Tag Archive for Poage Library

Poage Library at 40: A New Director and A Bright Future (From the 2019 ITS & Libraries Magazine)

On September 21, 1979, dignitaries from around the nation gathered on a sunny Waco afternoon to dedicate a new $1.5 million 25,000 square feet facility on the Baylor campus. The new library was built to house an office for the recently retired Texas Congressman W. R. “Bob” Poage, his extensive archives, several new political collections, a reading room, and the Baylor graduate school. Forty years later, the W. R. Poage Legislative Library continues to thrive with an active Graduate Research Center, its beautiful Jack E. Hightower Book Vault, a growing number of political archives, and initiatives designed to encourage political research and civic engagement.

Mary Goolsby was selected in January to serve as the library’s new director. She began her work with the library in 2008, most recently serving as interim director, and hopes to continue to fulfill the original vision for this congressional research center.

“Congressman Poage imagined this library as a living institution and my goal is to welcome a new generation of researchers both at Baylor and beyond to use our archives,” said Goolsby. “We are already making our collections more accessible online and developing personal connections with faculty, graduate students and outside organizations whose interests match those of the library.” Goolsby also hopes to increase the engagement of History Fair students with the archives and continue the library’s involvement in Baylor School of Education’s iEngage Summer Civics Institute.

Beyond developing and extending the use of the library, Goolsby and the Poage staff are also in the process of designing a new permanent exhibit that will greet everyone who walks into the foyer. The exhibit will feature the two signature political collections of the library—the Bob Poage and Bob Bullock archives—along with highlights from a number of others.

In addition to featuring the collections, the exhibit will serve as an invitation to viewers to examine public service. “By representing the men and women of many backgrounds who have served the United States, Texas and Waco, we hope the exhibit will highlight our collections and encourage future generations to follow in the footsteps of these leaders,” said Goolsby. If all goes according to schedule, the exhibit should be open next summer.

To honor Poage Library’s 40th anniversary an open house will be held Friday, September 20, and in November the Standing Committee, the supporting organization for the library, will gather for a celebration at McLane Stadium. As director, Goolsby hopes to extend the work of those who have served before her and leave a lasting legacy, “When I retire, I hope that the reputation of the W. R. Poage Legislative Library will have grown among scholars and that I will have helped mentor the next generation of leaders for the Baylor Libraries.”


This story originally appeared in the 2019 Baylor University ITS & Libraries Magazine. To join our mailing list for future editions, email us at university_libraries@baylor.edu.

(Digital Collections) Moving Speeches, Moving Images: The Chet Edwards Collection Adds Video

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Congressman Chet Edwards sits in his office at the Poage Legislative Library, 2012. Photo courtesy Allyson Riley of the Digital Projects Group.

It was a little over two years ago – though it seems like yesterday! – that we met with former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) as he prepared to deposit his congressional papers with the Poage Legislative Library. We gave Rep. Edwards a tour of the Riley Digitization Center (described in this blog post) and had a good discussion of what to expect from the materials he had secured and generated over a sterling career in public service.

In the interim, we have since added the Chet Edwards Collection to our roster of digital collections, and today we’re happy to announce that, in addition to its 200+ transcripts of speeches delivered by Rep. Edwards, we have added the first batch of video materials. These clips were migrated from their original format of VHS tape and are presented in digital form for the first time via this collection.

The videos encompass three major sources: footage of Rep. Edwards’ floor speeches from the House of Representatives (captured by C-SPAN); unedited satellite feed from the House Studios and beamed direct to local television news studios; and assorted news segments, television appearances and the occasional long-form video.

Of these, the unedited satellite feed videos show Rep. Edwards in the most unexpected way, especially for a long-serving politician: a friendly, unscripted gentleman interacting with unseen board operators and journalists half a continent away. Between readings of prepared statements and answering questions from the press, Rep. Edwards shows an easy banter with members of the press, asking genuinely after their well-being and showing concern that all is comfortable for the listeners on the end of the line. It’s easy to see how his charm on the campaign trail went beyond the surface “smiling for the cameras” attitude worn by other politicians and touched on the core of a man who showed genuine interest in his constituents.

While there are many excellent clips in this collection, we wanted to feature two in this post. The first is the oldest clip in the collection: Rep. Edwards, who had only begun his career in the House in January 1991, appeared on a call-in show to discuss gun control on October 19 … the weekend after a gunman opened fire on a crowded Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. Killeen was part of Edwards’ congressional district, and his appearance on the show, where he discussed a change in his opinion on the subject of gun control, shows his ability to project calmness in the aftermath of a tragedy, a skill that would serve him well in the years to come. (Clip below is just under 90 seconds long. Click here for the full video.)

