Research Ready: February 2018

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!Continue Reading

Research Ready: January 2018

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!

January’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Photo at Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site, Lamar, Missouri
Photo of Dr. Lois Marie Sutton, professor at Baylor University, at the Truman Birthplace State Historic Site. It was one of Sutton’s lifelong goals to see the birthplace of each United States president, and there are many pictures of her at these presidential sites in the collection. Lois Marie Sutton photographic collection, Accession #4035, box 1, folder 25, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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

Part of the Adams-Blakley collection, the volumes below recount the lives and legends of outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James.

James, Edgar. The Notorious James Brothers: the latest and most complete story of the daring crimes of these famous desperadoes ever published : containing many sensational escapades never before made public. Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1913. Print.

James, Edgar. The Notorious James Brothers: the latest and most complete story of the daring crimes of these famous desperadoes ever published : containing many sensational escapades never before made public. Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1913. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

 

The James Boys. A complete and accurate recital of the dare-devil criminal career of the famous bandit brothers, Frank and Jesse James and their noted band of bank plunderers, train robbers and murderers, specially compiled for the publishers. Chicago, He

The James Boys. A complete and accurate recital of the dare-devil criminal career of the famous bandit brothers, Frank and Jesse James and their noted band of bank plunderers, train robbers and murderers, specially compiled for the publishers. Chicago, Henneberry Co. [date of publication not identified]. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

Frank James and His Brother Jesse: The Daring Border Bandits. Baltimore, MD: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1915. Print.

Frank James and His Brother Jesse: The Daring Border Bandits. Baltimore, MD: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1915. Print.

Click here to view in BearCat.

 

Research Ready: September 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!

September’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Santa Fe Railroad Route Map, undated
    Two historical markers now commemorate Long Branch Cemetery: one recounting the history of the cemetery and the other honoring a former slave named Sylvia King who is buried there. Long Branch is one of the oldest cemeteries in central Texas. You’ll find these items in the Long Branch Cemetery collection, 2009-2016, undated (#4020), box 1 OVZ, folder 4, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

     

  • September’s print materials
    By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print MaterialsEllis, Edward Sylvester. Lightning Jo: The Terror of the Santa Fe Trail. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1874]. Print.Ellis, Edward Sylvester. Lightning Jo: The Terror of the Santa Fe Trail. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1874]. Print. 

    Part of the Beadle Pocket Novels series, Lightning Jo is the adventure story of a scout leading a party through treacherous Comanche country. Click here to view in BearCat.

     

    Lafrentz, F. W. Cowboy Stuff: Poems. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927. Print.

     

     

     

     

    Lafrentz, F. W. Cowboy Stuff: Poems. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927. Print. 

    Number 98 of 500 copies produced, this special edition volume of Cowboy Stuff, complete with handmade laid paper, is signed by the author, Illustrator, and publisher. Each poem, written by F. W. Lafrentz, who, at 14-years-old immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, has an accompanying etching by Henry Ziegler, noted British artist. Click here to view in BearCat.

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.

 

 

 

Stories from Independence: San Jacinto Day

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

This is the first in a number of upcoming posts about the town of Independence, where Baylor University’s original campus was, and the connections between Independence and Baylor people and events.

Independence has always been connected with the history of the Republic of Texas. From the renaming of Coles Settlement to Independence, to Sam Houston living in Independence, there is no shortage of connections to historic early Texas people and events. One of these special events celebrated each year is San Jacinto Day.

This holiday, commemorating Sam Houston’s victory at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 against Santa Anna’s government, was a major holiday at Baylor at Independence. Multiple historical accounts preserved at The Texas Collection at Baylor University in Waco mention the annual festivities of San Jacinto Day at Independence.

Drawing of the male campus of Baylor University, 1870s
Drawing of the Baylor University Male Campus (Windmill Hill) at Independence. Note the buggies moving fast down the road.

One letter, written by Florence L. Davis Bledsoe, vividly describes an event that took place at Baylor University in Independence on San Jacinto Day in 1859:

One of the jubilees here is on the 21st of April, in commemoration of the battle of San Jacinto. We had “big doings” here on the 21st. General Houston was here and spoke to us. I like very much to hear him speak. He said there were but two things he now aspired to, one was to be an overseer of the roads, to see that they were in good order for he knew the ladies did not love to travel over rough roads. The other was to be Squire and see that the young ladies did not marry worthless vagabond fellows and that the young gentlemen did not marry slovenly careless girls.

