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.

~

Frank Watt at Mobridge dig site, 1962
Frank Watt at Mobridge, South Dakota, dig site, 1962. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, box 11, folder 17, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

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.

Research Ready: July 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 July’s finding aids:

Virginia and Paul Smith with King Hussein, undated
One of the Virginia and Paul Smith’s largest—and most successful—initiatives was founding the Jordan Baptist School in 1974. Securing approval from the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and finding land for the school buildings took many years, but the school’s survival was assured when the King of Jordan enrolled three of his daughters. Here Virginia and Paul Smith greet King Hussein during his unannounced visit to the school. Virginia and Paul Smith Missions papers, 1955-2010, Accession 3953, box 1, folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

    • Virginia and Paul Smith Missions papers, 1955-2010 (#3953): This collection describes the pastoral, educational, and humanitarian activities of two Southern Baptist missionaries that lived in the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, and Lebanon. Materials include correspondence, photographs, and twenty years of Jordan Baptist Mission Board of Directors minutes.
President Samuel Palmer Brooks address, 1915
Every Baylor student has heard Brooks’ Immortal Message to the class of 1931 (“to you I hand the torch”). But as president, he gave many commencement addresses, many of which are in his papers. In this address to the class of 1915, one can see Brooks’ eloquence was not limited to the speech for which he is best known. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers, 1880-1937, Accession 91, box 30, folder 2.

 

Armstrong’s Stars: William Butler Yeats

“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 Rebecca Hans.   

Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)
Photograph of William Butler Yeats appearing in the April 8, 1920, issue of The Lariat (The Texas Collection)

On April 16, 1920, at five o’clock in the evening, poet William Butler Yeats shared about his life and influences and read his work in front of a packed house of Baylor students, faculty, and community. The evening, part of the university’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, had been eagerly anticipated in four Baylor Lariat articles articulating not only W.B. Yeats’s notability and talent, but also the hard work of Dr. A.J. Armstrong for orchestrating the visit. The Lariat especially emphasized the singularity of the event, urging students not to miss the unique opportunity. The first news regarding the event was an April 1st issue of the Baylor Lariat. The piece announced W.B. Yeats’s lecture and described him as a poet “considered by all competent critics the foremost English man of letters now living.” The lecture would be titled “Friends in my Youth” and was already expected to be “a great day in Baylor history” (“William Butler Yeats” 7). These early Lariat articles advertising Yeats’s appearance are particularly interesting from a modern perspective. In 1920, Yeats had not yet achieved the irrefutable eminence associated with his name today but was instead described as a brilliant poet on the rise. Many of the great works for which Yeats is known today had yet to be written; even “The Second Coming,” one of his most famous works, may have been unknown to the Waco audiences. Regardless, the literary community thought highly of Yeats. He was so respected even in 1920 that the Lariat accurately prophesied that his “name and work will take place in the front rank of the poetry that passes from this generation to posterity” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). When the official invitation appeared advertising the “First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee,” Former President William Howard Taft and the poet William Butler Yeats both shared the advertisement. Although President Taft’s portion was presented in a grander style, Yeats’s portion Yeatswas given equal importance. The invitation emphasized Yeats’s appearance as an important event for anyone interested in “world affairs,” not just a night out for poetry enthusiasts. These instructions were heeded, and long before Yeats took the stage, a varied collection of people paid fifty cents to fill Carroll Chapel to capacity (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1; “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock” 2). The poet laureate of Texas, Judd Mortimer Lewis, also came to Waco specifically for the event, and introduced W.B. Yeats to the crowd himself. Yeats began the lecture, “Friends in my Youth,” with details of his childhood, specifically the influence of his father, an artist. The larger part of the talk, however, focused on his mentors and other literary men who had profoundly influenced his growth as a man and poet. Of these influences Yeats mentioned Arthur Symons, Francis Thompson, and William Ernest Henly, and read examples of their work aloud to the Waco audience. To the delight of the crowd, Yeats read aloud from his own work for the concluding half hour, “a treat to lovers of poetry” (“William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture” 1). Although the bulk of Lariat coverage focused on Yeats himself, the writers did credit Dr. Armstrong’s work bringing influential speakers to the campus: “The policy of Dr. Armstrong in bringing men to Baylor is to get men who have a world-wide reputation” (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1). In a letter to the University President, Samuel Palmer Brooks, Dr. Armstrong reflected on the events of the previous year and described in further detail what the Lariat titled “his policy”: My primary purpose is not to make money but to give the students an opportunity to come in contact with world forces and world geniuses. I believe it is one thing they will remember longer than anything else connected with their school days. I consider these attractions all of the highest type and I think my English Department is gaining launch for itself abroad. Today, Baylor University features visits from world-renowned thinkers, writers, and speakers who also share their work and experiences with the university and community. The English Department especially has preserved Dr. A.J. Armstrong’s tradition through events such as the Beall Poetry Festival, an annual event bringing internationally acclaimed poets to Waco. Many modern students can speak with a similar satisfaction as those of 1920, although many may wish they had been present to witness “the biggest literary man that has yet spoken in Carroll Chapel,” as William Butler Yeats shared his story and his art (“W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th” 1).   Works cited: Armstrong, A.J. to Samuel Palmer Brooks, 4 April 1921, Andrew Joseph Armstrong Papers #0449, Box 1, Folder 1, Texas Collection, Baylor University. First Big Guns of Baylor Diamond Jubilee, Invitation. The Texas Collection, Baylor University Libraries, Waco. Print. W.B Yeats Secured for Friday, 16th.” The Lariat 8 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats.” The Lariat 1 Apr. 1920: 7. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “William Butler Yeats Delivers Fine Lecture.” The Lariat 22 Apr. 1920: 1. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. “Yeats Friday, 5 O’Clock.” The Lariat 15 Apr. 1920: 2. Web. 3 Oct. 2014.

