The Ellington Field Photographic Collection

Example of a moving carpet, used for bombardier training.

by Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist

The Ellington Field Photographic collection is one of two new photographic collections obtained by The Texas Collection that focus on World War I. Though currently divided and used for both civil and military purposes, Ellington Field bears a long history of being at the front lines of training for United States aviation services.

This first image is called a “moving carpet” and was used to train bombardiers for combat. Representing the landscape they would see from their sighting mechanism; these men were trained to recognize geographic features and potential targets. Some images in this collection also show WW1 military bi-planes and parts of their structure such as elevator controls and bomb releases. Photographs of soldiers recording bomb shots and the tools used to take bombing measurements are also included.

Planes flying in formation.

Other images of military bi-planes consist of planes on the ground and flying in formation. This time, 1917-1920, coincides with the infancy of aerial photography and there are some great photos of formation flying in this collection. A few images focus on the ground and areas around Houston, Texas, but the clear majority are of planes. The bi-plane in this photograph is a De Havilland 4 Bomber taken on January 4, 1919.

De Havilland 4 Bomber.

Images of plane crashes are also prominent in this collection. The back of this photograph reads:

Tail-spin from 5,000 feet – unhurt. Lt. Platt, pilot. Got up, smoked a cigarette, and wanted to walk away. Taken to hospital and discharged in 24 hours. Accident due to inexperience.

Another crash image tells us:

2nd Lt. W.C. Stalker, Pilot. August 30, 1918. Total Wreck. Ship came down in a spin from about 1,000 feet, and hit nose first, driving engine back into the gas tank, and tank back into front seat. Pilot probably was climbing too steep and slipped off into a spin. Seems unable to remember what happened, due probably to blow received when he crashed.

Tailspin from 1,000 feet.

One supposes that the images were studied and used as documentation for pilot and plane review.

The images from the Ellington Field Photograph collection depict a time of growth and change in the way America approached aerial maneuvers and combat. Photos displaying planes, flying formations, pilots, plane crashes and even images of workshops and hangers, come together in this collection and give a representation of what it was like to be a pilot in training during World War I.

This collection is open for research and those interested in viewing it are encouraged to contact us at All images in the post can be found in the Ellington Field Photographic collection, Accession #3937, Box 1, Folder 5, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

StuFu for You: Baylor’s Student Foundation Serves Students

by Joe Griffith, Graduate Assistant

Student Foundation members are perhaps best known around campus for their green- and white-striped rugby shirts. BU395 – Box #41, Folder #21, circa 2004-2005.

Baylor University’s Student Foundation was born in a turbulent time.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, relations between college students and administrators deteriorated. On March 4th, 1970, as thousands of college students at Kent State University protested American involvement in the Vietnam War, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire, killing four students and wounding nine others. When over 400 million student went on strike in the coming weeks, over 450 universities, colleges, and high schools shut down.

“We were dealing with a very unique situation at that time,” recalled Bill Harlan, one of the founders of Student Foundation.

Modeled after the 600-member Indiana University Foundation, Baylor University’s Student Foundation (aka “StuFu”) was founded in 1969 as a way to make Baylor University a better place. Its motto is straightforward and simple: “Students Serving Students.”Continue Reading

Lives in the Archives: The A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 1.
Reilly’s criminal libel suit later became the subject of this pamphlet, written to show that God protects those who preach his truth.

by Jackson Hager, Graduate Assistant

One of the great joys of being able to work in an archive like The Texas Collection is how often one, amid the stacks and piles of collections, encounters remarkably human stories. Even when the collection is just a few folders, an archivist can sometimes feel like they have encountered a real person, with all the flaws and perfections that come with being a human. That was my experience as I was processing the A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland papers, where I came to catch a glimpse of the Waco’s past through the eyes of a passionate Baptist preacher and his wife.

Antonio Reilly Copeland was born on January 7, 1889, in Marquez, Texas. His future wife, Eunice Bessie Tooley, was born in Buffalo Springs, Texas, on November 30, 1891. The couple first met in 1903 and married in the summer in 1916. While Eunice studied music in Houston, Reilly attended college first in Commerce, then Tehuacana, Rome, and finally the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After the couple had had several children, the family made their entrance into Waco history when they moved there in 1923, as Reilly had been offered the pulpit at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 1500 15th and Clay Street.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 1, Folder 5.
Reilly’s writings show both a deep knowledge of scripture and a deep sense of God’s involvement within the world, as evidenced by the first page of one of his journals, titled “Some Signs Before Great Tribulation”

During his four decades of leading the Tabernacle community, Reilly was a prolific speaker and writer. His writings reveal a strong sense of right and wrong, and a zeal for adhering to what he saw as biblical truth. His confrontational style of writing, however, brought conflict. The most famous example of this is when Reilly was charged with criminal libel in 1925, after writing several letters detailing the moral failings of local Waco politicians. The charges were dropped in 1928, however, and Reilly continued to preach and write. He spent the latter half of his career delving deep into biblical study and debate. As evidenced by his letters, Reilly participated often in the debates surrounding Fundamentalism and Neo-Orthodoxy, and his journals show a deep interest in biblical prophecy and how it related to world at large. Reilly’s preaching was not just reserved for the pulpit, as he hosted a radio program for station WACO from 1941 to 1954. By the time of his resignation in the early 1960’s, Reilly had been a public voice for Baptists within the Waco community for almost forty years.