Margaret Hall Hicks, also a Baylor student at Independence in the mid-1800s, describes the holiday in her unpublished book “Memories of Ancestors.”

An annual picnic on San Jacinto Day was a social event anticipated and prepared for months before the time. Each girl had made a date weeks before with some boy, generally her sweetheart, for the whole day together. If the boy was financially able, he hired a horse and buggy to take his lady love, and these were the envy of the other girls, who had to join in with others in hiring a hack or wagon and go in crowds.

Things have changed since the days students used buggys for transportation, but the excitement and fun of holidays and events on campus lives on in such events as Dia del Oso and Homecoming.

Works Cited: Keeth, Kent. “Looking Back at Baylor: a Collection of Historical Vignettes.” Waco: Baylor University, 1985; BU records: Baylor at Independence, Accession #BU/220, The Texas Collection, Baylor University; and Hicks-Hall-Harman family papers, Accession #1726, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Research Ready: May 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!

May’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Ordination of Pastor Peter H.H. Lee, 1939
Annie Jenkins Sallee and her husband Dr. William Sallee were missionaries to the interior of China in the early 1900s. This photograph shows the Sallees as guests at an ordination service in Kaifeng, the capital city of the Henan province. You’ll find these items in the Annie Jenkins Sallee papers, 1897-1967, undated (#715), box 1, folder 13, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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

Thomas, Henry J., Mrs. The Prairie Rifles, or, The Captives of New Mexico: a Romance of the Southwest. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1868]. Print.

Thomas, Henry J., Mrs. The Prairie Rifles, or, The Captives of New Mexico: a Romance of the Southwest. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1868]. Print. 

This dime novel, one of nearly 400 in The Texas Collection, contains the fictional tale of two women who are captured by Comanche Indians.  Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

Catalogue of the West Texas Military Academy: a Church School for Boys. San Antonio, TX: The Academy, 1904-. Print.

Catalogue of the West Texas Military Academy: a Church School for Boys. San Antonio, TX: The Academy, 1904-. Print. 

This catalog was produced just eleven years after the 1893 founding of the West Texas Military Academy in San Antonio. Two-thirds of the volume explains rules and regulations, administrative information, and academic standards. The remainder is devoted to athletics.  Click here to view in BearCat.

Some of the Things 1909 Farmers Buy. Volume 1. Texas. New York: Crowell Publishing Company, 1909. Print.

Some of the Things 1909 Farmers Buy. Volume 1. Texas. New York: Crowell Publishing Company, 1909. Print. 

Published as a special issue of the national publication Farm and Fireside, this volume highlights a group of Grayson County, Texas farmers randomly selected from the publication’s subscription list. Included in the volume are photographs of homes and descriptions of farms.  Click here to view in BearCat.

 

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: November 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!

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

Clitus Jones, American Expeditionary Forces ambulance driver
Clitus Jones stands by his ambulance near the front lines in France. Jones worked as an ambulance driver for the American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1918. (Clitus Jones papers, Box 3, Folder 1, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.)

  • Clitus Jones papers, 1914-1923 (#1879): The Clitus Jones papers  primarily consist of materials related to his experiences in World War I, as an ambulance driver for the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Through correspondence and personal photographs, Jones details his daily life on the front lines and the effects of the war on France and its citizens. If you are interested in learning more about Jones’ life on the front lines during World War I, come visit Moody Memorial Library on the Baylor University campus in mid-January 2017, where selections from Jones’ collection will be featured in an exhibit commemorating the centennial of the United States entering World War I.
  • [Waco] Amicable Life Insurance Company records, circa 1900s-1980s, undated (#3196): Includes photographs and clippings that chronicle the construction of this 22-story building, an icon of Waco since its construction.
  • Eli Clitus and Lilly Sutton Jones papers, 1879-1893 (#2846): The Eli Clitus and Lilly Sutton Jones papers detail the life of a McLennan County farming couple through correspondence, essays, reports, and a diary.
  • William “Bill”Cagle photograph collection, 1950s-1990s, undated (#3857): This collection gives a good look into a U.S. Air Force photographer’s work in the Korean War. The collection also contains images taken by Cagle of the aftermath of the tornado that struck Waco on May 11, 1953.
  • General Scrapbook collection, 1861-1960 (#3991): Contains a variety of scrapbooks with photos from the early 1900s at Baylor University, Civil War Carte de Visite albums, and general photo albums showing many Texas cities and towns and some non-Texas images.
  • [Waco] Daughters of the Republic of Texas: Sterling C. Robertson Chapter records, 1931-1981 (#1961): Documents the activities of the Daughters of the Revolution Sterling C. Robinson chapter records in Waco, Texas. It contains scrapbooks filled with clippings, photographs, and program booklets that detail the activities of the Robinson chapter.
  • George H. Williams papers, 1917-1993 (#3297): The George H. Williams collection contains newspaper and journal articles relating to aeronautics during World War I. Most significantly, however, the collection holds both ground-level and aerial photographs of Waco, Camp MacArthur, Love Field, Rich Field, and Baylor from 1917-1918.

