Armstrong’s Stars: Katharine Cornell

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity who Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator, The Texas Collection.

Andrew Joseph Armstrong, and Katharine Cornell at Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University

Katharine Cornell and A.J. Armstrong enjoy a moment of laughter on the dedication day of Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, on December 3, 1951. Cornell was the main speaker at the event, along with Baylor President W.R. White. Jimmie Willis photographic collection, 4×5 photo negative 1038.

While A.J. Armstrong’s stars included celebrities with little to no connection to the Brownings—his primary area of interest—some had very deep affiliations with the poets. In fact, a few of the stars played them!

Katharine Cornell visited Baylor twice, both times in relation to her role as Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Rudolf Besier’s play, “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.” The part became her signature role, one she started playing in 1931. According to her 1974 New York Times obituary, “The Barretts’” ran for a year on Broadway, and then Miss Cornell shepherded her company on a 20,853-mile tour of the United States, a daring venture in the Depression…” Cornell was “actress-manager” for this performance, and her husband, Guthrie McClintic, was director.

Of course, Armstrong could not miss an opportunity to have this production come to Baylor, and the tour made a stop in Waco in 1934. In her obituary, Cornell is quoted saying, “‘The Barretts’ never played to an empty house—the receipts would be something like $33,000…so we came back having more than broken even. We really felt prideful.” Additionally, Cornell, along with Brian Aherne (playing Robert Browning), performed this production for servicemen and women during World War II in USO Camp Shows.

It was thus fitting that when Armstrong’s efforts came to fruition at the dedication of the Armstrong Browning Library on December 2 and 3, 1951, Cornell would be a part of the festivities. The library was a $2 million facility and called “a shrine to the poet, Robert Browning.” Armstrong stated it is “not far below the Taj Mahal in beauty.” For such a special occasion, the dedication called for a grand ceremony.

Katharine Cornell and group at the Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Left to right: Baylor President William Richardson White, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Katharine Cornell, Marrs McLean, former Baylor president and Texas governor Pat M. Neff. This photograph was taken on the dedication day of Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, on December 3, 1951. Jimmie Willis photographic collection photo negative 1045.

Well-known in the world of Browning enthusiasts, and those of the stage and Broadway, Katharine Cornell was the main speaker for the event. Waco Hall was the venue for Cornell’s appearance in what A.J. Armstrong called the “the cultural and literary dedication program” for the new Armstrong Browning Library. Although Basil Rathbone played Robert Browning in the 1934 touring production, Brian Aherne was the original Robert, “brought from his native England by Miss Cornell,” and he came with Cornell to the dedication.

On the day of the event, Cornell and Aherne received an honorary Doctor of Laws during a dedication convocation, along with D.K. Martin, Marrs McLean, A.J. Armstrong, and Herbert Dunnico. Robert Roussel of the Houston Post, upon witnessing a portion of the dedication, commented: “It was indeed an inspirational day… All the humane arts were represented, and the theatre was as handsomely served as it could have been with Katharine Cornell and Brian Aherne as its messengers.”

Katharine Cornell Portrait, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University

Katharine Cornell portrait by the artist Alexander Clayton. The painting depicts the actress in the role of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The item was unveiled at Waco Hall on February 9, 1956, and hangs in the Austin Moore-Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University. Photo by Geoff Hunt.

Roussell uses the term “messengers,” and Katharine Cornell rightly served the part as one for the Browning’s legacy. That legacy lives on in the portrait that adorns the wall of the Armstrong Browning’s Austin Moore-Elizabeth Barrett Browning Salon, as well as her other donations such as the shadow box depicting a scene from the “Barretts” stage production. Further, her impact far beyond Baylor as “messenger” for Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning in her role in the “Barretts” made many audiences more familiar with their poetic works while entertaining and bringing joy to many along the way.

Sources:

“Baylor Opens World Shrine to Poets…,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Dec. 2, 1951.

“Broadway Stars To Be Here For Browning Dedication,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Nov. 4, 1951.

