To Sisal: More Than We Bargained For

by Anna Redhair, Graduate Assistant

Sometimes when working in a library, unexpected items cross your path. That was certainly the case with a document The Texas Collection acquired last year known as To Sisal. The To Sisal document is a mariner’s diary from the mid-nineteenth century, and the catalog the library purchased it from said it included an account of an overland journey to El Paso. When I began transcribing the diary, however, I realized the journey it described had nothing to do with El Paso, Texas; instead, it tracked the movements of a merchant ship in the Gulf of Mexico and recorded an overland journey across the Yucatan Peninsula. To Sisal provided several surprising episodes as well as new insights about trade in the Caribbean in the 1840s.

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Research Ready: July 2017

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

July’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

    • James Lee Barrett Screenplay collection, 1967 (#4001): Contains one screenplay entitled Bandolero!, written by James Lee Barrett in 1967. The resulting film starred James Stewart and Dean Martin, and centered around a bank robbery in Texas and subsequent chase into Mexican, “bandolero”-held territory.
Autographed title page of play book
Screenplay for the movie “Where the Heart Is,” a film from 2000 starting Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, and Joan Cusack. This screenplay, autographed by director Matt Williams and actress Natalie Portman, was given to Baylor University as a gesture of appreciation for letting portions of the movie be filmed on campus. You’ll find these items in the “Where the Heart Is” Screenplay collection, 1999 (#3384), box 1, folder 1, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

July’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Sullivan, John H., Jr. "Gun-play" by the World's Fastest Revolver Shot "Texas Jack.” [United States]: [publisher not identified], [between 1932 and 1937]. Print.Sullivan, John H., Jr. “Gun-play” by the World’s Fastest Revolver Shot “Texas Jack.” [United States]: [publisher not identified], [between 1932 and 1937]. Print.

“Texas Jack” Sullivan, who claimed to be the world’s fastest revolver shot, analyzes the skills of other accomplished gunmen such as “Broncho John” Sullivan, “Wild Bill” Hickok, and “Bat” Masterson. Sullivan also offers advice on handling weapons and what one should do if involved in a “stick-up.” Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

West-Texas: Das "Land der Gelegenheiten.” [Dallas, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [1906?]. Print.

West-Texas: Das “Land der Gelegenheiten.” [Dallas, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [1906?]. Print.

Written in Fraktur, this promotional booklet was produced by the Texas & Pacific Railway to entice Germans to West Texas. Like most promotionals, this one provides information on farming, climate, and opportunities.  Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Prohibition Songs. Waco, Texas: Published and for sale by B. H. Simpson, [between 1900 and 1935?]. Print.

Texas Prohibition Songs. Waco, Texas: Published and for sale by B. H. Simpson, [between 1900 and 1935?]. Print. 

This two-sided pamphlet contains songs such as “Prohibition Battle Hymn” and “Vote the Whiskey Out,” all with a clear warning about demon liquor. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

Hallie Earle: Waco’s Weather Watcher

by Casey Froehlich, Library Assistant

Photograph of Hallie Earle, undatedYou think this summer is a hot one? It probably won’t surprise you that Waco, Texas, has hot summers (and arguably falls and winters and springs). What might surprise you is that a Central Texas teen tracked temperatures for decades. However, that’s exactly what Hallie Earle did.

Cover to one of Hallie Earle’s Diaries, 1917Born in McLennan County in 1880, Earle was the only woman in the class of 1907 at Baylor University Medical School in Dallas and later became Waco’s first female physician. She kept local weather diaries from about age fifteen until the year before she died in 1963. The Texas Collection is fortunate to have these diaries as part of the Graves-Earle family papers.

Hallie Earle diary entry for June 17, 1919Almost every day, Hallie would open her journal entry by commenting on the weather. Sometimes she was as straight forward as simply writing down the temperature, and other days she’d only offer an adjective like “cloudy” before outlining her schedule or detailing what happened to her that day.

She was most likely inspired by her father, Major Isham Harrison Earle, the first registered weather reporter in Central Texas, who kept weather records long before Hallie’s birth.

Curious about tomorrow’s (June 17th) weather in years past? Luckily, because of Hallie Earle’s diaries, we know.