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

Though The Texas Collection is strong in Texas-related holdings, the print collection contains a great number of volumes about other states, particularly the American West. Many of these volumes came to us as part of the Adams-Blakley gift. Enjoy these selections from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.

Triggs, J. H. History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory. Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875. Print.

Triggs, J. H. History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory. Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875. Print. 

Researchers looking for the names, occupations, and addresses of those who lived in Laramie City in 1875 can find a wealth of information in this volume. Also contained are advertisements for local businesses and information about goods, services, and governance of this newly formed town. Click here to view in BearCat!


Savage, James W. History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska. New York: Munsell & Co., 1894. Print.

 

 

 

Savage, James W. History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska. New York: Munsell & Co., 1894. Print. 

This expansive, 700-page volume provides information about Omaha, Nebraska prior to 1894, and includes military history, medicine, hotels, pioneers, churches, etc. Beautiful engravings of the city’s prominent citizens and leaders are included. Click here to view in BearCat!

Watrous, Ansel. History of Larimer County, Colorado. Fort Collins, CO: Courier Print. & Pub. Co., 1911. Print.

 

 

 

 

Watrous, Ansel. History of Larimer County, Colorado. Fort Collins, CO: Courier Print. & Pub. Co., 1911. Print.

More than half of this volume contains biographical sketches of Larimer County pioneers. The rest is filled with historical, political, agricultural, religious information and more. Many photographs and engravings enhance this volume. Click here to view in BearCat!

 

Documenting the Parker Family Story at The Texas Collection (Part 3)

For the past two weeks, we’ve been writing about the Parker family—see Part 1 and Part 2. Last week’s post was about the preservation of Old Fort Parker. Today we continue the story with the Parker family’s work to preserve its historical documents—what is now the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, housed at The Texas Collection.

The story of preserving Parker family materials through time is impressive in its own right. With many documents in the collection dating back to the 19th century, it is remarkable that so many of these papers survived. Family historians faithfully stored and studied the documents and made sure the materials endured for the next generation of the family. Now, by giving them to The Texas Collection, these documents are preserved and accessible for the public to view and research.

Materials in this collection were assembled, collected, and preserved by three distinct groups in the Parker family: Joseph and Araminta Taulman, Lee Parker Boone, and Jack Selden, though many other Parker family members contributed to the preservation of their family history, including Joe Bailey Parker and Ben J. Parker. Each of the three major preservation groups represents a different generation in the Parker family history, and each contributed different research materials and collecting emphasis to the collection.

Letter from Sam Houston to Daniel Parker, 1836
Letter from Sam Houston in 1836 giving permission for Daniel Parker to construct a fort near Comanche Crossing on the Trinity River. Could be in Freestone or Henderson counties. This is not the fort that was raided in 1836 by the Comanche. Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers, Accession 3954, box 1, folder 5.

It seems that family members began gathering historical documents relating to family history very early in their time in Texas. By 1854, the materials were stored in a container the family has referred to as the “blue box”  by Dan Parker, grandson of Daniel Parker. This box of documents was added to over time and passed down through the family. It eventually came to Jack Selden and contained most of what is now Series I, the oldest materials in the collection.

Joseph and Araminta Taulman were active in Texas public history in the 1930s. Araminta was the great-great-granddaughter of Daniel Parker, patriarch of the Parker family in the 1830s. While the Taulmans created some materials now in the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, most of the Taulman papers are now in the Joseph E. Taulman Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

U.S. War Department Letter to Isaac Parker, 1845 (Cynthia Ann Parker)
Letter from the United States War Department to Isaac Parker in 1845. Describes how the United States army was actively looking for Cynthia Ann Parker in all communications with the Comanche. Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers, Accession 3954, box 1, folder 9.

Lee Parker Boone, born in 1891, focused on collecting and describing Parker genealogy information for much of his life. Boone was a court reporter in Midland, Texas. In the Selden collection, many of the letters inquiring about family trees and giving information about possible family relationships were from or to Boone.

