Tag Archive for Waco

(Digital Collections) Hucksters, Elevator Operators and Itinerant Scandinavian Pastors: A Sampling of Tidbits from the Waco City Directories

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Title page of the 1919-1920 Waco City Directory.

Last week, we unveiled a multimedia project we created wherein we mapped the home addresses of Baylor students from 1913-1914. The info we used to plot those addresses came from the Waco City Directories, an invaluable reference for Waco researchers that includes addresses, phone numbers and other information about early Wacoans.

Today, we’re offering a smorgasbord of fun finds from the directories as a way to entice users into a deeper exploration of this illuminating collection.

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Jobs In The Directories

1907Though we probably don’t give it a second thought anymore, there was a time when “elevator operator” was a viable career option in the United States.

1921-1922_03When people hear the word “huckster,” they tend to think of someone who’s trying to rip them off. In 1919, however, a huckster was a peddler of small items, especially fruits or vegetables.

1904The reasons for the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church’s unfilled pastorship are unclear, but it indicates a job opportunity for an enterprising Swede with a desire to live in Central Texas.

Ads For Everything and Everyone

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.57.27 PMEvery business needs a “hook” to differentiate itself from the competition. For Graham-Jarrell’s – “The Woman’s Department Store” – it was the fact that every month, the owners gave a bonus to their employees.

1921-1922This ad for Baylor University comes from the 1921-1922 directory and trumpets a university that had grown tremendously from its founding in Independence, TX in 1845. It ran just a year after the university celebrated its diamond anniversary, an event captured in a photo we blogged about back in 2012.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.54.49 PMBased on the text for this ad for Park Lawn Cemetery (located adjacent to Oakwood Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest in the city), the funerary industry has been trading on the ephemeral nature of human life since at least 1919.

1921-1922_04Once a major manufacturing concern – and now an empty field, as we’ll see below – the Mailander company specialized in fixtures for businesses, including showcases and other furniture. Note the profusion of smokestacks depicted in the advertisement; far from being an example of an unsafe environment, it is meant to symbolize Waco as a center for business and industry.

mailander_map copyThe site of the Mailander factory is now an empty city block at 6th St. and Jackson. The railroad line depicted in the ad is still there, however, and the site is just a block West of a major Waco landmark – the silos of the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Co.

1921-1922_02By 1922, the directory had grown so inclusive it required a full-page list of abbreviations for everything from occupation (undtkr for undertaker) and location (opp for opposite).

What’s In A Name?

To conclude our trip through the directories, I wanted to include some of my favorite names from the 1919 directory, in alphabetical order. And we thought names like BrookLynn were innovative – 2014’s got nothing on 1919!

Rilda Aerl
Euphemia Ashburn
Larkin Barker
Unity Mae Cardwell
Pate Darwin
Lyphus F. Easterwood
Mordis Falkner
Troupe E. Gammage
Sophronia Holliday
Pet Ish
Myrtice Jinright
Floy Kelly
Attalee Lumbley
Cebron Megarity
Orville Oates
Nero Pruitt
Alleyne Quicksall
Elmer Robideaux
Jeptha W. Simpson
Francis Thwing
Alf T. Usher
Joab Vestal
Coma Waldrop
Jahtee Yeager
Hattie Zurfluh

To see the digital copies of the Waco City Directories, visit our Digital Collections homepage. To arrange access to physical copies, or to see more resources related to Baylor and Waco history, contact The Texas Collection.

(Digital Collections) Bonnie and Clyde (and Pat) and The Texas Collection Artifact That Ties Them Together

A page from the “Calaboose Register” of McLennan County, ca. 1930.
From the Pat Neff Collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas. (Click to enlarge)

Frank Jasek, the library’s resident bookbinder and preservationist extraordinaire, wheeled the book truck into my office, his face aglow with mischief.