A. Reilly and Eunice B. Tooley Copeland Papers #1100, Box 3, Folder 7.
Eunice’s memoir covers nearly a century and contains a large amount of photos from nearly every decade of her life.

While Reilly’s writings may provide one picture of who he was, Eunice’s own memoirs help fashion a fuller image. Eunice dedicated more than half of her book to her time with Reilly and the family they made together, and we find that Reilly was a kind and loving husband and father. Eunice’s writings help shine a light on what it was like to be a preacher’s wife in the early 20th century, and how they dealt with the many changes that occurred during those turbulent years.

The lives of A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland may appear, in the grand scheme of things, of little impact. But it is through the small, personal stories of regular people that we obtain a deeper human connection to our past.

If you are interested in learning more about A. Reilly and Eunice Copeland, feel free to contact us at The Texas Collection and view the collection’s finding aid here!

Five Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Texas Collection (Unless You Just Spent Ten Weeks Here)

by Emily Starr, Summer Intern

  1. Bring a sweater. The collections here are kept at 65°, which means it’s chilly. Even on the hottest 110° days, you’ll probably need an extra layer, but it’s for the good of the collections, so it’s worth it. There are really old books, maps, and other valuable pieces of history on paper, so it’s important to do our best to preserve them.
  2. Texas has really weird towns. The Texas Collection has a vast map collection, housing about 14,000 maps of mostly Texas, and I worked with over 2,500 of them. Scranton, Movie Mountain, and Blanket were some of my favorites. You can take a tour of Europe if you’re interested, including towns like London, Paris, Oxford, Dublin, Edinburg, Florence, and Athens. If you don’t believe me, just head to the map room in The Texas Collection. The collection houses a very extensive array of maps, and another thing you might not know is how beautiful they are! From really old historical maps of the U.S. and Texas to maps of Waco, many research needs can be met in the map room.
  3. We are a photogenic school. If you need any historical pictures of Baylor or Waco, The Texas Collection can help you out. Maybe you work for The Lariat, maybe you need vintage fashion inspiration, or maybe you’re just upping your Instagram game – regardless the reason, the archives are your gold mine! If you are like me, and you aren’t the first in your family to come to Baylor, it’s especially fun to see photos of Baylor and Waco when our parents and grandparents were here.
  4. You should start your research paper here. Not only are the resources available valuable for your research, but the reading room is a quiet space for any studying needs. There is always someone at the desk to help you, and it’s a nice change of pace from the other libraries that can be crowded at different points throughout the semester.
  5. If you leave when it’s closing time, you get to hear the bells. Although Carroll Library closes at 5:00pm, one of the best parts of my days this summer has been on the walk back to my car. I try to leave right on time just to to hear the bells because it’s a fun reminder of how the history housed in The Texas Collection is still reflected throughout Baylor today.

Looking Back at Baylor: The “Philos” and the “Sophies”

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in April 1976, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

With the start of the fall semester kicking off this week, we welcome a new class of students who will begin to make new friends and join new organizations as Baylor becomes their home. There was a time when Baylor did not have national fraternal organizations for students to join and in the early years many students belonged to literary societies. Read on to learn about their competitiveness and “rush season”, as told by a 1909 Baylor graduate.
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Part II: A History of the Baptist Joint Committee and the Protection of Religious Liberty

Pictured here is Joseph Martin Dawson, the first Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee.
Baptist Joint Committee records, Accession #3193, Box #652, Folder #23, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

This blog is the first of two that highlights a recently processed collection, the Baptist Joint Committee records, and its place in history.

The 1930s were a desperate time in the history of the United States.  The nation had been plunged into the Great Depression following the crash of the stock markets.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his brain trust crafted the New Deal in an effort to combat unemployment and economic depression.  In order to enact Roosevelt’s proposals, however, the powers of the federal government began to increase dramatically.  Concerned about potential infringements on individual freedom, particularly religious liberty, Baptists across the country began to organize.

