Five Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Texas Collection (Unless You Just Spent Ten Weeks Here)

by Emily Starr, Summer Intern

  1. Bring a sweater. The collections here are kept at 65°, which means it’s chilly. Even on the hottest 110° days, you’ll probably need an extra layer, but it’s for the good of the collections, so it’s worth it. There are really old books, maps, and other valuable pieces of history on paper, so it’s important to do our best to preserve them.
  2. Texas has really weird towns. The Texas Collection has a vast map collection, housing about 14,000 maps of mostly Texas, and I worked with over 2,500 of them. Scranton, Movie Mountain, and Blanket were some of my favorites. You can take a tour of Europe if you’re interested, including towns like London, Paris, Oxford, Dublin, Edinburg, Florence, and Athens. If you don’t believe me, just head to the map room in The Texas Collection. The collection houses a very extensive array of maps, and another thing you might not know is how beautiful they are! From really old historical maps of the U.S. and Texas to maps of Waco, many research needs can be met in the map room.
  3. We are a photogenic school. If you need any historical pictures of Baylor or Waco, The Texas Collection can help you out. Maybe you work for The Lariat, maybe you need vintage fashion inspiration, or maybe you’re just upping your Instagram game – regardless the reason, the archives are your gold mine! If you are like me, and you aren’t the first in your family to come to Baylor, it’s especially fun to see photos of Baylor and Waco when our parents and grandparents were here.
  4. You should start your research paper here. Not only are the resources available valuable for your research, but the reading room is a quiet space for any studying needs. There is always someone at the desk to help you, and it’s a nice change of pace from the other libraries that can be crowded at different points throughout the semester.
  5. If you leave when it’s closing time, you get to hear the bells. Although Carroll Library closes at 5:00pm, one of the best parts of my days this summer has been on the walk back to my car. I try to leave right on time just to to hear the bells because it’s a fun reminder of how the history housed in The Texas Collection is still reflected throughout Baylor today.

Looking Back At Baylor: ‘The length of the tail should vary according to the age of the child’

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in June 1981, then was reprinted in Looking Back at Baylor (1985), a collection of Keeth and Harry Marsh’s historical columns for the Line. Blogging about Texas periodically features selections from Looking Back at Baylor, with hopes of sharing Keeth’s work with a new audience.

One of the most magnificent and well-known buildings on campus is the Armstrong Browning Library, known for its large collection of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning works and beautiful stained glass windows. But before the iconic building was constructed, the Baylor Browning collection was housed within Carroll Library. Read on to learn more about the collection and performance based on one of the stained glass windows. 

For the first four years after its inception in 1918, Baylor’s Browning collection shared quarters with the university’s general library in the Carroll Chapel and Library Building. Starting with Dr. A. J. Armstrong’s gift of his personal library of Browning manuscripts and publications, the burgeoning young collection rapidly acquired a large oil portrait of Robert Browning painted by his son, its famous bronze casting of the Brownings’ clasped hands, and additional writings and memorabilia.Continue Reading

Texas over Time: Carroll Library, Baylor University, Waco

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.

CarrollLibrary• Home to the first library at Baylor University and The Texas Collection, the plans for the construction of F. L. Carroll Library were introduced in 1901 and the then Chapel and Library were completed in 1903.
• The Chapel and Library was a gift from F. L. Carroll and along with the Carroll Science Hall (funded by F.L.’s son, G.W. Carroll), the Lariat announced their constructions under the headline “Greater Baylor Begins.”
• The first floor housed the library with special book collections donated by several individuals, including Dr. A. J. Armstrong. The chapel was located on the second floor of the building covered by a dome and decorated with stained glass windows.
• On February 11, 1922, the Chapel and Library caught fire from an unknown source and destroyed the majority of the interior. Many students and faculty risked their safety to retrieve the library’s books and documents, saving over half of the total collection.
• The building was renovated between 1922 and 1924; the chapel was not reconstructed and a third floor took its place.  A basement was also added to the renovations, and many of the original stone and brickwork were kept intact on the architecture.
• With the building running out of room, the central library was moved to the new Moody Memorial Library in 1968.
• Over the years, various departments, the Strecker Museum, and the J. B. Tidwell Bible Library were located at Carroll Library for brief periods of time.
• In 1992, a severe hail storm damaged many of the windows so the building was once again renovated and fully functional in 1994.
• As of 2016, the building houses The Texas Collection, the Institute for Oral History, the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society, and the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.


Fiedler, Randy. “The Carroll Library Fire.” Baylor Magazine. Baylor University, Fall 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Amanda Dietz, “F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library,” Waco History, accessed March 24, 2016.

GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant. See these and other images of Carroll Library in our Flickr set.

Research Ready: May 2014

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. This month we have a few finding aids from the Archival Collections and Museums class that worked on archival processing projects with us here at The Texas Collection…and there will be more to come in upcoming months! Here’s the scoop for May:

Carroll Chapel furniture bids solicitation, 1902
Before Carroll Chapel and Library could be declared done in 1903, the building needed furniture! This letter solicits bids for Chapel seating, most of which would be lost in the 1922 fire. However, you still can see some of the pews in the corridors of the updated Carroll Library building today. BU Records: Carroll Buildings #BU/57, box 1, folder 1.
Letter from Carr P. Collins to Earl C. Hankamer regarding the Greater Baylor Campaign, 1930
Carr P. Collins and Earl C. Hankamer were both noted Baylor Trustees and supporters. Here Hankamer pledges to assist with the Greater Baylor fundraising campaign. BU Records: Greater Baylor Campaign #BU/100, box 4, folder 2.

Research Ready: March 2014

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:

Carroll Library "Housewarming" program cover, 1923
Housewarming program for newly reconstructed F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library, 1923 December. Having been destroyed by fire, the building (sans chapel) reopened to the public during the celebration of President Samuel Palmer Brooks’s sixtieth birthday. BU Records: Alumni Rebuilding Campaign #BU/58, box 2, folder 12.
  • BU Records: Alumni Rebuilding Campaign, 1922-1923: The records of the Alumni Rebuilding Campaign consist of correspondence, financial documents, and administrative records regarding fundraising efforts to rebuild Baylor’s F. L. Carroll Chapel and Library after the building was destroyed by fire in 1922.
  • Hosea Garrett papers, 1856-1878: The Garrett papers contain correspondence and financial documents primarily produced by Hosea Garrett during 1856-1863. Garrett was a trustee of Baylor University at Independence and a major donor throughout the early years of Baylor.
State of Baylor University report by President George Washington Baines, 1862
State of Baylor University report by President George Baines, 1862. The report to the Board of Trustees documents the difficulties of leading the university during the American Civil War, with students and professors leaving all the time and tuition bills not being paid.