“Have you ever seen one of these before?” he asked, gesturing to a large bound volume measuring about a foot tall by two feet wide. The words “CALABOOSE REGISTER” were stamped on its cover. “No,” I answered Frank. “I can honestly say I have not.”

With a knowing smile, he opened the register’s cover and began turning its lined pages, each covered with orderly columns of pencil-written text. “’Calaboose’ is an old slang term for ‘jail,’” Frank said. “This particular register lists all the people booked into the McLennan County jail between the late 1920s and the mid-1930s.”

He finished turning pages and pointed his finger at an entry on line number nine, page 148, dated March 1930. “Do you recognize that name?” The information, written by a nameless clerk almost a century ago, was easily legible. It read, in part:

Clyde Barrow. Denton. 12.40 AM. Suspect burglary theft of car.

The McLennan County Jail booking information for Clyde Barrow, March 3, 1930.
From the Pat Neff Collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas. (Click to enlarge)

And that’s when I realized that sitting in my office was an artifact from Waco’s direct connection to one of crime’s most infamous duos: Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, known to the world as Bonnie and Clyde.

The First Temptation of Bonnie Parker
When nineteen-year-old Bonnie Parker of Cement City, Texas (a Dallas suburb) met Clyde Barrow in January of 1930, she was a married woman. However, her husband had been in jail since January 1929, so Bonnie was free to fall head-over-heels for the brazen young man with the criminal past. According to most reports, Bonnie and Clyde became inseparable almost from the start. But it wasn’t until March of 1930 that Bonnie’s adoration for Clyde would push her across the line separating infatuation from criminality.

Clyde Barrow’s mug shot from the McLennan County jail, March 1930.
(Image courtesy the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas)

Clyde Barrow was wanted on criminal counts out of Waco, and he was arrested in Denton County on March 2, 1930. He was transferred to Waco by officers Holt and Hatt on March 3 and on March 5, Clyde pleaded guilty to a total of seven criminal charges filed in McLennan County, including a charge of stealing W.W. Cameron’s automobile. (Cameron’s name is synonymous with Waco history due to his decision to donate hundreds of acres of land to the city of Waco in memory of his father, William Cameron; the land was named Cameron Park in his honor.) Clyde was sentenced to serve two years in the state jail at Huntsville. While awaiting transfer, he shared a cell with two petty criminals named Willie Turner and Emery Abernathy. Together, they hatched a plan for a daring escape, but for it to succeed they would need someone on the outside. Bonnie fit the bill perfectly.

Turner had hidden a gun in a home located at 625 Turner in East Waco. (Sadly, this building has long since been demolished.) If someone could retrieve it and smuggle it into the jail, they could steal the keys from a jailer and make their escape. Bonnie, who had been visiting Clyde repeatedly during his incarceration, agreed to help. On the afternoon of March 11, she retrieved the gun and secured it under her dress using a belt worn around her chest. A 1956 Argosy magazine article picks up the story from there:

“The night before moving Clyde to Huntsville from the Waco Jail, Bonnie brooded for several hours and then made preparations to go see Clyde in jail. Bonnie got a few minutes to tell Clyde good-bye and that was just enough time. From outside the cell, the jailer saw only the lover’s [sic] farewell embrace, but Bonnie whispered in Clyde’s ear, ‘Put your hand inside my blouse, honey.’ Clyde got a surprise; in between her breasts Bonnie had hidden a snub nose revolver. Bonnie shielded Clyde from the jailer’s eyes and Clyde shifted the gun to his pocket. Bonnie said, ‘Be careful, sugar,’ kissed him and left the jail.” (Argosy magazine, March 1956)

Although Clyde claimed he threw the gun used in his jailbreak into an Ohio river while on the lam from Waco, some scholars believe it was a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver similar to this one, currently on display at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas.
(Photo courtesy the TRHFM)

Later that night, the Waco Times Herald reports:

“About 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night Jailer I.P. Stanford, unarmed, went to the second floor of the jail where the three were confined, to carry Turner a bottle of milk. When he opened the door of the cage he was stopped by Turner, then Abernathy poked a gun in to his ribs and ordered Stanford to ‘stick ’em up.’ Stanford was locked in a cell after he was robbed of his keys. Huse Jones, on duty at the turnkey’s desk downstairs, was then held up, and keys to the final jail door taken from him.” (Waco Times Herald, March 12, 1930)

The men fled into the night, dodging bullets fired by jail staff. They stole a series of cars on their way out of Waco, ultimately evading arrest for a week before being rearrested in Ohio. At the time, no one suspected Bonnie’s part in the jailbreak; the Times Herald’s coverage did not note anything “that even remotely linked Clyde’s female visitor” to the act (Guinn, 2009). Bonnie had committed her first criminal act and no one was the wiser.

The story of Bonnie and Clyde’s reunion and subsequent crime spree – and its bloody end in a shoot-out in rural Louisiana – became the stuff of legend. To this day, there are discrepancies and points of dissent woven throughout their brief, violent time together. In some cases, it can be hard to know exactly what is fact and what is fiction.

Which makes the rest of our story today even more fitting.

Governor Neff’s Collection
In our own way, the subject of this post – the calaboose register – is another part of the Bonnie and Clyde mystery. That’s because its provenance is only partially established, and as with any great mystery, it may never be fully solved.

We know for a fact that the register came to Baylor as part of the Pat Neff Collection. Neff, who served as governor of Texas from 1921 to 1925 and president of Baylor University from 1932-1947, left a huge collection of materials behind as part of The Texas Collection’s holdings. The materials cover such a large swath of Texas and Baylor history that it crosses over lines demarcating the University Archives and the Special Collections. It contains materials created by Neff during his time at Baylor and his time in Austin, as well as artifacts and documents he collected during his lifetime.

Which is why it is difficult to establish with certainty when the calaboose register became a part of Neff’s collection. Was it given to him by someone from McLennan County? Did he acquire it at an estate sale? Was it part of his law library or a curiosity he rescued from the scrapheap on a whim? To date, the exact path the register took from the desk of a McLennan County clerk to the collection of a former Texas governor is open for further research.

Just Another Day in the DPG
One question we can answer is how it came to the Digitization Projects Group. When Frank walked through our door with the register on a book truck, he had just finished restoring its cover. Benna Vaughn, the Special Collections and Manuscripts Archivist at The Texas Collection, had sent the register to Frank for repair after she spotted some mold damage on the binding. Frank expertly replaced the damaged section of the binding and even managed to preserve the original cover. Over the course of many hours spent poring over the volume in the course of his work, Frank noticed the dates covered by the volume and used his memory of the Clyde Barrow jailbreak to locate the entry seen above.

We routinely see these kinds of materials moving through the Riley Digitization Center. They are not scheduled as part of a larger collection but our expertise in scanning makes us a prime spot for people to bring materials like this. In some cases it’s because one of our colleagues knows someone in the DPG has an interest in the subject. In others, it’s a matter of sharing something too exciting to keep under wraps. For the most part, these one-offs will not make it online – although the register may one may day as part of the Pat Neff papers – but they do provide an opportunity for us to keep our scanning skills sharp, and sometimes they lead to a fun opportunity to share a story with a wider audience, as we’ve undertaken to do here.

If you’d like to see the Clyde Barrow calaboose register for yourself, call the fine people at The Texas Collection and ask to see the item from the Pat Neff Collection with ties to a high-stakes jailbreak involving two of America’s most notorious folk criminals. They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.

For more great information on Bonnie and Clyde, including a display of weapons associated with their notorious partnership, visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco. Special thanks to Mary “Kate” McCarthy (Collections Assistant) and Shelly Crittendon (Collections Manager) for their most excellent help with this article.

Sources Consulted

Guinn, Jeff. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Ramsey, Winston (ed.). On the Trail of Bonnie and Clyde: Then and Now. Battle of Britain Prints, 2003.

