Research Ready: March 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!

March’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

McKinney, Williams, and Company currency, 1841
During the Republic of Texas time period, inflation was rampant among the various kinds of official Republic of Texas bills. Because of this and other monetary problems in the new country, the Republic of Texas gave permission for the mercantile firm of McKinney, Williams, and Company to issue their own currency. This bill, issued in 1841, was a symbol of how wealthy and powerful the McKinney, Williams, and Company was in the Republic of Texas. When Texas joined the United States in 1845, this currency as legal tender became worthless. You’ll find these items in the Brinkman-Alston Texas currency, 1841-1843 (#3908), box 1, folder 1, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Texas Electric Railway stock certificate, 1928
Roy Beck served as a conductor on the Texas Electric Railway for 28 years. On May 26, 1928, Beck received this stock certificate for a single share in the company valued at $100. The certificate is signed by Jack Beall, president of both the Texas Electric Railway Company and the Dallas Union Trust Company. You’ll find these items in the Roy Elmer Beck collection, 1918-1946, undated (#3293), box [246], folder 18, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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

This month, we are highlighting a selection of 16th century volumes recently discovered in our backlog and added to the collection.

San Antonio: Sport and Pleasure under Sapphire Skies. [San Antonio, TX]: [publisher not identified], [1930-1939?]. Print.

San Antonio: Sport and Pleasure under Sapphire Skies. [San Antonio, TX]: [publisher not identified], [1930-1939?]. Print. 

This small fold-out brochure provides enticing information on San Antonio as well as info on the Missouri Pacific Lines that service the city. Six photographs depict the cityscape, natural resources, and sporting. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

Porter, George L. Facts about Houston and Harris County, Texas. [Houston, TX]: [publisher not identified], [1894]. Print.

Porter, George L. Facts about Houston and Harris County, Texas. [Houston, TX]: [publisher not identified], [1894]. Print. 

Porter explains why Houston, which at the time was nine miles square, is and will continue to be the most important city in Texas. The pamphlet includes many facts to support this claim including the number of water mains, artesian wells, churches, railway tracks, hotels, cotton compresses, etc. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

44-F Presents the Gig Sheet. Pampa, TX: United States. Army Air Forces, 1944. Print.

44-F Presents the Gig Sheet. Pampa, TX: United States. Army Air Forces, 1944. Print.

This Pampa Army Air Field Class 44-A yearbook highlights the day-to-day lives of pilots-in-training at the air field from April 22, 1943 to January 7, 1944. Click here to view in BearCat.

Research Ready: August 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 material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

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

Mary Charlotte Alexander at the Women's Missionary Union in Shanghai, China
Mary Charlotte Alexander, a Southern Baptist missionary in China and General Secretary of China Woman’s Missionary Union in Shanghai, addresses the crowd.

  • Mary Charlotte and Frances Alexander papers, 1920-1970 (#1966): Documents the lives of two sisters: one a Southern Baptist missionary in China, and the other sister, a teacher and author in Texas.  The correspondence, manuscripts, and photographs provide insight into the perspective of an American expatriate living in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Communist Revolution.
  • Zora Francis Greenway papers, 1946-2006 (#4005): Materials include correspondence, newsletters, and photographs about the personal, medical, and evangelistic activities of a female Southern Baptist medical missionary in Nigeria, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Ghana.

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

San Antonio Traction Company. Souvenir of the Picturesque Alamo City, San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio: Ebers & Wurtz, 1907. Print.San Antonio Traction Company. Souvenir of the Picturesque Alamo City, San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio: Ebers & Wurtz, 1907. Print. 

This substantial volume, filled with photographs representing turn-of-the-century San Antonio, contains many advertisements. The final twenty pages of the volume provide additional information about the history of the Alamo, the missions, and other points of interest in San Antonio. Click here to view in BearCat!

Quickfall, Bob Grantham.Western Life and How I Became a Bronco Buster: Founded on Facts. London: Charles & Co., 1891. Print.Quickfall, Bob Grantham. Western Life and How I Became a Bronco Buster: Founded on Facts. London: Charles & Co., 1891. Print. 

