Welcome Home, Bruin: A Symbol of Baylor Spirit (and the Rivalry with TCU)

This summer, The Texas Collection was happy to become the guardians of Bruin the Bear, a nearly 100-year-old piece of Baylor history. Learn about his story in this KWTX piece:

(If you prefer to read the tale, KWTX’s website has the full story. And, you can read the Lariat articles about Bruin’s escapades at TCU in the December 13 (page 3) and December 17, 1917 issues.)

Posted in Baylor University, Texas Christian University | Leave a comment

Thomas C. Mann: US-Latin American Relations in the 1940s-1960s

By Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts and Special Collections Archivist

Thomas and Nancy Mann

Thomas and Nancy Mann. Thomas C. Mann papers, Series XII, Box 38, Folder 3.

“We expect to speak with one voice on all matters affecting this hemisphere. Mr. Mann will be that voice.” Thomas Mann earned that vote of confidence from none other than Lyndon B. Johnson–by the early 1960s, Mann had twenty years of service in Latin American diplomatic relations and had earned the nickname, “Mr. Latin America.” The Thomas C. Mann papers at The Texas Collection provide a look at Latin America through the materials of a career foreign diplomat during the 1940s-1960s.

Thomas C. Mann was born in Laredo, Texas, on November 12, 1912, where he grew up bilingual due to the close proximity of his hometown to Mexico. Mann attended Baylor University from 1929-1934, earning a BA and then an LLB from Baylor Law School. He married Nancy Aynesworth, daughter of Dr. Kenneth H. Aynesworth (considered a founder of The Texas Collection), and spent 1934-1942 working at his father’s law firm in Laredo.

Thomas Mann Document, Thomas C. Mann papers

Thomas Mann to Mr. Hall (American Embassy, Mexico), 1961 June 30, Thomas C. Mann papers, Series XII, Box 38, Folder 3.

Mann began his foreign diplomatic career when he hired on with the State Department in 1942. Mann tried to enlist in WWII military service but was turned down because of his poor vision. Instead, he was asked to join the State Department, partially because of his bilingual abilities–he was a perfect fit for service in Latin America. He was Special Assistant to Montevideo, Uruguay in 1942-1943. From there, he became Assistant Chief in the Division of World Trade Intelligence (1944-1945), Assistant Chief in the Division of Economic Security Controls (1945-1946), Chief of the Division of River Plate Affairs (1946-1947), and then Second Secretary in Caracas, Venezuela (1947-1949). Mann was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Middle American Affairs from 1949-1953, during which time he worked closely with the new Eisenhower Administration on Latin America policy.

The only break in Latin American diplomatic service was in 1953-1954, when Mann became Counselor to Greece. But when President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown in Guatemala in 1954, Mann was quickly brought back and assigned the office of Deputy Chief of Mission to that country, where he served one year. In 1955-1957, Mann was the Ambassador to El Salvador, and then in 1957 was appointed Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs, a post he would hold until 1960. Mann would hold the office of US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs twice, from 1960-1961 and then from 1964-1965. Between those years, from 1961-1963, he served as Ambassador to Mexico. Mann’s last diplomatic office was that of US Under-Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs from 1965-1966. Mann retired from diplomatic service in 1966 and went to work for the Automobile Manufacturer’s Association from 1967-1971.

One of the most remarkable series in the papers is the Oral History series. Mann served under five U.S. presidents (Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson) and the oral history interviews Mann did for the Presidential Libraries of four of the presidents are very insightful. The oral history for the Kennedy Library is particularly interesting as it discusses a foiled assassination attempt on Kennedy when he was in Mexico in 1962.  Mann also goes into some detail on his thoughts and understanding regarding the Bay of Pigs and events surrounding it, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Each interview gives focus on a president, foreign policy and actions during that period (with the exception of the John Foster Dulles Oral History), and taken together, provide strong insights into the Latin American political landscape during those years.

Thomas Mann conversation with LBJ, January 22, 1964.

Thomas Mann to Mr. Hall (American Embassy, Mexico), 1961 June 30, Thomas C. Mann papers, Series VII, Box 24, Folder 6, Book 45.

