Welcome Back to The Texas Collection

This post was written by Amie Oliver, Interim Director and Librarian/ Curator of Print Materials

Though The Texas Collection reading room has been closed to researchers since late March, we are excited to announce that on August 24, we shall open our doors for public use. Staff returned to the the office in June and have made changes that we hope will ensure the safety of all who visit. With these changes, we are putting forth our best effort to ensure quality service.

Below are some of the changes:

  • Masks are required in all Baylor University buildings. All must have on a mask to use The Texas Collection, and the mask must cover the nose and mouth for the duration of the visit.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are found throughout the building.
  • There are now capacity limits in each of our researcher areas
    • Reading Room capacity is fifteen (15).
      • Twelve (12) seats at the research tables and three (3) soft seating spaces.
    • Microfilm Room capacity is one (1).
    • Media Room capacity is three (3).
    • Map Room capacity is five (5).
  • Due to limited capacities, appointments (with a start and end times) are encouraged for materials use. Researchers without appointments may be turned away depending on reading room capacity.
  • Researchers will place any bags into lockers upon arrival. Lockers will be self-service with keys kept in the lockers. Lockers will be disinfected each day.
  • All materials used are quarantined for seven days after the last use by a researcher.
  • After use, staff will wipe any tables or technology used by researchers.
  • There are now only have two computers for public use.
  • Those using the reading room to study may have to seek another space should a researcher need to use materials.

Staff are still available for instruction and presentations which can be delivered safely and in a variety of formats. Email txcoll@baylor.edu if you would like to discuss setting up a session. 

Even with the above safeguards, we understand some patrons may feel uncomfortable researching in person at The Texas Collection. As we learn more about serving the public, we may alter our environment and open times, but staff  continue to do our best to offer virtual reference assistance via email or telephone. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns. 

We look forward to seeing you at The Texas Collection.


Research Ready: July 2020

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources each month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Finding Aids
  • Thomas W. Gaines papers (#1851)
    • The Thomas W. Gaines collection contains correspondence, legal and financial papers, military records, and books of military tactics from the American Civil War. Gaines was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 50th Illinois Infantry.
  • Alexander Hunter Chamberlin papers (#351)
    • The Alexander Hunter Chamberlin papers include letters to his wife, Temperance Killinsworth Aldridge Chamberlin, about his temporary work in the California gold fields.
  • Walker Family papers (#248)
    • The Walker Family papers consist of correspondence, legal, financial, and photographic materials from various family members, especially James Frances Walker Jr. and William Collett Walker. The Walker Family moved to Texas from Kentucky as part of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred Colony.
  • Lucretius Harrison Graves papers (#2845)
    • The Lucretius Harrison Graves papers contains the Civil War diary of Lucretius Harrison Graves, soldier in the 6th Texas Cavalry.
  • Pier Family papers (#3250)
    • The Pier Family papers contain transcriptions of letters written by Samuel Bradford Pier during the Civil War, color photocopies of members of the Pier family, genealogical information, photocopies of clippings, programs, and other materials.



Research Ready: June 2020

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources every month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Finding Aids
  • BU Records: President Emeritus’ Office (Abner Vernon McCall) (BU/297)
    • BU Records: President Emeritus’ Office (Abner Vernon McCall) contains records relating to Judge Abner Vernon McCall’s time as President Emeritus of Baylor University from 1985-1995. Records include correspondence, reports, and documents concerning Baylor University as well as external organizations McCall had involvement in.
  • BU Records: Chancellor’s Office (Abner Vernon McCall) (BU/283)
    • BU Records: Chancellor’s Office (Abner Vernon McCall) contains records relating to Baylor University’s Chancellor from 1981-1985, Judge Abner Vernon McCall. Records include correspondence, reports, and documents concerning Baylor University as well as external organizations McCall had involvement in.
  • Henry Clay Lindsey papers (#257)
    • The Henry Clay Lindsey papers contain Lindsey’s reminiscences as captain of Company D, 47th Alabama Infantry during the American Civil War.
  • William Wesley Hurley papers (#370)
    • The William Wesley Hurley papers contain a single transcribed letter (original letter not included in collection) describing his service in the 3rd Cavalry, Texas State Troops, during the American Civil War.


