Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.
Something a little different this month–attend the 1953 Baylor Homecoming parade!
Views from the 700 block of Austin Avenue of the October 31, 1953 parade. A devastating F5 tornado hit just a few blocks from this site on May 11 of the same year.
In 2012, Baylor Homecoming was declared by the Smithsonian to be the first collegiate Homecoming celebration. On November 24, 1909, about 60 decorated carriages and cars and about 70 walking groups made their way down Washington Avenue towards Eighth and Austin, then made their way to campus for the football game at Carroll Field. As the Baylor band led the way, organizations from across campus, sports teams, and societies participated in the parade.
Although the first Homecoming was a success, it was held sporadically and did not become an annual tradition until the late 1940s.
In the second Homecoming in 1915, we start to see a few floats in the parade. In 1960 floats began to carry themes of Baylor defeating (and otherwise destroying) their opponent for the big football game.
The route for the parade has gradually evolved and in recent years has started on Austin Avenue and ended on Fifth Street, in the heart of campus.
In addition to the parade, Homecoming features many other activities and traditions, including alumni dinners and reunions, a bonfire in Fountain Mall, the Freshman Mass Meeting, Pigskin Revue, and Friday Night Flashback.
For Homecoming 2015, Baylor will dedicate the Rosenbalm Fountain on the new Fifth Street promenade. Students, alumni and faculty will get to experience an over 100-year tradition while making a brand new one in the process.
As the anticipation of the first Homecoming in the new McLane Stadium builds, be sure to visit the Texas Collection in the Carroll Library and check out the new exhibit on Lee Carroll Field: Early Athletic Traditions at Baylor University…where Baylor football began!
The Homecoming parade is one of my favorite Baylor traditions, but I must confess that I never thought much about all the work that goes in to planning the event. Knowing who’s participating, assigning the order, getting everyone into position, encouraging marchers to, ahem, represent Baylor well…that’s a lot of work! These days the men and women of Baylor Chamber of Commerce organize the parade, but back when Homecoming and the parade were new traditions, it was faculty members who made the parade happen.
One of these faculty members was Francis Guittard, a history professor who had been teaching at Baylor since the early 1900s. Frank helped organize Baylor’s first Homecoming in 1909, and President Samuel Palmer Brooks called on him again to serve as one of the marshals for the second Homecoming in 1915.
Almost 100 years later, Charles Guittard (BU ’64) was doing research this spring at The Texas Collection for a book he plans to write about his grandfather. In the Francis Gevrier Guittard papers, Charles came across Frank’s notes for his comments to the 1915 parade participants. With the 2013 Homecoming parade coming up tomorrow, we thought this was the perfect time to look back at one of Baylor’s first parades.
First of all, Frank Guittard calls the event a “pageant,” not a “parade.” (The phrases seemed to be used interchangeably at the time in describing this Homecoming event.) Parade participants included student groups like the Baylor band, the Town Girls club, the “B” Association, the senior class (already suited out in caps and gowns), and Baylor’s four literary societies: the Philomathesian, Erisophian, Calliopean, and Rufus C. Burleson organizations. Lillie Martin’s model primary class from the Department of Education provided the cute children for the parade. President Samuel Palmer Brooks, prominent faculty, alumnus of Baylor at Independence, and more rode in the auto section. Bringing up the rear was “Prof Evans’ Human Calliope.”
Wait, need some explanation of that last bit? First, a calliope is a musical instrument that produces (very loud) sound by sending steam or compressed air through large whistles. Apparently Evans, a piano professor, had concocted his own version (see photo to the right), consisting of Evans pounding a cookstove as the keyboard and various Baylor men serving as the whistles, “tooting of some popular airs which brought repeated applause,” according to the December 2, 1915 Lariat.
The parade progressed from Austin Avenue to 4th Street, then to Franklin and on to 5th Street, which took them to Carroll Field for the Homecoming game. Guittard heavily underlined in his notes “marchers three steps back of those in front”—perhaps marchers walking too close or too far from each other had been an issue in the 1909 parade. Students were encouraged to enlist all present members of the organization to participate in the parade, as well as alumni—as long as those alumni were “not too fat and wheezy and full of rheumatics.” Evidently Guittard had no time for potential stragglers!
