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)!

Christmas Tamales – From Our Cookbooks to Your Table!

This post was written by Jacqueline Devereaux, staff archivist at The Texas Collection

During the holiday season, a beloved food tradition across Texas is tamales. Generally, tamales are a Mesoamerican dish with cornmeal dough – masa – wrapped around seasoned meat, cheese, beans, or vegetables baked or streamed in corn husks. To assist with the labor-intensive process, a host may invite family and friends to a tamalada to make dozens and dozens of tamales. Because of the time and effort required for tamales, many home cooks choose to make tamales for celebration days. Our staff expert, Maria, brings in this delicious treat for the Texas Collection each year to our Christmas party!

If you are interested in learning more about the history of tamales or finding a recipe to test out yourself, we have plenty of options to explore at The Texas Collection…including an extensive collection of cookbooks – over 9000 of them Texas cookbooks!

Here are cookbook highlights featuring different tamale recipes:

The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh presents a historic look at the development of Texan traditions; it also includes a Christmas tamale recipe! The first picture on page 89 provides a recipe for the masa and a pork filling. The other picture is from page 84, and it shows a woman collecting corn husks for the tamale preparation.
The La Gloria school in La Gloria and nearby Falfurrias, Texas community cookbook compiled recipes during the 1990s from students, teachers, and the community. Page 74 includes a pork tamale recipe.

Tantalizing Tamales by Gwyneth Doland shares over 40 different possibilities for tamale fillings. From the sweet cinnamon to the savory green chile chicken or salmon tamales with peach salsa, this cookbook offers numerous options.

Works Cited:

Doland, Gwyneth. Tantalizing Tamales . Tucson, Ariz: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2007. Print.

La Gloria School Cookbook, Falfurrias, Texas. Collierville, TN: Fundcraft Publishing, 1996. Print.

Walsh, Robb. The Tex-Mex Cookbook : a History in Recipes and Photos . 1st ed. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2004. Print.

Spotlighting Historic Black-Owned Businesses in Waco

This article was written by B.J. Thome, a graduate assistant at The Texas Collection pursuing his PhD in English.

In celebration of National Black Business Month this August, The Texas Collection is spotlighting a few historic Black-owned businesses in Waco and the accomplishments of their owners.

M. Sublett and Son

Photograph of L. M. Sublett and Son Groceries circa 1928. As the caption in the image indicates, the business’s proprietors can be seen standing on the store’s porch. Source: Hall, Ida Legett. History of the Negro in Waco Texas : Sociology 232, Spring 1928 . Waco, Texas: Ida Legett Hall, 1928, p. 16 1/2.

One of the first Black-owned businesses in Waco was L. M. Sublett and Son Grocery Store. The store operated during the early twentieth century, becoming one of the largest and most successful Black-owned businesses in Waco, on par with any other grocery store in Waco at the time. Sublett’s business focus wasn’t limited to just the grocery store, however; he also owned a couple farms and several houses that he rented out. By 1928, Sublett’s monthly income from his business endeavors was estimated at approximately $2,000.00 per month (roughly $31,000 per month when adjusted for inflation). Sublett’s endeavors weren’t limited merely to the business sphere. He was also politically active. In particular, he fought for voting rights for his fellow Black men and women. In the early twentieth century, one form of voter suppression was restricting primary elections to white voters only. In 1923, Sublett, among others, successfully sought and received an injunction from Judge Irvin Clark to prevent the Democratic party from excluding Black voters from the city’s primary elections.

Mecca Drug Store

Copy of an advertisement for the Mecca Drug Store. Although it isn’t dated, the identification of E. E. Clemmons as the store’s proprietor indicates that the ad is later than 1921. Source: Radford, Garry H., Sr. African-American Heritage in Waco Texas: Life Stories of Those Who Believed They Could Overcome Impediments. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 2000, p. 133.