Veit, Richard. “The Waco Jailbreak of Bonnie and Clyde.” Waco Heritage and History magazine. December 1990.

“Killer in skirts.” Argosy magazine. March 1956. From the vertical files of The Texas Collection.

“Jail Break in Waco Was Early Episode in Clyde Barrow Career.” Waco Tribune Herald. October 26, 1975. From the vertical files of The Texas Collection.

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker entries from the Texas Sate Historical Association’s “Handbook of Texas Online” (www.tshaonline.org)

(Digital Collections) Bringing Cartography, Digitization and Texana Together for a Limited Time Via Our Digital Collections [UPDATED]

If you’ve followed our blog for awhile, you may recall a post about the special digitization equipment we utilize here at the Riley Digitization Center, including our large format map scanner, the Cruse CS-285. Well, the “big guy” got a workout this past summer when we digitized a number of rare and interesting maps from The Texas Collection in preparation for a joint physical and digital exhibit entitled “Mapping Waco: A Brief History, 1845-1913.”

The exhibit, which will be open at the Carroll Library on campus through December, features 11 maps from the earliest days of Waco and explores the development of our fair city’s boundaries as they extended beyond the original plot of land surveyed and staked by George B. Erath and Neil McLennan.

Maps featured in the exhibit include an 1845 “Map of Texas from the most recent authorities,” an 1873 Bird’s Eye View of the City of Waco and a 1913 Map of Waco, Texas and Suburbs. Each map is a fine example of the cartographer’s art, and true buffs will find much to intrigue them whether in person at The Texas Collection or via the digital exhibit presented via our Digital Collections.

Digitization and Exhibit Creation Process

The maps were scanned on the Cruse at a minimum of 300 dpi, with smaller maps scanned at higher resolutions. The Texas Collection’s staff delivered the maps in either Mylar folders or rolled in archival-safe tubes and Digitization Projects Group staff scanned them over the course of several weeks earlier this year. The files were checked for stability and backed up to our preservation server and other off-campus storage solutions before the originals were returned to The Texas Collection, and the process of adding the materials to CONTENTdm began.

Creating the digital records included attaching cataloging metadata to the maps, and for that we relied on information retrieved from BearCat, the university’s digital cataloging system. As we were putting together the digital exhibit, we added text and other information generated by staff at The Texas Collection to mirror the wording printed for labels for the physical exhibit, thus ensuring that visitors to either version of the exhibit would see the same information about each map.

To add some extra features to the digital component of the exhibit, we turned to two popular online tools, Flickr and GoogleMaps. For the Flickr content, we chose eight maps from the exhibit and digitally enhanced them to give users an idea of what the maps might have looked like when they were first printed. (As a rule, we do not enhance or otherwise alter the items in our Digital Collections, preferring to present them as they appear today. Enhancements are reserved for special cases like this exhibit’s Flickr stream.)

Here, you can see the difference between the current state of the 1869 map of Waco and its digitally reconstructed version, presented via Flickr.

We also wanted to give people a sense of how the maps looked compared to current maps  of Waco, so we used the GIS data presented via GoogleMaps to overlay the boundaries of the historic maps with their modern-day contemporaries. Here, you can see the way the Farwell Heights Addition to Waco Map relates to the current map of Waco. We also added points of interest listed in the original map which are no longer extant today, including a proposed car shed for an electric street car line and the site of the Waco Female College.

A GoogleMap showing the boundaries of the Farwell Heights Addition


We hope you’ll take some time today to click over and explore this unique exhibit. It will give you a deeper appreciation of the changing landscape of Waco’s streets and buildings, and – we hope – a feel for how digital and physical exhibits can work together to present information to visitors in-person and online. Special thanks to our colleagues at The Texas Collection for their invaluable contributions to the exhibit, and to the DPG staffers and student workers who digitized the maps.