Research Ready: May 2020

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

The Texas Collection posts newly accessible resources every month. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

April maps

Carte du Mexique et des pays limitrophes situés au nord et à l’est, 1811; Translated as “Map of Mexico and the Neighboring Countries to the North and East”

From the same atlas as the famous Carte Générale du Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne (translated as “General Map of the Kingdom of New Spain”), this map gives more context to Texas by depicting the southern half of the North American continent. Unlike many of its cartographic predecessors, this map correctly depicts the course of the Rio Grande River.

Hispania Nova, circa 1597; Translated as “New Spain”

An early map published in Corneille Wytfliet’s atlas Descriptionis Ptolemaicae augmentum (translated as “Ptolemy’s World Augmented”), this map focuses mostly on Mexico with information on Texas limited to the coastline. Most of the Texas rivers are incorrectly drawn, because Texas remained relatively unexplored by Europeans except for Spanish missionaries.

Historic Preservation at The Texas Collection

May is Historic Preservation Month. To learn more about the history of National Historic Preservation Month check out this National Park Service web page: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/historicpreservation/national-historic-preservation-act.htm.

When people think of historic preservation, the first thought is generally of large, grandiose buildings in need of repair. Historic preservation encompasses not only architecture, but culture, religion, archaeology, place, people, and other related topics. It can be achieved through a variety of methods such as repairing historic buildings, reenactments, historic dance and music, and digitizing fragile and/or popular material that cannot withstand excessive handling.

The Texas Collection provides historic preservation through archival and print materials. In doing so, access and education are provided to a larger audience, two of the primary purposes for this type of work. Read on as our staff shares projects they have worked with and tips to keep in mind for your own preservation needs.

Paul Fisher, Assistant Director and Processing Archivist:

Many Texans and Texas groups have supported historic preservation through the years. Several of our collections document these activities, such as the Adina E. De Zavala papers. De Zavala was a noted historic preservation figure in San Antonio in the early 1900s.

Baylor University was founded in Independence, Texas. Texas Collection staff works with various partners in Independence to operate two historic sites as well as a visitor center. Visitors learn about early Texas history, historic preservation efforts, and the history of higher education in Texas.

Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

The Ima Joy Chodorow Gandler Texas Jewish collection is one of twenty-four collections at The Texas Collection documenting the Jewish Community in Waco. Even with all the information provided, there are still gaps, mainly with the photographs.

*Pro Tip* Label photographs with names, dates, and events depicted.

Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator:

Image of Gildersleeve glass negative with ruined emulsionIn the early 1970s, Roger N. Conger donated Fred Gildersleeve’s film archive to The Texas Collection which included approximately 1,100 glass, 8×10 negatives. They had been stored in a backyard shed for decades and were damaged by the extreme heat of Texas summers. Since then, we have carefully gone through each one of Gildersleeve’s negatives, placed them in acid-free, archival folders and boxes, and have stored them on heavy-duty shelving in a climate-controlled environment. This ensures proper long-term preservation so future generations can enjoy this rich collection as much as we do!

The glass negative in the picture demonstrates this damage where a portion of the silver-gelatin emulsion layer heated up and chemically bonded with another glass negative stacked above it. Despite this, the image is still a valuable part of the collection, as much of the picture is still intact. (Waco Old Corner Drug Store, c. 1911. Gildersleeve-Conger collection, The Texas Collection, Baylor University).

Amie Oliver, Associate Director and Librarian/Curator of Print Materials

Do not use nails to bind a book. Several years ago, we had an annual that we could not open because the binding was too tight. We sent it to the campus preservation specialist who discovered nails, which had rusted, had been used to rebind the item. He carefully removed the nails, and because the spine was destroyed, created an acid-free phase box to house the annual.