Another prominent early twentieth-century Black-owned business was the Mecca Drug Store, located in the Fridia Building in downtown Waco. The drug store was originally opened by Dr. J. Walter Fridia, who first started practicing medicine in Waco in 1898. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Fridia purchased a three-story building on the corner of Bridge and Second Streets, opening the Mecca Drug Store on the first floor and providing space for physician and dental offices on the second floor and space for other business offices on the third floor. Around 1912, E. E. Clemmons, who had earned a pharmaceutical degree from the University of Michigan, came to work for Dr. Fridia as a druggist. In 1921, Clemmons bought the store from Dr. Fridia and continued to operate it for several decades afterwards. Clemmons even weathered the 1953 Tornado which devastated downtown Waco and severely damaged the Fridia Building. Clemmons rebuilt and reopened the store after the storm, continuing to operate it until 1968.

Photograph of the Fridia Building circa 1928. The Fridia Building is the white three-story building in the center of the photo. The Mecca Drug Store, owned by E. E. Clemmons by this point, was located on the ground floor of this building. Source: Hall, Ida Legett. History of the Negro in Waco Texas : Sociology 232, Spring 1928 . Waco, Texas: Ida Legett Hall, 1928, p. 16 ½.

In 1953, a Tornado devastated downtown Waco. Although most records of the event prioritize the impact on the main downtown area, the tornado also damaged black-owned businesses and buildings. This photograph comes from an unrelated collection and, at least until now, was not identified as the black-owned Fridia Building. Source: Wilton Lanning papers, Accession #4039, Box #9, Folder #26, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Dr. Garry Radford, Sr./East Side Cab Company

The Connor Willis Building was the location of Dr. Garry Radford, Sr.’s dental practice and, like the Fridia Building, was significantly damaged by the tornado. This photograph also comes from an unrelated collection and, at least until now, was not identified as the black-owned Connor Willis Building. Source: Wilton Lanning papers, Accession #4039, Box #9, Folder #26, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Another prominent Black business owner in mid-twentieth century was Dr. Garry Radford, Sr. In 1944, Dr. Radford moved to Waco and set up his own dental practice in the Conner Building, another Black-owned building in downtown Waco housing several Black-owned businesses and offices. Eventually, his practice expanded to have sixteen employees and gathered enough income to be listed by Dunn & Bradstreet. Like other prominent Black doctors/businessmen, Dr. Raford didn’t restrict himself to just his dental practice. He also invested in other Black-owned businesses, including the East Side Cab Company. The East Side Cab Company was originally organized by Johnnie Boy Holland in 1945. In 1946, Holland, along with J. D. Fikes, bought the Bridge Street Cab Company from Herbert Walker and merged it with the East Side Cab Company. (There were several Black-owned taxi companies in Waco at the time, responding to the demand for taxis that would carry Black passengers since companies like Yellow Cab refused to offer service to non-white customers.) In 1949, Dr. Radford bought half interest in the East Side Cab Company and even purchased several new cars for the company. As a result of the 1953 Tornado, however, the East Side Cab Company’s office and fleet were severely damaged, prompting Radford close down the company and refocus his efforts on community service and politics.

Like Sublett, Radford was actively involved in politics. In fact, in 1966, he decided to run for his district’s seat on the Waco City Council. At first, his chances of winning appeared slim. In fact, the radio announcers initially proclaimed his opponent, Les Tooker, to be the winner of the election. They even went as far as conducting an interview with Tooker, a white man, regarding his plans for his presumed tenure in office. After all, Tooker was ahead by three hundred votes with only a single box of votes remaining to be counted. However, that single remaining box of votes was Box 10C—the box from Radford’s home district where Radford himself went to vote. When the votes from that final box were counted, 455 votes had been cast for Radford and only 2 votes had been cast for Tooker. Despite the radio’s premature announcement of Tooker’s victory, Dr. Radford actually won the election by a margin of only 146 votes, becoming the first Black man elected to a public office in Waco’s history.


