Research Ready: May 2014

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. This month we have a few finding aids from the Archival Collections and Museums class that worked on archival processing projects with us here at The Texas Collection…and there will be more to come in upcoming months! Here’s the scoop for May:

Carroll Chapel furniture bids solicitation, 1902
Before Carroll Chapel and Library could be declared done in 1903, the building needed furniture! This letter solicits bids for Chapel seating, most of which would be lost in the 1922 fire. However, you still can see some of the pews in the corridors of the updated Carroll Library building today. BU Records: Carroll Buildings #BU/57, box 1, folder 1.
Letter from Carr P. Collins to Earl C. Hankamer regarding the Greater Baylor Campaign, 1930
Carr P. Collins and Earl C. Hankamer were both noted Baylor Trustees and supporters. Here Hankamer pledges to assist with the Greater Baylor fundraising campaign. BU Records: Greater Baylor Campaign #BU/100, box 4, folder 2.

Sharing Student Scholarship: Finance at Baylor, 1921-1930

For the next few weeks, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history, 1921-1930, that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the Foundations and History of Higher Education class blog. Last week we looked at Curriculum. This week we’re looking at Finance at Baylor, with papers examining gridiron finances and the town-and-gown relationship as seen in the Greater Baylor campaign. Did you know that…

  • The Southwest Conference was formed in part to ensure that college athletics remained “sport for sport’s sake,” and that no one school had a greater advantage over another due to uneven financial means. Read more…

    The arch of the 5th Street entrance to Baylor University's Carroll Field
    Baylor might have had the 1915 football championship on the Carroll Field sign, too, but a transfer rule in the newly formed Southwest Conference meant that Baylor had to forfeit the title. General photo files–Baylor–Buildings–Carroll Field.
  • When a proposal to move Baylor from Waco to Dallas arose in the 1920s (an effort intended to unite the university with the medical school and save money), the students, churches, and general Waco community rose up in opposition, helping to raise money for Waco Hall and other projects. Learn more…

We hope you’ll explore these blog posts and enjoy the benefits of the HESA students’ research and scholarship. If you’re inspired to dig deeper, most of their sources can be found in the University Archives within The Texas Collection and in our digitized materials available online in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Background on this project: Students in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) masters program have taken on the challenge of creating original scholarship that adds to what is known about Baylor’s history. As part of Dr. Nathan Alleman’s Foundations and History of Higher Education course, students were grouped under the five class themes: curriculum, finance, students/student groups, access, and religion. In collaboration with Texas Collection archivists and librarians, students mined bulletins, newspapers, correspondence, and other primary resources as they researched their topics. Final papers have been posted on blogs.baylor.edu/hesabaylorhistoryproject and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the second installment of an annual accumulating project–see last year’s teasers here. Please visit again for future installments!

Soldiers of the Wooden Cross: Military Memorials at Baylor

Walking across the Baylor campus, you may have noticed that your way is marked by distinctive lampposts, some of which bear plaques honoring Baylor men and women killed serving their country. These memorial lampposts are said to serve as honor guards by day and to illuminate the campus by night and are part of a tradition that began in 1946.

Walter Davis Gernand plaque on a memorial lamppost at Baylor UniversityOne day, Frank Jasek, a preservation specialist for the Baylor libraries, paused to read one of the plaques, and he recalls that “I felt as though that plaque was a portal to a friend that I was to meet.” Thus began the project that would become Soldiers of the Wooden Cross, a book compiling information, stories, and photos on each of the men and women memorialized by the lampposts. “It is my hope that after reading what is presented on the pages you will gain some insight into who this hero was.”

Jasek started his research at The Texas Collection, but he also used government documents and even reached out to the families of the deceased, who in some cases were able to provide photos, letters, and other valuable artifacts. Soldiers of the Wooden Cross: Military Memorials of Baylor University is available at The Texas Collection, as is the Frank Jasek papers, which feature the research files compiled in the process of completing the book.

Soldiers of the Wooden Cross, edited by Frank JasekFor more information, see the book’s website, which includes excerpts, reviews, and a list of retailers. The Waco Tribune-Herald and the Baylor Lariat also have done articles on Jasek’s labor of love. Visit the University Development website for information on campus memorials and tributes.

Working with the Waco Foundation, Jasek started the Soldiers of the Wooden Cross Scholarship Fund for veterans, family members of veterans, ROTC cadets, and active duty military. All proceeds of book sales will benefit this scholarship fund.