Sharing Student Scholarship: Religion at Baylor, 1921-1930

For the last few weeks, we’ve been putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history, 1921-1930, that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the Foundations and History of Higher Education class blog. We’ve already looked at Curriculum,  Finance, Students/Student Groups, and Access. This final week we’re looking at Religion at Baylor, with papers examining Baylor’s relationship with the BGCT, the beginnings of the Baptist Student Union, and the role of Samuel Palmer Brooks’ faith in maintaining Baylor’s Christian identity. Did you know that…

Baptist Young People's Union of Texas, Waco, Texas
The Baptist Young People’s Union was one of many existing groups that would fall under the Baptist Student Union’s umbrella after the latter organization was formed in 1921.
  • Out of concern over the evolution controversy, the BGCT formed a textbook commission with Samuel Palmer Brooks at its helm; however, the challenge of how to select textbooks for all departments and courses quickly showed itself to be unwieldy and the idea was dropped. Learn more…
  • The Baptist Student Union worked with the university to hold a revival every year, with regular classes canceled for five days—the revival was considered a part of the coursework in the academic catalogue. Discover more…
  • People from all over were aware of Brooks’ faith and knowledge of the Bible, to the point that people as far away as Missouri sometimes wrote to him asking theological questions. He would reply if he could, but always with the disclaimer, “I am not a theologian.” Read more…

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

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

Sharing Student Scholarship: Students/Student Groups at Baylor, 1921-1930

For the next few weeks, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history, 1921-1930, that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the Foundations and History of Higher Education class blog. We’ve already looked at Curriculum and Finance. This week we’re looking at Students/Student Groups at Baylor, with papers examining the beginnings of new student orientation, the cultivation of the campus environment, and the Baylor community’s response to tragedy. Did you know that…

Baylor University Immortal Ten scrapbook page
Telegrams received by Baylor University following the loss of the Immortal Ten. Such telegrams from schools and individuals across the country fill a scrapbook in the Texas Collection.