Jack Selden was born in 1929 and graduated from Palestine High School in Texas. After graduating from George Washington University, he served in the United States Air Force as a navigator and speechwriter for 21 years, eventually becoming a lieutenant colonel. Returning to Palestine, he became a civil trial assistant. In 1985, he became mayor of Palestine, serving three terms.

"The Telling of the Tales," Parker Family reunion, Old Fort Parker, TX, 1983
Flier advertising the “Telling of the Tales” dramatic reading. This particular version, performed in 1983, was open to the public and in conjunction with the Parker family reunion. Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers, Accession 3954, box 19, folder 18.

At some point, Selden became the historian of the Parker family and faithfully preserved an increasingly large collection of documents, photographs, and other materials containing his research on the topic, plus the work of Lee Boone, selections from Joseph Taulman, and others who contributed to preserving the Parker family story. With these resources, Selden wrote and published a book on the Parker family in Texas history. Return: The Parker Story, published in 2006, documents the Parker family’s arrival in Texas, and traces their history through Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker, and others, up to the Parker family reunions today. This past year, Selden donated this collection of materials to The Texas Collection.

Jack Selden also wrote and performed in the “Telling of the Tales,” a dramatic reading of the Cynthia Ann Parker story. Other Parker family members also participated in the production. This drama was performed several times for the public, both at Old Fort Parker in the early 1980s and at Pilgrim Baptist Church near Elkhart, Texas. Programs and scripts from “Telling of the Tales” performances can be found in the Selden collection.

This concludes our series celebrating the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers arrival at The Texas Collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University. If you can’t make the lecture, follow us on Twitter—we’ll be live-tweeting the event at #ParkerFamilyTX.

Sources:

Find a Grave, Inc. “Lee Parker Boone.” Memorial #22788886. Databases. Accessed February 8, 2016.

Joseph E. Taulman Collection, 1783-1994, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Selden, Jack. Return: the Parker Story. Palestine: Clacton Press, 2006.

 

Documenting the Parker Family Story at The Texas Collection (Part 2)

We recently wrote about the story of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker. Today we continue the story by discussing efforts through time to remember their story by preserving Fort Parker.

After the events of the Parker story in Texas—Cynthia Ann’s capture by Comanche, her recapture and return to Texan society, her son Quanah’s role as military leader against the United States army, and his subsequent role as a political leader to help the Comanche on the reservation—the Parker story became a popular one in Texas. (See Part One of this blog series if you need a refresher.) With Texan interest in historic preservation growing due to the impending Texas Centennial in 1936, people began to work towards preserving the site of Parker’s Fort or Fort Parker.

Old Fort Parker
Interior of the Old Fort, circa 1941.

While the original fort was long gone, the site was selected in the 1930s as a work area for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was decided to build a replica fort, matching as closely as possible the original fort built by the Parkers. Several Parker family members visited the site of replica fort in the 1930s to help verify that it was the site of the original fort. Construction was still underway as the Texas Centennial came and went.

Fort Parker State Park program
Program from the Grand Opening of Fort Parker State Park in 1941. Note the opportunity to visit “restored Fort Parker”–now known as Old Fort Parker.

Only a couple of miles away, the same CCC camp built camping and outdoor recreational facilities around a 670 acre lake, formed from building a dam across the Navasota River. While the plan originally called for one site to be named Fort Parker State Park, which would include the replica fort, the lake, and all the recreational facilities, eventually the site was split into two separate areas. Confusingly, the recreation area with the lake became known as Fort Parker State Park, while the replica fort site became known as Old Fort Parker State Historic Site, or just the Old Fort.

In 1941, after years of planning and construction, Fort Parker State Park was opened to the public. Along with fishing, boating, and fireworks, people could also visit Old Fort Parker, where construction was complete on the replica fort.

After many years of use, the replica fort at the Old Fort site was rebuilt in 1967. Both Fort Parker sites were operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department until 1992, when the nearby cities of Groesbeck and Mexia, and Limestone County took over operations of the Old Fort. Fort Parker State Park continues to operate as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department site.

Postcard of Old Fort Parker, TX
Postcard of Old Fort Parker. Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers, Accession 3954, box 8, folder 20, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Today, visitors to Old Fort Parker can tour the replica fort, various historic structures from Central Texas, and the visitor center. For research opportunities, patrons can visit The Texas Collection and view materials on the Parker family and Old Fort Parker.

The next post in this series will examine the various creators of the Selden collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University.