Tag Archive for Baylor History

(Digital Collections) The Freshmen (19)15: When Being Named “Fattest Boy” Was A Sign of Affection

Some people like to think that the proclivities of college students are a relatively recent occurrence. “They wear pajamas to class! They never look up from their cell phones! They give each other ridiculous nicknames! They have their laundry picked up by a service that washes and folds it before returning it to them!” And so on.

The corollary to this is that people also assume college students of a century ago were always serious, focused on academics, and learning how to become robber barons or doctors or famous theologians. (Also, the world was in black and white because color hadn’t been invented yet.)

If that’s been your mindset, prepare to clutch your pearls, because a look at a brief item from the March 18, 1915 Baylor Lariat reveals college students have been doing at least one of these – assigning ridiculous nicknames – since the days our great-grandparents roamed the campus.

This particular story was part of a “Freshman Edition” of the Lariat that was prominently stamped with the class’s graduating year:

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.48.15 PMThe fourth article featured above the fold is a two-paragraph story on a recent decision by the freshman class to memorialize itself in concrete.

1915-03-18In these two short paragraphs are revealed several insights into life on Baylor’s campus early in the last century. First off, the lead paragraph tells us that the class of 1918, like its contemporary classes of the era, was interested in leaving its mark on campus in the form of a permanent structure. (The other practice of painting one’s graduation year on the towers of Old Main was a splashier but less enduring option.) The proposed fountain for the class of 1918 was to be “an ornamental design with the class emblem in relief,” according to the story’s opening paragraph.

The second paragraph reveals the quirky sense of humor on display by these early twentieth century Baylorites. A full list of “officers” and their “offices” includes:

T.P. Barron – future president
Hull Youngblood – Arch’s successor
Guy Crosslin – most timid boy
Carolyn Franks – fattest girl
Hazel Gorman – Quakeress
E.T. Gwaltney – class giant
H.C. Morrow – biggest liar
Roy Sanderford – biggest hobo
Lorene Patty – most reserved girl;
Doyle Thrailkill – leading suffragette
O.M. Webb – professional “vag” (vagabond)
Horace W. Williams – fattest boy

Some of these are pretty straightforward, if seemingly offensive to modern sensitivities. “Fattest girl,” “fattest boy” and “biggest hobo” are self-explanatory, but if you do a little digging you’ll find they’re much more likely to be satirical than true-to-life. For example, here’s a photo of “fattest boy” Horace W. Williams from the 1916 Round Up:

williams_1916-RUAnd “biggest hobo” Roy Sanderford? He wound up serving in the Army in World War I and was listed as an honored alum in the 1918 Round Up. “Most timid boy” Guy Crosslin also served in the army (as a Lieutenant) and “class giant” E.T. Gwaltney was active in athletics, playing both basketball and tennis.

Finally, “most reserved girl” Lorene Patty would go on to serve as secretary of the sophomore class in 1916.

Patty_1916-RUIn that capacity, she would write the class’s history for the 1916 Round Up, concluding with these words:

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.27.13 PMWorthy of Further Examination

But the two most interesting for my money are “Arch’s successor” Hull Youngblood and “leading suffragette” Doyle Thrailkill. One would be part of a long-running tradition among the freshmen classes of the early 1900s and the other would propose an idea that became one of Baylor’s most recognized and longest-running icons.

First, Hull Youngblood, pictured here in all his cravat-ly glory in the 1915 Round Up:

youngblood_1915_RUHis title of “Arch’s successor” has to do with the story of a long-serving “handyman” on campus and one of Baylor’s earliest African American notables, Arch Long, pictured here in the 1932 Round Up:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 10.52.27 AMLong began his 45 years of service to Baylor in 1892, working alongside his brother William. Long delivered coal, made repairs and generally served as a prototypical maintenance and facilities expert, all while exhibiting a great sense of humor and morals that were praised by Baylor president Pat Neff upon Long’s retirement in 1938. Long would die in 1952, his long service to the university earning him the status of “legend,” according to an article in the September 24, 1952 Lariat.

