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.
Pat Neff Hall construction, 1939
Pat Neff Hall was started in 1938 (with a Masonic cornerstone laying ceremony on December 7, 1938) and completed in 1939. The building was dedicated on Founders Day 1940.
President Neff received an offer from the General Educational Board of a $50,000 gift to the university if an administration building was built to free up classroom space.
The 46,000 sq. ft. building was built in the American Georgian style, by Waco architectural firm Birch D. Easterwood and Son, at a cost of around $250,000.
The original carillon (the Cullen F. Thomas Carillon) was initiated on December 21, 1939, but dedicated at the same time as the hall. The original carillon cost $15,000 and consisted of 25 bells. Chronic mechanical failures eventually led to its replacement by the McLane Carillion, named for the Drayton McLane family of Temple. Cast in France by the prestigious Paccard Bell Foundry, the 48 bell carillon cost $325,000, and was dedicated at Homecoming 1988. Read more about the McLane Carillon and its circuitous route to Baylor.
The dome was originally stainless steel, making it the second stainless steel roof in the country, until gold leafing was put on in 2000.
The tradition of green lights of Pat Neff after athletic wins was started in 1978.
Henry, Jay C. Architecture in Texas, 1895-1945. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. Print
BUSF: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall
BUSF: Buildings: Pat Neff Hall – Cullen F. Thomas Carillon
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.
The name Pat Neff is known by every Baylor Bear. Perhaps his influence is most markedly demonstrated by Pat Neff Hall. Built in 1939 and named in honor of Baylor’s eighth president, its tower can be seen for miles and is a ready landmark for Wacoans and Texas travelers. But before Neff came to the Baylor presidency, he served the state of Texas in several offices, including two terms as Governor.
The Texas Collection is proud to house his papers and has been hard at work on processing his voluminous records (about 643 archival boxes). After a couple of years, multiple archivists and students, and generous gifts from Terrell Blodgett, among others, we have a completed finding aid for the Pat Neff collection.
The importance of these records can’t be overstated. They span a century of this important Texas family’s activities. Neff’s records offer a comprehensive view into the life and work of a public servant and educator.
And we do mean comprehensive—the man appears to have kept everything. Researchers, even those who know a lot about Neff, are bound to learn something they didn’t know. Here’s some of what you can discover, just from reading the biographical history in the finding aid.
He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives just four years after graduating from Baylor with his bachelor’s degree.
When he ran for governor, he was thought to be the first Texas candidate to travel by airplane for his campaigning efforts.
He was a staunch supporter of Prohibition—that you might already know. The stories about his public expulsions of students for drinking (and other misdeeds) are legendary at Baylor. But he also stood for everything from women’s suffrage to prison reform to water conservation.
After oil was discovered in Mexia, chaos ensued. Neff declared martial law in 1922 and called in the Texas National Guard and Texas Rangers. Later that year he declared martial law again, this time in Denison due to violence following a strike by the Federated Railroad Shopmen’s Union.
In the 1920s, Neff considered the possibility of running for US president and serving as president of the University of Texas.
As Baylor president, he accepted livestock as tuition payment and was known to occasionally pay part of a student’s bill out of his own pocket.
Digging into the records themselves, you’re sure to learn much more about Pat Neff. We’ll highlight some of his records in upcoming blog posts and hope you’ll visit the reading room to explore Neff’s life and his impact on Texas and Baylor.
Contact us for more information about the collection—the front matter of the finding aid is online as a PDF, but the box listing is so intricate that it didn’t translate well into that format. An archivist can help point you in the right direction for your research on Neff and his contributions to Texas.
And check out a few of our favorite photos from the Pat Neff collection. There is much more where this came from!
By Benna Vaughan, Manuscripts Archivist, and Amanda Norman, University Archivist
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