  • 1917: “cl & cold” (whether “cl” means cloudy or clear is unknown)
  • 1918: “clear”
  • 1919: “Sunshine – glad to see it… a very heavy dew”
  • 1921: “Raining”
  • 1924: “Up at 6.40 – few clouds”
  • 1926: “cool and… very badly want rain”
  • 1931: “83”
  • 1934: “82”
  • 1935: “up at 7.10 – cloudy”
  • 1938: “76… up at 6 – clear”
  • 1939: “Rain”
  • 1950: “92°”
  • 1953: “92°”
  • 1956: “92°”
  • 1957: “80°”
  • 1960: “rainy – some light rain”
  • 1962: “90° at 4 P.M.”

So what will tomorrow hold? Probably more of the same, but that doesn’t mean the information is trivial. If this collection has taught me anything it’s that you never know when you might want to look back, even on the seemingly mundane details of life.

If you want learn more about the Earle family and their weather tracking, you can find more in the Graves-Earle family papers. The collection contains Hallie’s dairies, her father’s weather documentation, and more!

References:
Graves-Earle Family Papers, Accession #47, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Research Ready: December 2016

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print materials. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

December’s finding aids
By Emily Carolin, Graduate Assistant, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

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Nan Allene Anderson’s photo album depicts life as a Baylor student pre-1910, such as this image of students working in the chemistry lab. (Nan Allene Anderson papers, 1906-1923, undated, Accession #2267, The Texas Collection, Baylor University).
  • Nan Allene Anderson papers, 1906-1923, undated (#2267): This collection includes a photo album that documents the Baylor University campus pre-1910, including photographs of sports, Burleson Quadrangle, and other images of campus and student life. Also included are two commencement addresses.
  • Emmanuel Henderson Civil War diary, 1862 (#3964): This collections contains documentation of a Confederate soldier through a small leather bound journal. Henderson served as a private in the 14th Texas Calvary in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
  • Helton family papers, 1866-1998 (#4004): The Helton family collection contains correspondence, items from World War I, and other materials about the family as they lived near Clifton, Texas and as various family members went off to war.
  • Thomas Mitchell Bartley Jr. photo album, circa 1920s (#3914): This photo album shows the voyage of Thomas Mitchell Bartley Jr., who sailed the western Pacific Ocean in 1929. He was a crew member on a cargo vessel and took pictures in the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Hawaii, and the Panama Canal.
  • J.L. Walker papers, 1861-1949 (#4): The J.L. Walker papers provide a glimpse into the life of a Texas Baptist preacher, who was deeply interested in religious and secular history. Walker wrote extensively and the collection contains many of his writings on Texas history, Baptist history, and sermons. The collection is especially useful for researchers looking for background information on R.C. Buckner and the Waco Regional Baptist Association.
  • Emma Louise McDonald Harrison papers, 1947-1990 (#1607): Emma Louise McDonald Harrison was a local Waco woman and the first African American woman to serve on the Waco Independent School District. She was well-known in the community for her contributions to organizations concerned with civic improvement, education, health, medicine, and youth. Her collection includes photographs, clippings, correspondence, and other collected materials.
  • Lawrence Westbrook papers, 1933-1971 (#331): The Lawrence Westbrook papers provide a picture of life as a Works Progress and New Deal administrator during the 1930s and 1940s. His papers hold literary productions, most notably Westbrook’s The Boondogglers, which reflects on his work and the work of other members of the Works Progress Administration.

December’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

westAyer, I. Winslow. Life in the Wilds of America: and Wonders of the West in and beyond the Bounds of Civilization. Grand Rapids: The Central Publishing Company, 1880. Print.

In 1880, the American West was still a largely mysterious place. Ayer believed that Americans, many of whom travel abroad and have extensive knowledge of other countries, should have knowledge about the West. This volume, which also serves as a travel guide, describes many areas of the frontier. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

 

 

Jackson, foundationAndrew Webster. A Sure Foundation. Houston: [1940]. Print.

This expansive 644-page volume contains biographical sketches and photos of African-American Texans. The author’s intent was that the people highlighted would “serve as an inspiration” for readers because he believed that studying the successful lives of others could help build a solid foundation for one’s life. Click here to view in BearCat!

nativeDunn, James Erle. Indian Territory: a Pre Commonwealth. Commonwealth Publishing Company, 1904. Print.

Published three years before Oklahoma became a state, this volume provides a brief history of the Five Civilized Tribes and also provides information about the resources, government, schools, customs, etc. of the Indian Territory. Also included are a number of images of Native Americans, including Quanah Parker, as well as photos of buildings, homes, and farm lands. Click here to view in BearCat!

