Research Ready: February 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are February’s finding aids:

    • BU records: Baylor Literacy Center, 1946-1988 (#BU/32): Contains the files of Baylor’s literacy center, which helped to teach members of the Waco community how to read. The collection contains brochures, subject files, and student work produced by the staff and students of the Literacy Center.
Tom Padgitt, 1870
Photograph of Tom Padgitt, owner and head of the Tom Padgitt Company, a noted Waco-based leatherworking company. Forest Edwin and Edna Lee Sedwick Goodman Family photographic collection, 1870-1918, undated (#3944), box 1, folder 3.
Jessie Brown Letter
Jessie Brown frequently wrote to her sister Lizzie while a student at Baylor, 1888-1891. In this letter, she mentions the local fair and a spat with the president’s wife and disciplinarian of Baylor women, Georgia Burleson, over the oft-discussed topic of fashion. Jesse Breland and Jessie Brown Johnson papers, 1888-1929 (#440), box 1, folder 1.


Texas over Time: McLennan County Courthouse, Waco

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

McLennanCountyCourthouseGIFPostcards dated 1908 and undated

  • Waco’s first courthouse was built in 1850 and was just a one and a half story log structure that survived in the town for about six years. McLennan County was named after Neil McLennan, who settled along the South Bosque River.
  • The fourth and final courthouse (pictured in these postcards) was built in 1901. Architect J. Riely Gordon, renowned for his Texas courthouse designs, was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica and used materials such as steel, limestone, and Texas red granite. Design attributes include classical columns, pilasters, triangular pediments, rusticated masonry and a mid-roof dome embellished with Greek influenced eagles and statues.
  • The dome is topped with a statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of divine law and justice. She is supposed to hold the scales of justice in her left hand and a sword in her right, but various storms over the years have taken these props. Currently, she is missing her entire left arm (lost in a June 2014 storm).
  • The McLennan County courthouse is located on Courthouse Square with the entrance facing Washington Avenue and is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark.


Kelley, Dayton. The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Waco, TX: Texian, 1972. 73-74. Print.

“McLennan County Courthouse.” McLennan County Courthouse Waco Texas. Texas Escapes Online Magazine, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.

Smith, Cassie L. “Rust spots found on newly renovated McLennan County Courthouse dome.” Waco Tribune-Herald, 18 Jan. 2015.

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant.

Armstrong’s Stars: Vachel Lindsay

“Lindsay Here Saturday”:  March 27, 1919, issue of The Lariat announcing Vachel Lindsay's upcoming visit to Baylor (Texas Collection)
“Lindsay Here Saturday”: March 27, 1919, issue of The Lariat announcing Vachel Lindsay’s upcoming visit to Baylor (Texas Collection)

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity that Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Baylor graduate (BA ’14) and Sigma Tau Delta member Susie Park.   

One of the most memorable scenes from the movie Dead Poets Society captures the musical aesthetics of American poet Vachel Lindsay’s style of singing poetry. The cave scene of the schoolboys chanting Lindsay’s poem “The Congo” begins with one of them rhythmically reciting a few lines and escalates to all of the boys joining in by clapping, hissing, chanting along, hollering, and banging on drums to create a musical performance out of a written work of poetry. As described in the March 27, 1919, issue of Baylor’s student newspaper The Lariat, “[Vachel Lindsay] is a singer in addition to being a poet, and chants many of his verses, often persuading his audience through his magnetic personality to join him” (“Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday” 1).

Vachel Lindsay made several appearances at Baylor University at the invitation of Dr. A.J. Armstrong. His first major public appearance at Baylor was on March 29, 1919. Interestingly, an article from The Lariat, dated March 13, 1919, specifically notes that Lindsay is scheduled to visit on March 28, but a later article from March 27 states that Lindsay will visit on March 29 at 8:15 in the evening at Carroll Chapel (“Vachel Lindsay to Be in Baylor March 28” 1; “Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday” 1).

“Diamond Jubilee Poets”: Poets participating in Baylor's Diamond Jubilee celebration (Trantham, page 43)
“Diamond Jubilee Poets”: Poets participating in Baylor’s Diamond Jubilee celebration (Trantham, page 43)

The April 3, 1919, issue of The Lariat includes details of Lindsay’s March 29 visit to Baylor, listing the poems that he recited as well as the students’ reactions to the poet. Lindsay read some of his poems, like “The Santa Fe Trail” and “The Chinese Nightingale,” and shared a series of interpretations of the works. The Lariat praises the poet’s unique style and his outlook on poetry. When discussing his style of reciting poetry, Lindsay is quoted as saying that the human voice “‘is the perfect instrument of musical expression, and with the twenty-six letters in the alphabet as keys upon which the human voice may play at will, true poetry is capable of being brought to its highest rhythmical perfection’” (“Vachel Lindsay Has Extended Visit to Baylor and Waco” 1).

