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!
Mike Cox papers, 1913-2014 (#3851): Papers contain information on the media relations of Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Additionally, this collection consists of Mike Cox’s personal files and research on Henry Lee Lucas, the Texas Rangers, Texas history, and prominent leaders from Texas.
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.
Big Bend is one of the United States’ most remote national parks and is located in the southwest part of Texas. It is 801,163 acres and was established in June 12, 1944, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Spaniards originally named the area “El Despoblado,” the uninhabited land.
Big Bend is named after the winding path of the Rio Grande River that runs throughout the park, dividing it into massive canyons and straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Chihuahuan Desert rests partly inside Big Bend’s borders and is the largest desert in North America. This ecosystem helped establish Big Bend as an International Biosphere Reserve, which can allow for future environmental research
Until the mid-1960s, Santa Elena Canyon (pictured in the GIF) was formally known as “Santa Helena Canyon.” English-speaking visitors were not pronouncing the name correctly, so the National Park Service dropped the H from the name to assist with the proper Spanish pronunciation.
GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other images of Big Bend in our Flickr set.
“Chihuahuan Desert.” – DesertUSA. Digital West Media Inc., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.desertusa.com/chihuahuan-desert.html>.
“Texas’ Gift to the Nation.” National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nps.gov/bibe/learn/historyculture/tgttn.htm>.
“Big Bend National Park Mountain Hikes.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 03 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/mountain_hikes.htm>.
“Big Bend National Park.” National Geographic. National Geographic Partners, LLC., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/big-bend-national-park/>.
General Tire & Rubber Co. came to Waco in late 1944, the company’s second plant after its Akron, Ohio, headquarters. The plant was originally constructed to supply equipment for the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, and by January 1945, production began. According to William O’Neal, General Tire’s president, the new Waco location (off Business 77, near Orchard Lane) was established on acknowledging that “the war has dissipated the old idea that all manufacturing had to be done in the north, that the south could hope to be no more than an agricultural area.” O’Neal was guided in his decision to bring the company to this area by Congressman W.R. Poage of Texas.
Products coming out of the Waco plant included truck tires for the U.S. Army and Navy, and other rubber-based equipment such as rafts and specialized balloons for wartime use. After the war, once it acquired nearly full control from the U.S. government, the Waco plant began switching from military production to consumer and industrial based products. In November 1945, the first passenger car tire was built and soon after, 2,500 were made daily. By 1954, the plant doubled in size, and 6,000 passenger car, truck, tractor, and farm service tires were being built daily.
A very large surge in tire production occurred in 1955 when the company received a contract to make original equipment tires. Cars made by General Motors rolled off of the automaker’s assembly lines equipped with tires made in Waco. At the time, some models of General’s tires included the innovative tubeless design called the “Dual 90.” Other domestic automakers used Waco-built General products, and the plant ended up making millions of tires that rolled on American roads—and beyond.
By 1957, due to demand, the Waco plant completed a 40 percent expansion in production capacity. By 1984, after many years of continued success, the size of the plant had grown enormously, with building space covering “49 acres under roof on 139 acres of land.” (In 1944, the original area covered “233,000 square feet of manufacturing space.”)
When the facility in Waco celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1984, reference was made for the next 40-year celebration, but this was not to be. In November 1985, General Tire & Rubber Co. announced the closure of its Waco, Texas, plant, which had a staff of more than 1,400 personnel, an annual payroll of $42 million, and was responsible for $18 million monthly in expenditures into the the area’s economy.
After news of the closure, the number without jobs amounted to nearly 10% of Waco’s manufacturing work force. Following the news, an editorial in the Waco Tribune-Herald stated: “The announced closing of Waco’s General Tire plant leaves a cavernous void in Waco’s economy. It could be compared only to Baylor University pulling up stakes.” The last employees to leave the plant were 130 workers who remained at the General Tire & Rubber mixing facility, making bulk rubber to supply other General plans, until December 1990.
