Texas Farm Workers and Migrant Farm Labor

This post was written by Payton Perez. Payton is a Junior, Political Science major; this is her first year working at The Texas Collection. Payton conducted preservation services on the photographs in the Texas Farmworkers in the Midwest Photograph collection, Accession #754.

The newly added Texas Farm Workers in the Midwest Photograph collection tells the story of Texas migrant workers through photographs and articles created by several newspaper media outlets from 1951 to 1969. Eight black and white photos, comprised of candid, posed, and action shots allow access into the lives of Texas migrant farm workers. Many of these workers traveled to Midwestern states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Indiana in search of work. Different aspects of life can be seen through these photos: travel, family, housing, education, and the labor experiences of migrant farm workers. Specifically, these photos largely tell the story of Mexican American workers coming from Texas, looking for anyone to hire them. Some photographs are accompanied by articles which offer more insight into the photograph itself and the lifestyle these farmers lived.

Terri Maier reading to two children of migrant farm workers.

Migrant farm workers have been around for decades, and these Texas Farm Workers are no different. When these articles were written, an estimated 127,800 people would leave southern Texas to go work on farms in other states, in addition to the almost a million others who traveled from other parts of the southern United States in search of the same goal. Some migrant workers would find work, but most would not, causing this lifestyle to be extremely uncertain and dangerous. Workers often were subjected to harsh climates and tasks that were expected of them, causing this labor-intensive job to be physically demanding and difficult to sustain.

Educational opportunities were severely limited for families as well. Moving around so often prevented children from attending school regularly, leading them to fall behind not only in their education, but also in basic skills. One photograph from 1965 shows Terri Maier of Wisconsin, teaching two children of migrant laborers outdoors. This was part of a program Maier participated in that had a goal of preparing children for regular school when they could go, and not letting them fall too far behind their peers. The state of Wisconsin also attempted to help provide methods of education to these young people in migrant families so that they could keep up with the other children in school year-round. Furthermore, a photo of two young women, Maria and Barbara Lozano, from 1951 has an article attached to it which discusses Minnesota’s attempts of regulating the problem of children’s education. Hollandale, Minnesota, had been described as “the world’s largest garden patch,” drawing in many migrant families from all over the country, including Texas. This in turn meant that many children of migrant families would occupy Hollandale and cause the city to develop a method of fixing this educational dilemma that then had national impacts.

Group of migrant farm workers plowing a field. Many wearing long clothing and headwear to protect their skin from the sun.

Most of the photos in this collection depict the realities of the day-to-day activities of migrant workers. Their housing was unreliable at best, resembling temporary shacks more than familial homes. Photos of workers physically in the field show them picking cucumbers, cherries, or any other crop they were assigned to. Many of the workers wore full coverage clothing, hats, or other head garments to protect themselves from the sun and other harsh environmental factors. Specifically, the story of Alex Torres and his family is highlighted in an article associated with a photo of him, his wife, and presumably their baby taking a break from their cherry-picking jobs. Torres, a crew leader, oversaw finding work for his family and the people in his crew. Twenty-one people – “10 men and women, 11 children,” Torres was responsible for, and they were luckier than most in finding work at Seth Thompkins’ cherry orchard near Old Mission, Michigan.  They migrated from Texas to Michigan in Torres’ “beat up $350 truck” which was the reason Torres was named leader. These seemingly harsh conditions were the norm for many migrant workers during this time, who lived in uncertainty and hope of finding work.

This small collection of photographs and articles opens a window into 1950s-1960s Texas and America as a whole. The typical life of a migrant worker, their travel plans, their educational complications, and their search for work can all be seen in these photographs and the words written about them.

Alex Torres with his wife and child, taking a break under the shade of a tree.


Green, Charles H. “Writer Discovers Migrant Workers Life is Not Easy.” Marshall News Messenger (Marshall, TX). 1963 September 2.
Schaefer, Edward. “Hollandale May Set Pattern in Schools for Migratory Workers.” Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, MN). 1951 December 25.

Seize the DIA at BU!

This post was written by Elizabeth Rivera, PhD, Baylor University Archivist

In anticipation of stress awareness month in April, Bear Country will celebrate its 91st Diadeloso on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. This annual day affords students, faculty, and staff a dedicated time to pause, breathe, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

When former Texas governor, Pat Neff assumed his role as President of Baylor amid the Great Depression in 1932, students needed a tangible reminder that their educational preparation mattered and was worth the financial commitment before joining the workforce. Therefore, Neff invested in the students’ mental health. He instituted a day of play and suspended classes (all four of them) for the day.

