song by 11 graduating seniors, Sacred Heart Academy…ended… an existence which began in 1873.” After more than 70 years, so ended a chapter in the ministry of a group of Sisters who came from New York “to open a school for young ladies in a rough-and-tumble Waco celebrated for its gun fights.” The photos that accompany this blog post were taken by Waco photographer Fred Marlar in 1946, so they likely knew these would be the final photos of the school in action.

After the academy’s closing, the building and site were sold and slated for demolition. This didn’t happen until July 1951, “when the last brick was carried away.” Consequently, the area at Eighth and Washington, where the academy once stood for decades, was brought down to be turned into a parking lot.

However, the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur are still strong to this day. The order has spread throughout the U.S. and other countries during the 20th century, and still remains strong in the 21st. A recent quote from the Sisters states that: “Our early calling to Christian formation continues at the heart of our ministry.”

This “early calling” that brought them here to Waco in 1873, with their roots in Belgium, led to their passion to influence many in their mission work in faraway lands—even in a “rough-and-tumble Waco” of the 1870s.

Click the image below to see more photos in our Academy of the Sacred Heart album on Flickr:

The Academy of the Sacred Heart Catholic School, Waco, TX


Begnaud, Sister St. John, A Little Good: The Sisters of St. Mary in Texas (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, 2011).

“Being Razed” The Waco News-Tribune, May 26, 1951.

Castañeda, Carlos E., Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1836-1936, The Modern Period, Vol. VII (Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., Austin, TX, 1958).

Kelley, Dayton, editor, The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972).

“Sacred Heart Is Closed Up after 73 Years in City” The Waco News-Tribune, May 24, 1946.

“Sisters of St. Mary of Namur,” https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ixs05/, Accessed 27 April 2016.

Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Eastern Province, USA, http://www.ssmn.us/ourstory.html, Accessed 28 April 2016.

Waco, & McLennan County, Texas, 1876, Reprint-First City Directory of Waco (Waco, Texas: Texian Press, 1966).

Posted in Academy of the Sacred Heart, Fred Marlar, Historic Waco, Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Waco | Leave a comment

Research Ready: April 2016

By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

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!

Here are April’s finding aids:

Here are April’s print materials:

Waco, Magnet of Commerce and the Air Mail: the Center of Texas Population. circa 1929.Waco, Magnet of Commerce and the Air Mail: the Center of Texas Population. circa 1929.
This beautiful promotional highlights many of the buildings, educational institutions, railroads, industry, production, jobs, etc. that 1929 Waco has to offer. Contained within are many photographs, some of which may not exist anywhere else. The purpose of these promotionals were to sell a city, and this promotional does an excellent job of selling Waco. Click here to view the Bearcat record for this resource!

Souvenir Program: Fort Worth Police Band Fourth Annual Concert. Fort Worth, TX, 1927.
Souvenir Program: Fort Worth Police Band Fourth Annual Concert. Fort Worth, TX, 1927.
According to this unique program, the Fort Worth Police Band was founded in 1921 by W. H. Lee, Chief of Police. Band members were recruited from within the police department and were conducted by Captain A. Bouton. Filled with photos, advertisements, and additional information about the department, this program offers a fascinating look at Fort Worth’s finest. Click here to view the Bearcat record for this resource!

F. Lotto. Der Deutsch-Texaner. 2.8 (1906).
F. Lotto. Der Deutsch-Texaner. 2.8 (1906).
Published in La Grange and written in Fraktur, this periodical was geared toward German Americans in Texas. Not much is known about the origins of this volume, but our copy is one of only three known to exist. Click here to view the Bearcat record for this resource!

Posted in A.M. Goldstein, Archives, Books, Civil War, Fort Worth, genealogy, Germany, Goldstein-Migel, letters, Research Ready, Vermont, Waco | Leave a comment

The Waco Cotton Palace Pageant: A 46 Year Tradition

The Queen's train, Waco Cotton Palace, 1984

This photograph of the Queen’s train in 1984 features the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Incorporated’s emblem. This emblem features the Cotton Palace on the shield, cotton, and the Latin phrase sursum corda, which means “lift up your hearts.” Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records #2579, box 58, folder 2.