For a number of years, during the first freshman class meeting each year, Arch’s name was put forward as a possible candidate for president, along with “candidates” like G.B. Hall (the name of a women’s dormitory) and Carroll Field (the athletic field on campus), the joke being that many of the freshmen wouldn’t know the latter two weren’t actually people, let alone members of the class. Ergo, Youngblood’s status as “Arch’s successor” seems to indicate he was likely to be put forward as a potential candidate for president of the class of 1918 at some point.

Doyle Thrailkill’s contribution to Baylor history is her putting forward the bear as Baylor’s official mascot. Replying to an appeal from Kit Roseborough in 1914, Thrailkill’s suggest of a bear won an overwhelming majority of the votes and would, of course, go on to become the official mascot. This process is best summed up by a brief recap in the 1928 Round Up:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 11.31.21 AMSo the next time you think something a college student does is indicative of a modern trend toward dissolution, or you get the urge to shout, “Get off my lawn!” at a 20-year-old wearing earbuds and a fedora, remember that these same young people may go on to affect the history of your campus, your city or your nation in the years to come.

And if nothing else, you can rest easy in knowing that none of them will earn the title of “Quakeress,” so at least there’s that.

 

(Digital Collections) “Watch and Pray” – A Look at The ‘Baptist Argus’ Collection, Part I

On October 28, 1897, a new publication released its first issue, and it would go on to influence thousands of lives in the Baptist world over the course of decades. Today, we are adding the first installment of three decades’ worth of The Baptist Argus (later The Baptist World) to our digital collections. In this blog post, we’ll introduce the collection and look at a few key instances of coverage given to the goings on at Baylor University (and our sister institution, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, or Baylor Female College) from 1897 to 1911. Later, we’ll blog about the years 1912-1923.

Before we get too far along, we want to give our thanks to the fine people at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for their partnership in this project. It is their physical copies of The Baptist Argus that we are digitizing for this digital archive, and their partnership and patience with the process are greatly appreciated.

A Voice for Baptists

The Baptist Argus began publication in Louisville, Kentucky in fall of 1897. It featured a blend of news coverage, biographical sketches, prayers and a continuously updated listing of preachers and their new (or former) appointments. The front page of each issue almost always featured a woodcut illustration of a major Baptist luminary.

"The Baptist Argus," Vol. 1, No. 1 - March 28, 1897.

“The Baptist Argus,” Vol. 1, No. 1 – March 28, 1897.

In 1909, the Argus changed its name to The Baptist World. The new name came with a new motto as well, changing from “Watch and Pray” to “Christ for the World, the World for Christ.” Though the layout and content would remain the same, the new emphasis on global church affairs would have greater resonance as the world entered into a state of global conflict in 1914.

We think this resource will provide rich insight into the development of late 19th- and early 20th-century southern Baptists, in particular, the importance of the church’s influence on world affairs. But of interest to historians of Texas Baptist history, it’s the look at developments related to Baylor, Mary Hardin-Baylor and associated institutions (like Waco’s First Baptist Church) that we think will be most valuable.

Baylor in the Argus

Here are just a few of the earliest mentions of Baylor University and some of its big names from the pages of The Baptist Argus. Click on the links to access the full issue for more information.

  • Baylor University has a new department – Correspondence instruction. Prof. John T. Tanner will have charge. (November 25, 1897)
  • Dr. J.M. Carroll has resigned at Baylor Female College to re-enter the pastorate. (January 6, 1898)
  • The Texas Educational Commission arranged the basis of union as follows: Baylor University is to be really a university, and the others preparatory schools of high grade. (March 17, 1898)
  • Baylor University has secured Rev. J.W. Staton as Ministerial Education Agent (March 31, 1898)
  • Baylor College Alumni elected Rev. H.C. Gleiss President (June 23, 1898)

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In Part II of this topic (which will come when we add the years 1912-1923), we’ll conclude our look at The Baptist Argus/The Baptist World as it looked in that time. We encourage you to explore The Baptist Argus collection and tell us about the treasures you unearth there. We hope you’ll agree that it’s got tons of potential, and we’re proud to host its digital presence on the Web. You’ll find it nowhere else but the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections!