In 1936, the Southern Baptist Convention created a Committee on Public Relations to monitor the government’s activities.  Rufus W. Weaver, a prominent Baptist educator and writer, served as its first Chairman.  Under his leadership, the committee tackled various church-state issues including American attempts at diplomacy with the Vatican, the mistreatment of missionaries in Romania, and the formation of the United Nations.  Weaver also facilitated cooperative efforts among the Southern Baptist Convention, the Northern Baptist Convention, and the predominantly African American National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc. to maximize their ability to enact change.Continue Reading

Part III: The Red River Resolution: Defining the Border Once and for All

by Rachel DeShong, Special Event Coordinator and Map Curator

This blog post is the third and final post in a series of three highlighting John Melish, a 19th century cartographer, and the impact his 1816 map,  Map of the United States with the Contiguous British & Spanish Possessionshad on U.S. history.

As the United States acquired significant territory through the 1840s and 1850s, borders between newly admitted states followed boundaries established in the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. Border disputes between states emerged as a result of several inaccuracies in Melish’s map. One particular hotbed of contention was the Red River area.

According to the Adams-Onís Treaty, the boundary between the Spanish colony of Mexico and the United States began at the mouth of the Sabine River, went north to the 32nd degree latitude line where it intersected with the Red River, and then followed that river west until it reached the 100th Meridian. However, there were several problems with Melish’s depiction of the area. Firstly, his 100th Meridian was off target by nearly 90 miles. Secondly, Melish only recorded a single fork in the Red River while, in actuality, there were two. These errors became problematic in deciphering the border between Texas and the Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

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Part I: Why Do Baptists Care About Religious Liberty?

by Thomas DeShong, Project Archivist

This blog is the first of two that highlights a recently processed collection, the Baptist Joint Committee records, and its place in history.

Of all the rights and freedoms guaranteed to American citizens by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion has proven to be one of the mostly hotly contested.  Throughout the history of the United States, stretching back to the early years of British colonization in the seventeenth century, religious liberty has been at times both staunchly protected and unequivocally denied.  Baptists, due in part to the histories of their denominations, have often stood as key proponents of religious liberty for all.Continue Reading

John N. Rowe III Papers: A Texas Treasure

by Benna Vaughn, Manuscripts Archivist

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, The Texas Collection was the recipient of eight separate donations of materials from John N. Rowe, III. These donations collectively became the John N. Rowe III papers. Rowe, renown numismatist and collector from Dallas, began collecting bank notes as a small boy, and what began as a hobby became a life-long passion. This collection represents that passion and is steeped in Texas and Mexican history.

It isn’t every day that an archivist works with a collection that causes “oohhs” and “aahhs” with every turn of the page. The John N. Rowe, III papers are such a collection. It contains so much early Texas and Mexican history that it is hard not to stop and read every document. One of the most fascinating items in the papers is dated October 11, 1835, written to General Stephen F. Austin, and begins like this:

Bexar has fallen! Our brave citizen volunteers, with a persevering bravery and heroic valor, unparalleled in the annals of warfare, have triumphed over a force of twice their number and compelled the slaves of despotism to yield, vanquished by the ever resistless arms of freemen soldiers.

Now, if you are a Texan, that’ll wake you up in the morning! And just holding the letter, turned dark and torn in places, gives you goosebumps. It brings alive the feeling and zeal of the Texas Revolution.Continue Reading

Part II: Compromise Leads to Conflict: The Adams-Onís Treaty

by Rachel DeShong, Special Event Coordinator and Map Curator

This blog post is the second in a series of three posts highlighting John Melish, a 19th century cartographer, and the impact his 1816 map,  Map of the United States with the Contiguous British & Spanish Possessionshad on U.S. history.

John Quincy Adams
Popular Graphic Arts, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-pga-10486.

The Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 was the culmination of prolonged boundary disputes between Spain and the United States. Spain was attempting to retain their colonial empire in the Americas which was crumbling at the hands of revolutionaries. The United States, on the other hand, was rapidly expanding its borders but was highly concerned about the British presence in Florida. Although officially recognized as Spanish territory, Florida was heavily influenced by British mercantilism. During the War of 1812, British naval vessels used Florida as a launching point for attacks on New Orleans and other ports of the American South. Moreover, the United States had growing concerns regarding the number of runaway slaves and Native Americans residing in Florida. For these reasons, both Spain and the United States sought a mutually beneficial compromise with Florida at the heart of the deal.

Luis de Onís y Gonzalez was the Spanish Foreign Minister who negotiated the treaty. Arriving in Washington, D.C. in October 1809, he was not recognized as a legitimate government representative at first due to a civil war in Spain. It was not until December 1815 that the United States formally accepted Onís’ credentials. Although negotiations commenced under Secretary of State James Monroe (before he became the fifth president), most of the results occurred under Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (who would become the sixth president.) After the finer points were settled, the Adams-Onís Treaty accomplished two of the Unites States’ major priorities:

  1. Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
  2. The United States now claimed a solid, international boundary extending from the American South to the Pacific Northwest.

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