Research Ready: August 2013

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’s the scoop for August:

Maggie Welch Rose Akin, circa 1945
Born on 1868 June 12, Maggie Welch Rose Akin primarily grew up in Texas. This photo is a part of the Akin-Rose papers, which consists primarily of over three hundred letters written between Maggie and Joseph W. Akin during their courtship from 1887 March to 1889 December. Photo circa 1945, box 14, folder 16.
  • Akin-Rose papers, 1819-1981, undated: Correspondence, diaries, financial and literary manuscripts, and photographs of members of the Akin and Rose families from Virginia and Texas in the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.
  • Joseph Martin Dawson papers, 1826-1989: Personal papers and published works of Dr. Joseph Martin Dawson, a Baptist preacher who was influential in the public debates concerning religious liberty and the separation of church and state in the early twentieth century.
  • BU Records: Erisophian Literary Society, 1853-1961, undated: Administrative records, literary productions, and correspondence related to this student organization at Baylor that existed between 1853 and 1932 at both the Independence and Waco campuses.
  • Graves-Earle family papers, 1848-1963, undated: These papers chronicle the history of this influential McLennan County family, including the life and work of Major Isham Harrison Earle and his daughter Dr. Hallie Earle, the first female doctor in Waco and the first female graduate of the Baylor College of Medicine.
  • William E. Moore papers, 1901-1979, undated: The bulk of this collection is the Postcards series, consisting of more than 400 postcards. The collection also contains more than 100 letters written to William E. Moore between 1902 and 1918.
Erisophian Literary Society membership certificate, 1859
The Erisophian Literary Society was the second literary society formed at Baylor University in Independence, Texas. This membership certificate (box 3, folder 1) is one of the oldest pieces in the organization’s records.

Research Ready: July 2013

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’s the scoop for July:

Wellington children, circa 1888
A few years after Anna Wellington Stoner and her husband, Clinton Stoner, moved to Bullshead, Edwards County in Texas, Clinton died in 1884. In October of the same year, Anna moved her three small children (pictured) back to the Nueces River Canyon and bought 320 acres of land there. This was the beginning of the Stoner Ranch, which has grown to 2,000 acres today.
  • [Waco] Branch Davidians: Bill Pitts papers, 1963-2001, undated: This collection contains materials produced and collected by Bill Pitts, a professor in the Religion Department at Baylor University. The materials primarily cover the Branch Davidians siege of 1993.
  • Benjamin Edwards Green papers, 1840-1865: Green’s papers consist of a postcard, pamphlets, written notes, an unpublished manuscript and other chapter fragments. Among other roles, Green was a lawyer, served as an American diplomat at the Mexican capitol in the early 1840s, and was a secret agent in the West Indies.
  • James Weldon Jones papers, 1917-1919, circa 2010: This collection contains a series of letters sent from Alexander “Tip” Jones to his son, James Weldon Jones, while the latter was serving in the United States Army during World War I.
  • Vivienne Malone-Mayes papers. Inclusive: 1966-1977, undated: Malone-Mayes’ papers consists of correspondence, minutes, reports and other records related to her terms as a member and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation Center in Waco, Texas. The collection also contains personal materials and coursework Dr. Malone-Mayes assigned in her mathematics courses at Baylor University. She was Baylor’s first black faculty member.
Women and Mathematics / Mathematical Association of America publication, 1976
Vivienne Malone-Mayes was a trailblazer for women, particularly African Americans, in the mathematics profession. In 1966, she became only the fifth African American woman to earn her PhD in that field. After gaining employment at Baylor University, Vivienne did her part in encouraging women to pursue careers in mathematics, including editorial and consultation work with the Mathematical Association of America.
  • Irwin Green and Lillie Worley McGee papers, 1893-1899, undated: The McGee papers consist of notes, assignments, and exams produced by Irwin Green and Lillie Worley while attending Baylor in the 1890s, providing insight into Baylor’s curriculum during this period.
  • Walter Hale McKenzie papers, 1926-1952: The McKenzie papers contain correspondence and board and committee minutes illustrating McKenzie’s relations to prominent Baptists J.G. Hardin, George W. Truett, Pat Neff, and others, and his service to Baylor University, Baylor College for Women, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
  • Wellington-Stoner-McLean family collection, 1833-2007, undated: This collection consists of family documents collected by Margaret Stoner McLean. The collection includes correspondence and postcards, photographs, financial documents, books, personal ledgers, and publications about the family and the Stoner ranch.

