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 txcoll@baylor.edu for information about the use of our images. Visit www.baylor.edu/lib/texas/ 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.

 

 

Research Ready: October 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!

October’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Mission San Antonio de Valero [The Alamo] by Donald Yena
    The materials at The Texas Collection include many images of historical Texas and Baylor people, places, and events. One of the finest paintings in the Fine Arts collection is this framed oil on canvas painting of the Alamo, one of a series of paintings of the San Antonio missions by Donald Yena. You’ll find these items in the Fine Arts collection (#3839) at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
    • Sanger Family papers, 1874-1990 (#581): Photographs, memorials, family trees, and other biographical materials related to multiple generations of the Sanger family. The Sanger family immigrated from Bavaria to the United States in the mid 1800s. Several brothers worked together to establish the Sanger Brothers Department Store chain in Central Texas following the Civil War.
    • Rufus W. Weaver papers, 1906-1947, undated (#3178): Collection contains materials produced by Dr. Rufus W. Weaver, a noted Southern Baptist pastor, educator, and cultural commentator. Weaver was the president of Mercer University, and his later church-state work led directly to the founding of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.

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

Armstrong, Yvonne M. Black Trailblazers of San Antonio, Texas: Their Businesses, Communities, Institutions and Organizations. San Antonio: Inkbiyvonne, [2006]. Print.
Armstrong, Yvonne M. Black Trailblazers of San Antonio, Texas: Their Businesses, Communities, Institutions and Organizations. San Antonio: Inkbiyvonne, [2006]. Print.

Highlighting the contributions of black San Antonians, this volume contains information on the people, businesses, organizations, and events that helped shaped the city. Segregation, education, and the arts are also examined. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

The Majestic Hotel and Bath House Co. [Marlin, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1908 and 1920?]. Print.The Majestic Hotel and Bath House Co. [Marlin, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1908 and 1920?]. Print.

Complete with a bath house, sanatorium, and hotel, Marlin, according to this brochure, is the perfect vacation spot to “regain your health and vim.” Also included is an analysis of the hot waters, which supposedly cure rheumatism, blood and skin diseases, and stomach trouble.  Click here to view in BearCat.

 

Jordan, E. P. Souvenir of Austin, Texas. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Albertype Company, [1907]. Print.

Jordan, E. P. Souvenir of Austin, Texas. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Albertype Company, [1907]. Print. This photograph book features images of the Capitol, churches, residences, places of higher learning, etc. Especially interesting are photos of several University of Texas buildings, including a panorama of campus.  Click here to view in BearCat.

Research Ready: September 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!

September’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Santa Fe Railroad Route Map, undated
    Two historical markers now commemorate Long Branch Cemetery: one recounting the history of the cemetery and the other honoring a former slave named Sylvia King who is buried there. Long Branch is one of the oldest cemeteries in central Texas. You’ll find these items in the Long Branch Cemetery collection, 2009-2016, undated (#4020), box 1 OVZ, folder 4, at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

     

  • September’s print materials
    By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print MaterialsEllis, Edward Sylvester. Lightning Jo: The Terror of the Santa Fe Trail. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1874]. Print.Ellis, Edward Sylvester. Lightning Jo: The Terror of the Santa Fe Trail. New York: Beadle and Adams, [1874]. Print. 

    Part of the Beadle Pocket Novels series, Lightning Jo is the adventure story of a scout leading a party through treacherous Comanche country. Click here to view in BearCat.

     

    Lafrentz, F. W. Cowboy Stuff: Poems. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927. Print.

     

     

     

     

    Lafrentz, F. W. Cowboy Stuff: Poems. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927. Print. 

    Number 98 of 500 copies produced, this special edition volume of Cowboy Stuff, complete with handmade laid paper, is signed by the author, Illustrator, and publisher. Each poem, written by F. W. Lafrentz, who, at 14-years-old immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, has an accompanying etching by Henry Ziegler, noted British artist. Click here to view in BearCat.

A Sweet (and Sparkly!) Canvas

By Amanda Norman, University Archivist

A few weeks ago, we found a most unusual specimen among the records of W.R. White, Baylor president from 1948-1961. Museum studies graduate student Valencia Johnson is processing this collection, and she was surprised to find a portrait of White—painted on a block of sugar!

Sugar portrait of Baylor President W.R. White, 1956
Imagine pulling this out of a box! This artifact is part of BU records: Office of the President, Chancellor and President Emeritus (W.R. White) #BU/142.

Fortunately, I immediately knew its context. Before coming to The Texas Collection, I was a writer in University Development and went to the home of Jerry and Mary Marcontell to interview them for Baylor’s planned giving newsletter. Jerry was a key member of the 1957 Sugar Bowl team, and hanging on a wall in their house was a portrait of him on a block of sugar—one was presented to each athlete.