Sharing Student Scholarship: Curriculum at Baylor, 1921-1930

For the next five weeks, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history, 1921-1930, that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the Foundations and History of Higher Education class blog. This week we’re looking at Curriculum at Baylor, with papers examining the 1920s evolution controversy, the founding of the business school, and the developing Spanish department. Did you know that…

Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, early image after construction is completed, photo by Windy Drum Photo, 1961.
The Baylor University business school began in 1923 and became known as the Hankamer School of Business in 1959 when Earl C. Hankamer gave most of the money needed for the school to have its own building. This Windy Drum photo was taken shortly after construction was completed. Baylor–Buildings–Hankamer School of Business.
  • President Samuel Palmer Brooks was concerned that the student body, incensed by J. Frank Norris’ accusations against the university on the teaching of evolution might be incited to mob action by Norris himself as a publicity stunt in his favor. Read more…
  • One of the motivations for beginning the business school in 1923 was that Baylor’s male enrollment was dropping, as men were going to UT (where they could pursue business studies) instead of Baylor. Discover more…
  • Spanish faculty members in the 1920s sometimes were called on to teach other subjects, such as German and chemistry. (Fortunately, the professors in question did have background in those disciplines!) Learn more…

We hope you’ll explore these blog posts and enjoy the benefits of the HESA students’ research and scholarship. If you’re inspired to dig deeper, most of their sources can be found in the University Archives within The Texas Collection and in our digitized materials available online in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Background on this project: Students in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) masters program have taken on the challenge of creating original scholarship that adds to what is known about Baylor’s history. As part of Dr. Nathan Alleman’s Foundations and History of Higher Education course, students were grouped under the five class themes: curriculum, finance, students/student groups, access, and religion. In collaboration with Texas Collection archivists and librarians, students mined bulletins, newspapers, correspondence, and other primary resources as they researched their topics. Final papers have been posted on blogs.baylor.edu/hesabaylorhistoryproject and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the second installment of an annual accumulating project–see last years teasers here. Please visit again for future installments!

Texas over Time: Old Main, Baylor University

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. 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.Old Main, Baylor University

  • Designed by architect William Lamour and completed in 1887, Old Main was the first new building at the new site for Baylor University after it moved from Independence. The original building had 17 classrooms and 24 offices.
  • Baylor students used to conspire to get on the roof of Old Main to put their class’ graduating year in large numbers on the roof and spires. However, erasing previous class’ efforts was not easy! The building’s roof became littered with fading numbers from years past.
  • The iconic Old Main spires had to be removed due to damage from the 1953 Waco tornado (as seen in the second photo above). They were not added back onto Old Main until a 1970s restoration. Before the decision was made to restore the building, there were considerations of tearing it down.

Photos date to approximately 1949, late 1950s, and 1990s and can be found in our Old Main photo files, which have been digitized and are available online in our ever-growing digital collection of Texas photos. See our Flickr set to get a closer look at the images above and a few photos of the spires being restored to the building.

Print Peeks: A Who's Who of Texas History in the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas Online

By Amie Oliver, Coordinator for User and Access Services

Biographical Gazetteer of Texas, Texas Collection reading room
Looking for information on a prominent Texas figure or ancestor? The Bio Gaz might be the resource for you! But you don’t have to come to our reading room (although you’re welcome)–you can search online!

“Do you have any information on my grandfather?” Texas Collection (TC) staff is regularly greeted with patrons seeking information on people. Typically we point patrons in the usual direction of census, birth, death, and marriage records. These records can provide the who, what, when, and where. But where do patrons look when they want to find the why or how? There is a resource unique to our collection that may help patrons answer those questions.

The Texas Collection is home to numerous volumes containing biographical sketches of notable Texans and early pioneers.  Many of these books do not contain an index, and when a patron needs information on a person, it can be overwhelming for staff and the patron to search through nearly 200 volumes of biographical sketches to find someone.

So, in the early 1980s, TC staff created a Biographical Sketch File. After identifying the volumes to be included in the file, staff created a catalogue card for each person listed in the biographical sketches. Each card included a name, birth and/or death date (if available), the book title, page number where the sketch can be found, and whether a portrait is included. This Biographical Sketch File became a popular finding aid, so in 1985, The Texas Collection published it as the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas. (You might hear our staff call it the “Bio Gaz.”) This six-volume set includes over 67,000 entries.

After using the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas in book form for over 20 years, staff and student employees entered the information into a searchable database in 2007. You can access it on our website—follow the instructions below to get started!

Step 1: Click the “Biographical Gazetteer” link on our website (move the bottom slider until you see it in the list).

BioGazSliderHomepageStep 2: Click on the “here” to search the database.BioGazLandingPageStep 3: Type a person’s name and click the “Click Here to Find” button. (Do not hit enter after typing a name because the search will not work.) Be aware that many people use initials, so first names aren’t often necessary and may even return incorrect results. There also are many variant name spellings, so patrons should try several options.