Neff’s organized day of play included the male faculty defeating the male seniors in baseball and the females played their own game of baseball. The female seniors handily upset the female faculty 18 to 4. Then five of Baylor’s Ph.D.’s participated in a yo-yo contest before the barbecue lunch (“First Annual Day”, 1932). This break established a dedicated time for faculty and students to embrace their humanity and find community in being present together.

In more recent years, students have swum with otters (petting otters in a kiddie pool), watched movies on the stadium field (Movies at McLane), and participated in goat yoga (yes, goats standing on students in downward dog pose). The Baylor community continues to have fun together and build relationships. In establishing this day, Neff set a precedent that his presidential successors have continued to embrace. Alexis Whiteford, BU alumna class of 2021, commented that regardless of the activity, DIA (as affectionately referred to by the students) is what you make it.

While the name has undergone various iterations, a 1966 student body vote officially changed the name to Diadeloso, “Day of the Bear.”  The purpose remains constant, food, fun, and fellowship bring people together and promote social understanding. Being a college student and preparing for adulthood is tough. Whether students are navigating the pressures of a crippling economy and their financial performance or managing the pressures of academic achievement, intentional respite restores and rejuvenates crushed spirits.

Since DIA is a time to relieve stress, let’s come together, celebrate, and make fun memories. This year’s lineup proves to be slated with diverse fun opportunities— glow in the dark roller skating, archery, human wac-a-mol, caricature drawings, and more (“Attractions”, 2023). From The Texas Collection, be you and seize the DIA at BU!    


First Annual Day of Fun Attended by Student Body. (1932, May 12). The Daily Lariat, p.  1-2.


Attractions. (2023, March). Baylor University, https://diadeloso.web.baylor.edu/attractions

Finding a Voice Through Print: Baptist Women Mission Workers in Texas

This article was written by Amy Swanson, Rare Books Catalog Librarian

Southern Baptist women played a significant role in the missionary movement of the latter half of the nineteenth century.  The mission societies Baptist women created continue to thrive today, creating funding, education, and other opportunities for missionaries, and those who support them, at home and abroad.

Baptist women began organizing the first mission societies in Texas in the 1830s, though some of the work of these societies was already being done in more informal ways through groups such as female prayer societies (Hunt 4).  By 1880, following a resolution by the national Southern Baptist Convention two years prior, women from various local mission societies, as well as from the Baptist State Convention organized the Texas Woman’s Missionary Union in 1880, despite some male opposition.  This was followed by the formation of the national Woman’s Missionary Union in 1888.  Both the Texas and the national unions were an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. 

One of the goals of the Texas Woman’s Missionary Union (known as the Baptist Women Mission Workers (BWMW) by 1886) was to educate women and children on the importance of missionary and charitable work.  In doing so, the organization hoped to increase the chances of women collecting and contributing money to the organization’s causes and their getting involved in missions themselves.  Other goals were to provide information about ongoing missions, organize and connect mission societies, and aid in similar initiatives (Bullock).

A good way to promote these societies to Baptist women was with the distribution of publications.  One such publication was the newspaper, Texas Baptist Worker.  The monthly paper “published in the interest of woman’s work in Texas” (Texas Baptist Worker) was founded in 1889 by the first president of the BWMW, Fannie Breedlove Davis.  Davis was also the editor of the paper. 

Masthead of the Texas Baptist Worker
The cover of Volume 6, Number 5 (March 1895) of the Texas Baptist Worker. It includes the constitution to be used by each local mission society.

The paper was published in San Antonio by the Women Mission Workers of Texas and had an almost entirely female staff.  This is important to note as the Southern Baptist leadership structure at the time was male dominated.  Publications such as Texas Baptist Worker gave women the opportunity to lead and have a voice.

In keeping with the goals of the BWMW, the Texas Baptist Worker helped gain support for and provide information about domestic and foreign missions, highlight opportunities for female missionaries, and solicit contributions for missions and other charitable causes. 

This short article from the issue cited above highlights the need for money to support the Buckner Orphans’ Home in Dallas, Texas.