Campbell, Reba. “Waco Dedicates Its Taj Mahal,” Waco Tribune-Herald (Waco, TX.), Dec. 4, 1951.

“Death Claims Dr. ‘A’,” Baylor-Line, v.16 (March-April, 1954): p. 5.

Roussel, Hubert. “Some Out-of-Town Drama With Cornell In a Leading Role,” The Houston-Post (Houston, TX), Dec. 9, 1951.

Katharine Cornell Papers, Armstrong-Browning Library, Baylor University.

Thomas E. Turner, Sr., Papers, Accession #2200, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Whitman, Alden. “Obituary: Katharine Cornell is Dead at 81,” The New York Times (New York City, NY), June 10, 1974.

Learn more about Armstrong’s Stars in previous posts, and see more photos of Katharine Cornell’s 1950 visit to Baylor in our Flickr slideshow below.


Created with flickr slideshow.
Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, Armstrong's Stars, Baylor University, Katharine Cornell | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Waco’s Carnegie Library

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.

Waco Carnegie library

  • Local businessman, philanthropist, and Baylor alum Isaac A. Goldstein helped persuade Andrew Carnegie to contribute $30,000 in grants to construct Waco’s Carnegie library. It opened November 28, 1904 and was located at 12th and Austin.
  • The total cost of the building was $44,688, and the library opened with 3,279 volumes. The first book to be checked out was Emma by Jane Austen.
  • Working alongside Willie Durham House, the first female head of schools in Waco, Goldstein knew the library would be of great service to the city and extolled the Carnegie Library as a “classical temple” where men and women could be brought “closer together for the highest and best purposes of pure and enlightened citizenship.”
  • The library outgrew the space by the early 1940s and moved to the Cameron House. The library continued to grow, the Cameron House’s structure began to fail, and the Eighteenth Street and Austin Avenue location of today’s Central library branch opened in the early 1960s.

Sources

Darden, Bob. An Austin Avenue Legacy: 100 Years with the Waco-McLennan County Library. Waco, TX: Waco-McLennan County Library Margin of Excellence Trust Fund, 1997. Print.

Sawyer, Amanda. “Waco Public Library,” Waco History, accessed February 13, 2015, http:/​/​wacohistory.​org/​items/​show/​29.​

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant.

Posted in Andrew Carnegie, Historic Waco, Isaac Goldstein, Texas over Time, Waco, Waco Public Library | Leave a comment

A Love Story: Two Marines during WWII

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

Onnie Clem love letter to “Julie” Cecile Lorraine Julian, undated

Letter from Onnie E. Clem, Jr. to his fiancée, Julie, during his time at home in Dallas, Texas, circa 1944-1945. Onnie E. Clem, Jr. papers, #3939, Box 1, Folder 2.

As impressive as the recent movie Unbroken may be, a better story about a WWII prisoner of war can be found within the Onnie E. Clem, Jr. papers. Not only do we learn about Onnie’s harrowing experience overseas, but we also get a firsthand account of his passionate love affair with his future wife, Julie.

Onnie E. Clem, Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas, and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1938 to see the world. He became a radio operator and was stationed in Peking, China, at the US Embassy. When the United States entered World War II, Onnie took part in the battles of the Bataan and was part of the Bataan Death March. Onnie survived the march only to become a POW at Camp O’ Donnell and Cabanatuan for two and a half years.

On August 19, 1944, Onnie was put into the hull of a Japanese “hell ship” with 750 other American prisoners. Nineteen days later, the ship was hit by an American torpedo. As the ship was sinking, the Japanese tossed a grenade into the hull and shot Americans as they tried to escape. Although injured from the torpedo and shot by the Japanese, Onnie managed to escape and swim three miles to shore, where he was rescued by Filipino guerilla fighters. Onnie was one of only 83 known survivors of this incident. By September 1944, Onnie was on his way back home. A transcribed interview with Onnie from 1972 reveals this harrowing experience.