Despite Guittard’s close attention to detail, he also took the long view—he reminded students that pictures would be taken that could be enjoyed for years to come. And indeed, The Texas Collection sees researchers coming every year just to see photos of early Homecomings.
Guittard also noted that “this pageant is to be representative of the loyalty of Baylor students as well as a graphic representation of Baylor’s strength and influence….Each of you has been given a role in this pageant which will be a long-remembered event in the history of Baylor and it is earnestly hoped that each one of you will act his part nobly and loyally.”
Guittard understood the importance of Homecoming when the tradition was just beginning—it wasn’t an annual event till 1924 (and then World War II disrupted the tradition). But he was right that those early parades would be long-remembered, and the summary of the parade in the 1915 Baylor Bulletin would be an apt description for succeeding Homecoming parades: “it isn’t an overplus enthusiasm nor pride of university or city to insist that few institutions in the United States could have made the showing Baylor made in the parade.”
Check out our latest Flickr set, a slideshow of Kodachrome slides from the 1953 Homecoming parade.
“I will help you in every possible way to get before the people, to cultivate the students and reach a maximum of opportunity for you to develop in.”
Samuel Palmer Brooks wrote those words to Francis Gevrier Guittard in a 1902 letter asking for Guittard to come and lend his services to the students of Baylor University. Today Baylor faculty and staff today are given the same message—that Baylor will give them opportunities to develop professionally, while also helping them to cultivate students who will go above and beyond.
We see the fruits of this support from Baylor as we celebrate each graduating class. But some professors, like Guittard, offer an especially good example of what is possible. On this Commencement weekend, we offer the graduating class Guittard’s story as a model of lifelong learning and service.
Guittard’s beginnings are similar to that of many others who lived in late nineteenth century America. His father, Dr. Francis Joseph Guittard, had immigrated to the United States from France. The elder Guittard, who had renounced his parents’ desires that he pursue the Catholic priesthood, moved to America in search of a better life. He settled in Ohio, where he met his wife, Lydia. As the younger Francis came of age, his parents agreed that the economic prospects in Ohio were bleak. Thus, in 1886, the Guittards sent young Francis on a one-way trip to Texas with the hope that he would succeed and find financial success.
Now on his own, Francis decided that the medical profession his father had pursued was not for him. Instead, he wanted to teach history. In the early 1890s, Guittard attended Baylor University but was unable to complete his degree. Not to be deterred, he applied to the University of Chicago, one of the nation’s rising schools. It was here that Guittard earned his bachelor of arts in 1901 and his master of arts in 1902.
Armed with his new degrees (and following the letter quoted above), Guittard returned to Baylor University. His friend, Samuel Palmer Brooks, had just become President. Neither Guittard nor Brooks knew at the time just how long they would serve Baylor and her students. For over forty years, Guittard taught in the Baylor history department, serving most of these years as the department’s chairman. He also was an adviser to the debate team, offered input on Texas Collection acquisitions (including the Sam Houston piano pictured above), helped coordinate the first Homecoming, and made many other contributions to the lives of Baylor students.
If such devotion to his profession was not enough, Guittard’s pursuit of a doctoral degree was a testament to his belief in the value of education. Many would have become complacent with steady employment and raising a family, but not Guittard. (Brooks’ encouragement of his faculty to pursue doctoral degrees helped too.) In the 1920s, he began taking summer courses at Leland Stanford University (more commonly known as Stanford) in California. His dedication paid off in 1931, when Guittard, at the age of 64, earned his doctorate with his dissertation, “Roosevelt and Conservation.”
Dr. Guittard continued to teach at Baylor and cultivate young minds with a love for history until his passing in 1950. Even now, he continues to support the education of others through the Guittard Fellowship, a family-funded scholarship given to first-year history graduate students. (In fact, I was a grateful recipient of that fellowship.) Guittard showed how one can shape the future, even while preserving history.
The Francis Gevrier Guittard papers, which consist of 38 boxes, house the personal and professional papers of Dr. Guittard. Because of Guittard’s long tenure at Baylor University and his desire to remain relevant in his field, researchers can find a number of subjects to explore in his papers. Come to The Texas Collection and discover the legacy of a man who not only improved his own lot in life, but then went on to devote his time and energy to the education of the up-and-coming generation. And to the graduating class of 2013—remember to walk in Guittard’s footsteps and pursue lifelong learning as you shape the future.
