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!
February finding aids By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist
McGregor Plan records, 1936-1942 (#171): Consists of materials documenting the Baylor University Texas Collection’s participation in the McGregor Plan. The McGregor Plan assisted smaller libraries who lacked resources and access to book dealers in purchasing rare Americana to add to their holdings.
BU records: Donald I. Moore, 1939-2003 (#BU/383): Correspondence from World War II, letters relating to Moore’s compositions and work as director of the Golden Wave Band at Baylor University, marching band diagrams, photographic materials, programs, and film of the band’s performances.
February print materials By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials
Neal, Dorothy Jensen. The Cloud-Climbing Railroad: A Story of Timber, Trestles, and Trains. Alamogordo, NM: Alamogordo Print. Co., 1966. Print.
Dorothy Jensen Neal provides a close look at the construction history of the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway, which connects Alamogordo and Russia, New Mexico. Filled with photographs and maps, The Cloud-Climbing Railroad explores the challenges of building a railway that climbs nearly 5,000 feet in 32 miles. Click here to view in BearCat.
Lomax, John A. Cowboy Songs and other Frontier Ballads. New York: The Macmillan Company . Print.
Noted folklorists and musicologists John A. Lomax and his son Alan compiled this expansive volume containing sheet music, lyrics, and annotations of cowboy and frontier songs. This volume is revised from the original 1910 edition, which can also be found in The Texas Collection. Click here to view in BearCat.
Corpus Christi: The Ideal Summer and Winter Resort of Texas. Corpus Christi, TX: Noakes Brothers, . Print.
Like similar promotional books printed in the early 20th century, this volume is filled with beautiful full-color images that highlight the many resources found in Corpus Christi, including the abundance of game, fish, and fruit. Click here to view in BearCat.
As summer descends upon us and we feel the desire to travel and explore, let’s not forget one of the most easily accessible destinations we Texans can reach: our own Texas State Parks. One such park, with the honor of being called the first State Park of Texas, is very close to Waco and has historic ties to Waco and Baylor University. Mother Neff State Park, located in Coryell County along the Leon River, claims that title and is named after Isabella Neff, mother of former Governor of Texas and president of Baylor, Pat Neff.
Mother Neff donated about six acres of land (sources vary as to whether it was six acres or seven) with an eye toward a place for gatherings and other events. This land was beautiful and diverse with massive trees, bluffs, an Indian cave, and prairie land perfect for wildflowers. As Emma Morrill Shirley said (quoted in one of two Mother Neff State Park scrapbooks in the Pat Neff Collection), “There is no more typically Texas spot in all Texas than Mother Neff Park.”
Mother Neff insisted there be no fee for the use of the property and her wish was that the community make use of the land freely. And use it they did, with town meetings, picnics, political sessions, family reunions, prayer gatherings and camp meetings.
One of Pat Neff’s favorite events was the yearly chautauqua, the first one held July 5-12, 1925. In Neff’s words, the chautaqua was “a program of general information and inspiration.” Leaders in business, education, and religion came to speak to those who gathered during this time. Two of the talks Neff proposed for his first event were, “Triumphant Christianity in Texas,” and “The Public Educational System of Texas.” Neff’s fondness for these yearly events was widely known and anticipated.
After Isabella’s death in 1921, Neff donated the six acres to the state and named it Mother Neff Memorial Park. In 1934, Neff donated an additional 250 acres and the park became Mother Neff State Park, the first State Park in Texas. Mr. F.P. Smith also donated three acres to the park, bringing the total acreage of the park to 259 acres.
Neff realized that the park needed a lot of work to become the park he envisioned, so he turned to federal government programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, and had one unit of the Corps stationed by the park. The CCC, working at the park from 1934-1938, was responsible for many of the buildings and improvements on the park grounds. The clubhouse, park entrance, church, observation/water tower, and road system throughout the park are due to the Corps’ hard work.
On May 14, 1938 (Mother’s Day), the official Mother Neff State Park Dedication Ceremony took place. The Baylor University Golden Wave Band performed and Dr. J.M. Dawson gave the dedicatory address. Other state officials also attended and it was estimated that over 1,000 people came to the event.
More information on Mother Neff State Park resides in the Pat Neff collection housed in The Texas Collection at Baylor University, and in it are two scrapbooks dedicated to Mother Neff State Park. In their pages are photographs of Neff, Isabella, the park landscape, and animals that lived on the park land such as sheep, goats, and horses. Also contained in the scrapbooks are images of park buildings, Indian caves, and other features. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring these images in the Flickr slideshow at the end of this post.
One of the scrapbooks contains documents describing the park, correspondence and general statements about the park, birthday cards to Isabella Neff and, in particular, a poem. We urge you to take the poem’s advice:
To those who are traveling and pass this way, / I want you to stop and hear what we say. / The birds and the bees, and the squirrels when they bark, / All bid you come into the Mother Neff Park.
For more information on Mother Neff State Park, see :