Garry Hamilton Radford papers, Accession #2221, Box #1, Folders #2-3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Hall, Ida Legett. History of the Negro in Waco Texas : Sociology 232, Spring 1928. Waco, Texas: Ida Legett Hall, 1928.

Radford, Garry H., Sr. African-American Heritage in Waco Texas: Life Stories of Those Who Believed They Could Overcome Impediments. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 2000.

Hunter, Selese. “A Study of Negroes Engaged in the Professions and Business Activities of Waco, Texas.” Waco, Texas: Baylor University, 1927.

Wilton Lanning papers, Accession #4039, Box #9, Folder #26, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Transcontinental Possibilities: The Pacific Railroad Surveys Through Texas

This post was written and the images curated by Rachel DeShong, Map Curator at The Texas Collection

The first transcontinental railroad in the United States, connecting the east coast to the west, was completed on May 10, 1869 when the “Golden Spike” was hammered into place at Promontory Summit, Utah. Constructed over an arduous six-year period, the railroad was actually a decades-long process. As early as the 1830s, discussion concerning the need for a transcontinental railroad, referred to as the Pacific Railroad, raged on. As more interest developed in the 1840s, the issue was debated by Congress several times with few results.

Congress finally approved the Pacific Railroad surveys in 1853, authorizing four east-to-west surveys (between the 47th and 49th parallel, between the 37th and the 39th parallel, the 35thparallel, and the 32nd parallel) to be conducted from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast. Additional surveys were also completed along the Pacific coast from San Diego to Seattle. The goal was to survey several different paths to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective route. The surveys were under the purview of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, and were initially set to conclude in 1854. However, as one might expect, the process took over three years to complete. The idea of a Pacific Railroad became so firmly rooted in the American psyche that both the Democratic Party and the newly formed Republican Party included it in their presidential platforms for the 1856 and 1860 elections.

What is interesting to note is that two of these routes, the 32nd and the 35th parallels, ran through Texas. Although authorized to begin at the Mississippi River, the surveys actually began at the western borders of Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas. The 35th parallel route began in Fort Smith, Arkansas and crossed the Texas panhandle into New Mexico and Arizona to end in San Pedro (now Los Angeles). It was roughly estimated to traverse 2,100 miles and cost $99 million (in 1850s money).

The 32nd parallel route was the southernmost proposed route and began on the Red River in Fulton, Arkansas. The route bisected Texas, connected to El Paso, and passed into New Mexico and Arizona, ending in San Diego. It was estimated to be less than 1,700 miles and cost approximately $72 million. This route was the most popular for a variety of reasons:

  • Jefferson Davis was a Southerner and naturally favored a southern route.
  • It was the shortest length and the lowest cost of all the possible routes.
  • The route would have encountered lower elevations and better weather.
  • The route passed through states and territories that had already been organized.

The primary downside to this route, which was addressed before the survey was even completed, was that a portion of the route passed through Mexican territory. To remedy this, the Gadsden Purchase was finalized on June 8, 1854. In exchange for $10 million, Mexico sold the United States 29,670 square miles south of the Gila River in present-day Arizona.

Despite the popularity of the proposed Pacific Railroad, the upcoming Civil War (1861-1865) stalled any decision-making. Once Confederate states seceded in 1861, the opposition to a central route was moot and the idea of a southern route was dismissed. Ultimately, a central route along the 42nd parallel, starting in Council Bluff, Iowa, (far enough away from the fighting) was approved.

Although the first American transcontinental railroad did not go through Texas, the routes surveyed had been viable options, as evidenced by future transcontinental railroads built along them. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe was constructed along the 35th parallel, and the Texas and Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads were built along the 32nd parallel.


Galloway, John Debo. First Transcontinental Railroad: Central Pacific, Union Pacific.
Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 1983.

“Pacific Railroad Surveys.” The First Transcontinental Railroad – Spotlight at Stanford. April 03, 2019. Accessed May 19, 2021. https://exhibits.stanford.edu/rr/feature/pacific-railroad-surveys.

Stover, John F. Iron Road to the West: American Railroads in the 1850s. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978.

