We Want That Picture! Fred Gildersleeve’s Record Breaking Texas Cotton Palace Print

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

In 1905 or 1906, Fred Gildersleeve came from Texarkana, Arkansas to Waco to work in the photography business. He later became a pioneer in the field of industrial photography in the state. One of his more famous pieces of work was his enlargement of the Texas Cotton Palace Main Building in Waco, Texas. Shown is a picture of the enlargement being processed. At the time, this photograph set a world record among photo prints at 120 inches wide. A representative from Eastman Kodak personally delivered the large roll of photo paper it required and supervised the enlargement process. The photo was exhibited for some time until it was sold for $50.00 to the building’s architect, Roy Ellsworth Lane. Gildersleeve later recalled that was “a good price in those days…as you remember, at that time 1913 the largest enlargement ever made. Eastman Kodak sent George McKay to supervise this. It was written up in Studio Light Magazine and also used this photo.”Continue Reading

Texas Over Time: McLendon Hardware and Higginbotham Hardware Company Building, Waco, Tx

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of Meta Slider’s that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, street scenes, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Higginbotham Hardware/McLendon Hardware Building, Waco, TXContinue Reading

Research Ready: July 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

Texas Over Time: “The Raleigh Building, Waco, TX”

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of Meta Slider’s that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, street scenes, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

The Raleigh Building, Waco, TXContinue Reading

Looking Back at Baylor: ‘In Beautiful Groves…on the Edge of a Vast Prairie’

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in November 1981, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

The beginning of this month marked the 173rd year since Baylor was chartered in Independence, Texas. This spring, it will be 132 years since Baylor moved to Waco, Texas. Which leads us to ask, what prompted the move? Read on to find out. 

In 1885 Baylor at Independence reached a turning point in its history. For the past quarter-century the forty-year-old school, whose heyday had occurred in the decade of the 1850’s, had suffered from a variety of social, political and economic problems in Southwest Texas which were beyond its control. The death in February, 1885, of President William Carey Crane, whose efforts alone had kept the struggle school alive, signaled the need of desperate measures if Baylor went to survive.

Drawing of the male campus of Baylor University, 1870s

Continue Reading

Texas over Time: Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of Meta Slider’s that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, street scenes, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, TX

*Dr Pepper, America’s oldest major soft drink brand, had its origins in Waco, Texas.

*The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is housed in what was originally the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company. It would later become the first facility to produce the soft drink.

*This structure, located on the corner of 5th and Mary Street, Waco, Texas, was built in 1906 and designed by architect Milton Scott. Its brick walls measure 18 inches in thickness and are supported by a solid timber foundation.


1951 and 2018 Photos by Fred Marlar and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*Throughout the 20th century the building’s location on Mary Street allowed Dr Pepper easy access to shipping on the route of the St. Louis Southwestern “Cotton Belt” Railroad.

*On May 11, 1953, the structure was damaged by a large tornado that destroyed a section of the city’s central business district and caused the deaths of 114 people. The side of the building still bears the repair work done to the massive brick walls.


May 1953 and 2018 Photos by Unknown (General Slide collection) and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

*The building served as the Dr Pepper Bottling Company for many years. When operations ceased at that location they moved to west Waco. In the 1980s businessmen Wilton Lanning and W.W. Clements conceived the idea to make it a museum dedicated to the soft drink, its history, and the idea of the free enterprise system. The museum opened to the public on May 11, 1991, the 38th anniversary of the tornado.

*At the time of its opening, it was viewed as a catalyst to revive that part of the downtown area. Its continued growth and success have helped Waco to become one of the state’s top tourist destinations.

Works Cited:

Ellis, Harry E., Dr Pepper-King of Beverages. Dallas, TX: Dr Pepper Co. 1986. Print.

Text and Meta Sliders by GH

Research Ready: December 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!

December’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Letter from Charles Wellborn to Elma Merle Mears McClellan Duncan
    Letter from Charles Wellborn, student at Baylor and future evangelist and pastor, to the Armed Services Representative for Baylor University. In the letter, Wellborn describes drilling for the past week, after enlisting in the United States Army in July 1943.