Research Ready: June 2013

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’s the scoop for June:

Sul Ross as a young man, undated daguerreotype
The Barnard-Lane Papers contain materials from many of Waco’s oldest and most influential families, including this daguerreotype of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a former governor of Texas and brother-in-law of Barnard Lane (found in box 28, folder 7).
  • Gladys Allen papers, 1882-1893, 1913-1952, undated: Gladys Allen was a teacher, served on the Baylor University Board of Trustees, and was a member of Seventh and James Baptist Church. Includes correspondence, personal notes, genealogical research, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
  • Lyrics to “America” manuscript, 1895: This manuscript contains a handwritten copy of the song “America” or, alternatively, “My Country Tis of Thee,” by the composer Samuel Francis Smith.
  • Barnard-Lane papers, 1800-1983, undated: George Barnard was one of the early Waco pioneers. The collection contains personal materials as well as those related to his trading post.
  • Ava Storey and Dixie Anderson Butcher collection, 1903-1998, undated: Contains documents and photographs from the Storey and Butcher family, as well as photographs of the affluent Waco drug store chain, Pipkin Drug Store.
  • Newel Berryman Crain papers, 1858-1948, undated: The Crain papers chronicle the experiences of a young man from Texas during the beginning of the twentieth century, from his time at Baylor through his various jobs and military service. It also includes correspondence from Crain’s grandfather, Newton M. Berryman, about his studies at Baylor University at Independence in 1858.
  • BU Records: Dean of the Union Building (Lily Russell), 1936-1966: Administrative
    records related to Baylor’s Union Building, as well as some of Russell’s personal
    records and materials from when she was Director of Public Relations at Baylor.
  • [Edcouch] First Baptist Church records, 1941-1974, undated: [Edcouch] First Baptist Church, originally named Los Indios Baptist Church, was organized during the summer of 1924 in Los Indios, Texas. It has undergone a few name and location changes since then. Records consist of manuscripts pertaining to administrative operations of the church.
Telegram from Mary Jane Hannah to her husband, Robert Lee Hannah, following the loss of their son, Bob, 1927
Telegram from Mary Jane Hannah to her husband, Robert Lee Hannah, following the loss of their son, Bob. Bob Hannah was one of what Baylor calls the Immortal Ten who died in a train/bus collision en route to a basketball game in Austin. Hannah-Wiley papers, box 1, folder 5.
  • Hannah-Wiley Family papers, 1909-1930, undated: The Hannah-Wiley Family papers contain correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, and literary production relating to the family of Baylor student Robert “Bob” Lee Hannah Jr., who was one of the “Immortal Ten” who died in a tragic bus/train collision.
  • Independence Baptist Church records, 1873-1918: Independence Baptist Church was one of the first Baptist churches in Texas. Contains one bound minute book that describes church activities, finances, and disciplinary issues from 1873-1918 and also includes a condensed history of the church from 1839-1873.
  • Colonel Chris H.W. Rueter collection, 1927-2004, undated: Consists of correspondence, certificates, postcards, artworks, photographs, and biographical information collected by Baylor alum and WWII veteran Colonel Chris H.W. Rueter and his family.
  • BU Records: Rufus C. Burleson Society, 1900-1919: Documents the operations and activities of one of Baylor’s women’s literary societies that was most active in the early 1900s.
  • James Anderson Slover papers, circa 1907-1913, undated: Copies of a manuscript written by Slover, Minister to the Cherokees: A Civil War Autobiography, describing early family history on the frontier in the United States and Texas.
  • Thurmond-Tramwell Slave papers, 1857: These papers include a document originating from Gonzales, Texas, which gives an account of a legal dispute between Thurmond and Tramwell over an enslaved woman.
  • Frank L. Wilcox Papers, 1923-1966, undated: Contains the personal and professional materials of Frank Wilcox, a former mayor of Waco and the son-in-law of former Texas governor and Baylor University President Pat Neff.