Onnie’s story does not end there, though. Things heat up when Onnie arrives in San Diego, California, where he meets Staff Sergeant “Julie” Cecile Lorraine Julian, who was a member of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (USMCWR). She served as secretary to the general in charge of public relations along the west coast in San Diego and later at the office in San Francisco.

Staff Sergeant “Julie” Cecile Lorraine Julian

This photograph shows Staff Sergeant “Julie” Cecile Lorraine Julian wearing her official United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve uniform, circa 1944-1945. It was enclosed in a letter she sent to her fiancée, Onnie, while he was in Texas. Onnie E. Clem, Jr. papers, #3939, Box 1, Folder 3.

Julie’s office coordinated Onnie’s war bond tour in California. When Onnie walked into her office one day, there was an instant attraction. The couple had a whirlwind romance, and when Onnie returned home to Texas in November 1944, there was a passionate exchange of letters. In these letters, we learn about Julie and Onnie’s relationship as well as their social and work lives. We get a glimpse of Julie’s romantic history with other soldiers, and Onnie’s attempt to re-assimilate into civilian life. We also learn that upon returning home, Onnie is plagued by a constant stream of inquiries from people wanting to know if he has news about their loved ones. Also woven within these letters is the life of Onnie’s fellow escapee, Verks D. Cutter, and Cutter’s wife Janet Elliot, including their secret marriage. While Julie, Janet, Onnie, and Verks are friends at the beginning, as the letters continue we learn about a falling out between them. Onnie and Julie marry on July 13, 1945, and move to Texas, where they work and raise two children.

Onnie joined the Marines to see the world, and in that he succeeded—his papers tell that story. The Onnie E. Clem, Jr. papers read like a novel full of passion and drama, but they also provide a unique historical insight into the daily personal, professional, and social lives of two Marines during WWII.

Posted in Bataan Death March, courtship, Julie Clem, Marine Corps Women's Reserve, Onnie Clem, prisoners of war, United States history, United States Marine Corps, World War II | Leave a comment

Research Ready: March 2015

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. Here are March’s finding aids:

Galveston Storm Letter, 1900

This letter from Elizabeth Thatcher recounts the grim aftermath of the 1900 Galveston storm. One of the worst national disasters in United States history, Thatcher gives an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the storm: thousands of people dead, all communication to the island cut off, and the city placed under martial law. Galveston Storm letters, 1700, box 1, folder 1.

 

Contains research, teaching, and personal materials of noted Southern folklorist Dorothy Scarborough, who taught English at Baylor University for ten years.

Two letters describing the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, one of the deadliest natural disasters to affect the United States.

Materials include documents relating to Mann’s professional career in the United States State Department as a Foreign Service diplomat.

Preface to Telephone Conversation Memos, 1973

This document is a preface to Mann’s Memos of Telephone Conversations books and explains why he kept written records of all telephone conversations generated by his office while working for the United States government. Thomas C. Mann papers, 2461, box 16, folder 2.

 

Posted in Baptist universities and colleges, Baylor English department, Dorothy Scarborough, Folklore, Galveston Hurricane 1900, letters, Mexico, newspapers, paper, Research Ready, Thomas C. Mann, United States State Department, Waco, women's education | Leave a comment

Huaco Club Fire of 1917: The Destruction of Waco’s Elite Golfing Facility

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (2)

This image shows the Huaco Club clubhouse a few years after its 1912 construction, as the shrubbery and landscaping look to have flourished. The water tank can be seen in the back right of the photo. Photo was taken not long before the entire facility was destroyed by fire in January 1917. Roy Ellsworth Lane collection, box 2, folder 1.

Built in 1912, the Huaco Club was one of the places to be for Wacoans of the 1910s. From golf and tennis to social events, wealthier Wacoans enjoyed spending time at the country club, located near Sanger Avenue and 29th Street.