“The Transcontinental Railroad: History of Railroads and Maps: Articles and Essays: Railroad Maps, 1828-1900: Digital Collections: Library of Congress.” The Library of Congress. Accessed May 19, 2021. https://www.loc.gov/collections/railroad-maps-1828-to-1900/articles-and-essays/history-of-railroads-and-maps/the-transcontinental-railroad/.

Transcontinental Railroad Map 1

Explorations and surveys for a rail road route from the Missisippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Map no. 1: Route near the 35th parallel from Fort Smith to the Rio Grande. 1853-4. Cubby 58, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Transcontinental Railroad Map 2

Explorations and surveys for a rail road route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean route near the 35th parallel: Map no. 2: from the Rio Grande to the Pacific Ocean. 1853-4. Cubby 58, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

A Musical Maverick: Laura Wise Maverick, Contralto

This post was written by Benna Vaughan, Assistant Librarian, Special Collections & Manuscripts Archivist

Promotional portrait of Laura Maverick, undated.

Young Laura Maverick at 9 years, June 1887

The Laura Wise Maverick papers, consisting of a scrapbook, diary, and travel journal, are now open for research at The Texas Collection. Though the Maverick name has long been associated with Texas and her growth (Laura’s grandfather, Samuel Augustus Maverick, was a land baron and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, her father a rancher and prominent developer of San Antonio), Laura would make her name on the stage as a contralto, touring throughout the United States and Canada, and performing with the Metropolitan Orchestra and the Russian Symphony Orchestra.

Laura was born on November 22, 1878 in San Antonio, Texas, to William H. Maverick and Emilia Virginia Chilton Maverick. Growing up on a ranch allowed Laura free reign for her adventurous spirit and she was often seen on the back of a horse riding at full speed around the grounds. She attended St. Mary’s Hall Episcopal school and graduated from the San Antonio High School for Young Ladies in May of 1895. She then attended Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts. Sources differ as to the exact year of her marriage to Dr. Amos Lawson Graves, but the couple wed on April 19th in the early 1890s. They had two children, Amos Maverick and Laura Maverick. They couple would later divorce, with Laura and the children moving to New York to pursue her career in music. She trained abroad in the ensuing years with noted instructors, and by 1911, was making a name for herself in New York and Texas music circles.

On January 28, 1912, Laura appeared with the Russian Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall. The New York Press said of her performance:

She was received with many manifestations of approval. Miss Maverick is a mezzo-

contralto of pleasing personality and sings with taste and intelligence. Her voice has

exceptional purity and quality and her diction in three languages was admirable, as

well as her phrasing and intonation.

Program for debut with Russian Symphony Orchestra, January 28, 1912

Laura toured and performed throughout the United States and Canada, taking a summer off during 1912 for time at her ranch in Texas. It was during this time that Laura went to Mexico where she devoted weeks to the study of Mexican songs. She also married cellist and conductor Carl Hahn in 1912, and they would tour and perform together in the following years. The couple would later divorce. They had no children.

Promotional flyer for Laura Maverick, taken from her scrapbook, undated

The scrapbook in the Maverick papers covers Laura’s musical career during the years of 1911-1913. Programs, repertoire lists, press releases, announcements, and news clippings are prominent throughout. The last clipping remarks on the passing of Laura’s mother and brother, within a week of each other (1913), and mentions the cancellation of Laura’s tour for that year. Loose materials within the scrapbook include photographs and personal mementos. The travel journal contains the month and day of each entry but not the year. It speaks of an early U.S. tour and reflects on the places she visited, events attended, and modes of travel. A letter from her granddaughter in 1954 is also found with the journal. The diary picks up later in Laura’s life from 1933-1937, with many entries discussing children, family, friends, colleagues, and life on the road. A poem inscribed in the front of her diary seems to echo her outlook: “Smile a smile/ While you smile/ Another smiles/ And soon there’s miles and miles of smiles/ And life’s worthwhile/ If you just smile.” (credited to Jane Thompson)

The Laura Wise Maverick papers offer an interesting facet of the Maverick family history, through a glimpse of the life of one of its female members. Rich and elegant in tone, the papers reflect the influence of music in society during the early 1900s, and the life of women working in music and theater.