With a beautiful full-color cover, this volume contains the story of a cowboy’s life in the 19th century Wild West. Western volumes such as this one, published in London, were immensely popular in Europe. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

 

 

 

 

Laporte, Joseph de. Le Voyageur François, ou La Connoissance de l'ancien et du Nouveau Monde, mis au jour par m. l'abbé Delaporte… Paris: L. Cellot, 1773. Print.Laporte, Joseph de. Le Voyageur François, ou La Connoissance de l’ancien et du Nouveau Monde, mis au jour par m. l’abbé Delaporte… Paris: L. Cellot, 1773. Print. 

This French language travel volume was discovered in our backlog. What’s unique about this book is that part of the inside is hollow and can only be read through page 28. The rest of the volume’s pages have been cut, creating a book safe. According to a note found in the book safe, this volume was discovered in a book shop in the New Orleans French Quarter. Click here to view in BearCat!

Research Ready: February 2015

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

    • BU records: Baylor Literacy Center, 1946-1988 (#BU/32): Contains the files of Baylor’s literacy center, which helped to teach members of the Waco community how to read. The collection contains brochures, subject files, and student work produced by the staff and students of the Literacy Center.
Tom Padgitt, 1870
Photograph of Tom Padgitt, owner and head of the Tom Padgitt Company, a noted Waco-based leatherworking company. Forest Edwin and Edna Lee Sedwick Goodman Family photographic collection, 1870-1918, undated (#3944), box 1, folder 3.
Jessie Brown Letter
Jessie Brown frequently wrote to her sister Lizzie while a student at Baylor, 1888-1891. In this letter, she mentions the local fair and a spat with the president’s wife and disciplinarian of Baylor women, Georgia Burleson, over the oft-discussed topic of fashion. Jesse Breland and Jessie Brown Johnson papers, 1888-1929 (#440), box 1, folder 1.

 

Exploring the Waco Jewish Community with the Texas Jewish Historical Society

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Texas  Jewish Historical Society members exploring display in Texas Collection reading room, 2015
Texas Jewish Historical Society members exploring display in Texas Collection reading room. The materials on display for society members to view included representative items from over nineteen collections documenting the life and faith experience of Jewish people in Waco.

On January 24, The Texas Collection welcomed the Texas Jewish Historical Society to a special display of materials on Jewish life and faith in Central Texas. Members of the society viewed many different kinds of materials, including:

  • a letter to a German Jewish family by the German secret police, warning them to leave the country (they later came to Waco, Texas),
  • an elaborate green velvet scrapbook with photographs from the 1800s of the Goldstein family in Waco,
  • photographs of Jewish-owned businesses in Waco, such as the Goldstein-Migel and Sanger Brothers department stores,
  • membership cards and past meeting pamphlets from the Texas Jewish Historical Society, and
  • photographs of Temple Rodef Sholom and Congregation Agudath Jacob in Waco from the early 1900s.
Photographic scrapbook of the Goldstein Family in Waco, Texas, from the early 1900s
Photographic scrapbook of the Goldstein family in Waco, Texas, from the early 1900s.

All together, The Texas Collection has more than 20 Jewish-related collections available for researchers to explore. Most of these collections are unprocessed, meaning they are not yet described through a finding aid in BARD or housed in modern acid-free boxes and folders. However, two Jewish collections have been processed recently, the De Cordova Family papers 1845-1956 and the Waco Chapter of Hadassah records 1928-2009, and we hope to process the rest of them soon. Stay tuned for more news about our Jewish collections!

Mother Neff State Park: A Texas Original

As summer descends upon us and we feel the desire to travel and explore, let’s not forget one of the most easily accessible destinations we Texans can reach: our own Texas State Parks. One such park, with the honor of being called the first State Park of Texas, is very close to Waco and has historic ties to Waco and Baylor University. Mother Neff State Park, located in Coryell County along the Leon River, claims that title and is named after Isabella Neff, mother of former Governor of Texas and president of Baylor, Pat Neff.

Origin of Texas State Parks, from Mother Neff Scrapbook in the Pat Neff Collection, circa 1930s.
Origin of Texas State Parks, from Mother Neff Scrapbook in the Pat Neff Collection, circa 1930s

Mother Neff donated about six acres of land (sources vary as to whether it was six acres or seven) with an eye toward a place for gatherings and other events. This land was beautiful and diverse with massive trees, bluffs, an Indian cave, and prairie land perfect for wildflowers. As Emma Morrill Shirley said (quoted in one of two Mother Neff State Park scrapbooks in the Pat Neff Collection), “There is no more typically Texas spot in all Texas than Mother Neff Park.”