The paper also featured a section titled “Children’s Corner,” with stories to teach children about Christian principles and the value of missions.  The newspaper helped promote various events and meetings held by local societies and provided updates from mission societies around the state.  Advertisements for and articles related to Baptist institutions or organizations were often included.  The 1895 issue pictured above includes an article about the impressive education for women at Baylor College.

While certainly not the only means by which information was disseminated, publications such as Texas Baptist Worker played an essential role in helping to increase monetary contributions to missions in Texas.  In the span of the fifteen years from 1880 to 1895, mission offerings went from $35 to $23,193 (DeLoach).

Early organizational literature such as this paper set a precedent for the caliber of publication expected from the BWMW in the years to follow.  Today, the BWMW, now known as the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, has several publications: Bridge Magazine, as well as an active blog.  The Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas has grown and expanded over the past 143 years, but the core values of the organization established by Fannie Breedlove Davis and her contemporaries remain today.

Works Cited

Bullock, Karen O’Dell. “Texas Woman’s Missionary Union.” Texas State Historical Association, December 1, 1995; updated May 26, 2017.  https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-womans-missionary-union. Accessed March 14, 2023.

DeLoach, Clyde M. “Davis, Fannie Breedlove (1833-1915).” Texas State Historical Association, December 1, 1994; updated August 31, 2016.  https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/davis-fannie-breedlove. Accessed March 14, 2023.

Hunt, Alma. History of Woman’s Missionary Union. Convention Press, 1964.

WMU of Texas. WMU of Texas, 2023, https://www.wmutx.org/. Accessed March 10, 2023.

Texas Baptist Worker. San Antonio, Women Mission Workers of Texas, vol. 6, no. 5, March 1895.

Research Ready: January-February 2023

The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources each month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Manuscript Collections

Acree Family papers #2986

The Acree Family papers contains notes, correspondence, and photographs related to the family’s genealogical research into the Acree, Grimes, and McLeod family lines, and the history of McGregor and Moody, Texas.

W. F. and J. F. Barnes Lumber Company records #3870

The W. F. & J. F. Barnes Lumber Company records document over sixty years of the company through trade catalogs, correspondence, tax, and financial documents.

Ellen Beasley Independence, Texas Research collection #724

The Ellen Beasley Independence, Texas Research collection includes research materials, project files, and media from preservation consultant and historian Ellen Beasley, documenting her historic preservation work for Independence Preservation Trust in the community of Independence, Texas.

Viola C. Corley papers #2150

The Viola Corley papers document the literary career and personal life of a writer of various published books and poems. The materials include manuscripts, poems, letters, short stories, sketches, and poetry books.

Architectural Drawings for the Skandinaviske Evangeliske Ebenezer Menighed, later First Luthern Church of Waco.

James Edward and Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson papers #1913
The James Edward and Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson papers contain correspondence, lists of pardons, petitions, motions, and other legal documents regarding several cases with which the Fergusons were involved.

First Lutheran Church of Waco Architectural drawings #741

The First Lutheran Church of Waco Architectural Drawings include copies of building and site plans from creation and renovations in 1916, 1956, 1988, 1997.

Ruby Bell Hall McCormick papers #861
The Ruby Bell Hall McCormick papers include materials regarding genealogical research, societies and organizations, and information about Georg Schlumbach in Germany during World War II.

Julius Flake McDonald papers #15

The Julius F. McDonald papers include materials documenting McDonald’s career as a teacher, plus his interest in the town of Hubbard, Texas.

Georgia Newsom papers #2438

The Georgia Newsom papers consist of three scrapbooks, containing daily writings, travel mementos, postcards and photographs, and news clippings from Newsom’s trips across the United States.

David Z. Nowell papers #649

The David Z. Nowell papers contains materials documenting a writing project coordinated by Baylor University and John F. Baugh in response to the Southern Baptist Convention Conservative Resurgence in the late twentieth century.

Eleanor “Nell” Jurney Pape papers #2313
The Eleanor “Nell” Jurney Pape papers contains documents relating to Nell Pape’s life in Waco after her return from Europe. The papers include letters, planning documents, clippings, photographs, and records relating to civic projects, garden clubs, and a bound manuscript of Nell Pape’s unpublished memoir, Hideaway. The collection also includes personal documents from those close to Pape including letters written to her father, Richard Jurney, letters written by her husband, Gustav Pape, and financial documents from Gustav Pape’s business.