However, the club didn’t last long. On January 4, 1917, the Huaco Club lost its clubhouse and surrounding structures to a devastating fire. A three-story building designed by architect Roy Lane, the clubhouse included two dining rooms, a parlor, offices, living rooms, reading room, and ballroom. The club also featured a nine-hole golf course, bowling alley, and tennis courts, on 50 acres. The next morning’s Waco Morning News reported: “Not a stick of the building or its contents was saved.”

Fire Destroys The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (4)

This image shows what remained of the Huaco Club the day after the fire. The fire’s intensity is evident–members survey melted steel lockers with hopes of retrieving any spared belongings. The frames of the lockers and the limestone mantel were among the only remaining structures. Photograph by E.C. Blomeyer, President of the Texas Telephone Company, and member of the Huaco Club. E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection, box 2, folder 9.

The club’s president, Dr. J.W. Hale, estimated that the fire’s destruction of the facility amounted to $70,000. In 1917, that was a hefty sum—in today’s money, that would equal nearly $2.3 million! Apart from the clubhouse, estimated at $35,000, and furnishings, the club’s stock of golf equipment for sale, and members’ personal gear were lost as well.

A report published soon after the fire in Safety Engineering, “Recent Fires and Their Lessons,” stated “Cause unknown” for the Huaco Club fire. But fire investigators concluded that losses were aided in part by the club’s late fire alarm system causing a delayed response by firefighters. It was also believed that its construction of easily combustible material enabled structures to become quickly engulfed by the flames.

The Huaco Club was the first golfing facility of its kind in Waco. In a 1915 article in The Waco Morning News, James Hays Quarles attributes Walter V. Fort with bringing golf to Waco in 1896. Fort was inspired by golf courses he saw in Dallas and worked with other prominent local citizens to assemble assets needed to establish a golf club.

The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (4)

A view of one of the many luxurious spaces at the Huaco Club’s clubhouse. This three-story building was once host to many social gatherings. The club not only served as a golf course but also hosted luncheons, dinner parties, dances, weddings, and banquets. Many of these occasions were mentioned in the society columns of Waco newspapers. Roy Ellsworth Lane collection, box 1, folder 16.

The charter for the Huaco Club was organized and signed on May 20, 1910. It called for $40,000 to be raised with 200 members purchasing shares of $200 apiece. The charter stated: “The purpose for which this corporation is formed is to support and maintain a country club for the promotion and encouragement of outdoor life, the games of golf and tennis and other innocent sports and amusements.” In 1913, the shareholder number met its goal. By October 1915, it had 183 stockholders with 63 associate members.

The club was more than just about sports—it was a meeting place for many Wacoans and out of town visitors. Many well-known Waco businessmen and prominent male and female citizens were on its membership rolls. The club frequently hosted luncheons, dinner parties, dances, weddings, and banquets, mentioned in the society columns of Waco newspapers on many occasions.

Fire Destroys The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (2)

The remains of the white limestone mantel, a gift from the Huaco clubhouse’s architect, Roy Lane, mostly withstood the inferno. Here, it stands isolated as one of the last noticeable features of a once prominent building. E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection, box 2, folder 9.

Even though the Huaco Club and its contents were insured for approximately $26,000—far less than the $70,000 loss caused by the fire—plans for another golf facility were soon made. Chartered on August 27, 1917, and built circa 1920, the remaining club members opened a new facility, Spring Lake Country Club, at Day’s Lake in what is now Lacy-Lakeview. It included a larger course with 18 holes and an elaborate clubhouse. In a similar fashion as its predecessor, the new club continued to carry on various recreational as well as social functions. Meanwhile, the land the club occupied around 29th and Sanger Avenue was developed into one of Waco’s early “suburbs.”

The early days of golfing in the Waco area did have its setbacks and losses. But the sport that was once referred to as “pasture pool,” played in areas shared with grazing cattle, overcame such setbacks as the Huaco Club fire. Indeed, the love of the game, as well as the way it brings people together, still makes golf and its related activities thrive to this day, in and around Waco.