By Thomas DeShong, Archival Assistant and Digital Input Specialist
Although Baylor was a university by charter, it was not until the first decades of the 20th century that the institution, like many others in the United States, began to develop some of the hallmarks of university life and function that we now associate with them. These include intercollegiate athletics, a rich variety of student organizations, diverse students and curricula, and the development of endowments and other financial pillars to sustain and advance the institutions.
This year students in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) masters program have taken on the challenge of creating original scholarship that adds to what is known about Baylor’s history between 1900 and 1920. As part of Dr. Nathan Alleman’s Foundations and History of Higher Education course, students were grouped under the five class themes: curriculum, finance, students/student groups, access, and religion. In collaboration with Texas Collection archivists and librarians, students mined bulletins, newspapers, correspondence, and other primary resources as they researched their topics. Final papers have now been posted on a University-hosted EduBlog site and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the first installment of an annual accumulating project–please visit again for future installments.
For the next five weeks, we’ll put up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history this year’s HESA students analyzed and shared on the class blog. We’re starting with the Students at Baylor group, which covered student government, athletics, literary societies, and Homecoming. Did you know that…
In the 1910s, the Student Self-Government Association’s responsibilities included student discipline. For example, when a student raised a “Fish 22” flag on the university flagpole, the organization’s Judicial Council voted to suspend him for the remainder of the term. (It was May, so the punishment isn’t quite as harsh as it sounds.) Explore the rise of student self-governance at Baylor.
Baylor football had a new coach every year for its first few years, due to wage disagreements and poor team performance…and then the whole program was canceled due to nationwide concerns about the brutality of the sport. The loss of football moved students to poetry–read the mournful verse written on the occasion and learn more about the beginnings of Baylor athletics in the early 1900s.
The Philomathesian, Erisophian, Calliopean, and Rufus C. Burleson Literary Societies all offered generous scholarships to members who excelled in speech and debate activities in society competitions. Find out the other benefits of literary society membership and how Baylor students socialized and learned in these predecessors both to Greek organizations and debate at Baylor.
Baylor’s Homecoming Parade was not an annual feature of Homecoming till 1945, and in some years, it was called a “pageant.” The first parade, at the first Homecoming in 1909, was hailed as perhaps the most remarkable event of the weekend. Learn more about the origins of some of Baylor’s fondest Homecoming traditions.
We hope you’ll explore these blog posts and enjoy the benefits of the HESA students’ research and scholarship. If you’re inspired to dig deeper, most of their sources can be found in the University Archives within The Texas Collection and in our digitized materials available online in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.
Did you listen for the bells this Homecoming weekend? So many Baylor alums talk about missing the beautiful hymns played on the McLane Carillon, or just the chiming of the time. From getting students to class on time to September 11 memorial recitals, the bells are an integral part of the Baylor experience. But did you know that on their way to Waco, they took an accidental trip to Mexico?
The 48 bells of the McLane Carillon were made by the Paccard Bell Foundry in Annecy, France, a company whose bells can be heard around the world. After they were finished in 1988, a freighter picked them up and was to unload them in Houston, and a trucking company would complete their journey to Waco.
Yet the best laid plans can go astray—the ship failed to stop, and the bells went on their way to Mexico. Of course, the error was discovered, the freighter returned to Houston, and the bells made it to Baylor, just a few days later than planned.
But wait, you’re thinking—weren’t there bells ringing from Pat Neff before 1988? Yes! But unfortunately, the Cullen F. Thomas chimes had fallen into disrepair after 50 years of music, and the tower fell silent. Thanks to the generosity of the Drayton McLane family and the McLane Company, Inc., of Temple, Texas, Baylor was able to purchase a new carillon.
Yet the bells are a bit of a mystery—you can’t really see them, after all. Did you know that they’re played using both feet on the pedal board and closed fists on a keyboard? (The carillon is connected to a computer programmed to play the Westminster chimes and some songs, but yes, real people play the carillon too! Lynnette Geary is the current carillonneur, and she even teaches carillon classes.)