 

  • President Samuel Palmer Brooks taught a year-long freshman orientation course, with topics ranging from Baylor history to selection of vocation to social law and order. (One class was subtitled, “Suppose the freshman class shipwrecked on an island. What would they do?”) Discover more…
  • Student organizations begun in the 1920s include Yell Leaders, the Baptist Student Union, the Nose Brotherhood, and the Freshman Student Organization…all of which still exist in some form today! Learn more…
  • The term “Immortal Ten” was coined within one day of the bus-train accident that took the lives of 10 Baylor students in 1927. Read more…

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

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

Research Ready: April 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here’s the scoop for April:

D.K. Martin to Guy B. Harrison, on the William Cowper Brann-Baylor University incident, May 17, 1961
Letter from Dock Martin to Guy B. Harrison describing the W.C. Brann-Baylor incident. (For more on Brann, see the Handbook of Texas online.) Martin’s papers document everything from his own experiences as a Baylor student to his work for the state of Texas and for Baylor as a trustee. D.K. “Dock” Martin papers, box 3, folder 10.
  • D.K. “Dock” Martin papers, 1916-1968, undated: Materials relating to D.K. Martin, a Texas public official and Baylor University fundraiser and booster. Martin raised money for various historic Baylor buildings, including Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium, Tidwell Bible Building, Alexander Residence Hall, Morrison Hall, Armstrong Browning Library, and Marrs McLean Science Building.
  • Denson-Baskin family papers, 1898-1956, undated: Correspondence, legal documents, literary productions, and photographs produced by the extended Denson-Baskin Family in early twentieth century Texas, documenting Central Texas life as well as World Wars I and II.
Brooks Memorial Organ solicitation letter, September 21, 1931
Specimen letter soliciting donations to finance the S. P. Brooks Memorial Organ. Waco Hall, a gift from the citizens of Waco to Baylor, was dedicated in 1930, but without a pipe organ (and since the building hosted Chapel, one was very much needed). After the death of Baylor president Samuel Palmer Brooks, the Alumni Association began a fundraising campaign to secure funds to purchase and install a pipe organ in Waco Hall in honor of President Brooks. BU Records: S. P. Brooks Memorial Organ Committee #BU/52, box 1, folder 3.

Research Ready: March 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here’s the scoop for March:

Carroll Library "Housewarming" program cover, 1923
Housewarming program for newly reconstructed F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library, 1923 December. Having been destroyed by fire, the building (sans chapel) reopened to the public during the celebration of President Samuel Palmer Brooks’s sixtieth birthday. BU Records: Alumni Rebuilding Campaign #BU/58, box 2, folder 12.
  • BU Records: Alumni Rebuilding Campaign, 1922-1923: The records of the Alumni Rebuilding Campaign consist of correspondence, financial documents, and administrative records regarding fundraising efforts to rebuild Baylor’s F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library after the building was destroyed by fire in 1922.
  • Hosea Garrett papers, 1856-1878: The Garrett papers contain correspondence and financial documents primarily produced by Hosea Garrett during 1856-1863. Garrett was a trustee of Baylor University at Independence and a major donor throughout the early years of Baylor.
State of Baylor University report by President George Washington Baines, 1862
State of Baylor University report by President George Baines, 1862. The report to the Board of Trustees documents the difficulties of leading the university during the American Civil War, with students and professors leaving all the time and tuition bills not being paid.

A Day in the (Texas Collection) Life: Petra Ibarra-Nagel and Priscilla Escobedo, Student Assistants

Meet Baylor seniors and archives student workers Petra Ibarra-Nagel and Priscilla Escobedo, in our latest staff post giving you a peek into the day-to-day work of The Texas Collection:

Magnified Petra
Sometimes archives work requires a closer look. Here Petra turns the magnifying glass on herself while working on the Foy Valentine papers.

My name is Petra Ibarra-Nagel and I am a senior international studies major from Bellingham, Washington. I have worked as a manuscript archives student worker since April 2011, and I also worked in the TC library this summer. I help with processing collections by making sure that materials are physically preserved to withstand deterioration over time and organizing those materials in a way that best assists researchers in their quest for knowledge.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a variety of archival materials at The Texas Collection, ranging from 19th-century pocket-sized family portraits to correspondence containing signatures of former presidents of the United States. It’s always fun to see what new materials come in—you never know what will be important elements of a historical narrative!

Smiling Pat Neff
Pat Neff was a somber man, Petra learned while working with his papers, so she was delighted to find this smiley (sort of) photo of the Texas governor and Baylor president.