Research Ready: April 2013

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’s the scoop for April:

Elisabet Ney
Elisabet Ney, undated
  • Sadie C. Cannon papers, undated: An unpublished manuscript, Sing Hallelujah, describing the author’s life in the American South during the 1880s.
  • Chapman-McCutchan papers, 1845-1903: Financial documents, legal documents, and literary materials relating to early Texans William S. Chapman and William H. McCutchan.
  • Richard L. Farr papers, 1858-1889: Correspondence between Richard L. Farr and his wife Elizabeth K., as well as between other Farr family members and friends. Most of the correspondence dates from Richard’s service in the 30th
    Georgia Infantry during the American Civil War.
  • Elsie and Tilson F. Maynard papers, 1942-1983: Primarily letters from former members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Waco who were serving in the armed forces during World War II. Addressed to Reverend and Mrs. Maynard and other church members, many of the letters express their writers’ gratitude for the church’s concerns and prayers.
Charles Watson letter to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1943
Staff Sergeant Charles Watson thanks Emmanuel Baptist Church for their Christmas greetings, noting that “There is nothing to make us in the service more content and determined in our goal than the greetings and prayers of our loved ones and friends at home.” Many more letters like this one can be found in the Maynard papers.
  • [Waco] Memorial Baptist Church collection, 1943-2003: Materials compiled by Waco’s Memorial Baptist church concerning the church’s financial, legal and historical records, from the inception of the church to its closing.
  • Ney-Montgomery papers, 1836-1913: The Ney-Montgomery materials consist of literary materials, manuscripts, correspondence, legal documents, and photographic materials relating to artist Elisabet Ney and her husband, Edmund Montgomery.
  • Gordon Kidd Teal papers, 1919-1990: School materials, personal materials, professional materials, and awards accumulated by Dr. Gordon Kidd Teal, a famous twentieth century scientist who graduated from Baylor University in 1927. Teal invented the first commercial silicon transistor for Texas Instruments, among other achievements.

The Comprehensive Pat Neff: Texas Governor, Baylor President, and Much More

The name Pat Neff is known by every Baylor Bear. Perhaps his influence is most markedly demonstrated by Pat Neff Hall. Built in 1939 and named in honor of Baylor’s eighth president, its tower can be seen for miles and is a ready landmark for Wacoans and Texas travelers. But before Neff came to the Baylor presidency, he served the state of Texas in several offices, including two terms as Governor.

Pat Neff with horse
Neff maintained his ramrod posture and dapper dress even when riding horseback. Photo undated.

The Texas Collection is proud to house his papers and has been hard at work on processing his voluminous records (about 643 archival boxes). After a couple of years, multiple archivists and students, and generous gifts from Terrell Blodgett, among others, we have a completed finding aid for the Pat Neff collection.

The importance of these records can’t be overstated. They span a century of this important Texas family’s activities. Neff’s records offer a comprehensive view into the life and work of a public servant and educator.

And we do mean comprehensive—the man appears to have kept everything. Researchers, even those who know a lot about Neff, are bound to learn something they didn’t know. Here’s some of what you can discover, just from reading the biographical history in the finding aid.

  • He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives just four years after graduating from Baylor with his bachelor’s degree.
  • When he ran for governor, he was thought to be the first Texas candidate to travel by airplane for his campaigning efforts.
  • He was a staunch supporter of Prohibition—that you might already know. The stories about his public expulsions of students for drinking (and other misdeeds) are legendary at Baylor. But he also stood for everything from women’s suffrage to prison reform to water conservation.
  • After oil was discovered in Mexia, chaos ensued. Neff declared martial law in 1922 and called in the Texas National Guard and Texas Rangers. Later that year he declared martial law again, this time in Denison due to violence following a strike by the Federated Railroad Shopmen’s Union.
  • In the 1920s, Neff considered the possibility of running for US president and serving as president of the University of Texas.
  • As Baylor president, he accepted livestock as tuition payment and was known to occasionally pay part of a student’s bill out of his own pocket.
Pat Neff, "How I Spent the Holidays," 1890
The “how I spent my vacation” has long been a popular theme, as evidenced by this essay Neff wrote for his rhetoric class in his second semester at Baylor University in 1890.

Digging into the records themselves, you’re sure to learn much more about Pat Neff. We’ll highlight some of his records in upcoming blog posts and hope you’ll visit the reading room to explore Neff’s life and his impact on Texas and Baylor.

Learn more about Pat Neff:

Read a book—The Land, the Law, and the Lord: The Life of Pat Neff, by Dorothy Jean Blodgett, Terrell Blodgett and David L. Scott.

Listen to a podcast—Treasures of The Texas Collection: Pat Neff, an interview with Hans Christianson, hosted by Mary Landon Darden.

Explore an online exhibit—Pat Neff: “The Plain Democrat” Governor of Texas, 1921-1925, curated by Mark Firmin.