*Pro Tip* Protect materials (books, photos, documents, etc.) by keeping them cool, dark, and dry. Sunlight can irreversibly fade items and heat can cause them to degrade quickly while moisture invites mold.

Brian Simmons, Coordinator for User and Access Services:

A common preservation issue that occurs is the use of adhesive tape to repair damaged books or documents. Often, I have come across items that have been repaired with cellophane tape decades ago. The repaired area is usually discolored and the piece of tape itself has fallen off. While tape might fix the problem in the short term, over time the adhesive can cause permanent damage.

*Pro Tip* Storing damaged items in an acid free box or folder is recommended. An acid free container will keep all parts of cherished heirlooms together without incurring further damage.

Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist:

The Texas Collection is home to the Marvin Griffin materials, a prominent African American pastor and activist. The collection contains an extensive amount of audio-visual materials: three compact discs, seven video tapes, 48 reel-to-reel tapes, and approximately 1,571 audio cassettes. In order to preserve these materials to provide access in a digital format, The Texas Collection is working with Digitization and Digital Preservation.


Research Ready: April 2020

April Finding Aids

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

Every month The Texas Collection posts recently published finding aids for you to use. If you have any questions or would like to use these materials, please let us know and we would be happy to assist!

Edmond Hardy Jones II and Susan Jane Willis Jones papers (#3720) consist primarily of letters from Edmond to Susan while he served in the 64th Georgia Infantry regiment in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia during the American Civil War.

William H. Pierce papers (#537) are comprised of one letter written in 1862 and describes Pierce’s experience as a Confederate soldier in a training camp near San Antonio.

John Merriman McGhee papers (#374) contain four handwritten and typed transcripts of letters he wrote home as part of the 16th Alabama Infantry during the American Civil War.

Museum Association of Waco records (#586) contains correspondence, financial and legal documents, minutes, and event information generated by the association, as it supports member organizations through marketing, educating, and financing initiatives.

What’s Your Story?

By Sylvia Hernandez, Archivist

As Baylor, Waco, and the Surrounding communities move to a shelter in place, The Texas Collection will continue serving our patrons via email at: txcoll@baylor.edu. Responses may take more time than usual, but we ask that you continue asking questions and learning the stories of our friends and neighbors of Texas past.

While our own lives are upended and we try to make some sense of the current situation, might I encourage you tell your own story. Whether that is digitally or manually, this documentation will help others understand they are not alone. Just as much as time changes, it also stands still.

Over 100 years ago the Spanish Flu impacted the world over as much as Covid-19. This epidemic is most readily documented at The Texas Collection in our Camp MacArthur Infirmary Ledger from 1918. Medical records are valuable resources, but they do not tell the entire story. They lack the depth of human experience.

At this time several members of The Texas Collection Staff have turned to documenting their own stories through journaling. Many others in the world have turned to social media for immediate impact. Historically letters, diaries, and photographs have also been kept as records of emotion and experience.

For some, there may be the question: What would I possibly record? Why would anyone care? Does it have to be spelled right or done professionally? Questions are the best place to start. Ask yourself as well as those around you.

Start with your feelings. Are you anxious? Tired? Scared? Are you close by your family or have you been separated? Is there someone you wish was with you? What about your pets or children? How has your regular schedule changed? Did you create a daily routine to follow?

Interview your family members. Ask how they feel. What do they think about not being in school? Do they miss their friends? Are they missing birthdays or vacation? What was the closest experience they have had to this before? Consider how a person’s age or stage of life might influence their answer. How have you been impacted? What are you learning now that you could implement later?

Many of these questions are just starting points for what is hiding within. We all have a story to tell, but there are many ways to tell them. Draw, paint, sew, take photographs, write a book, make a movie. One day someone will find it and want to know more, even you might want to revisit this time five years from now.

Whatever you do, create.