And apparently, administrators got them, too! Since becoming University Archivist, I had remembered that sugar portrait and rather hoped that no one would bring one to us. Cultural heritage professionals prefer not to have food in the stacks, both because it can invite critters who are detrimental to the records and because, well, food isn’t meant to last that long and thus is hard to preserve. But, it turned out that we already had White’s portrait in the house, tucked away in an unassuming archival box for decades. (We hadn’t found it before because the collection was restricted till just recently. Now, maybe we should inspect other old accessions to see what other surprises lurk…)

Fortunately, whatever they did to that sugar to prepare it for painting, it must have also deterred ants, roaches, and other insects who love sugar. There are a few baby roaches who appear to have met their demise in what looks like a tape frame around the object. (I’ve taken a picture of this but am told it’s rather unappetizing, so we’ll spare you.) There otherwise is not too much evidence of nibblings. It has lasted this long—almost 60 years now—and quite frankly, is an amazing object, so we decided to investigate ways to preserve the portrait.

White-Sugar Portrait-Angle
From an angle, you can really appreciate the sparkly canvas. (And see the crack that has formed.)

At this point, in email consultation with some archivists and conservators, there seems to be consensus that the primary threat to this item is water and moisture. Fortunately, while maintaining humidity in our stacks, especially in the summer, is a constant struggle, it’s not nearly as humid here as in a coastal area, so that will help. We are investigating housing possibilities, likely a custom box with rigid support (to prevent future cracks) and desiccants (to prevent moisture build-up). And we’ll definitely keep a close eye on bug traps around it to make sure it’s not attracting anything! (Many thanks to Susan Russick, Karen Pavelka, Suzy Morgan, and other conservation/preservation specialists who have weighed in on our piece.)

We’d love to hear if any other archives, museums, or other repositories have a sugar portrait in their holdings and how you’re going about preserving it. From the research we’ve done, it sounds like the Sugar Bowl had these portraits created for at least 10 years, so there must be more out there! Also, the enclosure and support of the portrait has a stamp for Krauss Co. Ltd., which from some quick Googling tells us was a New Orleans department store—perhaps the sugar artist was housed there?

We can’t afford to take in additional sugar portraits—one is enough for research value and display, and we can’t afford all of the custom boxes and space it would take to preserve them. However, we’re delighted to have found this artifact—and with a few months to spare before the 60th anniversary of Baylor’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl!

Lessons in Controversial Collections: Processing the Frank Watt Collection

Frank Watt at Mobridge dig site, 1962
This is the only identified photograph in the collection of Frank Watt at a dig site. It was taken in August 1962 at a Smithsonian Institute campsite in Mobridge, SD. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 11, Folder 17, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

By Casey Schumacher, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

In July 2015, President Obama declared the Waco Mammoth Site a National Monument, and Central Texas rejoiced. About the same time, a less well-known archaeological find occurred at The Texas Collection as I began processing the Frank Heddon Watt collection. Among his many vocations, Watt was a founding member of the Central Texas Archaeological Society in 1934. And so, while the National Park Service was sharing images and samples of mammoth bones, I was discovering photos of human remains and hand-drawn maps of their burial sites. Over the next eight months, I realized the Frank Watt collection had just as much to teach our archival staff as it had to teach our patrons.

Archives are not the only repositories for Native American materials, nor were they the first to ask questions about how to properly handle human remains. In 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) laid the groundwork for museums to examine carefully the state of Native American objects in their collections. The primary goal of NAGPRA was to assure appropriate and respectful use, care and (in some cases) repatriation of sacred or culturally sensitive objects, such as human remains, funerary objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. Museum visitors would notice these changes the most in exhibits that included Native American mummies, pipes, or costumes used for sacred rituals. Behind the scenes, this new legislation required museum staff to complete copious amounts of paperwork and extra work to ensure they were up to NAGPRA’s standards. However, NAGPRA only applied to museums; it offered no suggestions or standards for archives like The Texas Collection or for archival collections like that of Frank Watt.

As an institution in the public trust, The Texas Collection believes it should maintain a high ethical standard, even if it is not bound by law to do so. As a result, I believed the images of human remains and the detailed reports of their excavation deserved to be stored and handled both carefully and respectfully. Ultimately, my supervisor and I created a new policy for The Texas Collection; namely, that in the spirit of NAGPRA, archival collections with culturally sensitive materials would be open for public research, but that researchers should maintain a quiet, respectful attitude during their research and that scanning or digitizing culturally sensitive materials would be strictly prohibited.