 BioGazSearchStep 4: Results! This list informs the patron about where information may be found. If patrons see an entry that fits their search criteria, they may either come in to view the item or may request a photocopy of the material. To request a photocopy, click on the record number.

BioGazResultsStep 5: On the next screen, enter contact information and submit the request. Staff will then contact the researcher with photoduplication fees.

BioGazRequestTexas Collection staff often uses the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas and we hope that it is a resource that helps our patrons as much as it helps us. Happy hunting!

“Print Peeks” is a regular feature highlighting select items from our print collection.

Looking Back at Baylor: Honoring Judge Baylor

By Kent Keeth

Judge R.E.B. Baylor Statue, Baylor University, Waco, TX.
The Judge R.E.B. Baylor statue sits on Founders Mall, between Waco Hall and Pat Neff Hall.

If you’ve been to the Baylor campus, chances are good that you have climbed into Judge Baylor’s lap for a photo opportunity. But it took awhile to arrive on that design—the statue was very nearly a standing portrait. (Imagine how different the photos would be!) In honor of R.E.B. Baylor’s birthday this week (likely on May 10), learn how this memorial to Baylor’s namesake came into being.

Preparations for the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration brought a variety of bright opportunities to the state’s Depression-ridden economy. Towns, counties, and institutions, anticipating a burst of tourism, prepared to attract visitors by capitalizing upon their historical figures and events; and many of the nation’s underemployed artists and craftsmen, aware of the potential commissions which such commemorations could engender, began scouring the state in search of work. To help them find employment, one of the federal government’s New Deal assistance programs appropriated funds in 1935 for disbursement by the Texas Centennial Commission of Control in payment for their work.

Baylor President Pat M. Neff, ever alert to means of channeling outside funding into the university, was quick to recognize the possibilities of this federal largess. No substantial monument had ever been raised on Baylor’s campus to the school’s founder and namesake, Judge Robert E. B. Baylor, and Neff applied for and received a grant of $14,000 for the erection of a memorial to him.

Mount Rushmore in the Snow
Did you know that the artist of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, was considered as the sculptor for the Judge Baylor statue commission? Photo courtesy of TravelSD.

On October 21, 1935, during a chapel service, he named a committee to decide upon the use to which the funds would be put….In addition to reaching agreement about the type of monument which they wanted, they had to select its location, view proposals submitted by sculptors, and recommend to the Commission of Control the artist best able to perform the work…. the committee’s first approval centered upon two proposals made by Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore.

The more elaborate of Borglum’s drawings featured a portrait statue of Judge Baylor on a central pedestal, dressed in “a flowing robe of academic suggestion.” Flanking the pedestal at ground level were curved benches, on one of which reclined “the charming figure of a young man, reading,” while on the other sat a young woman “gazing upward as if entranced by the statue.”…The second proposal, favored by committee and sculptor alike, consisted of “a simple statue of Judge Baylor in the dress of the period,” with figures of a young man and woman in high relief on the pedestal’s sides….

Judge R.E.B. Baylor Statue, Baylor University, Pompeo Coppini clay model
Coppini’s clay model for the Judge Baylor statue. Pompeo Coppini papers #1490.

The committee liked Borglum’s work, but he broke off contact with the committee to pursue another commission. In January 1936, they nearly approved a proposal by Chicago sculptor Leonard Crunelle (another portrait statue concept), but committee meetings ceased for about nine months, and then Pompeo Coppini of San Antonio came up.

Coppini’s abilities were a known quantity on Baylor’s campus. One of his first commissions in the state had been the statue of former president Rufus Burleson, erected on Burleson Quadrangle in 1905….

At its meeting of September 21, 1936, the Monument Committee voted to request a proposal from Coppini, and the artist visited the campus shortly afterward. By July 1937, having received a firm commission to undertake the work, he returned to consult with the committee and settle final details….

Judge R.E.B. Baylor Statue, Baylor University, after the unveiling.
Judge R.E.B. Baylor Statue, Baylor University, after the unveiling at the Founders Day dedication ceremony in 1939. Pompeo Coppini papers #1490.

Coppini quickly decided that, for best lighting effect, the statue should face to the south, across the street from Waco Hall. Judge Baylor’s pose required more deliberations—a seated figure could cost more, but also would be more distinctive. The committee also discussed adorning the pedestal itself with bas relief figures symbolic of Judge Baylor’s interests in religion, law, and education, but then agreed with the sculptor on a simpler design.

With all essential details decided, Coppini departed to his studio to design, model, cast, and eventually deliver the product of his own and the committee’s labors. The completed statue of Judge Baylor, unveiled during Founders Day observances on February 1, 1939, was an immediate success within the Baylor community.

This compilation of a two-part article by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth was originally published in The Baylor Line in April and June 1984. Blogging about Texas periodically features “Looking Back at Baylor” selections, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.