Tag Archive for 1930s

(Digital Collections) Behind The Image: Crowdsourcing A Mystery Graphic

"A Graphic Story of The Boom, The Crash and The Recovery of American Business, 1912-1936" by W.K. Cadman ca. 1936

“A Graphic Story of The Boom, The Crash and The Recovery of American Business, 1912-1936” by W.K. Cadman ca. 1936

From time to time, materials cross our desks that we just don’t have much information on, and we like to turn to you, our readers, for  help. The above image is one such example, and we hope there’s at least one of you out there who could help us shed a little light on this mystery graphic from the mid-1930s.

The Facts As We Know Them

Here’s what we know about this item:

  • It was created circa 1936 by an artist named W.K. Cadman.
  • It offers a very detailed examination of the ups and downs of the American economy for a 20-year period dating from before World War I to the mid-Depression years.
  • It is not an unbiased examination of the facts. It skewers Republican Herbert Hoover’s claim that his administration’s policies would put a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” by switching the verbiage to claim that after the 1929 stock market crash, there were “two cars going to pot and the chickens [were] in the garage.” This leads us to believe the graphic was distributed by or at least commissioned based on the ideals of the Democratic Party.
  • It was donated to the W.R. Poage Legislative Library as part of the papers of Caso March, a Baylor alumnus and three-time candidate for Texas governor (1946, 1948, 1950). In the 1930s, March was an attorney for the Federal Power Commission and a member of the Supreme Court of Texas.
  • Its size and general appearance lead us to believe it was either an insert in or was a supplemental to a newspaper.

And that’s about the sum total of what we know for sure. You can find a little more info on Caso March at his collection’s page on the Poage website, and you can see a higher resolution version of the image in our Historic Newspapers collection.

If you have more information on this piece or could point us to someone who does, drop us a line at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or leave us a comment below!


(Digital Collections) If You Scan Something, Set It Free: The Surprising Places We Find Our Digital Objects Online

An image from the Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music makes an appearance on “Gregg’s Blogg” at http://www.harpguitars.net.

For the parents among our readership, you well know that stepping back and letting your child experience life on their own – from their first unaided steps to the day they walk the stage at graduation – is one of the toughest things you have to master. And even though you know it’s part of their healthy development, you can’t help but feel a mix of bittersweet emotions when you see them take that next step on their own.

We experience something akin to this when we take a look around the Web to see where our digital collections objects are showing up online. The usual suspects turn up pretty frequently – Flickr, Pinterest and the like – but every now and then we see references to our materials in some pretty interesting places. So we thought we’d present a few examples to you here, in no particular order, of places you can see the results of our hard work presented by people all across the Internet’s spectrum of sites.

War of the Rebellion Atlas plate on a French language site registered in Djibouti

War of the Rebellion Atlas plate on a curated set of American Civil War images amalgamated by Photoree

Article on the Browning Letters Project from PublicLibraries.com

Wikipedia entry for Pat Neff featuring image from 1933 “Roundup”

An image from the Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music on a blog dedicated to “the harp guitar”

And these examples are just a smattering. Many of the images and references back to our collections stem from the major publicity we received from two viral stories related to our work that came out last year. One was the major media coverage related to the Valentine’s Day unveiling of the Browning Letters Project, and the other was our blog post from August, “So We Can Throw These Out Now, Right?” What We Learned from Microfilming Newspapers and How It Shapes Our Digitization Strategy.

One issue with the widespread proliferation of our materials does arise, however. Many of the references to our Digital Collections homepage link back to an old URL. We used contentdm.baylor.edu prior to an update to our content management system, CONTENTdm, which we implemented a couple of years ago. That means anything that was blogged about, posted to Flickr or referenced in some other way using a link from the old contentdm.baylor.edu address won’t work correctly today. Instead, it will redirect users to our homepage, where they’ll have to carry out their search again. We’ve added information about this issue to our Digital Collections homepage, and so far we’ve not received any negative feedback regarding these now-unavailable links.

So if you’re out scouring the fringes of the Internet one day and happen to come across a reference to our digital collections in a fun or unexpected place, drop us an email and tell us about it. Because if there’s one thing parents everywhere enjoy without question, it’s seeing their babies making a difference in the world.

(Digital Collections) Stop the Presses, Start the Scanners: Digitizing Baylor’s News Release Archive

Baylor University news releases from the 1930s

It’s hard to imagine given the pervasive nature of the media outlets available today – from the major broadcast networks, cable news networks, blogs, microblogs, social media avenues and more – but there was a time when the concept of a press release didn’t exist. The content readers found in their daily newspaper or heard over the air on their RCA radios came from journalists doing “shoe-leather” reporting, hitting the streets with steno pads and press passes, determined to get the scoop.

That began to change in the 1910s and 1920s with the advent of the field known as public relations. Early practitioners like Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays pioneered tactics like crisis communication and publicity via the media. As more and more corporate and public sector clients began to use tools like the press release, the idea of seeding the media with pre-packaged news items – professionally written, accurately worded, and unfailingly positive for their originators – became common practice.