My favorite collection to work on is the one that I was originally hired to assist in processing, the Pat Neff collection. Working with Pat Neff taught me a lot about the importance of preservation and organization of materials but also about integrity and teamwork. You may recognize the name Pat Neff from our campus’ beautiful golden dome-adorned administration building; however the legacy of Pat Neff extends far past his Baylor career. The former Texas House of Representatives speaker, county attorney for McLennan County, Governor of Texas, Texas Railroad Commissioner, and President of Baylor University rarely took a moment to himself.

That being said, it is understandable how there were approximately 643 boxes of Pat Neff material to process. Communication between everyone involved in processing is crucial to preserving the historical value of materials and integrity of the collection as a whole, especially when the collection contains so much material. If the materials are not processed the same way throughout the collection, locating individual items for researchers would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack…and then, without proper preservation methods, accidentally shattering the needle when you find it. In this way, The Texas Collection makes it easy to learn more about your passions throughout Texas history.

~

My name is Priscilla Escobedo, and I am a senior international studies major from Irving, Texas. I have been a university archives student worker at The Texas Collection for a little more than a year. I also worked in the TC library this summer.

The Texas Collection is located in Carroll Library, one of the oldest buildings on campus. It was once home to the Baylor Chapel, Baylor Museum, the early Robert Browning collection, and Baylor’s main library. I know all of this because of my work here! Some of my duties include research, our backlog sorting project, pulling books and collections for researchers, and various other archives duties.

Samuel Palmer Brooks' 30th anniversary of his Baylor graduation program
This spread comes from a program for a luncheon celebrating the 30th anniversary of the graduation of President Samuel Palmer Brooks, found while sorting backlog.

The backlog sorting project never ends. The university archives receives a box every month of newsletters, programs, flyers, and more, that get printed for the university…and these piled up over time. As a result, in addition to the new incoming boxes, we have many older boxes of miscellaneous materials that need to be sorted by department, organization, etc., so that those items can be found. The older boxes can be very interesting—I’ve found documents from the 1920s sitting next to documents from the 1980s. Needless to say, I’ve read a lot on Baylor’s history and have learned so much about life at Baylor.

Baylor University Catalogue, 1851-52
Priscilla has relied heavily on Baylor catalogues, such as this first one from 1851, for her research for the Baylor Book of Lists project.

My main project is the Baylor Book of Lists, a project that will list out who worked at Baylor since its inception. Right now I have over 60 pages of the names of people who worked and taught at Baylor and Baylor medical school, and the classes they taught. Some courses, such as orthography and ancient geography, are no longer taught at Baylor (although the subjects might be incorporated in other classes), and it’s interesting to see how education has changed over time.

Working at the Texas Collection has taught me so much about what it’s like working in an archives and library and about the history of Texas and Baylor.

The Texas Collection turns 90 this year! But even though we’ve been at Baylor for so long, we realize people aren’t quite sure what goes on in a special collections library and archives. So over the course of 2013, we are featuring staff posts about our work at The Texas Collection. See other posts in the series here.

A Baylor Pageant: Organizing the 1915 Homecoming Parade

By Amanda Norman, University Archivist

Samuel Palmer Brooks to Frank Guittard on Baylor Homecoming 1915
President Brooks commends Guittard for “remarkable tact in winning others to your plans and getting them to do the things that ought to be done.” Guittard’s notes on the parade illustrate how he accomplished those Homecoming plans! (Guittard papers, box 4, folder 9)

The Homecoming parade is one of my favorite Baylor traditions, but I must confess that I never thought much about all the work that goes in to planning the event. Knowing who’s participating, assigning the order, getting everyone into position, encouraging marchers to, ahem, represent Baylor well…that’s a lot of work! These days the men and women of Baylor Chamber of Commerce organize the parade, but back when Homecoming and the parade were new traditions, it was faculty members who made the parade happen.

One of these faculty members was Francis Guittard, a history professor who had been teaching at Baylor since the early 1900s. Frank helped organize Baylor’s first Homecoming in 1909, and President Samuel Palmer Brooks called on him again to serve as one of the marshals for the second Homecoming in 1915.