See more photos of the Huaco Club—before and after—in the Flickr slideshow below.


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

Sources

“Committee to Consider Probable Site for New Huaco Club House is Named; To Report Tuesday Night,“ Waco Morning News (Waco, TX). Feb. 2, 1917.

“Cows and Golfers Took Sporting Chance With Each Other When First Course Was Opened in Waco,” The Waco News Tribune (Waco, TX.). Apr, 5, 1925.

“Huaco Club is Completely Destroyed by Fire” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Jan. 4, 1917.

McReynolds, Mrs. B.B. “Current Events in Woman’s Sphere: Friday Night at the Huaco Club,” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Aug. 29, 1915.

Quarles, James Hays. “Waco Golf Club and Some of its Interesting History,” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Oct. 31, 1915.

“Recent Fires and Their Lessons: Clubhouses, City and Country,” Safety Engineering, v.33 (Jan.-June, 1917): p. 243.

Posted in architecture, country club, E.C. Blomeyer, golf, Historic Waco, Huaco Club, Roy Ellsworth Lane, Sanger Avenue | Leave a comment

Armstrong’s Stars: Richard Halliburton

Halliburton

Richard Halliburton on one of his adventures. General Texas Collection Photographs–People–Richard Halliburton

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Amie Oliver, Librarian/Curator of Print Materials, The Texas Collection.

One of the most exciting personalities to ever visit Baylor is one who has seemingly been forgotten by many. Writer and adventurer Richard Halliburton came to Baylor twice at the invitation of Sigma Tau Delta. His first visit occurred on March 23, 1929, just after appearances in Austin and Dallas, where thousands were turned away. Crowds from as far away as Hillsboro, Mexia, Belton, and Temple were expected in Waco (“‘Playboy Adventurer’ to be Presented in Chapel Tonight at 8” 1).

Apparently Halliburton’s lecture did not disappoint. He began by stating, “I am the only lecturer who has ever come to you with no philosophy, with no message, with no uplift, and with no problem to solve.” He then regaled the audience with tales of adventure exploring three continents as he “would rise to romantic heights and would dramatically sway his body as he told of a tense moment in one of his thrilling adventures.” (“Tales of Adventure Captivate Audience” 1). Halliburton entertained the audience for two and half hours. So moved by the performance, an article appearing on the Lariat editorial page nearly a week later declared:

“We were sorry that there were many in his audience who did not catch in a slight way the spirit of adventure and romance…. We were sorry that many went away still satisfied with their own little lives, content with the lethargy which had characterized their former days, and content to remain in Waco or in McLennan County the remainder of their brief span on this globe. They are the mediocre men and women who spend their time admiring the works of other men and pitying themselves for not being greater” (“Wanderlust” 2).

Halliburton’s appearance raised more than $100, which was earmarked for the purchase of a bookcase for the Browning Collection (“English Frat Plans Trip to Fort Worth” 1).

Lariat February 15 1929

Student newspaper article promoting Halliburton’s first appearance at Baylor University. Baylor Lariat, February 15, 1929.

Seven years, three books, and one film later, Halliburton returned to Baylor for a lecture on March 19, 1936. Student tickets were reduced from 75 to 35 cents in an effort to entice many to attend the event at Waco Hall (“Halliburton to Speak Thursday in Waco Hall” 1). A McGregor high school student, Richard Phelan, longed to see his hero and hoped to interview him for his school paper (Phelan 64). Once at Baylor for the event, Phelan learned that a private post-lecture reception would limit opportunities to meet him. However, Mrs. Armstrong encouraged him to wait with other students seeking autographs backstage in the hopes that Halliburton would answer some questions (78).

When Halliburton took the stage, he noticed empty seats in the orchestra and invited students in the balcony to come down. Phelan noted that after Halliburton’s invitation, an older gentleman walked on stage and stepped into the wings. Just a few remarks into his lecture, Halliburton was called off stage. When he returned to the podium, he appeared shaken, but he continued his presentation (80).