Porter Family papers #546

The Porter family papers contain correspondence, photographs, and literary materials from two generations of Johnson and Porter families. The collection includes correspondence from World War I and life as Baptist missionaries in Brazil from 1922-1962.

[Waco] Les Nouvelles Amies records #2989

The collection includes the records of the Waco Les Nouvelles Amies. Records cover founding of the club and more than two decades of minutes, reports, financial documents, newsletters, and scrapbooks.

Baylor University Records
Show poster form BU Records: Baylor Theatre #BU/310

BU Records: Baylor Theatre #BU/310

The Baylor Theatre collection mainly encompasses publicity and press materials including proofs and programs that document influential faculty such as Paul Baker as well as performances from 1899-2019.

BU Records: Commencement Activities #BU/76

BU Records: Commencement Activities contains materials regarding the planning and execution of commencement from 1873-2021. The collection includes correspondence, materials regarding commencement marshals, programs, logistical layout of space, commencement committees, graduating students, awards, regalia, and speeches.

BU Records: Kappa Omega Tau #BU/413

The BU Records: Kappa Omega Tau contains correspondence, pledge books, photographs, scrapbooks, directories, patches, pennants, and sashes from the Knights of Tradition fraternal organization at Baylor University, beginning in 1960 when the organization was founded.

BU Records: The Texas Collection #BU/168

The BU Records: The Texas Collection contains documents, photographs, and other materials about the history and operations of The Texas Collection, a special collection founded in 1923, now part of the Baylor Libraries.

New Acquisition for The Texas Collection: Photograph of Feriba Cobb, Grandmother of Jules Bledsoe

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

While out antiquing locally in Waco, Texas, I came across an old photograph in the corner of an antique store booth. It was the only photo in site amongst an assortment of vintage household goods. It was a sepia-tone gelatin silver print mounted on board, and appeared to be from the 1900s. The content included a woman sitting on a front porch reading a magazine with a dog beside her. In the corner of the photograph was her name and address: “Home of Mrs. Cobb, 812 N. 6th Street, City,” and the photographer’s name “Greene, Waco,” with their main address: “Chauncey A. Greene, Kansas City, Mo,” included as well. It all seemed interesting and The Texas Collection is always looking for old photographs of Waco, the state of Texas, and Baylor, but this one seemed especially unusual given the name of the woman in the photo: “Cobb,” so it seemed like a logical decision to buy and add it to our collection.

The image below is a zoom and crop of this photograph that gives a better look at Feriba Cobb, as well as her dog.

The first thing we do at The Texas Collection when finding photographs such as this is to try and describe to the best of our ability to enable potential researchers to find them in our Baylor Archival Repositories Database. However, in this case it was much easier to do so with the name and an address included directly on the photo. If we are lucky, someone writes this type of information on the back by hand, but this is not always the case. Consequently, many photos go unidentified. With this particular photo, we were able to check our 1913 Waco City Directory (see below), and discover that the woman in the photo is Feriba Cobb. The directory lists her as the occupant as well as being a nurse by profession.

Page 34, 1913 Waco City Directory (above)
The home’s owner and address “Home of Mrs. Cobb, 812 N. 6th Street, City” [Waco, Texas]

Feriba Cobb was the second wife of the Reverend Stephen Cobb, first pastor and a founding member of Waco’s New Hope Baptist Church. Feriba and Stephen had 10 children with the last 2 dying in infancy. They were: Jacob Cobb, Ruby Cobb Smith, Mae Ollie Cobb Spiller, Esau Cobb, Jessie Cobb Bledsoe, Oscar Cobb, Newton Smith H. Cobb, Naomi Ruth Cobb, Willhimena Cobb, and Isaac Conner Cobb. Many of them went on to become educators and other professionals. One of their girls, Jessie Cobb, went on to marry Henry Bledsoe and had one child: Julius Lorenzo Cobb Bledsoe, more commonly known as “Jules” Bledsoe.