Find out about an interesting discovery made recently in the Pat Neff collection—Bonnie and Clyde (and Pat) and The Texas Collection Artifact That Ties Them Together.

Contact us for more information about the collection—the front matter of the finding aid is online as a PDF, but the box listing is so intricate that it didn’t translate well into that format. An archivist can help point you in the right direction for your research on Neff and his contributions to Texas.

And check out a few of our favorite photos from the Pat Neff collection. There is much more where this came from!

Young Pat Neff, 1890s
Young Neff, 1890s
Pat Neff with Native Americans
Neff with Native Americans, undated

 

Pat Neff breaks up illegal drinking and gambling in Mexia, 1922
Neff (sixth from right, behind the roulette wheel) breaks up illegal drinking and gambling in Mexia, 1922
Pat Neff at Mother Neff State Park dedication, May 14, 1938
Pat Neff at Mother Neff State Park dedication, May 14, 1938

 

Baylor President Pat Neff outside Pat Neff Hall, 1940s
Baylor President Pat Neff outside Pat Neff Hall, 1940s

 

Pat Neff studying a portrait of Texas hero Sam Houston
Neff studying a portrait of Texas hero Sam Houston, undated
Pat Neff tries out a saddle, 1930s
Neff tries out a saddle, 1930s

By Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist, and Amanda Norman, University Archivist

Leading Locally: Marvin Griffin and his Ministry and Civil Rights Advocacy in Central Texas

Marvin Griffin, undated
One of the few photographs we have of Reverend Griffin. He recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

“The mission of the Christian experience is expressed in the gospel of liberation, sharing the good news of what God has done in delivering his people from oppression. The gospel of liberation is rooted in the Judeo-Christian faith. It is an experience which is concretized in history. It is a happening, a living reality. This is good news for an oppressed people. God is the God of freedom, He participates in the historical process to liberate his people from oppression and bondage.” –Marvin Griffin, “Teaching Christ through the Black Experience,” 1973

On this 45th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is important to remember that there were many others who fought, and who continue to fight, at a local or regional level for African American civil liberties. One such warrior from the central Texas region was Rev. Dr. Marvin Griffin.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary diploma, 1955
In 1955, Marvin Griffin became the first African American to graduate with a degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He earned a master’s degree in religious education.

Marvin Collins Griffin was born in Wichita, Kansas, on February 20, 1923, and felt a call to ministry at the young age of seven. Education proved to be a powerful medium through which Griffin could equip himself to preach the gospel and fight for African American civil rights. Griffin earned his bachelor of arts from Bishop College in 1943, a divinity degree from Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in 1947, and a master’s degree in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1955. That last degree was particularly noteworthy, because Griffin was the first African American to earn a degree from SBTS. Years later, Griffin would go on to attain a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

"Teaching Christ through the Black Experience," Marvin Griffin addresses, 1973
In 1973, in front of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, Marvin Griffin presented a series of addresses entitled “Teaching Christ Through the Black Experience.” As is the case with Martin Luther King, Jr., it is impossible to separate Marvin Griffin’s experiences as a civil rights activist from his Christian beliefs.

Griffin used his quality education and his sense of calling to fuel his ministries. His first significant pastoral assignment was at New Hope Baptist Church in Waco. From 1951 to 1969, Griffin led his congregation in Christian and social activism. He began an extensive radio broadcast ministry and led various marches and pickets in Waco. The Marvin C. Griffin papers at The Texas Collection feature more than 1,500 audio recordings of his sermons and broadcasts, starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 2010s.

In 1969, Griffin relocated to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas where he remained for the next 42 years. Once again, Griffin believed that his church should be involved in the spiritual and secular life of the community. He led the church’s efforts in creating the East Austin Economic Development Corporation in 1998. This organization was a vehicle through which the church could assist the underprivileged through housing programs, day care centers, counseling, and financial assistance. In 2002, the EAEDC building was renamed in honor of Marvin Griffin.

Black Declaration of Independence, 1970
On July 3, 1970, The New York Times printed this document entitled the “Black Declaration of Independence.” Modeled after the Declaration of 1776, this article claimed the same liberties that the Founding Fathers had and then proceeded to denounce some of the ways in which the United States government and society had violated those rights.