Mann was also instrumental in helping to finalize the decades-old dispute between the US and Mexico regarding the boundary lines between the two countries, during his tenure as Ambassador to Mexico from 1961-1963. The boundary between the two was the Rio Grande, which had changed its course over the years, sometimes adding land to one country while taking it from another. Attempts at defining the boundary to the satisfaction of both countries had failed up until this time, and Mann played a large part in the discussions and negotiations which formally finalized the dispute, called the Chamizal Agreement, in January 1963. There are also two folders of recorded telephone conversations with LBJ in the collection that are very interesting to read and detail many conversations between the two from January 1964-June 1966.

Mann’s career is full of interesting events and situations, and his papers reflect that diversity. He was involved in the the Panama Canal Dispute and the Dominican Crisis in the early 1960s. He helped secure aid for fledgling governments in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile. During his career, there was not much that went on in Latin America that Thomas Mann didn’t know about. His papers provide great insights into this long and interesting diplomatic career and also provide a wealth of research potential in the area of US-Latin American relations.

Gross, Leonard, “The Man Behind Our Latin American Actions,” Look, June 15, 1965

O’Leary, Jerry, Jr., “Portrait of a Diplomat: Mann Is a Forceful Loner,” Sunday Star, Washington, D.C., September 13, 1964

Meyer, Ben F., “Thomas Clifton Mann Receives Mexican Citation For Outstanding International Relations Achievement,” Baylor Report, May 1968

Posted in Latin America, Mexico, Thomas C. Mann, United States State Department | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Waco Suspension Bridge

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 Suspension Bridge

  • Opened to the public on January 7, 1870, the 475-foot structure is one of downtown Waco’s iconic landmarks.
  • At the time of its completion, it was the longest single-span bridge west of the Mississippi.
  • The cables and steelwork were supplied by John Roebling Co., who also helped build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City during that decade
  • As the only bridge over the Brazos River, it brought much publicity to Waco, helped local economic stimulation and served as a public bridge starting in 1889.
  • During times of high water, the bridge was used greatly for moving cattle herds.
  • In 1914, it went under total reconstruction including a brand new cable system; the roadway is now supported with steel and the towers were remodeled with stucco.
  • In July 1970, it became the first Waco site on the National Register of Historic Sites.


Roger N. Conger, “The Waco Suspension Bridge,” Texana, I (Summer 1963); Minute  Books of the Waco Bridge Company (MS., Waco-McLennan County Library).

“The City of Waco.” Suspension Bridge & Riverwalk, Parks & Recreation. City of Waco Municipal Information, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. “Waco Suspension Bridge.” Texas State Historical Association. TSHA, University of Texas, 15 June 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, student archives assistant. Learn more about the history of the suspension bridge in our YouTube video and see these images in our Flickr album.

Posted in architecture, Brazos River, Historic Waco, Texas over Time, Waco, Waco suspension bridge | Leave a comment

Research Ready: October 2015

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

For the past couple of years, “Research Ready” has featured our newly processed archival collections. Starting this month, we also will include a few highlights of items recently added to our print materials. As always, this is just a sampling of the many, many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

Constructing the Panama Canal

Dr. McGlasson served as the chief medical officer for the last year of the building of the Panama Canal. This photo, amid a scrapbook largely comprised of European cityscapes and landscapes, highlights the scale of this massive construction project in which he played a small role. Irvy Lee McGlasson papers 3946, Box 4, Folder 1.

Here are October’s finding aids:

  • Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, 1755-2007, undated (#3954): These papers include materials about the Parker family throughout Texas history, including the stories of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker. Much of the collection is Jack Selden’s extensive research on the Parker family to write his book Return: The Parker Story in 2006.
  • E.S. James papers, 1938-1969 (#3965): Sermons, correspondence, and other collected materials about James, his colleagues, and subscribers to the Baptist Standard. E.S. James was editor of the Baptist Standard for twelve years.
  • Irvy Lee McGlasson papers, 1904-1931 (#3946): Materials include artifacts, photographs, and other materials about McGlasson, a doctor from Waco that served as the chief medical officer for the workforce building the Panama Canal.

Here are October’s featured print materials:

Le Champ-d Ásile, au Texas. Paris: Chez Tiger, 1820. Print.Le Champ-d’Asile, au Texas. Paris: Chez Tiger, 1820.

This volume, listed in Thomas W. Streeter’s renowned Bibliography of Texas, 1795-1845, provides a rare account of the failed Champ-d’Asile colony of Napoleonic loyalists who settled on Texas’ Trinity River in 1818.