So the old antique store photograph was very unusual, indeed, given that the lady in the photograph, Feriba Cobb turned out to be the grandmother of Jules Bledsoe, an internationally known opera singer, and most remembered for his version of “Ol’ Man River” in the musical production “Showboat.” Feriba Cobb died in 1935 at the age of 77, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Waco. Now after discovering the identity and information behind the photograph, it will be reunited with the rest of the Smith and Cobb Family’s photographs and material in the Smith-Cobb Family collection here at The Texas Collection, Baylor University. We even had some existing photographs of Feriba in this collection, and we will be reuniting this one with them. The Texas Collection also has the archival papers of her famous grandson in the Jules Bledsoe papers. In conclusion, it’s always very rewarding to find old photographs such as this and place them where they belong, and in this case, carefully preserved in an archival collection with the Smith and Cobb family’s name.

The photographer’s signature: “Greene, Waco.”
While the photograph was taken in Waco, Texas, the photographer, Chauncey H. Greene, was based out of Kansas City, Missouri, according to the imprint on the photo board.
The newly discovered photo will be reunited with the rest of Feriba’s and the Smith and Cobb Family’s material located in The Texas Collection, Baylor University. The photo on the left is a much earlier one we already had of Feriba, and the other image is of her husband, the Reverend Stephen Cobb.

Research Ready: September 2022

We’re back! The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources each month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

San Antonio River Walk and Zoo, 1941

BU Records: Beta Beta Beta #BU/407

The collection contains items pertaining to the Beta Tau Chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society at Baylor University including administrative records, photographs, scrapbooks, and correspondence.

Association for the Scientific Study of Religion: Southwest [Chapter] records #2320

This collection is the records of the Association for the Scientific Study of Religion Southwest. It includes minutes, budgets, correspondence, newsletters, programs, and proceedings from the organization’s annual conference.

Beville-Waco Tribe Tipi Pole letter # 765

The Beville-Waco Tribe Tipi Pole letter, written to Beville, asks that he sell more cedar poles from a grove on his farm. The grove had been identified in 1912 by Native Americans from the Waco tribe as the historic place their people traditionally obtained wooden poles when needed.

Downer-Willingham Family collection #740

The Downer-Willingham Family collection includes correspondence, photographs, and print materials documenting the life of Robert Josiah Willingham, longtime pastor and secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention.

William Laidley and Jenny Mary Traver Eason papers #1331

The William Laidley and Jennie Mary Tarver Eason papers contain an account of travel in the early 1930s Southwestern United States with emphasis on road conditions, prices, and landscape descriptions.

Thomas Linard vs. Richard H. Smith Court manuscript #671

The Thomas Linard vs. Robert H. Smith Court Manuscript is a transcript of a civil case prepared for an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. The case was heard by a number of prominent judicial figures in Texas, including Robert Crudup, Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, Nicholas W. Battle, and James H. Bell.

McLennan County Tuberculosis Association records #2015

The collection contains materials regarding the inner workings of the McLennan County Tuberculosis Association, providing valuable insight on disease and prevention efforts from the 1920s to the 1960s as well as leadership, finances, and minutes within the association.

Steamboat “John Scott” Account book #680

The Steamboat “John Scott” Account Book is a ledger of expenses and accounts receivable in the operation of the steamboat John Scott from 1876 to 1878.

Peter Sidella World War II Photo album #654

The Peter Sidella World War II photo album includes photos of Sidella’s experience training with the Signal Corps in Washington state and Texas in the summer and fall of 1941.

An undated photo of Margaret Swan coaching her team. [Margaret M. Swan Synchronized Swimming papers #1933, Box 11, Folder 43.]

Margaret M. Swan synchronized Swimming papers #1933

This collection covers Margaret M. Swan’s involvement with synchronized swimming in Texas, including the forming and coaching of the San Antonio Cygnets. The papers include administrative information, newspaper and magazine clippings, publications related to synchronized swimming, performance scripts, and extensive photographs and scrapbooks.

Waco Regional Baptist Association records #230

The Waco Regional Baptist Association records contain documents from the Association as well as its member congregations and partner organizations. Materials include correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs, and ledgers.

Waco Symphony Women’s Council records #2203

The Waco Symphony Women’s Council records document the beginning and ongoing activities of the organization from 1960 to around 2002. Items of interest include correspondence, advertisements, financial documents and budgets, public relations and fundraising efforts, newspaper clippings, programs, yearbooks, scrapbooks, invitations, and photographs.

[Waco] Temple Rodef Shalom records #584

This collection contains the congregational records of Temple Rodef Sholom, the oldest Jewish congregation in McLennan County, Texas.