The Waco General Tire & Rubber Co. plant gave livelihoods for thousands of men and women throughout its 41 years in operation. However, sudden and drastic changes in the automobile industry, inability to adapt or replace machinery to keep up with changing tire designs and demands, and competition from imports, all contributed to the demise of what was once Waco’s largest manufacturing facility.
The old General Tire plant in Waco remained mainly in disuse for many years, but the empty facility still had enormous potential. The company’s main building was heavily renovated in 2010 for use by the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). It now uses more than 300,000 square feet of the facility. Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, and leading industries utilize this space for advanced research in engineering, air science, quantum optics, and more. Students are able to experience some of the latest innovations in these fields and get hands-on experience in their fields of study—helping Waco continue to innovate and train a new generation well into the future.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been writing about the Parker family—see Part 1 and Part 2. Last week’s post was about the preservation of Old Fort Parker. Today we continue the story with the Parker family’s work to preserve its historical documents—what is now the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, housed at The Texas Collection.
The story of preserving Parker family materials through time is impressive in its own right. With many documents in the collection dating back to the 19th century, it is remarkable that so many of these papers survived. Family historians faithfully stored and studied the documents and made sure the materials endured for the next generation of the family. Now, by giving them to The Texas Collection, these documents are preserved and accessible for the public to view and research.
Materials in this collection were assembled, collected, and preserved by three distinct groups in the Parker family: Joseph and Araminta Taulman, Lee Parker Boone, and Jack Selden, though many other Parker family members contributed to the preservation of their family history, including Joe Bailey Parker and Ben J. Parker. Each of the three major preservation groups represents a different generation in the Parker family history, and each contributed different research materials and collecting emphasis to the collection.
It seems that family members began gathering historical documents relating to family history very early in their time in Texas. By 1854, the materials were stored in a container the family has referred to as the “blue box” by Dan Parker, grandson of Daniel Parker. This box of documents was added to over time and passed down through the family. It eventually came to Jack Selden and contained most of what is now Series I, the oldest materials in the collection.
Joseph and Araminta Taulman were active in Texas public history in the 1930s. Araminta was the great-great-granddaughter of Daniel Parker, patriarch of the Parker family in the 1830s. While the Taulmans created some materials now in the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, most of the Taulman papers are now in the Joseph E. Taulman Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.
Lee Parker Boone, born in 1891, focused on collecting and describing Parker genealogy information for much of his life. Boone was a court reporter in Midland, Texas. In the Selden collection, many of the letters inquiring about family trees and giving information about possible family relationships were from or to Boone.
Jack Selden was born in 1929 and graduated from Palestine High School in Texas. After graduating from George Washington University, he served in the United States Air Force as a navigator and speechwriter for 21 years, eventually becoming a lieutenant colonel. Returning to Palestine, he became a civil trial assistant. In 1985, he became mayor of Palestine, serving three terms.
At some point, Selden became the historian of the Parker family and faithfully preserved an increasingly large collection of documents, photographs, and other materials containing his research on the topic, plus the work of Lee Boone, selections from Joseph Taulman, and others who contributed to preserving the Parker family story. With these resources, Selden wrote and published a book on the Parker family in Texas history. Return: The Parker Story, published in 2006, documents the Parker family’s arrival in Texas, and traces their history through Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker, and others, up to the Parker family reunions today. This past year, Selden donated this collection of materials to The Texas Collection.
Jack Selden also wrote and performed in the “Telling of the Tales,” a dramatic reading of the Cynthia Ann Parker story. Other Parker family members also participated in the production. This drama was performed several times for the public, both at Old Fort Parker in the early 1980s and at Pilgrim Baptist Church near Elkhart, Texas. Programs and scripts from “Telling of the Tales” performances can be found in the Selden collection.
This concludes our series celebrating the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers arrival at The Texas Collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University. If you can’t make the lecture, follow us on Twitter—we’ll be live-tweeting the event at #ParkerFamilyTX.