After the event, Phelan headed backstage, where he got his autograph—and more. Mrs. Armstrong personally introduced Phelan to Halliburton and proposed an interview. Phelan and Halliburton dined at the Elite Café, where Halliburton told him that Dr. Armstrong was the gentleman who called him off stage to inform him that orchestra seats were sold at full price and students should not have been asked to move from the balcony. Halliburton was embarrassed by the faux pas. He was also disinvited from the reception in his honor, which is why Phelan was able to score the dinner and interview with his hero (103). Of course, most never knew about the exchange between Halliburton and Armstrong. Luther Truett of the Lariat published an article praising the lecture and Halliburton, the man who “held an audience spellbound for two hours without a blank moment.” Truett did note Halliburton’s gracious invitation for students to move from the balcony to the “best seats in the house” (Truett 3).

Halliburton was declared legally dead in late 1939 after the boat he was traveling on from Hong Kong to San Francisco sank during a typhoon. The Lariat published an article about Halliburton’s death, praising the “unique and unusual man” for accomplishing amazing feats, exploring foreign lands, for living a life that others envied, and who “died doing exactly what he wanted to do” (“Halliburton: American Ulysses” 2).

Works Cited

“English Frat Plans Trip to Fort Worth.” Lariat 29 March 1929: 1. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Halliburton: American Ulysses.” Lariat 13 Oct. 1939: 2. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Halliburton to Speak Thursday in Waco Hall.” Lariat 17 March 1936: 1. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

Phelan, R.C. “Halliburton’s Banana Peel.” Vogue Feb. 1960: 64-105. Print. Richard C. Phelan papers, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

“‘Playboy Adventurer’ to be Presented in Chapel Tonight at 8.” Lariat 23 March 1929: 1. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Tales of Adventure Captivate Audience.” Lariat 26 March 1929: 1. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

Truett, Luther. “Author Captures Audience Praise.” Lariat 20 March 1936: 3. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Wanderlust.” Lariat 27 March 1929: 2. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Adventure, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, Armstrong's Stars, Baylor University, Richard Halliburton, Waco Hall | 1 Comment

Texas over Time: River Walk, San Antonio

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.

San Antonio River Walk GIF

  • City leaders were considering closing the downtown portion of the river after the catastrophic floods of 1921, when the San Antonio Conservation Society helped save it by staging a puppet show.
  • In 1929, architect Robert H. Hughman presented his plan for “The Shops of Romula and Aragon” but after plans were halted during the depression, developers broke ground in 1939, beginning the River Project and what would become known as the River Walk, or the Paseo del Rio.
  • Flood control gates at the south and north ends of the horseshoe-shaped bend protect the area from high water levels which often follow hard rains. The concrete channel between the two ends of the bend was built as part of the over-all flood prevention program complete in 1929.
  • The HemisFair of 1968 gave old San Antonio River a new direction as the river was extended into the fairgrounds.
  • The river was named after St. Anthony de Padua on his feast day, June 13, 1691. In 1718 and 1731, five missions were built along the river, which was the start of what is now the city of San Antonio.

Sources:

Fisher, Lewis F. River Walk: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River. San Antonio, TX: Maverick Pub., 2007. Print.

Brown, Merrisa. “Wacky San Antonio Facts.” MySA. San Antonio Express-News, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant.

Posted in River Walk, San Antonio, San Antonio River, Texas over Time | Leave a comment

Research Ready: February 2015

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. Here are February’s finding aids:

    • BU records: Baylor Literacy Center, 1946-1988 (#BU/32): Contains the files of Baylor’s literacy center, which helped to teach members of the Waco community how to read. The collection contains brochures, subject files, and student work produced by the staff and students of the Literacy Center.
Tom Padgitt, 1870

Photograph of Tom Padgitt, owner and head of the Tom Padgitt Company, a noted Waco-based leatherworking company. Forest Edwin and Edna Lee Sedwick Goodman Family photographic collection, 1870-1918, undated (#3944), box 1, folder 3.