Annual Catalogue Hill's Business College, 1905-1906Annual Catalogue Hill’s Business College, 1905-1906. Waco: Hill’s Business College, 1905. Print.

In 1881, Robert Howard Hill founded Hill’s Business College, which operated in Waco for more than 40 years. This volume offers a glimpse into the faculty, curriculum, and student body of the 1905-1906 academic year.




The City of Fort Worth and the State of Texas. St. Louis: Geo. W. Engelhardt & Co., 1890. Print.

The City of Fort Worth and the State of Texas. St. Louis: Geo. W. Engelhardt & Co., 1890. Print.

Part of the Engelhardt Series of American Cities, this volume examines business opportunities in 1890 Fort Worth and includes information on the railroad, real estate, manufacturing, and finances.

Posted in American South, American West, Archives, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Cynthia Ann Parker, E.S. James, Fort Worth, frontier and pioneer life, Frontier and pioneer life, genealogy, Hill's Business College, Indian captivities, Indians of North America, letters, Medicine, Old West, Quanah Parker, Research Ready, Texas, Texas Baptists, Texas historic buildings, Texas land grants, Texas physicians, Texas State Parks, Theology study and teaching, Trinity River | 2 Comments

Texas over Time: Baylor Homecoming parade, 1953

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.

Something a little different this month–attend the 1953 Baylor Homecoming parade!

Baylor Homecoming paradeViews from the 700 block of Austin Avenue of the October 31, 1953 parade. A devastating F5 tornado hit just a few blocks from this site on May 11 of the same year.

  • In 2012, Baylor Homecoming was declared by the Smithsonian to be the first collegiate Homecoming celebration. On November 24, 1909, about 60 decorated carriages and cars and about 70 walking groups made their way down Washington Avenue towards Eighth and Austin, then made their way to campus for the football game at Carroll Field. As the Baylor band led the way, organizations from across campus, sports teams, and societies participated in the parade.
  • Although the first Homecoming was a success, it was held sporadically and did not become an annual tradition until the late 1940s.
  • In the second Homecoming in 1915, we start to see a few floats in the parade. In 1960 floats  began to carry themes of Baylor defeating (and otherwise destroying) their opponent for the big football game.
  • The route for the parade has gradually evolved and in recent years has started on Austin Avenue and ended on Fifth Street, in the heart of campus.
  • In addition to the parade, Homecoming features many other activities and traditions, including alumni dinners and reunions, a bonfire in Fountain Mall, the Freshman Mass Meeting, Pigskin Revue, and Friday Night Flashback.
  • For Homecoming 2015, Baylor will dedicate the Rosenbalm Fountain on the new Fifth Street promenade. Students, alumni and faculty will get to experience an over 100-year tradition while making a brand new one in the process.


“Homecoming Parade.” Baylor University. Baylor University, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Morris, Conner. “The Great School of Which I Have Dreamed: Homecoming 2014.” Our Daily Bears. SB Nation, 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

See all of the images in our Flickr set–and there are several more Homecoming albums on our Flickr page, too! GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.

Posted in Austin Avenue, Baylor Homecoming, Baylor University, Texas over Time, Waco | 2 Comments

Unruly Waters, Dam Dreams and the House that Art Built: A (Brief) History of Development along the Brazos River

KLAposter420x286By Kenna Lang Archer, instructor at Angelo State University

“Why haven’t we developed the Brazos into something like San Antonio’s River Walk?”

“Sure, we have sail-gating, but when are we going to develop this river properly?”

“Why haven’t people realized the value of the Brazos and put some real money into developing it?”


“Lock and Dam No 8 Brazos River. Placing Concrete in Lock Floor. Lower End Lock- (March 5, 1913)” is in folder 419a, box 7, E.FW18 —“Records of the Dallas Engineer Office”, Record Group 77—Records of the Army Corps of Engineers (Southwest Division), National Archives and Records Administration (Southwest Division)

Questions like these resonate along the length of the Brazos but are regularly volleyed around Waco lunch tables. If anything, the revitalization of Waco’s city center and the construction of McLane Stadium have only made these questions more pressing. Many Wacoans simply don’t understand why one of this state’s most iconic rivers has seemingly escaped the reach of developers. They cannot fathom the lack of attention. Coach Art Briles even raised this question over the summer, insisting that the lack of development is “unbelievable” and something that “blows [his] mind.” I understand that sense of shock and awe. When I began my work on the Brazos River nearly a decade ago, I approached it with the exact same question. Why, I asked, has the Brazos avoided the attention of developers? How could any businessman allow that to happen? As I began looking into the river’s history, however, I realized that I was asking the wrong question.

