The 12 Days of a Baylor Christmas

by Sylvia Hernandez, BULAA Project Archivist

‘Tis the season to decorate trees, bake some cookies, visit our loved ones, and sing along to our favorite holiday tunes. Undoubtedly at least one version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” will grace our ears before the season ends, but which one? Will it be more traditional in the style of Burl Ives or more outlandish in the way of Jeff Foxworthy? How about one you may not know exists? How about a Baylor Football version?

Walter Abercrombie displaying his moves on a carry against Texas Tech.

The 1980 Baylor Football team finished the season as Southwest Conference Champions with an invitation to play in the 1981 Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. Support for the team was shown with the creation of memorabilia – think bumper stickers, Dr Pepper bottles, t-shirts, etc.—and a few songs. Yes! More than one.

Tackling, catching, passing; all are represented in “The 12 Days of a Baylor Christmas” as follows:

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, Grant Teaff gave to me:

Robert Bledsoe kicking against Rice.
  • The Bears high in Cotton,
  • Joe Campbell tackling,
  • Doak Field Crushing,
  • Buzzy Nelson snapping,
  • McGeary blocking field goals,
  • McElroy’s interceptions,
  • Radar Holt catching,
  • Ab-er-crom-bie’s moves…
  • Singletary sacking,
  • Jeffrey throwing passes,
  • Robert Bledsoe kicking,
  • And a Baylor Bears Cotton Bowl Team.”

With lyrics written by Jean Kettler, Mack Hayes, Sandra Hayes, and vocals sung by Darrel John, the tune conjures memories from over 35 years ago as it recounts the feats of athleticism displayed by our beloved Bears. Although the Cotton Bowl didn’t end as hoped, songs and other items stand as the testament of ongoing support for our athletic programs.

Author’s Note: This song was played on local radio and released in local record stores. If you have a copy, let us know, we would love to hear it!

Herman Moll and His Distorted Map

by Rachel DeShong, Special Event Coordinator and Map Curator 

“Recalculating” is a term that many of us are far too familiar with. We hear it when the GPS navigation system on our phone is telling us how to get from Point A to Point B, but we somehow managed to miss the turn. It is hard to imagine a time when maps were unable to give accurate directions in real time. Modern maps are expected to be flawless and up-to-date. So, what happens when maps are wrong?

A New Map of the North Parts of America Claimed by France Under Ye Names of Louisiana, Mississippi, Canada, and New France with Ye Adjoyning Territories of England and Spain. 1720. Drawer 1 Folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Maps drawn centuries ago often contain inaccuracies that seem painfully obvious to viewers in the present day. For example, let us consider A New Map of the North Parts of America Claimed by France Under Ye Names of Louisiana, Mississippi, Canada, and New France with Ye Adjoyning Territories of England and Spain. (What a mouthful!) Produced in 1720 by Herman Moll, this map was a direct response to an earlier French map entitled Carte de la Louisiane du Cours du Mississippi that claimed French ownership over portions of the Southwest and the Carolinas. Moll’s map, by contrast, attempted to assert British ownership over the Carolinas. However, Moll’s map contains numerous mistakes:

  • California is portrayed as an island
  • Florida is much too small
  • the Great Lakes are far too large
  • all the rivers in Texas flow north and south
  • non-existent mountain ranges are depicted in western Texas

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Songs of the Past and Present: Baylor Sheet Music at The Texas Collection

by Joseph Lipham, Student Assistant

In 1930, the illustrious Baylor University became officially accredited as a School of Music by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Under the guidance of the School of Music director, Roxy Grove, who was granted the position in 1926, the Baylor School of Music would have quite the pivotal impact on the university. Grove, being a proud Baylor alumna, noticed that the university lacked a solidified alumni song. In 1928, Grove put her ideas to paper and music, and thus, “Alma Mater” was born. Her take on an alumni song for Baylor is quite powerful and somewhat poignant; perhaps the most pervasive line of the tune being, “…All hail Alma Mater, all hail to thee thou guiding star of our destiny…”. Lyrics like these make it undoubtedly evident that Grove, like thousands of Baylor alumni, held the school in the highest of regards. While this song was quite the powerful homage to the beloved alma mater, it did not stick around long; the song would be completely replaced in 1931 by another Baylor alumna, Enid Eastland Markham.

Enid Eastland Markham, wife of Robert Markham, a senior professor of music at Baylor, can be credited for one of the most beloved pieces of Baylor music. In 1931, a large gathering of Baylor exes (also known as alumni), flooded through the doors of the newly constructed Waco Hall. This tradition of Baylor exes meeting to relive the euphoric splendor that was college, was nothing new to Baylor University, as the first such tradition began nearly 22 years prior. However, something was quite different this time; Markham, playing the organ and leading the exes in singing of one of Baylor’s most well-known songs, “That Good Old Baylor Line”, was quite shocked. The origins of “That Good Old Baylor Line” can be traced all the way back to 1907 when a young student named George Baines Rosborough jokingly pinned lyrics for a song based off the Broadway hit, “In the Good Old Summertime.” Rosborough, clamoring for a song to sing at Baylor Bear football games, sat and wrote lyrics that mocked Baylor’s then crosstown rival, Texas Christian University (TCU). The original parody lyrics spoke of the Baylor football team doing the opposing team “…up in turpentine…”. Markham, in one of her correspondences regarding her version of the song, claimed the words “…remained inadequate and even absurd…”. Markham even went as far as to say “…I was struck anew with their utter unworthiness as I watched a group of dignified, middle-aged Exes solemnly intoning the ridiculous little turpentine words…”

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Research Ready: November 2017

Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!

November’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

    • Texas Sheet Music collection, 1836-1979, undated (#258): An assortment of songs and sheet music relating to Texas. Many of these songs pertain to the Texas War of Independence, famous military leaders, Christmas in Texas, the state flower, the state song, the city of Waco, and life in the American Southwest.
BU Home Economics Department Pamphlets
These departmental pamphlets found in the collection highlight the variety of opportunities available at Baylor and historical changes in higher education for home economics as a whole You’ll find these items in the BU Records: Home Economics Department (#BU/107) at The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Rights: Some rights reserved. E-mail for information about the use of our images. Visit for more information about our collections.

November’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Harding, Glenn T. Rails to the Rio. [Raymondville, TX]: [Glenn Harding], [2003]. Print.

Harding, Glenn T. Rails to the Rio. [Raymondville, TX]: [Glenn Harding], [2003]. Print.

Highlighting the 2004 centennial of the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railroad, this volume also provides information on towns created and/or affected by rail construction. Click here to view in BearCat.



Collias, Joe G. The Texas & Pacific Railway: Super-Power to Streamliners, 1925-1975. Crestwood, MO: M M Books, [1989]. Print.


Collias, Joe G. The Texas & Pacific Railway: Super-Power to Streamliners, 1925-1975. Crestwood, MO: M M Books, [1989]. Print.

This volume provides a deeper look at 50 years of the Texas & Pacific Railway and is filled with many photographs of trains, depots, and rail yards. Click here to view in BearCat.