 

(Digital Collections) “What’s Past Is Prologue” – Connecting Incoming Freshmen With Campus History at Summer Orientation

The month of June is reserved for welcoming the newest class of Freshmen into the Baylor family. For the second year in a row, the traditional Dr Pepper Hour mixer – held on the second day of orientation – was hosted by the university libraries in the Albritton Foyer of Moody Memorial Library. This year, the Digital Projects Group made our presence felt by presenting our Digital Collections website on a very large monitor. Our hook? Search our historic Baylor resources – the Round Up, the Lariat and the Baylor University Press Releases – to discover historical evidence of their ancestors who trod our verdant campus in the storied past.

And you know what? It worked.

Over the course of ten one-hour sessions, I manned our table and searched our collections for dozens of people. Admittedly, most of them were parents of incoming freshmen; after all, by this point in the process, our newest Bears have been overwhelmed with a day-and-a-half of information, so voluntarily searching an online database probably isn’t their highest priority. Mom and dad, however, were usually stoked to do something that didn’t require them to sign another form or write another check, so they were often thrilled to tell me the name of their ancestor and see what happened.

By my reckoning, what happened in 85% of the cases presented was the discovery that their ancestor – a mom, a grandmother, a great-uncle – was mentioned in one of the resources at least once. That means the system functioned exactly as we’d hoped: full-text fields were crawled quickly and efficiently, results were retrieved and displayed accurately, and a connection to a bygone Baylorite was made in seconds.

The times the system didn’t work were limited to searches for names that were extremely common and thus returned huge numbers of results – “John Smith,” across all possible dates – or there were the occasional complete misfires – a name not found in any instance across any collection. But for the most part, the system performed remarkably well, and several very interesting stories were shared from this experiment in live, no-nets searching.

The Beauty Queen

Cheryl and Penny M. pose with a photo of Penny’s mother, Ethyle Peacock – Baylor’s first “Miss Baylor”

Penny M. stopped by our setup with her daughter, incoming freshman Cheryl. Penny’s mother is Ethyle Peacock, a Baylor student of the 1960s. As the system searched for mentions of Ms. Peacock, Penny proceeded to tell me that her mother was not only a Baylor student: she happened to have been voted the first Miss Baylor in 1969. Sure enough, we found this image in the April 28th edition of the Lariat.

The Committeeman’s Granddaughter

Jen M. and her grandfather, Clyde Skidmore

 When my daughter’s preschool teacher, Jen M., happened to swing by the table one afternoon, she asked me to look up her grandfather, Clyde Skidmore. And wouldn’t you know it? Here he is posing with a group of seniors tasked with raising funds for the senior gift, class of 1954.

Bus Strike Beauty

Marilyn J. and her grandmother, Betty Rumph

Marilyn J. asked us to search for her grandmother, Betty Rumph. In this photo from the September 20, 1955 edition, Betty is photographed on the moped of Sung Ki Lee along with two other girls. Apparently taken during a bus strike in Waco, Betty won the heart of Mr. Lee – and, just as important, the use of his transportation.

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Our opportunity to showcase the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections at New Student Orientation was an unqualified success from our vantage point. Hundreds of people at each session were exposed to the collection, hundreds of flyers were distributed with our URL prominently on display, and we made dozens of new connections through our digitized resources.

But next year, if we get the same invitation, I can say with certainty that I will request a table further away from the Dr Pepper floats. I’m not sure I have the willpower to resist their sweet siren song for another stretch of ten sweltering June afternoons.