Research Ready: April 2015

Photograph of the Conners, 1923-1939
Photograph of the Conners, 1923-1939

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 April’s finding aids:

  • George Sherman and Jeffie Obrea Allen Conner papers, 1866-1980 (#372):                                                                 Contains correspondence, speeches, notes, and other materials about African American life in Waco, education, home economics, and New Hope Baptist Church.
  • Duer-Harn family papers. 1832-1928, undated (#26):                                                                    Diaries, letters, legal and financial papers from the Republic of Texas and American Civil War. Notable documents include several diaries from the 1830s and 1840s written by German immigrant Johann Christian Friedrich Duer.

 

 

  • Gertrude Wallace Davis papers, 1896-1959 (#2166):                                                  Includes correspondence, notebooks, newspaper clippings, and other materials about the life of Gertrude Wallace Davis. Several items are from the Catholic-affiliated Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Waco, Texas, where Davis attended school.
German-language diary of Johann Christian Friedrich Duer, 1832
German-language diary of Johann Christian Friedrich Duer, 1832

 

Research Ready: January 2013

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. As we did in December, we have a few special entries from the Archival Collections and Museums class that worked on an archival processing project with us here at The Texas Collection. (Read more about that project from a student’s perspective.) Here’s the scoop for January:

Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers
During the Civil War George F. Simons served in the Confederate army Company K, 2nd Texas Infantry Regiment, and participated in the Battle of Shiloh. He received this certificate of parole in 1865, which can be found in the Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers.
    • Bertie Routh Barron Papers, 1897-1972, undated: These papers contain correspondence, financial documents, literary productions and photographic materials pertaining to Barron’s life, particularly the time she spent at Baylor Female College.
    • De Cordova Family Papers, 1845-1956: The chronology of the collection ranges from 1845 to 1956, but the bulk of the materials originated from 1845 to 1863 when Jacob de Cordova was most active as a land agent in Texas. Most materials are correspondence or legal documents related to land sales in central Texas, particularly Bosque and McLennan counties. (Archives class)
    • Olive McGehee Denson Papers, 1916-1957, undated: The bulk of the Denson papers are scrapbooks about Texas and church history. There are also photographs from Independence, Texas. (Archives class)
    • James M. Kendrick Jr. Papers, 1922-1945: Kendrick’s papers include various items of correspondence between family and friends of Kendrick, as well as some financial and legal documents. There is a large number of literary productions, comprised of an assortment of documents and Kendrick’s own diaries. Also present are several photographs and artifacts pertaining to his time at Baylor University. (Archives class)
    • Harry Raymond Morse Jr. Collection, 2000: This collection consists of four cassette tapes containing oral history interviews related to the Waco Tornado of May 11, 1953.
Southwest Conference meeting minutes, April 24, 1922 (page 1)
These minutes are from the papers of Henry Trantham, who served as Baylor University faculty representative to the Southwest Athletic Conference from 1916 to 1923, and from 1925 to 1941. Trantham was the president of the conference from 1918 to 1919, and from 1938 to 1941, and in that position he assisted in the establishment of the Cotton Bowl Association.
  • Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers, 1828-1977, undated: The Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers are comprised of original correspondence, legal and financial documents, literary productions, military records, printed materials, family histories, and photographs pertaining to five families (including Wells, Simons, Kay, Stoner, and Rose) in Texas from its pre-republic days to the late twentieth century. (Archives class)
  • Henry Trantham Papers, 1894-1962, undated: Trantham’s papers consist of correspondence, administrative and academic materials, and other loose materials related to Baylor University and the Greek and Classics Departments, the Southwest Athletic Conference, and the Rhodes Scholarship program. (Archives class)
  • Charles Wellborn Papers, 1945-2009: This archives contains sermons and other materials primarily from Wellborn’s time as pastor of Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

Research Ready: October 2012

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 October:

Mary and Oscar Du Congé at work
Mary and Oscar Du Congé at work. Their papers document their work, family, and social life in Waco, Texas.
Bolt Family Homestead and Legion Valley massacre scrapbook photo, 1985
Dr. Johnie Reeves at a vista overlooking the Colorado River and the Comanches’ route after the Legion Valley massacre of 1868. Legion Valley is on the other side of the Cedar Mountains in the distance.
  • William Carley Family Collection, 1834-1936, undated: Documenting the Carley family from 1836-1936, this collection includes records about William Carley’s experiences moving to Texas in 1836, his service in the United States-Mexican War, and other events in the life of the family.
  • Oscar “Doc” Norbert and Mary “Kitty” Jacques Du Congé Papers, 1908-1987: This archives consists of manuscripts pertaining to the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Du Congé. Oscar  was the first African-American Mayor of Waco, and his wife, Mary, was a schoolteacher and secretary who was a leader in the community, a socialite, and a volunteer member of many Catholic religious organizations.
  • Wilhelm Esch Collection, 1870-1943: This collection contains certificates of  appointment and of honorable discharge for German-American soldier Wilhelm Esch, photographs and books concerning military life in World War I, items related to the Order of the Elks and miscellaneous WWII items including ration books.
  • Guyler (Lydia Ann English) [Mrs. William] Papers, 1860:  A correspondence between
    Mrs. Lydia A. Guyler (Mrs. William) from General Sam Houston, in response to Mrs. Guyler’s request for Houston to name her daughter.
  • Adolf Hitler Papers, 1938-1943: Our Hitler Papers contain two documents signed by the Chancellor of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler.
  • Benjamin Judson Johnson Papers, 1942-1960: These papers include correspondence, legal documents, literary productions, and artifacts relating to Benjamin’s experience in the U.S. Naval Air Force during World War II.
  • Jones Family Papers, 1857-1867, 1920, undated: The Jones family records consist of correspondence, legal, and financial documents, including fourteen Civil War letters from family members in the 10th Texas Infantry.
  • Luper Family Papers, 1909-1990: The Luper Family Papers are comprised of correspondence, literary productions, and other materials pertaining to a Baptist missionary family and their experiences during the mid-1900s in Portugal, Brazil, and central Texas. (This finding aid is updated with additional materials that came to The Texas Collection after we initially announced the finding aid in June 2012.)
  • Harry Hall Womack, Jr. Papers, 1940-1948: Womack’s papers consist of correspondence and literary productions relating to his experiences in the 1940s. These include medical school, a tour as a doctor in the Army during World War II, and the beginnings of his marriage and family.

The Life and Times: Diaries As Research Tools

Worrying about the health of family members? Fretting over school and work? If you are, you may write about these concerns in a diary. People have kept diaries, and have written about the same kinds of subjects, for a long time. Diaries are special that way—they are records of daily life. For researchers, they contain a wealth of information about a person, their activities, social interactions, community and private affairs.

Box of diariesSo when we began working with the Baines Family Collection, we were pleased to find—in addition to correspondence and literary materials—a bevy of diaries. 47, to be exact.

George Washington Baines Jr. was the son of George Washington Baines, Sr., Baylor University’s third president (1861-63) and great grandfather to Lyndon Baines Johnson. George Jr. was born in Louisiana in 1848, and soon moved to Texas and attended Baylor University in Independence, Texas, where he graduated in 1875.

He became a fourth-generation Baptist minister and served at several churches in Texas. Baines was also a missionary to El Paso, establishing the First Baptist Church in El Paso, was Dean of the Bible Department at the San Marcos Baptist Academy, and was on the Baptist Education Commission of Texas.

Baines’ diaries span 1861-1912, but not consecutively. They contain small diaries and notebooks—some no bigger than a deck of cards—full of entries, pastor notes, sermons, diaries of churches where he preached, and places he visited.

For example, Baines’ 1890 diary, the marbled one on the top row of the photo below, contains a wealth of information, from Baines’ life to insight into the times. Diaries detailThe beginning of this diary contains information similar to what we find in day planners today, but with some twists: a calendar, train time tables, interest tables, pages with the value of foreign coins, dates for eclipses, wind direction and velocity signals, and territorial statistics.

Later entries recount daily thoughts and activities. In the 1890 diary, Baines expresses concern about his schoolwork at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky:

Was examined in Homiletics today. Sat from 9am to 5:30pm. Ate no dinner. Hard work, and it came near to flooring me. Tonight I feel nervous. Head feels like a balloon. I can’t stand much of this. Fear my paper will be a poor one.

Another entry from the same diary reads:

At home all day. Janet had high fever this afternoon. We feel quite anxious about her. William is about well, so is George. But Janet’s condition is very serious.

Both of these entries could be seen in a modern seminary student’s diary! However, the collection also contains diaries dedicated to specific events. The “journal of a buffalo hunt in December, 1871,” for example, might be quite interesting indeed.

Open diaryThough sometimes hard to read (old-fashioned handwriting trips up everybody), diaries and journals help us understand the lives and circumstances of people in other times, and valuable information on that day and age. Diaries can inform, inspire and delight. They can contain affirmation, negativity, and anything imaginable. As research tools they are very valuable. Come see us at The Texas Collection to research or if you just have an interest in diaries.  We will be more than happy to show you our treasures.

Photos by Ann Payne