    • BU Records: Armed Services Representatives, 1942-1945, undated (#BU/12): Collection contains correspondence sent by former students, parents, and government officials to Merle Mears McClellan, Baylor University’s Armed Services Representative during World War II. Baylor President Pat Neff appointed McClellan as the acting liason between the university and the military, in conjunction with Baylor University becoming a training site for Army officers prior to World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cunningham, Eugene. Famous in the West. El Paso, TX: Hicks-Hayward Co., [1926]. Print.

Cunningham, Eugene. Famous in the West. El Paso, TX: Hicks-Hayward Co., [1926]. Print. 

Originally published in El Paso as an advertisement for Rodeo Outdoor Clothes, this volume contains info on cowboys such as “Jim” Gillett, Dallas Stoudenmire, Billy the Kid, and Tom Threepersons. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

 

College, Belton: For Women. [Belton, TX?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1925 and 1929?]. Print.

College, Belton: For Women. [Belton, TX?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1925 and 1929?]. Print. 

The purpose of this volume is two-fold. The many photographs of the grounds and student body show a beautiful, thriving Baylor College campus while the new development campaign seeks $500,000 to pay university debts and $250,000 to build a permanent endowment. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

 

 

Waco 52 Playing Cards. [Waco, TX]: [publisher not identified], [2017]. Print.

Waco 52 Playing Cards. [Waco, TX]: [publisher not identified], [2017]. Print. 

Though not a traditional book, this set of playing cards is unique to Waco. Each card is designed by a different artist and contains images of locations throughout the city, including the ALICO building, Waco Suspension Bridge, Hippodrome, Lake Waco, etc. Click here to view in BearCat.

Texas over Time: Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco, TX

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

                                Waco Mammoth National Monument

*Two explorers, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, were searching for fossils along the Bosque River in the spring of 1978 when they accidentally discovered the large femur bone of a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi).

*Barron and Bufkin took their discovery to Baylor University’s Strecker Museum, now the Mayborn Museum, where researchers identified the fossils and organized a search team.

*The Mammuthus columbi species lived over 65,000 years ago during the Ice Age and roamed anywhere from Southern Canada to Costa Rica.

*Between 1978 and 1990, the remains of 24 Columbian mammoths, a saber toothed cat, giant tortoise, Western camel and American alligator were all excavated.

*The group of fossils were categorized as a “nursery herd.”

*Jon Bongino, a Baylor graduate student in Geology first believed that all the animals found at the Waco Mammoth Site died in one single catastrophic event. After further investigation of the soil layers, it was determined that three events took place in a short period of time at the site.

*The animals’ involved were trapped in a steep-sided channel and drowned during a period of rapidly rising flood waters from the Bosque River.

*The excavation process was a tedious process, finished by utilizing trowels, brushes and bamboo scrapers.

*The Columbian mammoths weighed seven to eight tons, they were 12 to 14 feet tall and had tusks as long as 16 feet.

*On July 10, 2015, the site officially became the Waco Mammoth National Monument after the President signed an Executive Order to hand management over to the National Park Service.

See the still images in our Flickr set.

Works Cited:

Hetter, Katia. “Texas Mammoth Herd Site Is a New National Monument.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 June. Web. 13 July 2016.

“History & Culture.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.

Barrow, Jill, and Guy Gandy. Mammoths in Waco: Exploring the Mystery. Waco, TX: Mayborn Museum Complex, Baylor U, 2007. Print.

Text and GIF by Haley Rodriguez

A Secretive Collaboration for Waco’s Integration

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

As a student of history and an archivist, I am oftentimes awestruck by the rich and diverse collections I have had the privilege to process at The Texas Collection. During my brief time here, I have worked with materials relating to a wide range of topics including the Branch Davidians, Baylor University presidents, Texas governors, the American Civil War, World War II, and Baptist organizations, just to name a few. Needless to say, I find great satisfaction in my job. I never know what I might encounter on any given day. For instance, just a few months ago, I stumbled upon one of my most exciting finds yet: the Joe Lett Ward, Jr. papers.

 General Photo Files, Box #245.01, Folder #20, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Joe Ward, Jr. was known for his involvement in Waco’s city government as well as a number of local board memberships.