In addition to his pastoral duties, Griffin was also involved in local politics and denominational affairs. He served as the first African American president of the Austin Independent School District Board of Directors, during which time the schools were using buses to encourage efforts of desegregation. Griffin was also involved in the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas, was the Director of the Christian Education Enrichment Program at the National Baptist Fellowship of Churches, and served as a Director-Lecturer for the Teacher Training Department of the National Baptist Sunday School Congress.

Texas African-American Baptists: The Story of the Missionary Baptist General Convention, 1994
In 1994, Marvin Griffin wrote this book entitled Texas African-American Baptists: The Story of the Missionary Baptist General Convention.

 

On July 31, 2011, Reverend Griffin retired from his tenure as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Like Martin Luther King, Griffin devoted his life to preaching the gospel and empowering his peers to rise above the injustice of racial discrimination.

The Marvin C. Griffin papers, which have recently been processed, are now open for research. The materials therein provide an in-depth glimpse of Rev. Griffin’s pastoral ministries, his involvement within the Baptist denomination, race relations in the church and in central Texas, as well as the development of a liberation theology. This collection represents a treasure trove for researchers. Come on down to The Texas Collection as we celebrate the life’s work of a revolutionary in Texas race relations!

Learn more about Griffin’s leadership in Waco race relations in this article from the Waco History Project on his role in beginning the interracial Doris Miller Dialogue Group (DMDG) shortly after Martin Luther King’s assassination.

By Thomas DeShong, Archival Assistant and Digital Input Specialist

The Tragedy of William Cowper Brann, Waco's Infamous Firebrand

By the later decades of the 1800s, Waco, Texas, had become the epitome of a western town. Violent duels were all too common on its dusty streets—Waco earned the nickname “Six Shooter Junction.” On the evening of April 1, 1898, another gunfight ensued in which both of the men involved died from fatal wounds. Why have we singled out this particular altercation (aside from its date, 115 years ago today)? Because one of the duelers was one of Waco’s most controversial figures, William Cowper Brann.

William Cowper Brann
William Cowper Brann in his Iconoclast office in Waco, undated

Brann gained significant clout as the editor of Brann’s Iconoclast, a journal he started in Waco in February 1895. Throughout his lifetime, Brann had striven to succeed as a writer. In the late 1890s, Brann discovered his niche in the central Texas region. The Iconoclast had an enormous circle of influence, with a readership of approximately 100,000 people across the nation. Such fame did not come without a price, however. Brann, who was openly critical of Baylor University, Baptists, Episcopalians, women, African Americans, and the British (to name a few), made a number of enemies. A sample of his writing:

“The Tyler Telegram humbly apologizes for having called that wide-lipped blather-skite, T. DeWitt Talmage, ‘a religious fakir.’ Next thing we know our Tyler contemporary will apologize for having inadvertently hazarded the statement that water is wet. …The Iconoclast will pay any man $10 who will demonstrate that T. DeWitt Talmage ever originated an idea, good, bad or indifferent…. The man who can find intellectual food in Talmage’s sermons could acquire a case of delirium tremens by drinking the froth out of a pop bottle.”—Brann on Talmage, a significant religious leader during the mid- to late-19th century.

Brann's Iconoclast, November 1897
Brann’s Iconoclast, November 1897. In this issue he describes one of the times he was attacked for his writings: “When we find a contumacious sinner we waste no time in theological controversy or moral suasion, but promptly round him up with a rope and bump his head, and we bump it hard.”

But as usual, there’s more to Brann’s story than meets the eye. Indeed, his life was truly tragic, from beginning to end. Brann was born the son of a Presbyterian minister on January 4, 1855, in Coles County, Illinois. After his mother passed away two years later, Brann was given over to the care of a neighboring couple. By the age of thirteen, Brann decided to head out west to find his fortune.

Brann married Carrie Martin of Illinois in 1877. They had three children, one of whom eventually committed suicide at the age of twelve. In addition to his family struggles, Brann could not find stable work in editing. His first attempt at starting a newspaper in Austin failed miserably. Not until he relocated to Waco did Brann find success.

"The Brazilian Girl and Baylor University," 1895
In 1895, President Rufus Burleson sought to defend the integrity of both his family and Baylor University by calling into question the character of the young Brazilian girl.

One of the most controversial issues Brann wrote about was the impregnation of a fourteen-year-old Brazilian girl. Baylor University President Rufus Burleson took Antonia Teixeira, an orphan brought to the US by a Baptist missionary, into his home to care for her. After it was revealed that the young girl was pregnant, Brann seized the story and used it to tarnish the reputation of Burleson and Baylor. Steen Morris, the brother of Burleson’s son-in-law, was accused of rape but ultimately acquitted. Burleson’s transition from the Baylor presidency to becoming president emeritus was in part due to the scandal.