By Amanda Gesiorski, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

The Waco Cotton Palace is celebrating its 46th anniversary on April 22, 2016 in Waco Hall at Baylor University. Although the historical production is celebrating 46 years, its roots go back more than 120 years. In 1893, Waco was one of, if not the leading cotton market center in Texas, with 120,000 bales of cotton marketed in the city that year. And so, Waco was the place where Governor James Stephen Hogg opened the first Texas Cotton Palace a year later, which hosted exhibitions on cotton and crowned a “King Cotton” and “Queen Texas.” Even when the original structure burned down in 1895, the popularity of the event led to the establishment (about a decade later) of an even larger Texas Cotton Palace that showcased livestock and agriculture, art exhibits, parades, dairy shows, canning, horse and car racing, concerts, needlework and baking competitions, and the city’s largest social event—the Queen’s Ball. (See images of and about the Texas Cotton Palace here, here, and here.)

Waco Cotton Palace Queen's Ball, 1972

The annual Queen’s Ball follows the Cotton Palace Pageant and serves as a large gala for the participants, allowing the young women to show off their ornate dresses. Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records #2579, box 1, folder 11.

Although The Cotton Palace closed its doors in 1930, the memory of the Palace and what it celebrated remained strong among the Waco community. This memory was kept alive through the annual Brazos River Festival and Pilgrimage hosted by Historic Waco Foundation in honor of the Texas Cotton Palace. The Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Incorporated, formed in 1970 and partnered with Historic Waco Foundation to host a pageant at the Festival. Even when the Brazos River Festival and Pilgrimage ended, the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant remained an annual event.

Scene from Waco Scene from the Cotton Palace pageant, 1985

The Waco Cotton Palace Pageant tells the story of Waco’s cotton growing past. This is the cotton and railroad scene from the 1985 Pageant in Waco Hall. Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records #2579, box 58, folder 2.

Continuing through today, the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Inc., hosts a number of social events and fundraisers throughout the year in support of their annual pageant and Queen’s Ball. During this pageant, young women and their escorts from all over Texas perform a script that honors Waco’s cotton past. While the pageant traditionally focused on Waco’s founding history and cotton farming days, in 2010, the pageant took a new direction that celebrated Waco’s past and present.

A Waco Cotton Palace dress in design and execution, 1982

Pageant dresses are custom designed for participants, who have some say in the color and details of their dress. This can be seen by looking at the woman’s dress request, the original dress design, and then the final product. This image features Jennifer Nelson and her dress from the 1982 Pageant. Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records #2579, box 54, folder 2, and box 56, folder 1.

The Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records contain a large number of Pageant committee reports, event and dinner invitations, pageant scripts, advertising agreement, and detailed information sheets on participants that give insight into how the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Inc. operates. One of the most notable aspects of the collection is the extensive number of costume and dress designs for the Princesses, Duchesses, Queen, and Royal Escorts. Each of the young ladies participating in the Pageant wears a custom dress for the pageant and Queen’s Ball. These dresses are some of the most iconic features of the Pageant, and their sketches are found in this collection. Also of note in the collection are photographs of the pageants, VHS recordings of pageants from the 1980s through the 1990s, and scrapbooks from 1971 through 2010 that detail pageant events throughout the course of the year.

Confederate Ball scene dress design for 1972 Waco Cotton Palace Pageant

In addition to the dress designs found in this collection, there are also costume designs for the various Pageant scenes. The dress seen here was designed in 1972 for the Confederate Ball scene. Note the swatch of material still attached. Waco Cotton Palace, Incorporated records #2579, box 55, folder 7.


Riddle, Jonathan. “Texas Cotton Palace Records. Inclusive: 1894-1931, undated; Bulk: 1910-1930.”  The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

“Waco Cotton Palace.” Waco Cotton Palace Pageant Inc. http://wacocottonpalace.org/. Accessed April 19, 2016.