Texas Archival Repositories Online. “Maverick Family Papers, 1840-1980.” Col 11749, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas. Databases. Accessed 2021 April 13.

Laura Wise Maverick papers, Accession #663, Box 1, Folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

“Laura Maverick as an Amateur Circus Rider,” Musical America, December 23, 1912 (Scrapbook)

Laura Maverick,” Music (Boston) January 27, 1912 (Scrapbook)

Find A Grave, Inc. “Laura Wise Maverick.” Memorial #134173414. Accessed 2012 April 26.

Texas Army Air Fields

November is National Aviation History Month! According to the Government Printing Office, the month is “dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight — from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.” This post explores the history of Army Air Fields in Texas using items from our holdings.

Written by Rachel DeShong, Map Curator and Coordinator for the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair

On December 8, 1941, the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan. Immediately, the United States government embarked on expanding their military operations as quickly as possible. These efforts included both recruitment and the building of new military installations. Texas offered ideal conditions for military installations as there was plenty of land and relatively warm climate year-around. When World War II ended, there were a total of 65 army air fields[1] in the state of Texas alone.[2] These air fields not only infused the local communities with some much needed income, but also brought in a large influx of young men and women from across the country.

To commemorate their training experiences, air field personnel created souvenir booklets, yearbooks, and postcards. The booklets and yearbooks (called “mug books”) were composed almost entirely of photographs and documented the lives of the cadets rather than the history of the air field. Only a few examples include any historical element, and those that do are very brief. Images depicting physical activity, daily messes, and classrooms were common. The yearbooks shared similar styles with high school yearbooks with elaborate covers and individual photographs of each cadet along with their name, their hometown, and sometimes their aviator call sign. One such yearbook in our collection from the Pampa Army Air Field includes the embossed name of the cadet on the front cover and signatures like those one would find in a typical high school yearbook.

These materials also provide a sneak peek into the cadets’ personal lives. Often included in these books are humorous drawings and captions with inside jokes. Others document the various extracurricular activities that the cadets participated in including sports, listening to music, and reading. Several even include images of their camp mascots which, contrary to what one might expect, tended to be furry, cute, and cuddly. The Amarillo Army Air Field claimed two puppies, a kitten, and a fawn as their post mascots. Other details hint at the romantic lives of the cadets such as the wedding photograph of an unidentified couple from the Blackland Army Air Field or the numerous illustrations referencing the cadets’ perpetual lack of female companionship. Some books also contain a section dedicated to the memory of cadets who died during training. While providing valuable historic insight to training and military installations, these resources help to humanize the pilots and remind us that they were just like us.

One of the post mascots for the Amarillo Army Air Field. Amarillo Army Air Field: a Camera Trip through Amarillo Army Air Field. 1943. Texas UG634.5.A414 A43 1943, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

A humorous drawing included in the Flight: Class of 44H yearbook from Curtis Field. Flight: Class of 44H. 1944. Texas RBT UG634.5.C87 A155 1944, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

A page devoted to the different sports in which the cadets participated. A Camera Trip through Ellington Field: a Picture Book of the Field and Its Activities. Circa 1940. Texas UG634.5.E35 C36 1940z, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The front cover of the 1944 Pampa Army Air Field yearbook with name of cadet in upper right hand corner.
Gig Sheet: 44 A. 1944. Texas RBT UG634.5.P267 A15 1944, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Exploring the Original Fundraising Campaign for Tidwell Bible Building

As the sounds of jackhammers echo throughout campus, it is difficult to ignore the ongoing renovation of the Tidwell Bible Building. On April 25, 2019, Baylor University announced a $15 million dollar gift from the Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kansas dedicated to the Tidwell restoration fund.[1] Less than a year later, the Baylor Board of Regents approved a total budget cost of $21.2 million for the project.[2] The work began this summer and is projected to be completed in 2022.