View the Exhibit

View the Flickr Set of Digitally Enhanced Maps

Visit The Texas Collection’s Website

“Mapping Waco: A Brief History, 1845-1913” is a joint exhibit of The Texas Collection and the Digitization Projects Group and will be available in person and online through December 2012.

UPDATE: November 7, 2012

Our friends at The Texas Collection have written a blog post about the exhibit as well. You can view it via their blog.

(Digital Collections) Hidden in Plain Sight: Looking Closer at the Diamond Jubilee, Baylor University, 1920

Baylor University was in the mood to celebrate in 1920, for that was the year of its diamond jubilee. Seventy-five years earlier, in the Washington County town of Independence, the university was established and named for Judge R.E.B. Baylor; the ensuing decades had seen it grow into a thriving institution in a new city, Waco.

This photograph was taken on June 16, 1920, Commencement Day for the proud new graduates. The scene is Burleson Quadrangle, a tree-covered swath of campus bounded by Carroll Library (at left), Georgia Burleson Hall (middle left), Old Main (middle right) and Carroll Science Building (right). The photographer’s perspective is centered on the statue of Rufus C. Burleson, crafted by Italian-Texan sculptor Pompeo Coppini. (Coppini’s work can be seen in the statuary of another famous figure from Baylor’s past: the seated statue of Judge Baylor located in front of Waco Hall is also his handiwork.)

As with the YMBL panoramic we examined in an earlier post, it is worth looking deeper into this photograph for glimpses of the vignettes taking place before the unblinking eye of the photographer’s camera. We note from the inscription that the photo was signed by Fred Gildersleeve, indicating his studio took the shot and developed the print, but evidence we’ll outline below indicates that it may have been Gildersleeve’s assistant who actually captured this particular image.

But we begin our journey in the upper left, where the dome of Carroll Library peeks out above the treeline. No one who saw the building after February 11, 1922 would ever see this sight again, for a massive fire would severely damage the building on that fateful day, and the reconstructed Carroll Library would not feature a restored dome.

Near the Burleson statue we see this gathering of women and children enjoying a summer day on the quad. The women are all wearing hats, including one that features a row of flowers encircling the crown (second from right). Even the youngest among them is sporting her Sunday best, with clean, bright dresses and fancy hats in evidence on the children playing in the grass in the foreground.

The tower of Old Main looms in the middle background, and a faint “’15” can be seen emblazoned on its shingled surface. This is the fading evidence of a tradition that for many years led graduating seniors to paint the numbers of their graduating year (in this case, 1915) on the towers of Old Main. It is a testament to the long-lasting nature of the class of ‘15’s choice of paint that it is still evident after five years exposed to Texas’ notoriously mercurial weather.

This scene in the background at right, near the steps to Carroll Science Building, reminds us of the purpose for the gathering: graduates in caps and gowns gather with friends and family to celebrate the newly minted alums’ big achievements.


Lastly, seated in the shade of a tree near the far right of the photograph, is a man wearing a striped shirt. Behind him is a camera on a tripod, and the figure has his hand to his chin as if pondering the best way to capture the scenes playing out in front of him. From his posture, trademark cap, and profile, it appears that this is Fred Gildersleeve, former jockey and master of the photographic art. Gildersleeve had been snapping photos in Waco since at least 1907, and over the course of a half-century he captured some of the most iconic images of a Waco transitioning between frontier cotton town and major Texas city. “Gildy” employed assistants over the course of his career, and since it appears he is the man in the chair, it seems logical to assume that we have an assistant to thank for capturing this view of the Diamond Jubilee Commencement Day’s celebration.

(1) Images excerpted from an original panoramic photograph from the Texas Collection; images enhanced for Web viewing.

To view the original online, visit http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/tx-phot/id/63/rec/35

Visit the Texas Collection online at http://www.baylor.edu/lib/texas for more priceless Texana.