Brann received much criticism for his assaults on Baylor University—he was even attacked. Newspapers from the time period (including the Iconoclast) report that Brann was kidnapped by a large mob of Baylor students and dragged through campus by a rope secured around his neck. On another occasion, Brann was jumped by three men— reportedly a Baylor trustee and two students—beaten, and left in the streets to die. Yet Brann was not swayed from his purpose.

William Cowper Brann funeral notice, 1898
This is the original funeral notice printed after Brann’s death. He died several hours after the gunfight and was eventually buried in Oakwood Cemetery, not far from The Texas Collection. Brann’s funeral service took place in his Waco residence which has since been torn down. He was 43 years old.

On April 1, 1898, Brann was approached from behind by Tom Davis, a disgruntled father of a Baylor student. Davis shot Brann three times. Amazingly, Brann had the wherewithal to turn around and fire all six of his bullets into Davis. Both men eventually died from the encounter, and a number of bystanders were also wounded.

William Cowper Brann's tombstone in Waco's Oakwood Cemetery
Brann was buried in Oakwood Cemetery on April 3, 1898. His unique tombstone represents the “lamp of truth” and has been the unfortunate subject of much vandalism over the years. It was stolen in 2009.

 

Some have admired Brann for his devotion to presenting what he believed was the truth, while others discounted him as a radical seeking to stir up the masses. The Texas Collection houses the William Cooper Brann collection and a sizable run of Brann’s Iconoclast, among other resources on and relating to him in our library and archives. I encourage you to make the trip to our reading room and decide for yourself!

By Thomas DeShong, Archival Assistant and Digital Input Specialist

Research Ready: March 2013

"Ask the American boy why he prefers Kellogg's"
A patriotic advertisement for Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes during WWI. The Thomas L. and Pit Dodson Collection has hundreds of similar early- to mid-twentieth-century art prints and clippings, providing a colorful window into American culture.

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’s the scoop for March:

Correspondence from the Adina De Zavala papers
A letter of recommendation written by the Mexican Consul in San Antonio, Dr. Plutarco Ornelas, for Adina De Zavala on her historical research trip to Mexico in 1902.
  • Thomas L. and Pit Dodson collection, 1710-1991, undated: The Thomas L. and Pit Dodson collection contains a wide variety of collected materials, including literary productions, books, photographic materials, and scrapbooks. While spanning three centuries, this collection consists primarily of early- to mid-twentieth-century art prints and periodical clippings.
  • Marvin C. Griffin papers, 1940-2010, undated: The Griffin papers contain literary productions, photographic materials, audio recordings, and other materials pertaining to Reverend Marvin Griffin, an African American pastor who fought for the spiritual and political freedoms of his congregations at New Hope Baptist Church (Waco) and Ebenezer Baptist Church (Austin).
  • Roxie Henderson collection, 1852-1919: This collection contains personal items and collected materials of Roxie Henderson, a Baylor graduate who served during World War I as an American Red Cross nurse. Learn more.
  • Isabella M. Henry papers, 1931-1981, undated: Henry’s papers features manuscripts detailing her career in the Women’s Army Corps and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Learn more.
  • Lula Pace collection, 1895-1969, undated: This collection contains student notebooks, topographical maps, and scholarly publications by Lula Pace, a PhD graduate of the University of Chicago who served as a science professor at Baylor University in the early 1900s. Learn more.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: The Musical Heritage of Jules Bledsoe and New Hope Baptist Church

The Texas Collection is proud to present our newest exhibit, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot:  The Musical Heritage of Jules Bledsoe and New Hope Baptist Church.” In honor of African American History Month, this exhibit traces the interweaving stories of Jules Bledsoe and New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas.

Jules Bledsoe and his 1929 Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton, New York City
Jules Bledsoe standing outside what appears to be the Ziegfield Broadway Theatre, where he appeared in the original stage production of “Show Boat.”

Jules Bledsoe, one of the first major African-American opera stars in the United States, was born in Waco in approximately 1899 and sang his first concert at New Hope Baptist Church at age five. He sang for audiences around the world, wrote music, and performed on stage, radio, and television. His most famous piece was “Ol’ Man River” from the musical “Show Boat.” After a career of just twenty-two years, Bledsoe died in Hollywood in 1943.