Happy Birthday, Leon: Reflecting on the Leon Jaworski Collection and the Call to Service

By Benna Vaughan, Special Collections and Manuscripts Archivist, The Texas Collection

In honor of Leon Jaworski’s birthday (September 19th, 1905) I was asked to write a blog post focusing on some aspect of Jaworski’s collection here at Baylor. It seems fitting, considering events transpiring in Washington today, that the choice of topic reflects a time when Mr. Jaworski service to our country took front and center in a national period of uncertainty and questioning of our own government and its leaders.

The Leon Jaworski collection consists of 368 boxes of archival material encompassing Jaworski’s career. The finding aid for the collection can be accessed here: https://baylorarchives.cuadra.com/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?BN@lBxCP9H16pLVuy0oEnfKoEnYlWtoVwcfb.D0.k8ThhX9NyCsimCale8U1Vnvddi.UIpwLsZQwJBO6EbaodAUahJwFQIKmwzglHlASSEQ/000afi.xml. Divided into eleven series, they chronicle Jaworski’s time as a practicing lawyer, his literary career, military career, special cases and commissions, organizations and affiliations, and other important events and milestones. The Watergate Series of his collection represents a time in Jaworski’s life when he accepted the responsibilities of White House Special Prosecutor to head up the Watergate Special Prosecutor Force, investigating the involvement of Richard Nixon and the Presidency in the events surrounding Watergate.

Leon Jaworski’s Special Prosecutor Badge and Identification Credentials. (Leon Jaworski papers, #2442, Box 267, Folder 11)
Leon Jaworski’s Special Prosecutor Badge and Identification Credentials. (Leon Jaworski papers, #2442, Box 267, Folder 11)

Leon Jaworski was already a well-known and respected figure prior to Watergate, serving as prosecutor for military war crime trials, an attorney for Lyndon Baines Johnson during LBJ’s 1960 election, as Special Assistant Attorney General in the US vs. Ross Barnett case, and as a member of the Warren Commission after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was a noted author and popular speaker. His service in numerous organizations and important committees is long and chronicled within his papers, and taken together with the rest of the material, reflect a man of purpose, principle, and profound faith. Throughout the Watergate series, you come to learn a lot about Leon Jaworski and his struggle with the responsibilities and duties this important appointment imposed.

The Watergate materials cover the period between 1972 and 1976 and contain a broad and comprehensive overview of his involvement in the process, including correspondence, official appointment documents, records of phone calls, requests, memoranda, reports, transcripts of court proceeding, articles, notes, daily summaries, interviews, documents on Jaworski’s resignation from the Special Prosecutor’s position, news clippings, and much more. Just going through the list included in the 26 boxes of Watergate material shows the attention to detail and determined focus that he placed on his duties and responsibilities. The correspondence itself, containing letters to and from his family, give one a sense of the man as a person and helps to reinforce the feelings of respect and confidence that people placed in him to perform this important role. Letters of support from friends and colleagues echo those feelings and help to reinforce the knowledge that Mr. Jaworski was the right man for the job.

As a Waco native, Baylor graduate, and Baylor Law School professor, Jaworski’s legacy at Baylor is well established. This is perhaps no better reflected than in this letter from Baylor Student President Jack Fields, in November 1973:

Letter from Jack Fields, Baylor Student Body President, November 1973 (Leon Jaworski papers, #2442, Box 267, Folder 14)

When times dictate, great men step up to the challenges placed before them. Leon Jaworski was a man who embodied the characteristics of such men, and one whose collection – and legacy – at Baylor will continue to inform, inspire, and instruct research into the workings of the law, politics, and the deeds of great men.

Welcome Our New Director, Jeff Pirtle!

Today marks the first day on the job of our new director, Jeff Pirtle! We put together a short Q&A to help our readers get to know a little more about Jeff, his Texas roots, and his vision for the next phase of The Texas Collection’s service to Baylor and beyond.

Tell us about your background growing up in Texas
Going way back, my paternal grandfather and a couple generations before him were all from Fannin County and Bonham, Texas. Both my parents are from Levelland, Texas and I was born and raised in Amarillo. Some of my favorite childhood memories include trips to Palo Duro Canyon, church camp at Ceta Canyon and summer trips to DFW for Six Flags and Ranger games. I’m a graduate of Amarillo High School, then went to Texas Tech where I earned a BA in History and an MA in Museum Science.