(Digital Collections) Hidden in Plain Sight: Deconstructing a 1912 Panoramic Photo

Our first post of 2012 featured this photograph of a train excursion taken by the Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) to the Texas town of Comanche in 1912. It turns out there’s a lot going on in this one photo, so we’re going to take some time today to look a little closer at what lies within.

Since it’s unlikely these yardsticks were on-hand in case the people of Comanche had a spontaneous need to measure something in 3-foot increments, it’s likely they were branded with the name of a Waco company and passed out on the stops along the YMBL’s route. During this stop, the men took the opportunity to use them to spell out WACO, just in case later viewers of this photo were unsure of the train’s point of origin.

Of course, with almost every man in the photo wearing a hat reading, “Texas Cotton Palace/November 2 to 17/1912/Waco, Texas,” it would be hard to miss the source of these itinerant community spokesmen. The YMBL was a forerunner to the Chamber of Commerce; using their motto of “Come to Waco,” the YMBL toured Texas while touting the benefits of relocating to Waco for business or pleasure. In a book published by the League in 1912 (the same year this photograph was taken, coincidentally), the group listed “Situation [location], Natural Resources, Railroad and Capital” as reasons for choosing Waco as a permanent residence.

The Cotton Palace was another major point of pride for Waco, and a big draw for visitors from other cities. It made sense to promote the exposition to people across the state, as their attendance meant additional revenue for business owners in Waco. The hats worn by the men in this photo were just another way to get the message out about the date of the Cotton Palace – and they made a handy shade from the sun, to boot.

But what’s a pep rally for an entire city without a band? On this particular trip, the YMBL brought along a contingent of the Baylor University band, seen here posing with their instruments. Unlike the men wearing the Cotton Palace hats, the BU students are seen wearing a motley assortment of headgear, including what appear to be “slime caps,” or felt hats worn by Baylor freshmen.

Baylor wasn’t the only Waco institution of higher learning represented on the trip to Comanche. Here was see a small group of students from Toby’s Practical Business College, a school that purported to teach its students the most up-to-date techniques in the world of business. With branches in Waco and New York City, Toby’s was a fixture on the local scene and even fielded a football team – in fact, Baylor’s first football game in 1899 was played against Toby’s, with Baylor winning handily 20-0.

The real focus of the trip was commerce, and what better way to show Waco’s importance to the regional economy than to wear the message on one’s sleeve – or, in this case, across one’s back. This young man turns his back to the camera to reveal a message: “Ten Wheeler Overalls/Made in Waco/by Longley Mfg. Co.” While history may have forgotten his face, his endorsement of a favorite brand of local overalls is captured for posterity.


If ever a group of men could appreciate the importance of good overalls, it would be the engineer and fireman of the locomotive pulling the YMBL special along. The badging on the cab of the locomotive identifies it as belonging to the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, part of a conglomerate known more commonly as the Cotton Belt Line. Servicing major cotton markets in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, the Cotton Belt is recognized as one of the more famous regional railroads in the South.

These little vignettes within the larger photo make for a more interesting composition than might otherwise be expected. But the real challenge for historians when confronted with photos like this is the overwhelming lack of documentation associated with them. The caption in the upper left gives us some good information, but we’re not told if this photo was taken in Comanche or at a whistle-stop along the way. An even bigger challenge is identifying the men in the photo with any sense of accuracy. Precious few of these photos contain listings of people seen in them, and in this case, their identities may be lost forever.

But we have to emphasize the word may. The unique approach of using Internet users to identify elements of historic photographs – called “crowdsourcing” – can be helpful in identifying people, places, and events in historic photos. So, if you recognize your great-great-grandfather in this photo, drop us a line. You just might be able to help save a small part of Waco history.

(1) Images excerpted from an original panoramic photograph from the Texas Collection; images enhanced for Web viewing.

Visit the Texas Collection online at http://www.baylor.edu/lib/texas for more priceless Texana.