Virginia and Paul Smith Missions papers, 1955-2010 (#3953): This collection describes the pastoral, educational, and humanitarian activities of two Southern Baptist missionaries that lived in the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, and Lebanon. Materials include correspondence, photographs, and twenty years of Jordan Baptist Mission Board of Directors minutes.
It’s back to school today—time for a quiz! These Baylor trivia questions are drawn from things I’ve learned through assisting patrons with reference questions. Test your knowledge of the green and gold—or learn more about Baylor’s past!
When did Baylor have its first female yell leader?
In the 1950s-1960s, AFROTC cadets practiced their rifle shooting in an indoor range in what building? a) Bill Daniel Student Center b) Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium c) Penland Hall
What does legend say is buried near the swing in Burleson Quadrangle?
How many years elapsed between when Tidwell Bible Building was first proposed and when it was completed?
True or False—A Baylor student designed the Baylor seal in the floor of the Pat Neff Hall foyer.
How much money did George W. Truett raise to eliminate Baylor’s debt in his role as financial agent in the early 1890s?
Sociology is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences now, but it hasn’t always been housed there. In what school did it reside in the 1920s?
What subject did the first African-American professor at Baylor teach?
How many classes celebrated their graduation at Baylor Stadium (now Floyd Casey Stadium)?
Who coined Baylor’s motto, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana?
Weta Timmons was elected a yell leader in 1923 and is heartily commended for her efforts in the Lariat. However, after her term and up to 1968, there were no female yell leaders. The decision to break that gender gap was much debated throughout the 1960s.
a) Bill Daniel Student Center. From 1953 to about 1964, the AFROTC competitive shooting team carried rifles up four flights of stairs to the attic of the Student Union Building and practiced target shooting. Apparently you could hear the shots outside the building (through air vents) but not inside.
An “Indian princess” from the Huaco Indian tribe. When Colonel Joseph Warren Speight owned the property, his daughters found turquoise beads beneath a tree where they were playing. Speight investigated and found the skeleton. According to a Huaco legend, a plague befell the tribe. The chief’s beloved daughter helped nurse the ill but eventually died herself, and the bones are hers. In the 1930s, a marker declaring the grave to be that of “an Indian Princess” was erected on the site but was later removed and then returned in 1988.
Twenty-one years. The building was first conceived in 1933 but wasn’t completed till 1954. It was delayed due to fundraising challenges, including World War II and other building priorities like Baylor Stadium, Armstrong Browning Library, and the Student Union Building. Architectural problems also delayed the project—an overly ambitious initial design, leading to a new architect being engaged and a lawsuit. Check out BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee at The Texas Collection
True. Enrique Ramirez designed the seal for the building, which was completed in 1939. Ramirez was an art student who did various art and design projects for the university throughout his time at Baylor.
Truett raised $100,000 in two years. Benajah Harvey (B.H.) Carroll, the president of the board of trustees, offered the job of financial agent to Truett, who accepted the position but suffered a bad case of the measles before he could start the job. After completing the fundraising project, Truett enrolled at Baylor as a student in 1893, and, of course, went on to become a major figure in Texas Baptist history. In 1990, Baylor claimed his name for a future seminary, and in 1994, the first students began classes at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. Check out the George W. Truett papers at The Texas Collection. We also have many of the books he authored and audio recordings of his sermons.
The School of Commerce and Business Administration, which was founded in 1923 (and now is known as the Hankamer School of Business). Political science and journalism are a few other departments that were housed in the new program but eventually were moved to the College of Arts and Sciences.
Vivienne Malone-Mayes was hired as a mathematics professor at Baylor in 1966—only five years after she had been denied admittance to the school as a graduate student. She was among the first black women in the nation to earn a PhD in mathematics. Check out the Vivenne Malone-Mayes papers at The Texas Collection and her oral memoirs from the Institute for Oral History.