Find a Grave, Inc. “Lee Parker Boone.” Memorial #22788886. Databases. Accessed February 8, 2016.
We recently wrote about the story of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker. Today we continue the story by discussing efforts through time to remember their story by preserving Fort Parker.
After the events of the Parker story in Texas—Cynthia Ann’s capture by Comanche, her recapture and return to Texan society, her son Quanah’s role as military leader against the United States army, and his subsequent role as a political leader to help the Comanche on the reservation—the Parker story became a popular one in Texas. (See Part One of this blog series if you need a refresher.) With Texan interest in historic preservation growing due to the impending Texas Centennial in 1936, people began to work towards preserving the site of Parker’s Fort or Fort Parker.
While the original fort was long gone, the site was selected in the 1930s as a work area for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was decided to build a replica fort, matching as closely as possible the original fort built by the Parkers. Several Parker family members visited the site of replica fort in the 1930s to help verify that it was the site of the original fort. Construction was still underway as the Texas Centennial came and went.
Only a couple of miles away, the same CCC camp built camping and outdoor recreational facilities around a 670 acre lake, formed from building a dam across the Navasota River. While the plan originally called for one site to be named Fort Parker State Park, which would include the replica fort, the lake, and all the recreational facilities, eventually the site was split into two separate areas. Confusingly, the recreation area with the lake became known as Fort Parker State Park, while the replica fort site became known as Old Fort Parker State Historic Site, or just the Old Fort.
In 1941, after years of planning and construction, Fort Parker State Park was opened to the public. Along with fishing, boating, and fireworks, people could also visit Old Fort Parker, where construction was complete on the replica fort.
After many years of use, the replica fort at the Old Fort site was rebuilt in 1967. Both Fort Parker sites were operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department until 1992, when the nearby cities of Groesbeck and Mexia, and Limestone County took over operations of the Old Fort. Fort Parker State Park continues to operate as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department site.
Today, visitors to Old Fort Parker can tour the replica fort, various historic structures from Central Texas, and the visitor center. For research opportunities, patrons can visit The Texas Collection and view materials on the Parker family and Old Fort Parker.
The next post in this series will examine the various creators of the Selden collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University.
Compiled by Amie Oliver, Brian Simmons, Tiff Sowell, and Amanda Norman
Inspired by the coloring trend and project sponsors New York Academy of Medicine and BioDiversity Heritage Library, The Texas Collection has selected a few pages from our print materials collection for your coloring pleasure. The selections are a good example of the wide range of subjects our collections cover–from botany to dime novels, you will find all manner of Texas topics in our holdings.
Download the coloring pages using the link below, color to your heart’s content, then share your artwork with us on Facebook and/or Twitter, with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. We look forward to seeing your creativity!
Today marks the 171st anniversary of the signing of Baylor University’s charter. On February 1, 1845, Republic of Texas President Anson Jones signed the Act of Congress that established our institution. Happy birthday, Baylor!
From the beginning, Baylor has enjoyed looking back at its history, as evidenced by many publications, features in the Lariat and Round Up, class projects (such as the HESA Baylor history blog—more on that in a future post), and the traditions that help link our past with our present. But in the 1920s, Baylor started to celebrate more officially the anniversary of its founding. By searching in our digitized Lariats and press releases, we highlighted key Founders Day celebrations throughout the twentieth century. Enjoy!
In 1923, we see the first mentions in the Lariat of Founders Day festivities (see above). That year, the university did a radio broadcast of a program featuring speeches by President Samuel Palmer Brooks, Dr. Kenneth Hazen Aynesworth (whose donation that year would found The Texas Collection), and few other Baylor alums and supporters. The broadcast was heard as far away as Kansas! President Brooks touts that Baylor “is a real University now,” having ceased its preparatory program and with Schools in everything from sciences to music to law to medicine. He concluded his portion by reminding alumni that “our object in life is the betterment of mankind.” Read more in the February 3, 1923, Lariat.
