Sharing Student Scholarship: Access at Baylor, 1921-1930

For the next couple of weeks, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history, 1921-1930, that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the Foundations and History of Higher Education class blog. We’ve already looked at Curriculum,  Finance, and Students/Student Groups. This week we’re looking at Access at Baylor, with papers examining the establishment of Baylor’s first men’s dorm (Brooks Hall), the university’s increasing prominence, and the Baylor woman’s educational experience. Did you know that…

S. P. Brooks Hall, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Samuel Palmer Brooks Hall was the first men’s residence hall on campus–before it was built in 1921, Baylor men lived off campus in rooming houses and other accommodations. Brooks provided the increased male population with another option of where to live, as well as a sense of community.
  • Remember how administrators were concerned about the decreased men’s population at Baylor? Well, the establishment of the business school, plus the construction of Brooks Hall, seemed to help—male enrollment saw a 25% increase between 1923 and 1924. And the residential culture appears to have encouraged men to stay successful and active on campus. Learn more…
  • Master’s programs were just one way Baylor grew in the 1920s—two master’s degrees were conferred in 1913-1914, while 18 were earned about ten years later in 1924-1925. Read more…
  • While women’s curriculum at the time emphasized teaching, the arts, and nursing, women did take advantage of the newly established journalism program (within the business school), and they accounted for about half of the Lariat staff through the 1920s. Discover more…

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.

Background on this project: 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. 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 been posted on and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the second installment of an annual accumulating project–see last year’s teasers here. Please visit again for future installments!

Texas over Time: Brooks Hall construction, Baylor University

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. 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.

Brooks Hall ConstructionBrooks Hall, Baylor University

  • The fifth floor of Brooks Hall was rumored to be haunted by “violin music, a phantom in a top hat and cloak, and inexplicable candlelight moving around.”
  • The original cost to build Brooks Hall was $365,530 (or roughly $4,690,000) in today’s dollars.
  • Up until 1987, Brooks Hall had no interior hallways. Each suite opened into a stairwell. This was intended to make the building more fireproof, more efficient with ventilation, and reduce noise. It was redesigned in 1987 for fire safety and practicality.
  • When it became implausible to renovate and restore Brooks Hall, Baylor decided to construct Brooks Village. Architects took trips to Oxford and Cambridge in search of the new residential community’s architectural inspiration. The architects also used elements from buildings at Harvard and Yale.


Baylor-Buildings-Brooks Hall. General photo files, The Texas Collection.

Buildings: Brooks Hall. Baylor University Subject File. The Texas Collection.

Gif and factoids prepared by Timothy Brestowski, student library assistant

Here’s a Flickr set that includes the images used to compiled this animation (plus a few more of Baylor students and the campus over time), should you want to examine each photo individually.