Cardboard Proof of Stone Engravings by Frank Watt, undated
Not all of Frank Watt’s drawings depicted bones and pottery. The Lithography & Art series in his collection includes extensive lithograph samples, sketches, and prints of buildings, landscapes, and portraits. You can see in this flower sketch that his artistic designs included his scientific attention to detail. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 16, Folders 13 and 20, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

Now that the entire collection is open for research, the Frank Watt collection has much to offer besides archaeological materials. Watt held degrees in lithography and music, as well as teacher’s certification for public school music. He was an avid stamp collector, artist, and cello player. He worked as a printer, stone engraver, hotel serviceman, tree surgeon, and music teacher in Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and New York. In addition, his military service during WWI included field printing and working as an aircraft mechanic near Houston. In other words, Watt was a jack-of-all-trades and master of several. In his collection, researchers will find samples and collected pieces of lithography and stone-engraving, sketchbooks from his art classes at Winona Technical Institute, and military-issued manuals of aircraft mechanics.

At the end of the day, collections like that of Frank Watt are extremely important for both researchers and archivists alike. Naturally, they offer extensive resources for students and professionals in several different fields. They also present an opportunity for archivists to explore how we maintain ethical and professional standards in our institution and help us educate the public about why we do what we do.

Sources
Bischof, Robin E. “Boxes and Boxes, Missing Context and an Avocational Archaeologist: Making Sense of the Frank Watt Collection at the Mayborn Museum Complex.” Master’s thesis, Baylor University, 2011.

Bosque Museum. “Ancient Archeological Site on Exhibit at the Museum.” Bosque Museum. Accessed August 8, 2015. http://www.bosquemuseum.org/hornshelter.htm

What I Did This Summer: Graduate Student Projects at The Texas Collection, Part 2

Samuel Palmer Brooks in his office, undated
Dr. Brooks began his presidency at Baylor in 1902 in the midst of pursuing a master’s degree at Yale University. He served as president nearly thirty years. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers #91, box 1, folder 2

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.

J. Frank Norris letter to Samuel Palmer Brooks, 1927
Dr. Brooks carried Baylor University through the Fundamentalist-Modernist evolution controversy, which involved engaging with Texas Baptist Fundamentalist leader J. Frank Norris. Samuel Palmer Brooks papers #91, box 31, folder 7

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.

We’re fortunate to have Amanda stay on with Baylor awhile yet, although not at The Texas Collection. After she graduated in August, she began work as a project archivist working on the Chet Edwards collection at the Baylor Collections of Political Materials.

~

Frank Watt at Mobridge dig site, 1962
Frank Watt at Mobridge, South Dakota, dig site, 1962. (Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, box 11, folder 17, The Texas Collection, Baylor University)

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.

Cardboard Proof of Stone Engravings by Frank Watt, undated
Not all of Frank Watt’s drawings depicted dig sites and artifacts. The Lithography & Art series in his collection includes extensive lithograph samples, sketches, and prints of buildings, landscapes, and portraits. Several Waco area businesses used letterhead designed and printed in his shop. Frank Heddon Watt collection #470, Box 16, Folder 20

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.

Research Ready: August 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are August’s finding aids:

Baylor Round Table Anniversary Dinner invitation
The Baylor Round Table celebrated its 40th birthday in 1944 with a dinner in Catherine Alexander Hall. The invitations of this era often were beautifully handmade, and the menus for the organization’s older events are a bit of a curiosity to us today. Highlights from the menu for this dinner included: half grapefruit, broiled chicken with gravy, baked potato, whole tomato salad, rolls, cake, ice cream, and coffee. BU records: Baylor Round Table #BU/39, box 16, folder 15.
    • Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200): These papers include information on issues, people, and events in Central Texas during the career of Thomas E. Turner, Sr. as a newspaperman for the Dallas Morning News, Central Texas Bureau, and as a Baylor administrator. Materials primarily cover current events from the 1940s-1980s.
    • William A. Mueller papers, 1871-1995, undated (#3959): Materials include the reading and lecture notes, sermons, and teaching materials from the long and productive career of a German-American Baptist seminary professor of theology, philosophy, church history, and German intellectual history.
Baylor Female College, Independence, Texas-October 1969 (1)
This photo, contained in the Baylor University General Photo collection, shows Tommy Turner standing between the remaining columns of the female dormitory at the site of Baylor University in Independence, Texas. You can find more photographs like this on Central Texas and Baylor University in the Thomas E. Turner, Sr. papers 1814-2007, undated (#2200).

Henry A. McArdle: Texas Painter, Patriot, and Baylor Professor

Exhibition Catalog, Henry Am McArdle Exhibition, 2014
Exhibition Catalog, Henry A. McArdle Exhibition, 2014

Twenty-two paintings by Henry A. McArdle, painter and Baylor professor, are on display at the Martin Museum of Art. McArdle served Baylor at Independence as the director of the school of art. These paintings have never been shown together and include three paintings from the Texas Capitol as well as from private collections.

Opening events include a roundtable discussion with exhibition lenders (including our own John Wilson, representing The Texas Collection) on Saturday, August 30, at 3:00 pm, followed by a reception with light refreshments at 4:30 p.m.  These events will be held in Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Building and are open to the public.

McArdle-Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto, by Henry A. McArdle. Private collection, Midland, Texas.

Read more in the Waco Tribune-Herald’s great piece on the exhibit.