After his eventful visit to Baylor in 1919, Lindsay announced that he would visit again on March 20, 1920. The Lariat article from February 19, 1920, notes the poet’s future visit to Baylor and that he has come out with a new volume of poems (“Vachel Lindsay to Be Here on March 20” 10).

“1922 Round Up”:  The 1922 issue of Baylor's yearbook The Round Up highlighting celebrities who had visited Baylor (The Texas Collection)
“1922 Round Up”: The 1922 issue of Baylor’s yearbook The Round Up highlighting celebrities who had visited Baylor (The Texas Collection)

The celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Baylor University, or the Baylor University Diamond Jubilee in June 1920, brought together many celebrities, including Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay was one of the visiting poets who participated in “The Browning Benefit,” or “All Artists’ Benefit.” This program was a presentation event to showcase the “Clasped Hands,” an original bronze casting of the clasped hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning that was being added to the Baylor Browning Collection. The other three visiting poets participating in this presentation ceremony included Edwin Markham, Judd Mortimer Lewis, and Harriet Monroe (Trantham 44).

An article in The Lariat, dated May 20, 1920, expresses the excitement surrounding the Diamond Jubilee, listing some of the distinguished guests to be present at the celebration: “Among the celebrated poets and writers who will honor Baylor in June will be William Butler Yeats, Vachel Lindsay, Edwin Markham, Amy Lowell, Dorothy Scarborough, and the poet laureate of Texas, Judd Mortimer Lewis” (“Distinguished Guests to Be Present at Diamond Jubilee” 6).

“The death Saturday of Vachel Lindsay brought to a close a friendship of eighteen years between one of America’s greatest poets and Baylor University” (“Baylor Loses Friend as Lindsay Succumbs” 2). Vachel Lindsay passed away on December 5, 1931. The December 8, 1931 issue of The Lariat mentions the poet’s death, tracing back Lindsay’s close relationship with Dr. Armstrong. Lindsay supposedly planned to visit Baylor University again in the spring of 1932; Sigma Tau Delta wanted to present the poet to the Baylor student body. From his initial participation in Dr. Armstrong’s contemporary poetry class in 1913 to his planned visit in 1932, it is not an overstatement to say that Vachel Lindsay and the Baylor Browning Collection grew together in time.

Works Cited

“Baylor Loses Friend as Lindsay Succumbs.” The Daily Lariat 8 December 1931: 2. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

“Distinguished Guests to Be Present at Diamond Jubilee.” The Lariat 20 May 1920: 6. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

The Round-Up 1922. [Waco, Tex.: Baylor University, 1922]. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

Trantham, Henry. The Diamond Jubilee, 1845-1920: A Record of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of Baylor University. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 1921. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay Has Extended Visit to Baylor and Waco.” The Lariat 3 April 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay Here Saturday.” The Lariat 27 March 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay to Be Here on March 20.” The Lariat 19 February 1920: 10. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

“Vachel Lindsay to Be in Baylor March 28.” The Lariat 13 March 1919: 1. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

Exploring the Waco Jewish Community with the Texas Jewish Historical Society

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Texas  Jewish Historical Society members exploring display in Texas Collection reading room, 2015
Texas Jewish Historical Society members exploring display in Texas Collection reading room. The materials on display for society members to view included representative items from over nineteen collections documenting the life and faith experience of Jewish people in Waco.

On January 24, The Texas Collection welcomed the Texas Jewish Historical Society to a special display of materials on Jewish life and faith in Central Texas. Members of the society viewed many different kinds of materials, including:

  • a letter to a German Jewish family by the German secret police, warning them to leave the country (they later came to Waco, Texas),
  • an elaborate green velvet scrapbook with photographs from the 1800s of the Goldstein family in Waco,
  • photographs of Jewish-owned businesses in Waco, such as the Goldstein-Migel and Sanger Brothers department stores,
  • membership cards and past meeting pamphlets from the Texas Jewish Historical Society, and
  • photographs of Temple Rodef Sholom and Congregation Agudath Jacob in Waco from the early 1900s.
Photographic scrapbook of the Goldstein Family in Waco, Texas, from the early 1900s
Photographic scrapbook of the Goldstein family in Waco, Texas, from the early 1900s.

All together, The Texas Collection has more than 20 Jewish-related collections available for researchers to explore. Most of these collections are unprocessed, meaning they are not yet described through a finding aid in BARD or housed in modern acid-free boxes and folders. However, two Jewish collections have been processed recently, the De Cordova Family papers 1845-1956 and the Waco Chapter of Hadassah records 1928-2009, and we hope to process the rest of them soon. Stay tuned for more news about our Jewish collections!