Jessie Brown Letter

Jessie Brown frequently wrote to her sister Lizzie while a student at Baylor, 1888-1891. In this letter, she mentions the local fair and a spat with the president’s wife and disciplinarian of Baylor women, Georgia Burleson, over the oft-discussed topic of fashion. Jesse Breland and Jessie Brown Johnson papers, 1888-1929 (#440), box 1, folder 1.

 

Posted in Archives, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor Literacy Center, Belton Texas, BGCT, Books, Georgia Jenkins Burleson, letters, McLennan County, Mexico, National Baptist Convention of America, Photographs, Research Ready, scrapbooks, Texas, Texas Baptists, Theology study and teaching, Waco, women's education | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: McLennan County Courthouse, Waco

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.

McLennanCountyCourthouseGIFPostcards dated 1908 and undated

  • Waco’s first courthouse was built in 1850 and was just a one and a half story log structure that survived in the town for about six years. McLennan County was named after Neil McLennan, who settled along the South Bosque River.
  • The fourth and final courthouse (pictured in these postcards) was built in 1901. Architect J. Riely Gordon, renowned for his Texas courthouse designs, was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica and used materials such as steel, limestone, and Texas red granite. Design attributes include classical columns, pilasters, triangular pediments, rusticated masonry and a mid-roof dome embellished with Greek influenced eagles and statues.
  • The dome is topped with a statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of divine law and justice. She is supposed to hold the scales of justice in her left hand and a sword in her right, but various storms over the years have taken these props. Currently, she is missing her entire left arm (lost in a June 2014 storm).
  • The McLennan County courthouse is located on Courthouse Square with the entrance facing Washington Avenue and is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

Sources

Kelley, Dayton. The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Waco, TX: Texian, 1972. 73-74. Print.

“McLennan County Courthouse.” McLennan County Courthouse Waco Texas. Texas Escapes Online Magazine, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.

Smith, Cassie L. “Rust spots found on newly renovated McLennan County Courthouse dome.” Waco Tribune-Herald, 18 Jan. 2015.

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.

Posted in Historic Waco, J. Riely Gordon, McLennan County Courthouse, postcards, Texas over Time | Leave a comment

Armstrong’s Stars: Vachel Lindsay

“Lindsay Here Saturday”:  March 27, 1919, issue of The Lariat announcing Vachel Lindsay's upcoming visit to Baylor (Texas Collection)

“Lindsay Here Saturday”: March 27, 1919, issue of The Lariat announcing Vachel Lindsay’s upcoming visit to Baylor (Texas Collection)

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Baylor graduate (BA ’14) and Sigma Tau Delta member Susie Park.   

One of the most memorable scenes from the movie Dead Poets Society captures the musical aesthetics of American poet Vachel Lindsay’s style of singing poetry. The cave scene of the schoolboys chanting Lindsay’s poem “The Congo” begins with one of them rhythmically reciting a few lines and escalates to all of the boys joining in by clapping, hissing, chanting along, hollering, and banging on drums to create a musical performance out of a written work of poetry. As described in the March 27, 1919, issue of Baylor’s student newspaper The Lariat, “[Vachel Lindsay] is a singer in addition to being a poet, and chants many of his verses, often persuading his audience through his magnetic personality to join him” (“Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday” 1).

Vachel Lindsay made several appearances at Baylor University at the invitation of Dr. A.J. Armstrong. His first major public appearance at Baylor was on March 29, 1919. Interestingly, an article from The Lariat, dated March 13, 1919, specifically notes that Lindsay is scheduled to visit on March 28, but a later article from March 27 states that Lindsay will visit on March 29 at 8:15 in the evening at Carroll Chapel (“Vachel Lindsay to Be in Baylor March 28” 1; “Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday” 1).