What are some highlights of your pre-Baylor career?
By working as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech’s Southwest Collection / Special Collections Library, I was selected as a graduate intern with the Getty Research Institute’s Conservation Lab in Los Angeles. That experience really set my career in motion, getting the opportunity to work at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, then as the Museum Manager and Corporate Archivist at JCPenney’s corporate headquarters in Plano. Helping with JCPenney’s 100th anniversary in 2002 was definitely a highlight of my time there. Then after that centennial celebration, I accepted a position back in Los Angeles working for Universal Studios and NBCUniversal where I’ve been the last 20 years. The 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures in 2012 was a highlight of my tenure there. Of course, working at a movie studio brought some fun projects – like helping Kirk Douglas write a book about the making of Spartacus, co-curating an exhibit about Universal at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and participating in interviews with national media outlets.

What are some of the big things you want to tackle in your early days at The Texas Collection?
With my experience in celebrating 100th anniversaries, one of the first things I want to tackle is the upcoming 100th anniversary of The Texas Collection in June 2023! It’s a great opportunity to amplify The Texas Collection and I can’t wait to hit the ground running on that. I’m also really looking forward to working with all the professionals at The Texas Collection, learning about the workflow processes and procedures and learning about areas in which The Texas Collection can grow.

How do you see The Texas Collection supporting the ways we teach Texas history?
History is a complex subject, and I hope The Texas Collection can support those who teach history by helping to clearly understand and communicate all the complexities. It’s important that students know all humans – even those revered in history – have their faults and shortcomings, and I hope The Texas Collection helps teachers provide all sides of history.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are a major focus for the Libraries’ leadership team. How will you approach DEI as director of The Texas Collection?
One aspect I love about working in archival collections is when a researcher identifies with and becomes passionate about material they’ve discovered. Content that really resonates with them. The researcher may find a person in history with which they share talents and abilities, they may find primary source material from a historic event they heard about from relatives, or learn more about a painful historic happening that will hopefully never be repeated. In order to provide the content that resonates with each individual researcher, it’s important for The Texas Collection to have that material available. I look forward to prioritizing processing of underrepresented collections and expanding the collection to be more representative with all researchers. I want all our researchers to find collections they identify with and can be passionate about.

What’s your favorite piece of Texana, Texas lore, or Texas culture?
Outside of Tex-Mex, BBQ and college football, as a Panhandle guy I’ve recently come to appreciate the history of the High Plains. The vast ranch lands, the cattle drives of Charles Goodnight, the Comanches and Quanah Parker are all of great interest. I’m also really looking forward to diving into the histories of Baylor and Waco as soon as I get started!

Anything else you’d like us to know?
Fun Fact – the summer after I completed my graduate coursework in Museum Science and was awaiting my Getty Research Institute internship to start, I worked as a bartender and server at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo… home of the free 72 oz. steak dinner (if eaten in one hour)!

“You Are and Ever Have Been an Example to Us”

As the spring semester draws to a close, it is only reasonable to look back and reflect on the time a student has spent on capus at Baylor, and in the city of Waco. The following is a transcript of a Commencement Address found in the Nan Allene Anderson papers. The writer recounts their time as a student shows appreciation for those who graduated before them, recalls their ups and downs, and wishes their prfessors well as they continue to educate the masses. In addition to this address, Nan’s collection includes a photo album of her time as a student on campus and in Waco. Several pages can be seen below. sh


Nan Allene Anderson and Hattie Hutton in their cap and gown, circa 1908.

It now becomes my duty in the name of the class of 1910 to say goodbye. Not that any words of mine may tend to increase your interests and influence but that we as a unit may express our appreciation for the favors of the past few years.

To those who have preceded us in this line of march from these College Halls permit me only one remark: you are and ever have been an example to us. Your association [sic] whether in school or out in the world has enabled us to take courage and continue to labor until we have reached the goal for which we have been striving. Is this graduation hour the end which is to crown the work? Nay, verily, may it not be so; but rather let it serve as a mere stepping stone to our best attainments of the future. If you, my worthy predecessore [sic], have lead [sic] us out so nobly is it not ours to ask a continuance of your sympathies to stand alone? Give us your kind rebuffs and your hearty approvals. We need you and hope later to have you, feel that your trusts in us have not been misplaced. Knowing that you and yours are ours for the asking, we pass to the lower classmen for whom it has been our privilege to serve as “models” in every interpretation of the word.