1939 brings the unveiling of the new Judge R.E.B. Baylor statue. You can read more in a past blog post about the process of funding and selecting the artist for this public art piece. In addition to hosting Judge Baylor’s descendants, the university invited to campus descendants of all of Baylor’s past presidents, along with other dignitaries. The sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, who also was the artist behind the Rufus C. Burleson statue, was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1940, in recognition of his work for Baylor and the state of Texas. Read more in the February 1, 1939, Lariat.
Baylor celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1945, with a year-long theme of “Christian Education: Safeguard of Democracy.” The university rolled out the red carpet, despite the ongoing war: honorary degrees were bestowed, the pillars dedicated to William Tryon and James Huckins (by the Judge Baylor statue) were unveiled, exhibits were on display, and campus tours were offered. A concert by the Baylor Symphony Orchestra wrapped up the Founders Day festivities, featuring the “Centennial Overture” written by Dean Daniel Sternberg especially for the occasion. Read more in the February 1, 1945, Lariat.
The tenth anniversary of W.R. White’s presidency was commemorated in conjunction with Founders Day in 1958. In addition to a three-hour program of lectures by “eminent educators” and a student-sponsored party in honor of Dr. and Mrs. White, the university dedicated six of the ten buildings constructed during White’s presidency to date: Allen, Dawson, Collins, and Martin Halls, and Speight-Jenkins Married Students’ Apartments. (Can you tell that housing was an important need during White’s presidency?) But, construction is never done on a college campus: White announced on Founders Day the naming gift that started the Marrs McLean Science Building project. Read more in the January 18, 1958 press release, and the February 4, 1958, Lariat.
In 1966, the Lariat called out the University for the lack of Founders Day celebration! In the 1960s, there were some Founders Day activities, such as the 1964 dedication of Marrs McLean…but sometimes, as the article notes, it was left up to ex-student clubs to celebrate on their own. The relatively new Baylor/Waco Foundation also timed their annual fund drive kickoff to coincide with Founders Day. Read more in the February 3, 1966, Lariat.
The Founders Medal was introduced in 1970, which also marked Baylor’s 125th anniversary. The Founders Medal still is one of Baylor’s highest honors, presented to men and women who have made unusually significant contributions to the life of the University. The first recipients were Mr. and Mrs. Carr P. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. Earl C. Hankamer. (Misters Collins and Hankamer both were longtime Baylor Trustees and supporters.) Read more in the February 10, 1970, Lariat.
In 1986, Baylor celebrated the centennial of the Waco campus. (There is no shortage of significant anniversaries for Baylor to commemorate!) The James Huckins Baylor Founders Day Award (not the Founders Medal, but we’re unsure what the distinction was for this award) was presented to Dr. Guy Newman, a Baylor alumnus who was at the time president emeritus of Howard Payne University. Also part of Founders Week was the debut of the Baylor-Waco Centennial Anthem, “The Lord Reigneth,” composed by Richard M. Willis, professor and composer-in-residence, by the A Cappella Choir. Read more in the February 5, 1986, Lariat.
Baylor’s Sesquicentennial year was 1995, a particularly significant anniversary that brought a year’s worth of celebrations. For Founders Week, the Lariat included a special pull-out section on Baylor’s heritage, complete with timeline of important events and articles on various aspects of the University’s history. The sesquicentennial time capsule was buried on Founders Day, with submissions invited from seniors wanting to leave their mark. The capsule will be opened in 2045. Read more in the February 3, 1995, Lariat.
The Founders Medal now is conferred at Homecoming, along with Baylor’s other Meritorious Achievement Awards, but the University does work to highlight February 1 through events and social media posts. If you’re itching to learn more about Baylor’s history, poke around this blog, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube pages, as well as the digital collections for the University Archives and for The Texas Collection. You’re sure to gain some fascinating Baylor trivia!