Baylor Bookstore flood, 1989

“[Baylor Bookstore in Flood], 1989, “Waco—Events—Floods—1989,” Photograph Collection, Texas Collection

This belief that the Brazos River should be more heavily developed is actually very old. Stephen F. Austin introduced American immigrants into Mexican Texas in 1821, and in the nearly two hundred years since then, developers and boosters and politicians have worked almost unceasingly to improve this powerful and temperamental waterway. Even before Austin’s arrival, however, Spanish settlers and Indian populations manipulated the river, developing it for their own purposes. The Spanish, for example, built irrigation canals and small embankment dams in Texas. No, the conviction that this river should be developed is not new.   The end result of development has changed, but the idea of improving this river has not. A better question, then, is this: given the long history of attention to the Brazos, why has it not been developed more fully? Why must men like Art Briles shake their heads in wonder today, mind reeling at the untapped potential of this river? Why must politicians and business leaders and the inestimable public do likewise?

Brazos River flood in Waco, 1913

“[Brazos in Flood], 1913,” “Waco—Events—Floods—1913,” Photograph Collection, Texas Collection

The short answer–and the topic of discussion in my lecture–is that any lack of development is not due to a lack of effort. There has actually been a concentrated, long-standing effort to improve this waterway. The problem is that most of the proposed development projects along the Brazos have been, at best, a temporary success.

Take, for example, the lock and dam project (early 1900s). To expand navigation along the Brazos River, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a series of eight structures that would use a small-scale dam and a lock to raise water levels in areas plagued by shoals, falls, and bars. This project was applauded energetically, but construction of the locks and dams proved to be problematic, to say the least. In 1912, for example, engineers at the lock and dam near Waco reported that an untimely drought had dried up the river, leaving a scant 8 inches of water in the lock. One year later, employees at the same lock noted that a recent flood had done more than $20,000 worth of damage (the equivalent of $481,000 today).

“Why haven’t we tried to develop the Brazos River?”

As I said, that isn’t the right question.

“Why haven’t we been able to develop the Brazos more fully?”

That question may not have an easy answer, but it does guide us down a productive path of research and discussion.

Eager to hear more about this discussion? Join us in Bennett Auditorium at 3:30 pm on Thursday, October 22, to hear her thoughts on development along the Brazos River. Dr. Archer, an instructor at Angelo State University and Baylor alumna, is promoting her book, Unruly Waters: A Social and Environmental History of the Brazos River. The book will be available for purchase at a reception following at The Texas Collection and at the Baylor Bookstore during Homecoming.

Posted in Brazos River, Kenna Lang Archer | 2 Comments

Baylor by Decade: 1915, 1935

Homecoming football game, Baylor vs. TCU, 1915

Photos from Baylor’s second Homecoming football game. Baylor beat TCU, 51-0. 1915 Baylor Bulletin, p. 65.

“With every loyal student it is God, home, country, Baylor”—so sayeth the 1915 Baylor Bulletin. In its early years, the Bulletin was the imprint under which all university catalogues were published, along with the faculty/staff/student directory, annual reports, and even selected faculty publications and speeches. Eventually, it became primarily the university catalogue, but the Bulletin always gives us great insight into the many changes that have occurred down the years at our university. Join us as we explore “Baylor by Decade,” a periodic series in which we look at the changing campus community.   


  • Not only were all students expected to attend Chapel at 10 am every morning, they were also expected to attend a Waco church (as selected by their parents) every Sunday.
  • The library system housed 28,570 volumes. (In comparison, the University Libraries added more than 24,000 volumes in the last fiscal year.)
  • The Chemistry Lab in Carroll Science Building accommodated 68 students. (We have certainly added space with the development of the Baylor Sciences Building!)
  • All the girls living in the University Girls’ Home were expected to do one hour of housekeeping every day.
  • Students paid $75 in tuition for the entire school year, and the total cost of attendance was approximately $250.00.
  • For the Homecoming Football game, Baylor beat TCU 51-0.


