Just in time for Homecoming 2011, The Texas Collection has rediscovered a rare advertising cover from the very first Home-coming held in 1909. The gold lettering still shines on the green envelope which proudly declares “Baylor Claims Her Own.”
Baylor’s 1909 Homecoming celebration was one of the very first collegiate homecomings held in America. It took place on Thanksgiving weekend and included a band concert, class and society reunions, and an old-time “soirée” where students could listen to music.
The idea of a homecoming would certainly have been familiar to many members of the Baylor community as it was a common celebration in rural southern churches. Homecoming in these churches usually took place annually as a way of bringing people who had been scattered by migration into cities and towns back to their sacred place of origin. Sometimes the festivities would honor the charter members of the congregation, and always there was the celebration of families and the recognition of the church as the “family of God.” In this way the themes of history and tradition, community and family were woven into the fabric of the day.
The letter sent in its Home-coming envelope, is addressed to Papa. Apparently students’ needs in 1909 were not so different from those today. The author asks for his mother to send him some clothes he left behind, and he also needs some money by first of the week to buy an overcoat. Just to let everyone know that he’s being frugal, the student sends home a statement of how his money has been spent.
He also shares a bit of news, mentioning a trip to San Antonio where he saw Alamo and other places of interest. He inquires as to Papa’s health since he “Got letter from Mama heard you not feeling well…” and asks “Have you gotten the bay filly from Brown’s yet or is his boy still riding her?”
You can see more items from the history of Baylor Homecomings on exhibit at The Texas Collection in Carroll Library. We hope you’ll stop by to join the fun!