Joe Ward, a fifth-generation Wacoan, was known throughout the city for his public service and community involvement. He served four years on the Waco City Council and was later appointed the Mayor of Waco from 1959 to 1960. Despite all of his accolades, however, one of the most fascinating aspects of Joe Ward’s service was also quite secretive.

The Joe Ward papers are not extensive by any means; they are housed in a single document box. Yet the papers within shed light on part of Waco’s history that has long been shrouded in mystery. One-third of Joe Ward’s materials are products of his tenure on the Waco Community Relations Committee and its predecessor, an un-named subcommittee operating under the Committee of Fifty. Initially, this nine-man committee was comprised of some of Waco’s leading entrepreneurs and citizens including Chairman Joe Ward and Baylor University President Abner McCall. They worked in conjunction with the Progressive Community Council, a group of prominent African American leaders led by Reverend Marvin C. Griffin, to integrate Waco’s schools, restaurants, and businesses.Continue Reading

We Must Carry On!

by Anna Redhair, Graduate Student

“While our Baylor men are across the sea for the safety of democracy and womanhood, we Baylor women have before us a very definite work, and we must ‘Carry On!’” Thus ended an article on July 11, 1918, one of several Lariat articles aimed directly at Baylor University female students encouraging them to assist in the war effort during the United States’ involvement in World War I. As the male student population at colleges across the country dwindled due to the declaration of war and subsequent draft, women stepped up in a variety of ways to maintain the status quo on campus. Baylor women participated in both traditional and non-traditional methods of supporting the war effort and fostered a relationship with the soldiers stationed at nearby Camp MacArthur and Rich Field.

In April 1917, one week after the United States officially entered WWI, Baylor co-eds petitioned the university to offer a course in first aid skills. Female-only organizations such as the Calliopeans, Rufus C. Burleson Society, and the Young Women’s Christian Association hosted speakers who lectured on the importance of food conservation, the realities of war facing American soldiers “over there,” and the role of women in the war effort. Upon the creation of the Red Cross Auxiliary on campus, 225 co-eds answered the call to join on the first day, eager to volunteer their time and money. The Red Cross set up a workroom in Georgia Burleson Hall where women could sign up for shifts to make triangular bandages, knit sweaters, or assemble comfort kits. In just two months, Baylor co-eds contributed 310 bandages and 120 comfort kits towards the regionally assigned quotas in addition to donating $500 to the war drive. Even more directly, two former Baylor students, Gladys Cavitt and Roxie Henderson, served overseas as nurses in France and Great Britain, respectively. Young women at Baylor clearly lacked little in patriotic spirit and fervor.

Baylor’s female students raise funds for the Red Cross on campus during WWI.

Baylor co-eds also participated in the war effort in less traditional capacities as a result of the absence of a significant portion of the male students. In 1917 and 1918, the Lariat was run by a female editor and mostly female staff. Both the editor and associate editor of the 1918 Round-Up were also women. Female students took positions at the Baylor Press, which was vacated by several of the men and represented the “first women in this vicinity to take the places of men in industrial occupations because of their going to war.” A group of young women organized the “Kampus Police Force” in an effort to keep the campus clean, a job typically reserved for the male students. They carried trash baskets, hauled leaves, swept the grandstands before games, and kept the campus clean of scraps of paper and rubbish for twenty cents an hour, the same wages men would have received. The women used the wages they earned to purchase War Savings Stamps, or donated them to the Red Cross. Although most of these jobs returned to men at the end of war, the demands of the conflict provided unusual opportunities for Baylor co-eds to serve their country.

Pictured here is the staff of the 1918 Round Up. Notice how the majority of the staff, including the editor, are women.

During the war, Baylor’s female students interacted with the soldiers housed at Camp MacArthur and Rich Field. Georgia Burleson Hall hosted soldiers from the camp for dinners and the administration allowed soldiers to attend the university’s social functions. Women from the Red Cross Auxiliary performed in conjunction with the band from Rich Field on May 3, 1918 at a benefit to raise funds for the organization.

From nursing soldiers overseas to rolling bandages and entertaining soldiers, the women of Baylor University demonstrated their patriotism and diligently contributed their “very definite work” to the war effort.