Five. The classes of 1951-1955 celebrated commencement exercises at Baylor Stadium. In 1956, President Eisenhower came to Baylor and gave the commencement address. According to the Lariat, his advisors “much preferred that he speak in a completely enclosed building,” so the venue was moved that year to the (un-air conditioned and thus very warm) Heart O’ Texas Coliseum. Commencement was held there until 1988, when the Ferrell Center was constructed.
Rufus Burleson. When he accepted the presidency of the university in 1851, he included an outline of institutional policies. Number eight on the list was, “The mottoes of Baylor University shall be, “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana;” “Dulce et Decorum, pro patria Mori.” The Baylor seal still boasts the first motto, which translates to “For Church, For Texas.” The latter quote is attributed to the Roman poet Horace, and roughly translates to, “It is sweet and proper to die for your country.” It fell out of use as an official slogan—really, it’s not clear if it ever was adapted. Check out the Rufus C. Burleson papers at The Texas Collection.
You can read more about these stories and many others in the digitized Lariats,Round-Ups, and press releases, just a few of many Texas Collection items that can be found on the Baylor Digital Collections site. And if you want to investigate even further, drop me a line at The Texas Collection—we have archival records on many of these people and places.
“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
Now we look to Hicks’ remembrances of Independence again as another Baylor Commencement approaches. December’s commencement isn’t nearly as large as the spring celebration, but every graduation is an exciting day for the Baylor family. But what did Commencement look like back in Independence? For starters, people came from all over Texas, the celebrations lasted a week, and included the examination period. (Students spoke recitations that essentially were their final exams. Hey, class of 2012—aren’t you glad you didn’t have oral examinations for all of your classes?)
Hicks’ memoir, Memories of Ancestors, tells us that in 1866, “Commencement Week was the gala time of the whole year. People from all over the state made their plans to attend the Commencement of the two Baylor schools, and the little town of Independence was taxed to its utmost, both the hotels and private homes, to care for the great number of visitors.”
Of course, in Baylor’s early years, the university’s students all hailed from Texas (although many students’ families probably hadn’t been in the state for very long). But people came from all over the state to attend the fine university. That was a feat by itself, considering the small size of the school and the large size of Texas!
“Relatives of the students felt it a duty as well as a pleasure to attend Commencement exercises in the schools in which their children were pupils. So we had all kinds of visitors for this season. Very fashionable people from Galveston and Houston, moderately dressed people from the small towns and the country around Independence, and pioneer people with their primitive styles from the northern part of the State. Of course, we found much delight in seeing and mingling with all of these people. Many of them stayed in the rooms with us, and we thought it no hardship to sleep three or four in a bed or on a pallet on the floor that the visitors might have our beds.”
In addition to the public examinations, students held debates and gave speeches. Every night of Commencement Week, there was some kind of program, with the younger Baylor primary school students participating as well as the university students. Baylor University and Baylor Female College took turns hosting the “entertainments,” which culminated with a “grand Senior Concert.” On the last night of Commencement Week, the faculty and students of Baylor University hosted a party for the faculty and students of Baylor Female College.
This “crowning event of the season” was held in the Burleson Domicile, which was President Rufus C. Burleson’s home and a dormitory for male students. The octagonal shape of the building created nooks that were perfect for courting on the third floor veranda, as Hicks tells us: “The veranda was furnished with chairs and benches, dimly lighted, just the place to fill young heads with thoughts of love and romance. Many of the young men and maidens, knowing this would be the last meeting of the happy school days, plighted their troth, which resulted in the future marriages of some of the best people of our state.” Well, that sounds familiar—plenty of marriage proposals still happen on or around Commencement day at Baylor! And we like to think that the best people in the state (and the world!) come here.
Students (and their families) come to Baylor Commencement from all over the world now, and the official Commencement ceremonies don’t span a week anymore. But the thrill of sending new Baylor graduates out to “fling the green and gold afar” hasn’t changed since Baylor graduated its first student in 1854. Congratulations, class of 2012!