New Hope Baptist Church Choir and Orchestra, Waco, Texas, by Fred Gildersleeve.
The New Hope Baptist Church Choir and Orchestra, in an undated photo by Waco photographer Fred Gildersleeve (who worked in Waco from around 1905-1958). New Hope is one of the oldest African-American churches in Waco.

New Hope Baptist Church, a historically African-American church in Waco, has been in operation since 1866. Stephen Cobb, grandfather of Jules Bledsoe, served as the first pastor of the church. Through the years the church has been known for having a vibrant musical tradition, with many choirs, an orchestra, and various musical performances.

“This exhibit represents some of Waco’s best musical traditions,” co-curator Paul Fisher explains. “Bledsoe’s international fame as an opera star was fantastic for the African-American community and Waco, as was New Hope’s national reputation as a musically gifted, vibrant church.” Visitors to this exhibit can see Bledsoe’s music, photographs of New Hope Baptist Church, and information about both Bledsoe and New Hope.

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot:  The Musical Heritage of Jules Bledsoe and New Hope Baptist Church” was curated by Texas Collection staff Paul Fisher, Geoff Hunt, and Amie Oliver, and graduate students Amanda Dietz, Adina Johnson, and Mary Ellen Stanley. Archival manuscripts donated by New Hope Baptist Church and ancestors of Jules Bledsoe made the exhibit possible, and these materials are open for research. New Hope Baptist Church continues to worship every Sunday at their church on 915 North 6th Street, Waco, Texas. You can see the exhibit through May at The Texas Collection in Carroll Library.

Research Ready: January 2013

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. As we did in December, we have a few special entries from the Archival Collections and Museums class that worked on an archival processing project with us here at The Texas Collection. (Read more about that project from a student’s perspective.) Here’s the scoop for January:

Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers
During the Civil War George F. Simons served in the Confederate army Company K, 2nd Texas Infantry Regiment, and participated in the Battle of Shiloh. He received this certificate of parole in 1865, which can be found in the Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers.
    • Bertie Routh Barron Papers, 1897-1972, undated: These papers contain correspondence, financial documents, literary productions and photographic materials pertaining to Barron’s life, particularly the time she spent at Baylor Female College.
    • De Cordova Family Papers, 1845-1956: The chronology of the collection ranges from 1845 to 1956, but the bulk of the materials originated from 1845 to 1863 when Jacob de Cordova was most active as a land agent in Texas. Most materials are correspondence or legal documents related to land sales in central Texas, particularly Bosque and McLennan counties. (Archives class)
    • Olive McGehee Denson Papers, 1916-1957, undated: The bulk of the Denson papers are scrapbooks about Texas and church history. There are also photographs from Independence, Texas. (Archives class)
    • James M. Kendrick Jr. Papers, 1922-1945: Kendrick’s papers include various items of correspondence between family and friends of Kendrick, as well as some financial and legal documents. There is a large number of literary productions, comprised of an assortment of documents and Kendrick’s own diaries. Also present are several photographs and artifacts pertaining to his time at Baylor University. (Archives class)
    • Harry Raymond Morse Jr. Collection, 2000: This collection consists of four cassette tapes containing oral history interviews related to the Waco Tornado of May 11, 1953.
Southwest Conference meeting minutes, April 24, 1922 (page 1)
These minutes are from the papers of Henry Trantham, who served as Baylor University faculty representative to the Southwest Athletic Conference from 1916 to 1923, and from 1925 to 1941. Trantham was the president of the conference from 1918 to 1919, and from 1938 to 1941, and in that position he assisted in the establishment of the Cotton Bowl Association.
  • Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers, 1828-1977, undated: The Simons-Stoner-Rose Family Papers are comprised of original correspondence, legal and financial documents, literary productions, military records, printed materials, family histories, and photographs pertaining to five families (including Wells, Simons, Kay, Stoner, and Rose) in Texas from its pre-republic days to the late twentieth century. (Archives class)
  • Henry Trantham Papers, 1894-1962, undated: Trantham’s papers consist of correspondence, administrative and academic materials, and other loose materials related to Baylor University and the Greek and Classics Departments, the Southwest Athletic Conference, and the Rhodes Scholarship program. (Archives class)
  • Charles Wellborn Papers, 1945-2009: This archives contains sermons and other materials primarily from Wellborn’s time as pastor of Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.