The second clip is a brief floor speech delivered by Rep. Edwards in 2002 on the subject of support for President George W. Bush’s approach to the “War on Terror.” In it, he quotes a portion of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”


View all of the videos – and the rest of the Chet Edwards Collection – at our digital collection site. For more information on the Chet Edwards Papers, visit the Poage Library’s site.

(Digital Collections) A View to a Kill: The Jack White Slide Collection Makes Its Case Through Visuals

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here.

It would be easy to assume that an event as well-documented visually as the Kennedy assassination would be immune from multiple interpretations and ambiguities. But anyone who thinks that may change their mind after viewing the materials in the Jack White Slide Collection, part of the JFK-related collections held at the Poage Legislative Library. The result of decades of research by Jack White (1927-2012), the collection contains more than 2,200 slides and photos pertaining to the assassination, including many of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Ad Man’s Quest

Jack White was a native Texan who made his mark in the advertising business, working at several large firms in Fort Worth and opening his own shop in the 1980s. A Navy veteran (1945-1946) and erstwhile journalist, White had a lifelong interest in art, photography and design. During an assignment to write a centennial history of Fort Worth National Bank, White became interested in acquiring historical photos and the preservation of artifacts. This pushed his interest in photography into overdrive and he applied this focus to his acquisition of materials related to the Kennedy assassination.

White’s pursuit of materials and information surrounding the Kennedy assassination led to his producing videos on the photographic studies he created of the event, as well as an opportunity to serve as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film JFK. White also developed a slide lecture – the images from which are featured in this collection – which he presented to students and gatherings related to the assassination.

What the Cameras Saw (Allegedly)

The slides featured in this collection run the gamut from stills derived from the Zapruder film to blurry images taken on cameras seconds after the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza. Also included are personal photographs of Oswald and numerous other personages involved in the investigation, as well as people long thought part of the “conspiracy” around the assassination. The cast of characters shown in this collection read like a “who’s who” of assassination-related men: The Umbrella Man, The Old Tramp, The Cuban and Frenchy all make appearances here.

“The Umbrella Man” and “the Cuban” on Dealey Plaza at time of first shots.

In all, there are 2,276 slides in the collection, drawn from ten carousels’ worth of materials. Major headings in the collection – the titles of which were assigned by White – include “Z [Zapruder] Film,” “Film Enlargements,” “Lee Harvey Oswald” and “The Oswald Problem: LHO2 The Power of Two.”

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We will continue to highlight additional JFK-related collections throughout October and November as we participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. If you have any questions, please email us at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or visit the Poage Legislative Library’s JFK Materials Website for more information. Biographical information on Jack White adapted from the Poage Library’s Jack D. White Materials web page.

(Digital Collections) A Visit From Rep. Chet Edwards

Former U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards in his office at Poage Legislative Library

Baylor University recently announced that former U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards was appointed the W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service, an honor that was accompanied with the news that his congressional papers would be housed in the Poage Legislative Library on campus.

A few weeks prior to the announcement, Congressman Edwards toured the Riley Digitization Center and learned more about our capabilities to digitize large archival holdings. Edwards was very interested in how we are able to turn hundreds of feet of paper records into searchable, remotely accessible digital objects. As his records will also contain materials on audio/visual formats like DVD, VHS tapes, and Umatic tapes (like Beta), Edwards was also impressed with the Riley Center’s video and audio migration technology.


Above, Assistant VP for the Electronic Library Tim Logan shows Rep. Edwards a 16” radio transcription disc while Darryl Stuhr, Manager of Digitization Projects, looks on at left. The disc was placed on a turntable in the radio studio and cut live as the broadcast was under way. An interesting thing to note on discs of this size is the second hole in the center; the extra weight of such a large disc could cause it to wobble during recording, so the second hole in the center fit over a second spindle for added stability.

Prior to his visit, Rep. Edwards had mentioned the impact a speech by George W. Truett had on his development as a legislator. That speech, “Baptists and Religious Liberty,” was delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1920 while Truett was in Washington, D.C. for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Edwards spoke fondly of his appreciation for the speech, and we were excited to be able to pull up a digital copy available in our Institute of Church-State Studies Vertical File Collection. Below, Curator of Digital Collections Eric Ames shows Rep. Edwards the digital copy of that speech, reprinted in the October 1981 issue of the “Baptist Standard.”

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We are excited to work with Rep. Edwards as he develops his congressional papers for use by students, scholars, and interested parties around the world. They will serve as a unique and invaluable asset to those seeking a deeper understanding of American politics, geopolitical relations and his beliefs on the subject of leadership.

(1) Photos of Edwards’ tour by Allyson Riley