Cooking in Texas: Cornbread and Coffee Cake

CookinginTexasSocialMediaAdJan2015 (2)Wondering what you want for lunch today? After this post, you’ll want cornbread and coffee cake…at least we do! As we prepare for our Cooking in Texas event, we asked our panel to share some of their favorite recipes with us, and boy, do they sound good! Last week we shared a few entries, and here are a couple more. If these tickle your taste buds, please join us at Bennett Auditorium on Thursday, February 12, at 3:30, to talk Texas food and cuisine—and then head to the Texas Collection reading room for a reception featuring regional cuisine prepared by culinary students at Texas State Technical College, and more foodie discussion.

Cooking in Texas panelists include Lisa Fain, founder of the award-winning blog “Homesick Texan”; Marvin Bendele, Executive Director of Foodways Texas; Mary Margaret Pack, private chef, food historian and author; Beth White, cookbook collector and author of Sweets and Meats: Early Texas Cook Books: 1855-1936; and moderator Addie Broyles, blogger and food editor for the Austin American-Statesman. The panel will discuss the quality, bounty, preparation and uniqueness of Texas food and cuisine.

Can’t make the event? Follow the discussion on Twitter at #cookingintx.

WhiteBethBeth White lives in Houston and worked for thirty-seven years in the Texas Medical Center Library. She discovered that the most fascinating part of her job was building historical collections.  Her day job was collecting bits and pieces of Houston’s medical history for the archive, while the fun after hours was collecting cookbooks to tell the stories of Texas cooks and the communities in which they worked. Growing up in Fort Worth, she remembered Sunday barbecue at Walter Jetton’s and special lunches in the Zodiac Room in Neiman Marcus. She started collecting by gathering a few Fort Worth and Helen Corbitt titles, along with a large number of American cookbooks. Soon Houston and Dallas cookbooks were added.  Then she began trying to gather something from each of the 254 Texas counties

Sometime in the late 1980s as the bookshelves were overflowing, Beth realized that she might have the beginnings of a nice collection but it had to be controlled. Since many cookbooks were produced for the 1986 Sesquicentennial, that became her target to try to limit the collection. Then, in 1995, eBay began.   She, along with many other collectors and librarians, realized its potential for developing significant collections. The ease of access through the Internet meant perusing auctions for hundreds of books each day and meant a collection could be built within a decade rather than over a lifetime. When Beth retired in 2010, one of her goals was to disperse the collection.  By December of that year, Baylor’s Texas Collection had been chosen to receive the titles.

Country Corn Bread (Adapted from The Only Texas Cookbook by Linda West Eckhardt)


  • 3 tbsp. bacon grease (some tiny bits of bacon will not hurt)
  • ½ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Place bacon grease in 9-10” iron skillet and heat until grease is very hot.
  3. Mix dry ingredients, then add buttermilk.
  4. Stir well and add egg.
  5. Mix well and pour hot grease into batter. Stir quickly.
  6. Sprinkle several drops of water into skillet. It should be hot enough to make water sizzle.
  7. Add batter and put into the oven.

Cook until the top is dull and feels firm when you touch it. Around 8-10 minutes.

Turn on the broiler and run cornbread under the heat until the top is speckled with brown.   Serve warm. If any is left, the cold cornbread can be toasted and served with butter and jam.


BroylesAddieAddie Broyles is a writer, photographer, blogger and quilter based in Austin, Texas.

As a food writer for the Austin American-Statesman, she covers everything from cookbooks and food trends to farmers markets, food entrepreneurs and culinary culture in the Wednesday food section, where she has a weekly column called Relish Austin.

At home, when she’s not chasing after her two young sons, the Ozarks native and University of Missouri graduate writes about women and food at The Feminist Kitchen and is the special projects chair of the Austin food Alliance.

In April 2013, the History Press published The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook, a community cookbook that Broyles spearheaded and whose production she oversaw.

Addie won a National Headliner Award in 2012 and her Relish Austin blog has won honors from the Society of Features Journalism and the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.

In 2011, Addie was named by Tribeza magazine as one of the top 10 Austinites to watch, and for three years in a row, readers of the Austin Chronicle have voted her the top food writer in the city. CNN’s Eatocracy blog has a food crush on her, and she has been a judge for the Statesman Social Media Awards since 2009.

Her freelance work has appeared in Dwell, The Guardian, Metropolis and Food Network Magazine.

Gaga’s Coffeecake

For batter:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

For topping:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Work in the softened butter, eggs and milk.
  4. In another bowl, lightly mix together the topping ingredients.
  5. Pour half of the batter into a greased 8×8-inch glass or metal pan. (A bread loaf pan will also work.) Sprinkle half of the topping mixture on the batter and then pour the rest of the batter on top.

Add the last of the topping mixture and then bake for about 35 minutes. Serves 8.