Women’s Collections at Baylor University

by Anna Redhair, Graduate Assistant

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, Baylor University Libraries Special Collections and the Institute for Oral History launched a website for researching the various women’s collections and oral memoirs held across campus. The website includes materials from the Institute for Oral History; Armstrong Browning Library and Museum; Central Libraries Special Collections; Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society; The Texas Collection; and W. R. Poage Legislative Library.Continue Reading

The Comprehensive Pat Neff: Texas Governor, Baylor President, and Much More

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.

Pat Neff with horse
Neff maintained his ramrod posture and dapper dress even when riding horseback. Photo undated.

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.
Pat Neff, "How I Spent the Holidays," 1890
The “how I spent my vacation” has long been a popular theme, as evidenced by this essay Neff wrote for his rhetoric class in his second semester at Baylor University in 1890.

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.

Learn more about Pat Neff:

Read a book—The Land, the Law, and the Lord: The Life of Pat Neff, by Dorothy Jean Blodgett, Terrell Blodgett and David L. Scott.

Listen to a podcast—Treasures of The Texas Collection: Pat Neff, an interview with Hans Christianson, hosted by Mary Landon Darden.

Explore an online exhibit—Pat Neff: “The Plain Democrat” Governor of Texas, 1921-1925, curated by Mark Firmin.

Find out about an interesting discovery made recently in the Pat Neff collection—Bonnie and Clyde (and Pat) and The Texas Collection Artifact That Ties Them Together.

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!

Young Pat Neff, 1890s
Young Neff, 1890s
Pat Neff with Native Americans
Neff with Native Americans, undated

 

Pat Neff breaks up illegal drinking and gambling in Mexia, 1922
Neff (sixth from right, behind the roulette wheel) breaks up illegal drinking and gambling in Mexia, 1922
Pat Neff at Mother Neff State Park dedication, May 14, 1938
Pat Neff at Mother Neff State Park dedication, May 14, 1938

 

Baylor President Pat Neff outside Pat Neff Hall, 1940s
Baylor President Pat Neff outside Pat Neff Hall, 1940s

 

Pat Neff studying a portrait of Texas hero Sam Houston
Neff studying a portrait of Texas hero Sam Houston, undated
Pat Neff tries out a saddle, 1930s
Neff tries out a saddle, 1930s

By Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist, and Amanda Norman, University Archivist

Research Ready: March 2013

"Ask the American boy why he prefers Kellogg's"
A patriotic advertisement for Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes during WWI. The Thomas L. and Pit Dodson Collection has hundreds of similar early- to mid-twentieth-century art prints and clippings, providing a colorful window into American culture.

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:

Correspondence from the Adina De Zavala papers
A letter of recommendation written by the Mexican Consul in San Antonio, Dr. Plutarco Ornelas, for Adina De Zavala on her historical research trip to Mexico in 1902.
  • Thomas L. and Pit Dodson collection, 1710-1991, undated: The Thomas L. and Pit Dodson collection contains a wide variety of collected materials, including literary productions, books, photographic materials, and scrapbooks. While spanning three centuries, this collection consists primarily of early- to mid-twentieth-century art prints and periodical clippings.
  • Marvin C. Griffin papers, 1940-2010, undated: The Griffin papers contain literary productions, photographic materials, audio recordings, and other materials pertaining to Reverend Marvin Griffin, an African American pastor who fought for the spiritual and political freedoms of his congregations at New Hope Baptist Church (Waco) and Ebenezer Baptist Church (Austin).
  • Roxie Henderson collection, 1852-1919: This collection contains personal items and collected materials of Roxie Henderson, a Baylor graduate who served during World War I as an American Red Cross nurse. Learn more.
  • Isabella M. Henry papers, 1931-1981, undated: Henry’s papers features manuscripts detailing her career in the Women’s Army Corps and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Learn more.
  • Lula Pace collection, 1895-1969, undated: This collection contains student notebooks, topographical maps, and scholarly publications by Lula Pace, a PhD graduate of the University of Chicago who served as a science professor at Baylor University in the early 1900s. Learn more.

Setting a New Pace: Baylor University's First Female Professor with a PhD

1919 Baylor University Round-Up faculty page
When Pace was first hired at Baylor, she was one of only five female professors. Due in large part to the success of these individuals, the number steadily grew as time went along. Pace, a professor of botany, is pictured in the bottom left corner of this page from the 1919 Baylor Round-Up.

Today we might be tempted to take for granted the many female professors who teach at Baylor and the numerous women who are earning doctoral degrees. However, it wasn’t such a long time ago that female PhDs, JDs, and so forth, were few and far between at Baylor and at other institutions of higher education. So today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we look back at Lula Pace, one woman who proved that hard work and brilliance outweighed the gender-based stereotypes of her day.

