By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials, and Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist
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!
Mike Cox papers, 1913-2014 (#3851): Papers contain information on the media relations of Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Additionally, this collection consists of Mike Cox’s personal files and research on Henry Lee Lucas, the Texas Rangers, Texas history, and prominent leaders from Texas.
The name Pat Neff is known by every Baylor Bear. Perhaps his influence is most markedly demonstrated by Pat Neff Hall. Built in 1939 and named in honor of Baylor’s eighth president, its tower can be seen for miles and is a ready landmark for Wacoans and Texas travelers. But before Neff came to the Baylor presidency, he served the state of Texas in several offices, including two terms as Governor.
The Texas Collection is proud to house his papers and has been hard at work on processing his voluminous records (about 643 archival boxes). After a couple of years, multiple archivists and students, and generous gifts from Terrell Blodgett, among others, we have a completed finding aid for the Pat Neff collection.
The importance of these records can’t be overstated. They span a century of this important Texas family’s activities. Neff’s records offer a comprehensive view into the life and work of a public servant and educator.
And we do mean comprehensive—the man appears to have kept everything. Researchers, even those who know a lot about Neff, are bound to learn something they didn’t know. Here’s some of what you can discover, just from reading the biographical history in the finding aid.
He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives just four years after graduating from Baylor with his bachelor’s degree.
When he ran for governor, he was thought to be the first Texas candidate to travel by airplane for his campaigning efforts.
He was a staunch supporter of Prohibition—that you might already know. The stories about his public expulsions of students for drinking (and other misdeeds) are legendary at Baylor. But he also stood for everything from women’s suffrage to prison reform to water conservation.
After oil was discovered in Mexia, chaos ensued. Neff declared martial law in 1922 and called in the Texas National Guard and Texas Rangers. Later that year he declared martial law again, this time in Denison due to violence following a strike by the Federated Railroad Shopmen’s Union.
In the 1920s, Neff considered the possibility of running for US president and serving as president of the University of Texas.
As Baylor president, he accepted livestock as tuition payment and was known to occasionally pay part of a student’s bill out of his own pocket.
Digging into the records themselves, you’re sure to learn much more about Pat Neff. We’ll highlight some of his records in upcoming blog posts and hope you’ll visit the reading room to explore Neff’s life and his impact on Texas and Baylor.
Contact us for more information about the collection—the front matter of the finding aid is online as a PDF, but the box listing is so intricate that it didn’t translate well into that format. An archivist can help point you in the right direction for your research on Neff and his contributions to Texas.
And check out a few of our favorite photos from the Pat Neff collection. There is much more where this came from!
By Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist, and Amanda Norman, University Archivist
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 November:
Baylor-Carrington Family Papers, 1715-2007, undated: These family papers consist of correspondence, financial and legal documents, literary productions, books, photographs, artifacts, and scrapbooks pertaining to the Baylor and Carrington families. The bulk of the collection spans from 1840-1930.
Hannibal “Joe” Lucas Jaworski Papers, 1895-1987: The Hannibal “Joe” Lucas Jaworski Papers include correspondence, literary productions, books, and photographic materials related to his service in World War II and his response to the Waco Tornado of 1953.
BU Records: Student Volunteer Band, 1900-1957: This archives consists of organizational records, missionary correspondence, and a history of the origin of the band. The group originated to inspire students to missionary action and involvement by educating them about world missionary movements.
The Texas Collection’s holdings include many weighty academic tomes and important archival records. Even the paintings that hang in our reading room tend to the serious side—neither Samuel Palmer Brooks nor Pat Neff look amused in their portraits. But we have many fun items too, like the Baylor Bear Facts.
A trivia game centered on Baylor, the game was produced in the 1980s and includes trivia tidbits in the categories of sports, clubs, history, personalities, and potpourri. Below are just a few of the many questions available in the game. Try your hand at some Baylor trivia and find out how well you know Baylor! You might be surprised by some of the “bear facts.” (The photos are clues for a few of the questions—and answers are below the photos.)
What was Baylor’s first women’s social club?
Were there any dancing classes taught at Baylor in 1922?
What did S.P. Brooks abolish in 1906?
On April 7, 1969, what could Baylor coeds wear for the first time anywhere on campus?
Baylor played a cross-town rival in its first-ever Homecoming football game. Who did Baylor beat in that historic game?
What year did the senior class gifts become a Baylor tradition–1907, 1931, or 1945?
Who was Baylor’s first clean shaven president?
He is a Baylor grad, [was] director of the Student Center, and was elected mayor of Waco in 1984. Name him.
This famous folk group performed in Marrs McLean Gym in a three hour show in 1969. The show was referred to as the P, P, and M show. What was the name of the group?
This former Baylor student of 1856 rescued Cynthia Ann Parker from the Indians. Who was he?
Alpha Omega (now Pi Beta Phi)
Yes, in the Physical Education department, folk dancing was taught. (The first official dance at Baylor wouldn’t be till 1996, however.)
Football (due to the brutality of the game—but the sport was reinstated in 1907, due to popular opinion and modifications to the game to make it safer)
Shorts and slacks (Before, even if a woman had a physical education class, she had to wear a long coat over her gym attire while walking to class.)
Texas Christian University (before its move to Fort Worth)
1907 (The gift was a circular bench to sit outside Carroll Library–and it is still there in Burleson Quadrangle.)
Sul Ross (He rescued Parker in his role as a Texas Ranger. He went on to serve as a Confederate general, President of Texas A&M University, and Governor of Texas. The Texas Collection holds the Ross Family papers in its archives.)
The Texas Collection has archival records on many of these historical figures and events. Come visit us to learn more!
Processing archival collections is one of our central activities at The Texas Collection. In archivist lingo, “processing” means to enhance access to our records through arrangement and description. Archives are different from books—they usually don’t have a title page, table of contents, or an index to tell you about the contents. And they’re often messy.
Sometimes collections come to us in good order, with everything beautifully organized. However, it’s probably more common that we receive records that appear to have been boxed up with no particular order. In these cases, it’s our job to discern and implement an organizing principle, then to describe the arrangement and the records in what we call a finding aid. That way researchers have a good idea of what they might expect to find in an archives and can plan their projects accordingly.
The Texas Collection’s finding aids are posted on our website by subject and alphabetically. We’re in the process of upgrading our arrangement and description procedures to comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), and we’re working with catalogers at Baylor’s Moody Library to get our finding aids into BearCat (Baylor’s central catalog) too.
All this to say, we want you to know about our most recently processed collections! So we’re adding “Research Ready” as a monthly feature of “Blogging about Texas.” Each month, we will 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 May:
Olga Fallen Papers: The Olga Fallen Collection contains material accumulated during her years at Baylor University as women’s athletic coordinator, basketball and softball coach, and professor. The items include correspondence, financial, photographic, and organizational material. The bulk of the collection relates to basketball. (See our blog post for more detail.)
James Warren Smith Sr. Papers: The James Warren Smith Sr. Papers consist of a diary, scrapbooks, and literary productions. The scrapbooks contain many photographs. Smith was a Texas Ranger in the early 1900s.
Fred Bell Papers: The Fred Bell Papers consist of one manuscript, an enfranchisement oath for African-American Fred Bell, living in Travis County, Texas.
You can see how wide and varied The Texas Collection’s holdings are! These records—and the finding aids we have online—are just a small representation of the thousands of collections we preserve for future researchers. We’re working hard to make our collections more visible and hope that one of them will spark your interest!