Mother Neff insisted there be no fee for the use of the property and her wish was that the community make use of the land freely. And use it they did, with town meetings, picnics, political sessions, family reunions, prayer gatherings and camp meetings.

Isabella - Mother - Neff, undated.
Isabella “Mother” Neff, undated

One of Pat Neff’s favorite events was the yearly chautauqua, the first one held July 5-12, 1925. In Neff’s words, the chautaqua was “a program of general information and inspiration.” Leaders in business, education, and religion came to speak to those who gathered during this time. Two of the talks Neff proposed for his first event were, “Triumphant Christianity in Texas,” and “The Public Educational System of Texas.” Neff’s fondness for these yearly events was widely known and anticipated.

After Isabella’s death in 1921, Neff donated the six acres to the state and named it Mother Neff Memorial Park. In 1934, Neff donated an additional 250 acres and the park became Mother Neff State Park, the first State Park in Texas. Mr. F.P. Smith also donated three acres to the park, bringing the total acreage of the park to 259 acres.

Dedication Day-Mother Neff State Park, May 14, 1938.
Dedication Day-Mother Neff State Park, May 14, 1938.

Neff realized that the park needed a lot of work to become the park he envisioned, so he turned to federal government programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, and had one unit of the Corps stationed by the park. The CCC, working at the park from 1934-1938, was responsible for many of the buildings and improvements on the park grounds. The clubhouse, park entrance, church, observation/water tower, and road system throughout the park are due to the Corps’ hard work.

Mother Neff State Park Dedication Day, May 14, 1938.
Mother Neff State Park Dedication Day, May 14, 1938.

On May 14, 1938 (Mother’s Day), the official Mother Neff State Park Dedication Ceremony took place. The Baylor University Golden Wave Band performed and Dr. J.M. Dawson gave the dedicatory address. Other state officials also attended and it was estimated that over 1,000 people came to the event.

More information on Mother Neff State Park resides in the Pat Neff collection housed in The Texas Collection at Baylor University, and in it are two scrapbooks dedicated to Mother Neff State Park. In their pages are photographs of Neff, Isabella, the park landscape, and animals that lived on the park land such as sheep, goats, and horses. Also contained in the scrapbooks are images of park buildings, Indian caves, and other features. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring these images in the Flickr slideshow at the end of this post.

Mother Neff Park Poem, from Mother Neff State Park Scrapbook from the Pat Neff Collection, circa 1930s.
Mother Neff Park Poem, from Mother Neff State Park Scrapbook from the Pat Neff Collection, circa 1930s.

One of the scrapbooks contains documents describing the park, correspondence and general statements about the park, birthday cards to Isabella Neff and, in particular, a poem. We urge you to take the poem’s advice:

To those who are traveling and pass this way, / I want you to stop and hear what we say. / The birds and the bees, and the squirrels when they bark, / All bid you come into the Mother Neff Park.

For more information on Mother Neff State Park, see :

The Mother Neff State Park home page,

The Handbook of Texas Online entry for Mother Neff State Park, or

the Pat Neff collection finding aid.

 

Research Ready: May 2013

Katherine Lucylle Cope Fulmer scrapbook on Baylor University life, 1939-1941
Lucylle Cope Fulmer created this scrapbook documenting her life as a Baylor coed in the early 1940s. On this page she included student IDs, handbooks, and church promotional pieces.

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. This is our one-year anniversary of telling you what’s Research Ready, so we added things up. We’ve announced nearly 90 finding aids completed between May 2012-May 2013. Wow—that’s a lot of research just waiting to happen! We look forward to sharing many more research opportunities with you. Here’s the scoop for May 2013:

Unidentified downed biplane, undated
Unidentified downed bi-plane from the Nick Pocock papers. Pocock, a pilot who emigrated from England to Waco in the mid-twentieth century, was a scholar whose book, Did W.D. Custead Fly First?, explores the possibility that a Central Texas man flew a flying machine before the Wright brothers.