            Rufus C. Burleson statue, Baylor University's Burleson Quadrangle, 1935


  • The library system housed 68,015 volumes in Carroll Library, which was newly rebuilt after a fire in 1922 and considered to be a modern fireproof library facility.
  • Students paid $75 per year in tuition, and room and board cost between $28 and $35 per month.
  • A 50-cent fee was charged for each change of class after completion of registration
  • There was a total of 2,458 students enrolled in Baylor, representing 30 states and 9 different countries
  • The Baylor University Press was equipped with modern machinery, including Linotype machines, a No. 4 Miehle press, a Babcock pony press, and a Chandler & Price cutter, which were all operated by electric motors! (This was clearly a big deal. Imagine hand-cranking all of this heavy machinery, and you’ll understand why.)

Facts compiled by archives student assistant Amanda Means

Posted in Baylor Bulletin, Baylor by Decade | Leave a comment

Research Ready: September 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 September’s finding aids:

Cotton Palace Pageant dress design

Dr. James W. Swain designed numerous dresses for the Waco Cotton Palace Pageant between the 1970s and the 1990s. Each of the dresses made, such as the one featured here, were custom designed for each participant and took into account their height, weight, hair color, and complexion. Waco Cotton Palace Pageant, Incorporated records #2579, box 52, folder 4.

            • Diana R. Garland papers, 1911-2013, (#3955): These papers include personal records, letters, and curriculum from Garland’s positions at the Carver School of Church Social Work and the Baylor School of Social Work.
              • Luther-Dienst family papers, 1887-1931, (#3243): The collection includes personal and printed items sent primarily to Alex Dienst from John Hill Luther. A scrapbook from Annie Lou Pollard, a Baylor college student in 1925, is also included.
Diana Garland letter of support

Diana Garland received many letters of support like this one when news broke of the Carver School’s dissolution at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Garland’s forced resignation. Diana R. Garland papers #3955, box 5, folder 4.

Posted in Diana R. Garland, Frontier and pioneer life, Inc., John Hill Luther, Research Ready, Uncategorized, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Waco Cotton Palace Pageant | Leave a comment

Texas over Time: Lake 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.


  • Lake Waco was originally created by a dam on the Bosque River in 1930 that cost $2.5 million.
  • The dam was rebuilt in 1964 for a cost of $48 million. Then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson presided over the groundbreaking that was truncated due to a severe thunderstorm. The new dam was 140 feet high and expanded the lake to a surface area of 7,000 acres.
  • All of the land for the lake expansion was acquired through a willing-seller willing-buyer basis at contemporary market rates. Eminent domain was not used.
  • The lake sits on land that is made up of limestone, shale, and chalk deposits. The lake, as well as the area immediately around it, is an archaeologically significant site, as artifacts from several thousands of years of Native American habitation have been found there, as well as artifacts from early European settlement of the McLennan County area.


Lake Waco Clippings 1930-1961 vertical file, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Scott, Ann M., Karl W. Kibler, and Marie E. Blake. “National Register Testing of Nine Archeological Sites at Waco Lake, McLennan County, Texas.” Austin: Prewitt and Associates, 2002.

If you’re interested in learning more about efforts to control Texas rivers, join us on October 22 to hear Kenna Lang Archer’s presentation on her book, Unruly Waters, which explores the history of the Brazos River.

See all of the images in our Flickr set. GIF and factoids by Braxton Ray, archives student assistant.

Posted in Bosque River, Lake Waco, Texas over Time, Waco | Leave a comment

What I Did This Summer: Graduate Student Projects at The Texas Collection, Part 2

Samuel Palmer Brooks in his office, undated

Dr. Brooks began his presidency at Baylor in 1902 in the midst of pursuing a master’s degree at Yale University. He served as president nearly thirty years. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers #91, box 1, folder 2

This summer, The Texas Collection was fortunate to have four graduate students working with our staff and in our collections. We asked them to share a little about their projects and what they have learned. Last month we heard about Baptist collections and athletics film; this month, we’ve got the papers of a beloved Baylor president and of a Central Texas archaeologist/lithographer/Renaissance man.

