Browning W. Ware papers 1928-2002 (#3885): Materials of Texas pastor Browning W. Ware, who led First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and wrote “Diary of a Modern Pilgrim” columns in the Austin-American Statesman.
Prepared by Amie Oliver, Librarian/Curator of Print Materials
The Texas Collection is home to many stories, many featuring depictions of frontier heroes taming the Wild West. One of the most captivating types of pioneer stories in the collection is captivity narratives, written accounts of those captured by Native Americans. Captivity narratives date to 1682 when Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by Massachusetts Puritan Mary Rowlandson who was captured and eventually ransomed, was published. These stories of capture became popular across the U.S. The Texas Collection contains many captivity narratives involving Texas or Texans. It should be noted that while many of these stories are true, some are only based on a grain of truth and are greatly embellished, and some are completely false. Let’s take a look at a few of the captivity narratives in The Texas Collection:
The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts: Written by English author Barbara Hofland and published in approximately 1830, this popular captivity narrative recounts the Comanche capture of Manuel del Perez near San Antonio. The volume describes his life among the natives for three years before his eventual escape and reunion with his family.
Nine Years Among the Indians: Herman Lehmann, son of Mason County, Texas, German pioneers, was captured by the Apache when he was 10-years-old. His life with the Apache, and later the Comanche, had a great impact on him. When he was forcibly returned to his family in 1878, he no longer remembered them or the German language. His adjustment to white society was difficult. He considered himself to be native, maintaining contact with the Comanche for the rest of his life.
The Boy Captives: Perhaps one of the best known Texas captivity narratives, this volume recounts the story of Clinton and Jefferson Smith who were captured in 1871 near their home between San Antonio and Boerne at the ages of 11 and 9 by a group of Lipan and Comanche. Rescue attempts to reclaim the children were futile, and the boys remained captive for five years before returning home. Their story was widespread and the Smith brothers later enjoyed fame as frontier celebrities.
The above volumes are but a small sampling of captivity narratives available in the collection. These volumes are ripe for research and provide unique insight into pioneer life.
Hofland, Barbara. The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts. London: J. Darling for A.K. Newman and Company, 1830. Print.
Lehmann, Herman. Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co, 1927. Print.
Rowlandson, Mary. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Project Gutenberg. Web. 12 April 2014.
Smith, Clinton L. The Boy Captives. Bandera: Frontier Times, 1927. Print.
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.
Photo dates: 1872, 1953, 1967, undated (prior to 1968)
Named due to being across First Street from the Waco suspension bridge
Earned the nickname “Rat Row” (until the fire) due to the increasingly dilapidated state of the wooden buildings
Fire swept through in 1871, destroying all of the wooden frame buildings, which were replaced by stone ones
Traditionally the center of the west-Waco minority-owned business community
Took a major hit from the 1953 Waco tornado
All buildings on street demolished in 1968 as part of Urban Renewal
Menchu, Carlos. 162 Years of Waco, 1824-1986: Focus upon Downtown Waco, Texas. Lubbock: Texas Tech U, 1986. Print.
Smith, JB. “From Bridge Street to the Square.” Waco Tribune-Herald 22 Sept. 2005: n. pag. Print.
“Bridge Street: 1849 – 1890.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32190>.
“Bridge Street: 1900-1950.” Baylor University Institute for Oral History. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/index.php?id=32207>.
By Jennifer Borderud, Access and Outreach Librarian, Armstrong Browning Library
In her biography of Dr. A.J. Armstrong, chair of Baylor’s English Department from 1912-1952 and founder of the Armstrong Browning Library, Lois Smith Douglas recounts Dr. Armstrong’s efforts to bring English poet Alfred Noyes to Waco in 1917. Douglas writes that the poet’s manager initially declined the invitation “with undisguised humor,” asking “‘Where is Waco, Texas?’” (93).
Undeterred by the remark, Dr. Armstrong arranged an additional thirteen speaking engagements for the author of the “The Highwayman” throughout Texas and the Southwest and succeeded in bringing Noyes to Baylor’s campus on 12 January 1917. Waco was Noyes’s first stop on his tour of the United States that year (Douglas 93-94). Baylor’s student newspaper, The Lariat, wrote of the event: “It is unprecedented in the history of Texas and the South that a poet belonging to the world’s great poets has visited this section” (“Alfred Noyes to Lecture Here” 1).Ever the ambassador, Dr. Armstrong enthusiastically introduced Noyes to Baylor and Waco, and over the course of his 40-year career at Baylor, Dr. Armstrong made certain that Baylor and Waco came face-to-face with the world’s dramatic, literary, and musical talents.
Armstrong’s Stars, a new blog series, is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we will feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories will highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and feature collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection. Contributions to the blog series will be made by ABL and Texas Collection staff as well as by students from Baylor’s English Department, some of whom are also members of Sigma Tau Delta, Baylor’s English honor society. We are particularly pleased to have members of Sigma Tau Delta participating in this series as Baylor’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, founded by Dr. Armstrong in 1925, sponsored many of these exciting events and ensured their success.