“Diamond Jubilee Poets”: Poets participating in Baylor's Diamond Jubilee celebration (Trantham, page 43)

“Diamond Jubilee Poets”: Poets participating in Baylor’s Diamond Jubilee celebration (Trantham, page 43)

The April 3, 1919, issue of The Lariat includes details of Lindsay’s March 29 visit to Baylor, listing the poems that he recited as well as the students’ reactions to the poet. Lindsay read some of his poems, like “The Santa Fe Trail” and “The Chinese Nightingale,” and shared a series of interpretations of the works. The Lariat praises the poet’s unique style and his outlook on poetry. When discussing his style of reciting poetry, Lindsay is quoted as saying that the human voice “‘is the perfect instrument of musical expression, and with the twenty-six letters in the alphabet as keys upon which the human voice may play at will, true poetry is capable of being brought to its highest rhythmical perfection’” (“Vachel Lindsay Has Extended Visit to Baylor and Waco” 1).

After his eventful visit to Baylor in 1919, Lindsay announced that he would visit again on March 20, 1920. The Lariat article from February 19, 1920, notes the poet’s future visit to Baylor and that he has come out with a new volume of poems (“Vachel Lindsay to Be Here on March 20” 10).

“1922 Round Up”:  The 1922 issue of Baylor's yearbook The Round Up highlighting celebrities who had visited Baylor (The Texas Collection)

“1922 Round Up”: The 1922 issue of Baylor’s yearbook The Round Up highlighting celebrities who had visited Baylor (The Texas Collection)

The celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Baylor University, or the Baylor University Diamond Jubilee in June 1920, brought together many celebrities, including Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay was one of the visiting poets who participated in “The Browning Benefit,” or “All Artists’ Benefit.” This program was a presentation event to showcase the “Clasped Hands,” an original bronze casting of the clasped hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning that was being added to the Baylor Browning Collection. The other three visiting poets participating in this presentation ceremony included Edwin Markham, Judd Mortimer Lewis, and Harriet Monroe (Trantham 44).

An article in The Lariat, dated May 20, 1920, expresses the excitement surrounding the Diamond Jubilee, listing some of the distinguished guests to be present at the celebration: “Among the celebrated poets and writers who will honor Baylor in June will be William Butler Yeats, Vachel Lindsay, Edwin Markham, Amy Lowell, Dorothy Scarborough, and the poet laureate of Texas, Judd Mortimer Lewis” (“Distinguished Guests to Be Present at Diamond Jubilee” 6).

“The death Saturday of Vachel Lindsay brought to a close a friendship of eighteen years between one of America’s greatest poets and Baylor University” (“Baylor Loses Friend as Lindsay Succumbs” 2). Vachel Lindsay passed away on December 5, 1931. The December 8, 1931 issue of The Lariat mentions the poet’s death, tracing back Lindsay’s close relationship with Dr. Armstrong. Lindsay supposedly planned to visit Baylor University again in the spring of 1932; Sigma Tau Delta wanted to present the poet to the Baylor student body. From his initial participation in Dr. Armstrong’s contemporary poetry class in 1913 to his planned visit in 1932, it is not an overstatement to say that Vachel Lindsay and the Baylor Browning Collection grew together in time.

Works Cited

“Baylor Loses Friend as Lindsay Succumbs.” The Daily Lariat 8 December 1931: 2. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

“Distinguished Guests to Be Present at Diamond Jubilee.” The Lariat 20 May 1920: 6. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

The Round-Up 1922. [Waco, Tex.: Baylor University, 1922]. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

Trantham, Henry. The Diamond Jubilee, 1845-1920: A Record of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of Baylor University. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 1921. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay Has Extended Visit to Baylor and Waco.” The Lariat 3 April 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday.” The Lariat 27 March 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay to Be Here on March 20.” The Lariat 19 February 1920: 10. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay to Be in Baylor March 28.” The Lariat 13 March 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

Posted in A.J. Armstrong, Andrew Joseph Armstrong, Armstrong Browning Library, Armstrong's Stars, Baylor English department, Baylor University, Vachel Lindsay | Leave a comment