Posted in Historic Waco Foundation, Texas Cotton Palace, Waco Cotton Palace Pageant | Leave a comment

Lessons in Controversial Collections: Processing the Frank Watt Collection

Frank Watt at Mobridge dig site, 1962

This is the only identified photograph in the collection of Frank Watt at a dig site. It was taken in August 1962 at a Smithsonian Institute campsite in Mobridge, SD. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 11, Folder 17, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

By Casey Schumacher, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

In July 2015, President Obama declared the Waco Mammoth Site a National Monument, and Central Texas rejoiced. About the same time, a less well-known archaeological find occurred at The Texas Collection as I began processing the Frank Heddon Watt collection. Among his many vocations, Watt was a founding member of the Central Texas Archaeological Society in 1934. And so, while the National Park Service was sharing images and samples of mammoth bones, I was discovering photos of human remains and hand-drawn maps of their burial sites. Over the next eight months, I realized the Frank Watt collection had just as much to teach our archival staff as it had to teach our patrons.

Archives are not the only repositories for Native American materials, nor were they the first to ask questions about how to properly handle human remains. In 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) laid the groundwork for museums to examine carefully the state of Native American objects in their collections. The primary goal of NAGPRA was to assure appropriate and respectful use, care and (in some cases) repatriation of sacred or culturally sensitive objects, such as human remains, funerary objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. Museum visitors would notice these changes the most in exhibits that included Native American mummies, pipes, or costumes used for sacred rituals. Behind the scenes, this new legislation required museum staff to complete copious amounts of paperwork and extra work to ensure they were up to NAGPRA’s standards. However, NAGPRA only applied to museums; it offered no suggestions or standards for archives like The Texas Collection or for archival collections like that of Frank Watt.

As an institution in the public trust, The Texas Collection believes it should maintain a high ethical standard, even if it is not bound by law to do so. As a result, I believed the images of human remains and the detailed reports of their excavation deserved to be stored and handled both carefully and respectfully. Ultimately, my supervisor and I created a new policy for The Texas Collection; namely, that in the spirit of NAGPRA, archival collections with culturally sensitive materials would be open for public research, but that researchers should maintain a quiet, respectful attitude during their research and that scanning or digitizing culturally sensitive materials would be strictly prohibited.

Cardboard Proof of Stone Engravings by Frank Watt, undated

Not all of Frank Watt’s drawings depicted bones and pottery. The Lithography & Art series in his collection includes extensive lithograph samples, sketches, and prints of buildings, landscapes, and portraits. You can see in this flower sketch that his artistic designs included his scientific attention to detail. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 16, Folders 13 and 20, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

Now that the entire collection is open for research, the Frank Watt collection has much to offer besides archaeological materials. Watt held degrees in lithography and music, as well as teacher’s certification for public school music. He was an avid stamp collector, artist, and cello player. He worked as a printer, stone engraver, hotel serviceman, tree surgeon, and music teacher in Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and New York. In addition, his military service during WWI included field printing and working as an aircraft mechanic near Houston. In other words, Watt was a jack-of-all-trades and master of several. In his collection, researchers will find samples and collected pieces of lithography and stone-engraving, sketchbooks from his art classes at Winona Technical Institute, and military-issued manuals of aircraft mechanics.

At the end of the day, collections like that of Frank Watt are extremely important for both researchers and archivists alike. Naturally, they offer extensive resources for students and professionals in several different fields. They also present an opportunity for archivists to explore how we maintain ethical and professional standards in our institution and help us educate the public about why we do what we do.

Bischof, Robin E. “Boxes and Boxes, Missing Context and an Avocational Archaeologist: Making Sense of the Frank Watt Collection at the Mayborn Museum Complex.” Master’s thesis, Baylor University, 2011.

Bosque Museum. “Ancient Archeological Site on Exhibit at the Museum.” Bosque Museum. Accessed August 8, 2015. http://www.bosquemuseum.org/hornshelter.htm

Posted in archaeology, Frank Heddon Watt, Lithography, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Texas Artists | Leave a comment