Under construction from 1953 to 1954, the Tidwell Bible Building was named after the esteemed Dr. Josiah Blake Tidwell (1870–1946), former head of the Baylor Bible department, which later become the Department of Religion. Initially conceived in 1936 by former students of Dr. Tidwell, the building was a permanent homage to him as well as a physical representation of the significance of the Bible. Originally designed as a ten-story building with a “wall of light”, a more modest six-story building was ultimately built. The history of the building, what could have been, and what was, is a story often told. But how does one pay for a structure such as Tidwell? Therein lies an interesting tale…

The short answer is churches. According to a Certificate of Payment to Leslie Crocket Construction Co., the cost to physically build Tidwell was $590,000.[3] (Considering inflation, that is an estimated $5,682,884 in today’s money.) Looking at the records of the Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, it becomes very clear that Baptist churches throughout the state were major contributors to the building fund. Appealing to districts defined by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, churches of all sizes were solicited. For example, in 1944,  First Baptist-Elm Mott donated $75, while Columbus Avenue Baptist Church donated $2,112.14 between 1944 and 1946 including amounts as low as $2.05.[4] In spite of the Great Depression and World War II, by January 31, 1947, a total of $121,988.70 was raised.[5] This amount, however, would not be enough.

In 1947, in an effort to raise the necessary funds, the Tidwell Bible Building Committee, in collaboration with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, approved a large-scale fundraising campaign. Setting an ambitious goal of $500,000, the committee “felt that the individual person approach was the best approach” to achieve said goal.[6] Again, using the BGCT districts, the campaign focused mainly on churches and their membership. The Executive Committee minutes from their February 4, 1947 described the concerted effort thus:

“A plan whereby a solicitor from each church would contact members of his church, and ask them to fill out a pledge card, and select the plan of giving to the Bible Building Campaign Fund. These pledge cards would be sent to the churches all over the state and would be followed up by public appeals in sermons, and then presented to the members by a committee of solicitors.”[7]

To oversee the fundraising campaign, Brother O.D. Martin from District 3 was employed full-time. [8] Setting monetary goals for each district to raise, he reported that “$515,000 worth of goals has been accepted by districts, churches, and association over the state.”[9] The ledgers from 1947 and 1948 reveal churches from all over the state donating various amounts. First Baptist-El Paso donated $10 on September 9, 1947, while First Baptist-Amarillo donated over $3,000 between 1947 to 1949 usually in $100 payments.[10] The concentrated effort paid off and by September 30, 1951, the building fund raised $628,665.02 (a little over $6 million in today’s money).[11] Of course, not all donations came from churches. There were a significant number of individual donors in addition to Baylor University agreeing to contribute $100,000. However, it is undeniable that Baptist churches across Texas played an important role in making Tidwell Bible Building a reality.

A love offering envelope provided to churches. BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, Accession #BU/169, Box 1, Folder 6, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

A Tidwell Bible Building pledge card. BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, Accession #BU/169, Box 1, Folder 6, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

The cover of a pamphlet to support funding the Tidwell Bible Building. The illustration depicts the elaborate “wall of light” that never was built. BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, Accession #BU/169, Box 1, Folder 6, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

[1] “Baylor Announces $15 Million Gift from The Sunderland Foundation for Tidwell Restoration,” Media and Public Relations | Baylor University, April 25, 2019, accessed August 27, 2020, https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=209144.

[2]“Baylor Regents Celebrate Groundbreaking of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, Approve Final Phase of $21.2 Million Renovation of Tidwell Bible Building,” Media and Public Relations | Baylor University, February 24, 2020, accessed August 27, 2020, https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=217369.

[3] BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, Accession #BU/169, Box 2, Folder 22, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

[4] Ibid., Box 1, Folder 10.