Dating back to at least the 1920s, Baylor University embraced the notion of writing news items for distribution to the media outlets available around the country. Beginning with the University News Service and continuing to the present as the division of Marketing and Communications, skilled wordsmiths began writing stories and announcements that would expand the world’s awareness of the goings-on at the world’s oldest (and largest) Baptist university.

For many years, the Texas Collection kept vertical files of the press releases generated by the university, from the 1920s to the present. In 2011, the Digitization Projects Group began the process of digitizing these important original sources. Texas Collection staff and students spent hours pulling the press releases from their various holdings and condensing them into almost 50 bankers boxes. After months of slow but steady progress, a concentrated effort to finally put the press releases into chronological order was begun two weeks ago.

After 500 combined staff and student hours were spent on the project, the press releases have been sorted into chronological order and duplicates removed. Our rough estimate is that some 60,000+ pages of press releases will be digitized and placed online as part of a fully searchable collection documenting events major and minor in the history of the university.

Below are some photos of the painstaking process of sifting through more than 120,000 pages of documents that overtook the Riley Digitization Center in the past month. (The additional 60,000 pages were duplicates removed before scanning begins.) As digitization gets underway, we’ll update you on progress towards getting these invaluable resources online for everyone to access via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

In addition to staffers Darryl Stuhr, Allyson Riley and myself, the project received excellent efforts from a bevy of student workers:

  • Sarah Minott
  • Holly Tapley
  • Sierra Wilson
  • Leslie Zapata
  • Sannya Salim
  • Kaitlin Pleshko
  • Liz Haddad
  • Brooke Farmer
  • Macy Floyd
  • Jilli Floyd

(Digital Collections) On Carroll Field, White Bread, and the Comfort of Electric Power

While working through some exciting new pieces we’re adding to the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive (BULAA) in the next few days, I spotted a couple of interesting items in a 1934 program from the Homecoming game against Texas A&M.

The first thing to note is the location of the game, Carroll Field. Throughout its storied history, Baylor football games have been played in no less than five locations:

  • Prior to 1906, games were played in an unnamed field adjacent to Old Main.
  • Carroll Field
    1906 to 1925, and from 1930 to 1935
  • Waco Cotton Palace
    1926 to 1929
  • Waco Stadium/Waco Municipal Stadium
    1936 to 1949
  • Baylor Stadium/Floyd Casey Stadium
    1950 to present

Carroll Field is seen in the photograph below, just to the right of Carroll Science building.

In the above image, the field is configured for baseball season, but the white picket fence around the field is visible in the background of this photo of a football game against an unknown opponent, circa 1916.

Digging deeper into the program, readers encounter this advertisement at the top of page 5.

A number of assertions in this ad may cause modern viewers to ask some fundamental (if a bit silly) questions. Questions like, “Why is white bread considered energy food?” or “Why is it such a big deal that the bread is sliced?” and “What happened to the Jones Fine Bread Co.?”

Although many today consider white bread a nutritionally neutral option at best, for many in the 1930s, bread was a major staple of their daily diet. But because poorer families often bought bulk flour and baked their own bread or biscuits at home, the idea of buying “light bread” from a grocery store could be a hard sell. Therefore, commercial bakeries used any number of selling points to make their case to consumers – including the idea that their bread would provide the energy needed to make it through a busy day.

Also, because many baked (and sliced) their own bread at home, the idea of buying a loaf of pre-sliced bread was both a novelty and a convenience. While the idea of pulling two slices of bread out of a package to make a quick sandwich means little to us today, the idea of saving a few precious moments by using pre-sliced bread was a luxury to many during the Great Depression.

Lastly, the Jones Bread Company seems to have been a local bakery in the Waco area that supported a unique program called the “Jones’ Fine Bread Kiddie Matinee Show.” According to this article from the Waco History Project by Teri Jo Ryan, the show, which was hosted by Mary Holliday, was a kind of forerunner to American Idol that gave local kids a chance to showcase their talents on a weekly radio program.

Our final point of interest is the ad from the back cover of the program, this one for Texas Power and Light.

The benefits of electric power are listed in relation to something we give little thought to today: the ability to lessen the strain dim lighting puts on our eyes. In a time when large numbers of Americans – especially those in rural areas – were without power beyond what could be provided by candles and gas lamps, the idea of having a home full of evenly distributed, reliable light was nothing short of miraculous. And until the establishment of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935, there were often few opportunities for people in rural areas to take advantage of such a modern luxury. This ad reminds us of a time when something we take for grated today was considered big enough news to warrant two-thirds of a prominent advertisement on a program seen by thousands of people attending a Baylor University football game.

The entire program, part of the Baylor University Athletics Archive, is available at http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/ref/collection/33athletics/id/2745.