Frank Guittard's Baylor Homecoming parade notes (page 5), 1915
Note Guittard’s emphasis on the spacing between marchers. He clearly wanted no one stepping on heels or straggling behind–this parade was a tightly run ship! (Guittard papers, box 20, folder 4)

Almost 100 years later, Charles Guittard (BU ’64) was doing research this spring at The Texas Collection for a book he plans to write about his grandfather. In the Francis Gevrier Guittard papers, Charles came across Frank’s notes for his comments to the 1915 parade participants. With the 2013 Homecoming parade coming up tomorrow, we thought this was the perfect time to look back at one of Baylor’s first parades.

First of all, Frank Guittard calls the event a “pageant,” not a “parade.” (The phrases seemed to be used interchangeably at the time in describing this Homecoming event.) Parade participants included student groups like the Baylor band, the Town Girls club, the “B” Association, the senior class (already suited out in caps and gowns), and Baylor’s four literary societies: the Philomathesian, Erisophian, Calliopean, and Rufus C. Burleson organizations. Lillie Martin’s model primary class from the Department of Education provided the cute children for the parade. President Samuel Palmer Brooks, prominent faculty, alumnus of Baylor at Independence, and more rode in the auto section. Bringing up the rear was “Prof Evans’ Human Calliope.”

1915 Baylor University Homecoming: Human Calliope
Wonder how Professor Evans talked students into being part of his Human Calliope–perhaps extra credit? Image scanned from the Baylor Bulletin on Homecoming 1915.

Wait, need some explanation of that last bit? First, a calliope is a musical instrument that produces (very loud) sound by sending steam or compressed air through large whistles. Apparently Evans, a piano professor, had concocted his own version (see photo to the right), consisting of Evans pounding a cookstove as the keyboard and various Baylor men serving as the whistles, “tooting of some popular airs which brought repeated applause,” according to the December 2, 1915 Lariat.

The parade progressed from Austin Avenue to 4th Street, then to Franklin and on to 5th Street, which took them to Carroll Field for the Homecoming game. Guittard heavily underlined in his notes “marchers three steps back of those in front”—perhaps marchers walking too close or too far from each other had been an issue in the 1909 parade. Students were encouraged to enlist all present members of the organization to participate in the parade, as well as alumni—as long as those alumni were “not too fat and wheezy and full of rheumatics.” Evidently Guittard had no time for potential stragglers!

Frank Guittard's Baylor Homecoming parade notes (page 7), 1915
Guittard called on Baylor students of 1915 to realize they were participating in a historic event–indeed, these early parades laid the groundwork for years to come! (Guittard papers, box 20, folder 4)

Despite Guittard’s close attention to detail, he also took the long view—he reminded students that pictures would be taken that could be enjoyed for years to come. And indeed, The Texas Collection sees researchers coming every year just to see photos of early Homecomings.

Guittard also noted that “this pageant is to be representative of the loyalty of Baylor students as well as a graphic representation of Baylor’s strength and influence….Each of you has been given a role in this pageant which will be a long-remembered event in the history of Baylor and it is earnestly hoped that each one of you will act his part nobly and loyally.”

Guittard understood the importance of Homecoming when the tradition was just beginning—it wasn’t an annual event till 1924 (and then World War II disrupted the tradition). But he was right that those early parades would be long-remembered, and the summary of the parade in the 1915 Baylor Bulletin would be an apt description for succeeding Homecoming parades: “it isn’t an overplus enthusiasm nor pride of university or city to insist that few institutions in the United States could have made the showing Baylor made in the parade.”

Check out our latest Flickr set, a slideshow of Kodachrome slides from the 1953 Homecoming parade.

A Lifelong Learner: The Education and Service of Dr. Francis Gevrier Guittard

“I will help you in every possible way to get before the people, to cultivate the students and reach a maximum of opportunity for you to develop in.”

Samuel Palmer Brooks to Francis Guittard, 1902
This letter written from Baylor University President Samuel Palmer Brooks is the initial offer of employment made to Francis Guittard. The latter accepted his friend’s proposal and gradually moved up the ranks of his peers to the Chair of the History Department.