[5] Ibid., Box 1, Folder 1.

[6] Ibid., Box 1, Folder 3.

[7] Ibid., Box 1, Folder 2.

[8] Ibid., Box 1, Folder 1.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., Box 1 Folder 18.

[11] Ibid., Box 2, Folder 2

Looking Back at Baylor: Echoes from Old Carroll Field

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth was originally published in The Baylor Line in January 1990. Blogging About Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

 As Baylor prepares for a shortened and socially distanced football season due to COVID-19, McLane Stadium will host the fewest number of fans since its opening in 2014. Capacity for McLane is listed at 45,140, the 25% allowed this season is only 11,285. The last time max capacity for Baylor Football was so low, the Bears played at Carroll Field which held about 12,000 fans during the 1930s. Read on to learn more about the legacy of Carroll Field.

Harvard has its ‘Soldiers Field,’ . . . Princeton its ‘Franklin Field’ and Baylor will have its ‘Lee Carroll Field,”’ boasted the Lariat on January 17, 1902. The campus newspaper was reporting an offer made to the university’s Athletic Association by athletics business manager Lee Carroll, who challenged students to raise $600 in order to receive his matching gift of $1,000 toward the creation of a sports arena.

At the turn of the century, when collegiate athletics were only just becoming established in Texas, specialized facilities for them were still relatively rare. At the time of Carroll’s offer, Baylor football was played on vacant lots where grass was minimal, weeds were rampant, and sandburs provided a powerful incentive to avoid being tackled. The designation of a purpose-built athletics facility would not only raise the school’s standards of competition, but would also give Baylor bragging rights relative to its peer institutions.

The university community responded to the challenge, and by fall Carroll Field was in use. Situated directly behind the new science building, its length extended as far as the banks of Waco Creek. At first it was little more than an open space along whose sidelines standing spectators ranged themselves. Not until 1915 was a grandstand erected on the west side, anchored to the sloping side of a wedge-shaped brick athletics building that housed dressing rooms, equipment storage, and coaching facilities. The area served for football, baseball, track, and assorted other sports, and while various circumstances would require temporary off-campus relocations of large events, Carroll Field constituted the true center of Baylor athletics until it was dismantled in 1940.

Though the field has been gone for fifty years, memories of it remain vivid to those who knew it. Former bookstore manager Bob Bright ’46, who grew up near the campus, remembers joining with other neighborhood children to watch games through knotholes in the field’s wooden fence; and retired mathematics and religion professor P. D. Browne ’21 recalls helping to erect that same fence during his student days. One prominent university benefactor who served as trainer for the football team during the 1930s still relives his embarrassment as the players removed his trousers in the end zone, under the fascinated gaze of coeds who watched from windows on the upper floors of the science building.

While the Lariat may originally have overstated Carroll Field’s significance in relation to the facilities of eastern universities, news of it did occasionally trickle through the Ivy League. On February 22, 1926, Baylor graduate Dixon Westor ’25 took time off from his graduate studies at Yale to write to former Baylorite Silas Vance at Harvard about “the fire which burned the [Carroll Field] athletic building down and the sweater of Mr. [Assistant Coach Jim] Crow off.”

The net effect of that fire, which had occurred on the night of February 10, was the reconstruction of the athletics building on a scale 50 percent larger, which also served to increase the limited seating capacity. During the field’s heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, further construction would eventually expand its permanent seating to 12,000 places, with temporary bleachers available to accommodate three thousand more in the end zones.

As the physical plant of the campus expanded, however, the university could no longer afford to devote so large and so central an area to athletics. Construction of Pat Neff Hall in 1939 crowded the western boundary of the field very closely, while the site selected for the new student union building impinged upon the gridiron itself.

In the summer of 1940, the Lariat rounded out Carroll Field’s history by reporting that its bleachers, grandstands, and walls were in the process of being leveled. Today — apart from the memories — only two known relics survive. Several courses of brickwork from the athletics building, uncovered during excavations for the Vera Martin Daniel Fountain Plaza, lie reburied under paving stones near Pat Neff Hall; and the elaborate sign from the Fifth Street gate which proclaimed Carroll Field as the “Home of Baylor Bears” still inclines, half a century later, against a wall in one of the university’s warehouses.