And Baylor’s bells are inscribed with biblical and literary quotations. Selected by the McLane family, there is a quote from each of the Baylor presidents up to the 1980s, a bell dedicated to the faculty of Baylor University with a line by Geoffrey Chaucer (“And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche”), and much more. The quotations can be seen on a plaque in the Pat Neff Hall entryway.
So next time you hear “Doxology” or “That Good Old Baylor Line” pealing across the campus, stop and listen a moment. The Baylor soundscape wouldn’t be the same without them.
Source: Baylor University Subject File: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall: McLane Carillon, at The Texas Collection
Homecoming 2012 is upon us! As this post goes up, the Baylor Nation is beginning to flood the Waco campus. Baylor University welcomes everybody home, from the 50th reunion class of 1962 to the class of 2012, for a weekend of nostalgia and fun. Watch the video below for a taste of Homecomings past:
We’ll have Round Up yearbooks available as giveaways during the Homecoming Parade on a first come, first served basis, at the Baylor University Libraries/Department of History tent, located on 5th Street near the side entrance to Carroll Library. Did one of your yearbooks get lost in a move, or maybe you never bought one back in the day? Now’s your chance! The bulk of them are from the 1950s and 1960s, but we’ll be giving away books from the 1940s all the way to 1980.
Please also drop by Carroll Library and The Texas Collection and see a small Homecoming exhibit featuring past Lariats and Round Up yearbooks. We’ll be open till 5 pm today (November 2) and from 8-12 on Saturday morning during the Homecoming Parade. (We also have some Alamo materials and historic Waco maps on display from other recent projects!) Did you know that an online archives of the Baylor Lariat and the Round Up yearbook is now available? These rich resources, representing the life of the university throughout its history, will be an invaluable resource for alumni looking to relive the past and for researchers seeking valuable primary resource materials for their inquiries.
The Texas Collection’s holdings include many weighty academic tomes and important archival records. Even the paintings that hang in our reading room tend to the serious side—neither Samuel Palmer Brooks nor Pat Neff look amused in their portraits. But we have many fun items too, like the Baylor Bear Facts.
A trivia game centered on Baylor, the game was produced in the 1980s and includes trivia tidbits in the categories of sports, clubs, history, personalities, and potpourri. Below are just a few of the many questions available in the game. Try your hand at some Baylor trivia and find out how well you know Baylor! You might be surprised by some of the “bear facts.” (The photos are clues for a few of the questions—and answers are below the photos.)
What was Baylor’s first women’s social club?
Were there any dancing classes taught at Baylor in 1922?
What did S.P. Brooks abolish in 1906?
On April 7, 1969, what could Baylor coeds wear for the first time anywhere on campus?
Baylor played a cross-town rival in its first-ever Homecoming football game. Who did Baylor beat in that historic game?
What year did the senior class gifts become a Baylor tradition–1907, 1931, or 1945?
Who was Baylor’s first clean shaven president?
He is a Baylor grad, [was] director of the Student Center, and was elected mayor of Waco in 1984. Name him.
This famous folk group performed in Marrs McLean Gym in a three hour show in 1969. The show was referred to as the P, P, and M show. What was the name of the group?
This former Baylor student of 1856 rescued Cynthia Ann Parker from the Indians. Who was he?
Alpha Omega (now Pi Beta Phi)
Yes, in the Physical Education department, folk dancing was taught. (The first official dance at Baylor wouldn’t be till 1996, however.)
Football (due to the brutality of the game—but the sport was reinstated in 1907, due to popular opinion and modifications to the game to make it safer)
Shorts and slacks (Before, even if a woman had a physical education class, she had to wear a long coat over her gym attire while walking to class.)
Texas Christian University (before its move to Fort Worth)
1907 (The gift was a circular bench to sit outside Carroll Library–and it is still there in Burleson Quadrangle.)
Sul Ross (He rescued Parker in his role as a Texas Ranger. He went on to serve as a Confederate general, President of Texas A&M University, and Governor of Texas. The Texas Collection holds the Ross Family papers in its archives.)
The Texas Collection has archival records on many of these historical figures and events. Come visit us to learn more!