Samuel Palmer Brooks wrote those words to Francis Gevrier Guittard in a 1902 letter asking  for Guittard to come and lend his services to the students of Baylor University. Today Baylor faculty and staff today are given the same message—that Baylor will give them opportunities to develop professionally, while also helping them to cultivate students who will go above and beyond.

We see the fruits of this support from Baylor as we celebrate each graduating class. But some professors, like Guittard, offer an especially good example of what is possible. On this Commencement weekend, we offer the graduating class Guittard’s story as a model of lifelong learning and service.

Guittard’s beginnings are similar to that of many others who lived in late nineteenth century America. His father, Dr. Francis Joseph Guittard, had immigrated to the United States from France. The elder Guittard, who had renounced his parents’ desires that he pursue the Catholic priesthood, moved to America in search of a better life. He settled in Ohio, where he met his wife, Lydia. As the younger Francis came of age, his parents agreed that the economic prospects in Ohio were bleak. Thus, in 1886, the Guittards sent young Francis on a one-way trip to Texas with the hope that he would succeed and find financial success.

Francis Guittard with Mrs. Norman Smith, 1927, at the Sam Houston piano at The Texas Collection
Francis Guittard with Mrs. Norman Smith, 1927, at the Sam Houston piano at The Texas Collection. Guittard and his wife, Josephine, helped to bring the piano to The Texas Collection.

Now on his own, Francis decided that the medical profession his father had pursued was not for him. Instead, he wanted to teach history. In the early 1890s, Guittard attended Baylor University but was unable to complete his degree. Not to be deterred, he applied to the University of Chicago, one of the nation’s rising schools. It was here that Guittard earned his bachelor of arts in 1901 and his master of arts in 1902.

Armed with his new degrees (and following the letter quoted above), Guittard returned to Baylor University. His friend, Samuel Palmer Brooks, had just become President. Neither Guittard nor Brooks knew at the time just how long they would serve Baylor and her students. For over forty years, Guittard taught in the Baylor history department, serving most of these years as the department’s chairman. He also was an adviser to the debate team, offered input on Texas Collection acquisitions (including the Sam Houston piano pictured above), helped coordinate the first Homecoming, and made many other contributions to the lives of Baylor students.

Francis Gevrier Guittard's diary, open to 1902-1906
This excerpt from Francis’ diary highlights some of the key events in his life including his promotion to an instructor of history, his attendance of the University of Chicago, and his marriage to his first wife, Mamie Welhausen.

If such devotion to his profession was not enough, Guittard’s pursuit of a doctoral degree was a testament to his belief in the value of education. Many would have become complacent with steady employment and raising a family, but not Guittard. (Brooks’ encouragement of his faculty to pursue doctoral degrees helped too.) In the 1920s, he began taking summer courses at Leland Stanford University (more commonly known as Stanford) in California. His dedication paid off in 1931, when Guittard, at the age of 64, earned his doctorate with his dissertation, “Roosevelt and Conservation.”

Francis Gevrier Guittard's dissertation, 1931
Dr. Guittard earned his Ph.D. with the completion of his dissertation concerning President Theodore Roosevelt’s views of conservation. Notecards, an unpublished manuscript, and a final draft relating to the project can be found in the collection.

Dr. Guittard continued to teach at Baylor and cultivate young minds with a love for history until his passing in 1950. Even now, he continues to support the education of others through the Guittard Fellowship, a family-funded scholarship given to first-year history graduate students. (In fact, I was a grateful recipient of that fellowship.) Guittard showed how one can shape the future, even while preserving history.

The Francis Gevrier Guittard papers, which consist of 38 boxes, house the personal and professional papers of Dr. Guittard. Because of Guittard’s long tenure at Baylor University and his desire to remain relevant in his field, researchers can find a number of subjects to explore in his papers. Come to The Texas Collection and discover the legacy of a man who not only improved his own lot in life, but then went on to devote his time and energy to the education of the up-and-coming generation. And to the graduating class of 2013—remember to walk in Guittard’s footsteps and pursue lifelong learning as you shape the future.

By Thomas DeShong, Archival Assistant and Digital Input Specialist