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.
Lake Waco was originally created by a dam on the Bosque River in 1930 that cost $2.5 million.
The dam was rebuilt in 1964 for a cost of $48 million. Then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson presided over the groundbreaking that was truncated due to a severe thunderstorm. The new dam was 140 feet high and expanded the lake to a surface area of 7,000 acres.
All of the land for the lake expansion was acquired through a willing-seller willing-buyer basis at contemporary market rates. Eminent domain was not used.
The lake sits on land that is made up of limestone, shale, and chalk deposits. The lake, as well as the area immediately around it, is an archaeologically significant site, as artifacts from several thousands of years of Native American habitation have been found there, as well as artifacts from early European settlement of the McLennan County area.
Lake Waco Clippings 1930-1961 vertical file, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
Scott, Ann M., Karl W. Kibler, and Marie E. Blake. “National Register Testing of Nine Archeological Sites at Waco Lake, McLennan County, Texas.” Austin: Prewitt and Associates, 2002.
If you’re interested in learning more about efforts to control Texas rivers, join us on October 22 to hear Kenna Lang Archer’s presentation on her book, Unruly Waters, which explores the history of the Brazos River.
See all of the images in our Flickr set. GIF and factoids by Braxton Ray, archives student assistant.
This summer, The Texas Collection was fortunate to have four graduate students working with our staff and in our collections. We asked them to share a little about their projects and what they have learned. Last month we heard about Baptist collections and athletics film; this month, we’ve got the papers of a beloved Baylor president and of a Central Texas archaeologist/lithographer/Renaissance man.
My name is Amanda Mylin, and I am a history master’s student from Pennsylvania. This summer I had the privilege of working for The Texas Collection as the D.M. Edwards Library Intern. (I previously was a graduate assistant at the TC for the 2014-2015 year, working with Amanda Norman and Paul Fisher, primarily on Baylor University records.) My major project this summer was to process and rehouse the Samuel Palmer Brooks papers. This collection is well-used by researchers, necessitating preservation work and an electronic finding aid.
Brooks served as Baylor’s president from 1902 to 1931. His presidency saw the heyday of the evolution controversy between Fundamentalists and Modernists, prohibition, women’s suffrage, and the onset of the Great Depression. Rehousing this collection afforded interesting glimpses at major twentieth century historical moments through the lens of Baylor and Brooks.
I also learned much about Baylor in the early twentieth century, including the students’ fondness for “Prexy,” as they lovingly called him. His dedication to Baylor students and the Baptist community was also evident through the sheer number of flowers, condolence letters, telegrams, and newspaper articles surrounding his death. Many articles discussed his devotion through his decision to sign the 1931 diplomas despite his rapidly failing health.
Now that the papers are rehoused more comfortably and the finding aid updated, the collection amounts to 59 document boxes and 2 oversized boxes. Since I hope to continue working in special collections in the future, I had much to gain from this summer’s project. I encountered situations like insect-chewed papers, learned what happens to deteriorating silver gelatin photographs, and experienced tackling a very large collection, among other things. Upon completion of this project, I finished out the summer by processing a new collection, the papers of Diana Garland, former dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work.
Hello, Texas! My name is Casey Schumacher and I’m a Museum Studies graduate student from Central Illinois. I started working with Benna Vaughan when I moved here in August 2014 and was able to work with her on manuscripts collections through this summer. As a non-Texan, every day is an opportunity to learn something new about this state and its people.
My primary summer project involved processing the Frank Heddon Watt collection. Processing a collection involves placing the collection in order so researchers can access it easily, putting the materials in new folders and boxes and uploading information about the collection online. This collection ended up filling 46 document boxes, so processing it took longer than some of my smaller collections.
With large collections like these, consistency is vital, and it’s best if one person sees the whole project from beginning to end. I began processing the Watt papers after they had already been arranged a couple of times, and a previous assistant had started a third arrangement but only made it halfway through the collection. In other words, the whole collection was a mess. I ended up redoing the entire collection so it would all be processed the same way and more efficient for researcher access.
Watt (1889-1981) was a jack-of-all-trades, and his collection included 3D objects, photographs and notes from archaeological digs in Central Texas, as well as several boxes of lithography samples, sketches, and instruction books. Once the project was completed, I felt like a bit of a professional in each area he researched!
I really enjoy working at the Texas Collection and when I return in the fall, I’ll be working with different collections and learning archival techniques new to me. Working with a diverse selection of collections will also help me prepare for the Certified Archivist Exam after I graduate from Baylor. While I won’t have the opportunity to dig as deep into a specific subject or person as with larger collections, I’m excited to learn more about Texas history and help make these collections accessible for students and the broader community.
Please join The Texas Collection for a lecture
by Baylor University professor and
ceramist Paul McCoy,
The Life and Art of Harding Black:
The Power of One
Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Texas Collection’s
Guy B. Harrison, Jr. Reading Room
Reception to follow
Harding Black has long been considered one of the pioneers of the American studio ceramics movement, and his work is today held in public and private collections throughout the United States. In 1995, as Black was preparing to retire from 60 years as a teacher, artist, and researcher of ceramics, he entrusted Baylor University and Paul McCoy–his fellow ceramist, fishing partner, and close friend–with his personal collection, in the hope that future generations of students and researchers would continue to build on his legacy. When Black passed away in 2004, Paul McCoy delivered his eulogy to the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts annual meeting.
Harding Black dedicated his life to his art, and to honor that commitment, Baylor University’s Texas Collection partnered with the Department of Art to preserve and digitize Black’s personal research notes, and to photographically document thousands of ceramic objects from his ceramic test collection. This digital archive makes Black’s work accessible to artists and academics around the world.
On August 14, 2015, the Texas Collection opened an exhibit featuring dozens of ceramic works by Harding Black, curated by Paul McCoy. These objects are on view at the Texas Collection through October 14, 2015, from 8 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday. The exhibition, lecture, and reception are free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Paul McCoy at Paul_McCoy@baylor.edu.
Blog post by Josh Garland, Museum Studies graduate student