Weatherford, Texas Senior Hannah Schwartz has been busy this year helping us to re-process the Jack Hightower papers so they can be entered into BARD and more easily accessible to researchers. Hightower had a full career, serving in the Texas House of Representatives, 1953-1955, the Texas Senate, 1965-1974, the U.S. Congress, 1974-1984, and was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988. His collection has over 500 boxes.
Amanda: Hannah, what parts of Hightower’s papers have you worked on this year?
Hannah: I’ve been working on political papers from Hightower’s tenure in the Texas Legislature during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, during which time he served in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.
Amanda: Is there anything interesting you’ve learned about Hightower or the current situations of his time in office?
Hannah: The boxes I’ve gone through contain folders and folders full of letters from constituents, all of whom seemed to feel that if they wrote to Congressman Hightower about any subject of concern, then they would be genuinely heard. Hightower made a real effort to respond to each letter in a way that was both thoughtful and respectful (even when he had to disagree with someone) and his papers contain evidence of numerous times when he went out of his way to use his position to help a person in need. He signed each of his letters “yours very truly, Jack E. Hightower,” and he was, very truly, committed to caring about his constituents.
Amanda: What have you learned about archives this year?
Hannah: I’ve learned a lot about how archival collections work. Going though and re-processing a previously processed collection has shown me the importance of having a well-thought-out organizational system before starting to process a collection so that things are organized and labeled in a way that makes sense and would be helpful to researchers.
Also, I’ve been surprised to discover the serendipitous nature of archival work. You never know exactly what you’re going to find when you open a folder for the first time, but there’s almost always something unexpected and interesting inside.
Amanda: Lastly, of course we want to hear about you! What is your major? What do you like to do for fun at Baylor? Do you have plans for post-graduation?
Hannah: I’m a University Scholars major with concentrations in English literature and linguistics. Much of my outside of class time is taken up by the several student organizations I’m involved with, but, when I have free time, I enjoy sailing, hiking, writing poetry, and practicing yoga!
I plan to graduate from Baylor this May, get married in June, and then start a Master’s program in Library Science in the fall.
Amanda: We have really enjoyed having you work with us and wish you the very best for the future.