In many instances we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting but it is to be hoped that you will not remain mindful of these things which recall unpleasant and unprofitable incidents. The careless deeds which are ours will live and cast their shadows about us. If perchance, we have by precept or example sowed some seed in your path see to it that it flourish and bear a thousand fold.

There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it behooves none of us to talk about the others to us.

Baylor Students in front of Carroll Science Hall, circa 1908.

May the good that we did counteract the bad and may you who realize that it is our best only that we would have you immulate. At all times you have been our friends instead of our foes. We shall ne’er forget your innumerable tokens of friendship and loving kindness.

At the close of this last school adieu we reach the climax as we turn to you Prof. Wells and the other teachers who have labored so patiently with us. ‘Tis now we feel a tinge of sadness mingled with joy. ‘Tis now we come to consider you for the last time uccapacity [sic] of instruction of our class. In fact, ‘tis now for the first time we fully realize what it is to break away from those that are so near and dear to us. You who have taught us from active life as well as from text are to be out inspiration from this time on as you were during our intimate relation of teacher and pupil. You who know better than any others our shortcomings and indifferent inclinations are, notwithstanding these faults, our friends. You are more to be admired and respected than we can by mere language, tell you. May our attitudes toward you always be the same as our sincerity as at the present and may your perseverance, patience, and pleasant practices both in the school room and out protect many other young people as they have us. It is our hearts’ desire that you continue in this painstaking labor of love and finally receive your reward of happiness and purest, perfect peace.


Resarch Ready: March-April 2022

The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources each month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Finding Aids

World War II propoganda leaflet is directed at the US forces on the Anzio Beachhead [Jabez Galt papers, Accession #2347, Box #1, Folder #2]

  • Louise Black papers
    •  The Louise Black papers contain materials on topics regarding genealogy, Black’s career as a teacher, publications, and the history of First Baptist Church of Blossom, Texas
  • Jabez Galt papers
    • The Jabez Galt papers contain scrapbooks, photographs, and negatives representing Galt’s service as a medical officer during World War II in North Africa and Italy as part of the 56th Evacuation Hospital, also known as the Baylor Unit.
  • Helen Canon Lyles papers
    • The Helen Canon Lyles papers contain a variety of materials documenting Lyles’ life as a Baylor Female College student, mother, grandmother, as well as those of her family.

      Loving Hands poem by Fannie Maie Hodges Street
  • Fannie Maie Hodges Street papers
    • The Fannie Maie Hodges Street papers are composed almost exclusively of poems written by Street, most of which are religious in nature.
  • BU records: Graduating Classes
    • BU Records: Graduating Classes contains a variety of materials regarding the experiences of Baylor University’s graduating classes spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the state of the university and the organization of alumni events such as Homecoming and class reunions.
  • Wheatly-Bahl Family papers
    •  The Wheatly-Bahl Family papers include love letters, family photographs, dance certificates, and genealogical materials related to the Bahl and Wheatly families in Waco, Texas from 1893-1971. Elmer Josephine Wheatly owned the Wheatly School of Dance in Waco. 
  • Gertrude Lewis Family papers
    • The Gertrude Lewis Family papers include a variety of materials, mostly photographic, regarding Ms. Lewis and her husband’s Black-owned funeral business, fashion, social events, family, and travel.
  • Robert Cortes Sr. papers
    • The Robert Cortes Sr. papers document the life and ministry of Robert Cortes Sr. as a Baptist pastor throughout Texas and Mexico.
  • Houston Business Girl’s Club, “Live Y’ers” records
    •  The Houston Business Girl’s Club “Live Y’ers” records highlight administrative materials, newsletters, programs, and photographs for a Houston chapter of the YWCA founded in the 1940s as a social club for high school graduates interested in business careers.
  • Hancock-Kennedy Family papers
    • The Hancock-Kennedy Family papers contain mostly handwritten personal correspondence amongst three related families from Palestine, Texas–Hancock, Kennedy, and Eastland. May Eastland Hancock is the most prevalent writer in the collection writing to her parents about life in Washington, DC with her husband, Harold Hancock.