In the 1930s Carroll Field had a capacity of around 12,000 fans. Exceeding this number regularly, the Bears began splitting games between Carroll field and the Cotton Palace before moving to Municipal Stadium.

The original Carroll Field Entrance is now marked with a commemorative Column outside of Carroll Science Building.

The original arch has been refurbished and can be viewed inside the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB).

The Fifth Street entrance is now marked by a brick column and partial replica arch in Vera Martin Daniel Plaza (Traditions Square). The original arch was refurbished in 2018 and now resides in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Find out more in the Baylor Proud post “The story behind the Carroll Field sign in the Baylor SUB.” https://www2.baylor.edu/baylorproud/2018/10/the-story-behind-the-carroll-field-sign-in-the-baylor-sub/

Changes Ahead for The Texas Collection’s Social Media Presence

Photo illustration based on a photo from our Baylor move-in archives, 1960s.

Serving our diverse patron base has always been the primary goal of the team at The Texas Collection, and how we use social media to interact with you is a large part of that commitment. Over the years, The Texas Collection has created and maintained several social media outlets on different platforms ranging from Twitter to Facebook, from Flickr to blogs, and YouTube to print newsletters.

In partnership with the University Libraries’ Marketing & Communications team, we are excited to announce a realignment of our social media channels to more effectively and actively connect our followers with the content we have to offer. Here’s what we’re planning to do for each of our social media channels in the coming weeks.

Facebook (facebook.com/texascollection)
This will continue to be a major source of connection between The Texas Collection and our audiences, especially those who are interested in broader Texas history themes. Content will include exclusive photo posts, short stories, news updates, and links to stories on our other platforms.

The Texas Collection Blog (https://blogs.baylor.edu/texascollection/)
Our blog will serve as the home of longer stories, serialized stories, Research Ready (a digest of the newest archival collections available for research, published monthly), Texas Over Time (a photo series examining the changes in local and state landmarks), and other in-depth stories.

The Texas Collection on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/texascollectionbaylor/)
Our Flickr stream has been home to dozens of exclusive, high-quality images of the history of Baylor University and the State of Texas. We’ll continue to post intriguing images from our robust holdings on a regular basis.

Coming Soon: The Texas Collection joins @BaylorLibraries on Instagram! (https://www.instagram.com/baylorlibraries/)
Beginning later this month, The Texas Collection will begin featuring content from our collections and the life of the library on the official Baylor Libraries Instagram account! Look for fun, engaging images curated from our collections and focusing on the Baylor University experience to start on September 9th.

In addition to our ongoing and new engagement opportunities, we will be making big changes to two of our social media channels in the coming weeks.

Sunsetting The Texas Collection’s Twitter account
After careful consideration, we have decided to suspend our Twitter account on September 30. We encourage our Twitter followers to follow @BaylorLibraries, where we will be posting information about The Texas Collection, joining with content and collections from across the greater University Libraries ecosystem, starting this fall.

Sunsetting The Texas Collection’s YouTube channel
The University Libraries have revitalized the central Baylor Libraries YouTube channel, and we have decided to shift our future videos into that space in order to consolidate the Libraries’ content into one central location, and to ensure that our videos reach a broader and more diverse audience. We will be migrating many of our older videos to that platform over the coming month, and new videos will appear there exclusively beginning on October 1st. We plan to keep The Texas Collection channel available for researchers through the end of 2020.

We are excited for the new opportunities to engage with our communities that will come with these changes to our social media presence, and we hope you will follow, like, share, and subscribe to each of them. We promise to continue to publish engaging, interesting, unique, and Texas-centric material on all our platforms for many years to come. Thank you for your support of The Texas Collection, and we look forward to seeing you all down the road.