(BCPM) Family, Politics, and Religion, Oh My!

Isaiah working diligently on the collection.

Hello there! My name is Isaiah Horne. I am a second-year master’s student in the Baylor History Department. Throughout my tenure at Baylor, I have researched the process of school desegregation in Texas. As a result, I spent countless hours, in my first year, at the W. R. Poage Legislative Library. Amid the research process, I fell in love with the library and the people who worked in it. Later that year, I reached out to the library’s staff, Amanda Fisher and Thomas DeShong, for a job processing archival materials. I was offered the position and have been working here ever since.


Reuben Talasek’s complimentary season ticket to UT Austin football games as a state representative. [1]

My time at Poage has been spent processing the Talasek-Fowler Family papers, a recent addition to the archive. The collection covers the years between 1846 and 2017. It is organized into two series: the Reuben and Bernice Talasek series and the Family series. The first series includes materials related to the lives of Reuben and Bernice Talasek who were longtime residents of Temple, Texas. Reuben was born and raised in Temple, fought in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and served as a Texas State Representative for Bell County (1953-1959). Throughout his life, Talasek was a prominent businessman and remained heavily involved in the Temple community, serving on the Temple Chamber of Commerce, the Optimist Club, and as a volunteer in various community organizations. The collection also highlights the life of Bernice Fowler Talasek, Reuben’s wife, who was also raised in Temple and was an impactful member of the local community. Bernice was a skilled businesswoman and a vital member of community groups such as the Optimist Club International Women’s Club and a volunteer for organizations such as the Ralph Wilson Youth Club, Peaceable Kingdom, and BackPack buddies. The second series of the collection focuses on the families of Reuben and Bernice Talasek including their children and distant relatives.

Left: W.R. Poage; Second to Left: Reuben Talasek [2]

The collection was donated to the W. R. Poage Legislative Library by Reuben and Bernice Talasek’s daughter Terice in 2023. Collection materials chronicle Reuben and Bernice Talasek’s public and civic service as well as community engagement. The collection includes a wide array of photographs, personal items, CDs, art pieces, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the Talasek and Fowler families. Lastly, there is a variety of materials that reflect local issues in the city of Temple and topics addressed in the Texas legislature, state and local politicians’ campaign statements and propaganda, religious publications, as well as maps and blueprints of businesses.

Czech Hymnal 1893 [3]

For those interested in local or state politics, this collection contains a plethora of ordinary and extraordinary documents, materials pertaining to the day-to-day operations and discussions of issues. For example, the collection includes correspondence and newspaper clippings related to the construction of Highway 190. These materials reveal the exhaustive amount of politicking, time, and funding required to construct a state-sanctioned freeway. Furthermore, the collection will be useful for those seeking to explore largely untouched research materials. Due to Reuben Talasek’s Czech heritage, the collection houses several newspapers and hymnals written in Czech. In their original condition, such materials are a rare find and offer researchers the opportunity to explore Central Texas’s unique multicultural heritage.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the Poage Library on the Talasek-Fowler Family papers. I am confident that future researchers will look to this collection to gain a better understanding of local and state politics, community issues, as well as gain insight into the lives of the Talasek and Fowler family members over a century long-period.

[1]Talasek-Fowler Family papers, Accession #111, Box #10, Folder #4, Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University.

[2]Talasek-Fowler Family papers, Accession #111, Box #10, Folder #8, Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University.

[3]Talasek-Fowler Family papers, Accession #111, Box #14, Folder #16, Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University.

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