My name is Amanda Mylin, and I am a history master’s student from Pennsylvania. This summer I had the privilege of working for The Texas Collection as the D.M. Edwards Library Intern. (I previously was a graduate assistant at the TC for the 2014-2015 year, working with Amanda Norman and Paul Fisher, primarily on Baylor University records.) My major project this summer was to process and rehouse the Samuel Palmer Brooks papers. This collection is well-used by researchers, necessitating preservation work and an electronic finding aid.

J. Frank Norris letter to Samuel Palmer Brooks, 1927

Dr. Brooks carried Baylor University through the Fundamentalist-Modernist evolution controversy, which involved engaging with Texas Baptist Fundamentalist leader J. Frank Norris. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers #91, box 31, folder 7

Brooks served as Baylor’s president from 1902 to 1931. His presidency saw the heyday of the evolution controversy between Fundamentalists and Modernists, prohibition, women’s suffrage, and the onset of the Great Depression. Rehousing this collection afforded interesting glimpses at major twentieth century historical moments through the lens of Baylor and Brooks.

I also learned much about Baylor in the early twentieth century, including the students’ fondness for “Prexy,” as they lovingly called him. His dedication to Baylor students and the Baptist community was also evident through the sheer number of flowers, condolence letters, telegrams, and newspaper articles surrounding his death. Many articles discussed his devotion through his decision to sign the 1931 diplomas despite his rapidly failing health.

Now that the papers are rehoused more comfortably and the finding aid updated, the collection amounts to 59 document boxes and 2 oversized boxes. Since I hope to continue working in special collections in the future, I had much to gain from this summer’s project. I encountered situations like insect-chewed papers, learned what happens to deteriorating silver gelatin photographs, and experienced tackling a very large collection, among other things. Upon completion of this project, I finished out the summer by processing a new collection, the papers of Diana Garland, former dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work.

We’re fortunate to have Amanda stay on with Baylor awhile yet, although not at The Texas Collection. After she graduated in August, she began work as a project archivist working on the Chet Edwards collection at the Baylor Collections of Political Materials.


Central Texas map for archaeological work, undated

Frank Watt had no professional training in archaeology, but he held degrees in lithography and commercial art. Most of his archaeology notes include sketches of dig sites, artifacts, and maps like the one shown here. He also sketched several designs for a screwdriver of his own invention. Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 12, Folder 14

Hello, Texas! My name is Casey Schumacher and I’m a Museum Studies graduate student from Central Illinois. I started working with Benna Vaughan when I moved here in August 2014 and was able to work with her on manuscripts collections through this summer. As a non-Texan, every day is an opportunity to learn something new about this state and its people.

My primary summer project involved processing the Frank Heddon Watt collection. Processing a collection involves placing the collection in order so researchers can access it easily, putting the materials in new folders and boxes and uploading information about the collection online. This collection ended up filling 46 document boxes, so processing it took longer than some of my smaller collections.

With large collections like these, consistency is vital, and it’s best if one person sees the whole project from beginning to end. I began processing the Watt papers after they had already been arranged a couple of times, and a previous assistant had started a third arrangement but only made it halfway through the collection. In other words, the whole collection was a mess. I ended up redoing the entire collection so it would all be processed the same way and more efficient for researcher access.

Cardboard Proof of Stone Engravings by Frank Watt, undated

Not all of Frank Watt’s drawings depicted dig sites and artifacts. The Lithography & Art series in his collection includes extensive lithograph samples, sketches, and prints of buildings, landscapes, and portraits. Several Waco area businesses used letterhead designed and printed in his shop. Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 16, Folder 20

Watt (1889-1981) was a jack-of-all-trades, and his collection included 3D objects, photographs and notes from archaeological digs in Central Texas, as well as several boxes of lithography samples, sketches, and instruction books. Once the project was completed, I felt like a bit of a professional in each area he researched!

I really enjoy working at the Texas Collection and when I return in the fall, I’ll be working with different collections and learning archival techniques new to me. Working with a diverse selection of collections will also help me prepare for the Certified Archivist Exam after I graduate from Baylor. While I won’t have the opportunity to dig as deep into a specific subject or person as with larger collections, I’m excited to learn more about Texas history and help make these collections accessible for students and the broader community.

Posted in archaeology, Baylor University, Frank Heddon Watt, Lithography, Samuel Palmer Brooks | Leave a comment