Pace was born in Newton, Mississippi on November 3, 1868, a mere three years after the end of the Civil War. Before she had turned a year old, her parents decided to relocate to the central Texas area. The move proved to be advantageous for her. She was able to attend school at Baylor Female College—now the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor—in Belton, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1890. Upon graduation, she began teaching in the public schools in Temple.

But Pace’s aspirations for education were not yet satisfied. During her summers off, Pace attended the University of Chicago, a newly constructed school whose reputation was rising thanks to the support of the Rockefeller family.

Cytology notebook, 1905
Lula Pace’s notebooks, which she composed as a student at the University of Chicago, comprise most of the collection. Cytology is the study of cells.

By 1902, Pace had attained her Master of Science degree, and she applied for a teaching position at Baylor University. When she was accepted, she became one of only five female professors at the school. Even more impressive was the fact that she was the only female professor in the male-dominated science department.

Drawing for botany studies, undated
In order to succeed as a student of botany, Pace had to learn how to draw diagrams. This cross-section of a plant is but one of the examples in which Pace demonstrated her artistic ability.

Seeking to increase her education and credibility, Pace continued taking classes during the summers and graduated with her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1907. Her dissertation focused on the study of plant cytology (cells). This achievement placed Pace in a class all her own: she became the first female professor at Baylor University to hold a PhD.

For 22 years (1903-1925), Dr. Pace taught courses in biology, geology, and botany. Not only was she accomplished as a scholar, but she also had a good reputation among students and offered innovative classes, such as a summer 1917 course held on-site at the Chatauqua grounds at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A student, J. Weldon Jones,  was a member of that class and recalls being “struck by Dr. Pace’s knowledge of organizing a camp, cooking, laying in provisions, etc…her knowledge of first aid—avoiding dangers in the mountains, edible wild fruits, poisonous plants etc. was far beyond that of a ‘plainsman’”—and on top of all that, she maintained an orderly classroom while in the field.

Reminiscence on Lula Pace by J. Weldon Jones, 1969
Dr. Pace had a reputation for being strict, but she often had a powerful impact on the lives of her students. This reminiscence from a former student records some of Dr. Pace’s most perceptible traits: her knowledge of botany, a quiet sense of humor, and even her physical stamina!

Her prowess as a scientist and skill as a professor led to Pace’s appointment as the Chair of the Department of Botany and Geology, another first—she was the first woman to be the chair of a science department at Baylor. She held the position until she died in 1925.

The Lula Pace collection represents the life work of a woman who followed her passions in spite of what society’s norms dictated. Researchers who examine this collection will find notebooks that Pace composed as a graduate student, scholarly articles she wrote as contributions to the scientific community, as well as various maps which Pace collected in her studies. (In the Burleson Quad, just outside Carroll Library, you also can see another part of Pace’s legacy—one of the gingko biloba trees she planted on campus.) Please come down to The Texas Collection and celebrate with us as we commemorate one of Baylor University’s history trailblazers.

The Geology of McLennan County, by Lula Pace, 1921 (published under the Baylor Bulletin imprint)
Even after securing her position as a professor in Baylor University’s science department, Pace continued to contribute to her field. In 1921, Dr. Pace published the “Geology of McLennan County, Texas.”

By Thomas DeShong, Archival Assistant and Digital Input Specialist

Sharing Student Scholarship Online: Access at Baylor, 1900-1920

For the first five weeks of the spring 2013 semester, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the class’ blog. So far we’ve explored students and student organizations, curriculum, and finance at Baylor. This week we’re exploring Access at Baylor, and students found that for women, students wishing to gain a more global education, and students lacking financial means, access could be limited. Did you know that…

HESA Baylor History blog

  • While Samuel Palmer Brooks and other leaders supported women’s suffrage, traditional roles also were celebrated for Baylor women, for whom studies in the domestic sciences and arts were emphasized over other academic pursuits. Explore the constraints and opportunities for Baylor women in the early 1900s.
  • Foreign language clubs and visiting lecturers helped give students a broader worldview in the early 1900s. But professors who had traveled and studied abroad were the main resource for opening students’ eyes to the international community beyond Texas and the U.S. Learn more about how students learned about other cultures before study abroad became readily available at Baylor.
  • President Brooks allocated more than $13,000 (about $300,000 in today’s dollars) to tuition and other financial support of ministerial students in 1912. Discover other ways that Baylor responded to student financial needs, from scholarships to jobs to correspondence courses.

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 between 1900 and 1920. 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 now been posted on a University-hosted EduBlog site and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the first installment of an annual accumulating project–please visit again for future installments.