A Baylor Pageant: Organizing the 1915 Homecoming Parade

By Amanda Norman, University Archivist

Samuel Palmer Brooks to Frank Guittard on Baylor Homecoming 1915
President Brooks commends Guittard for “remarkable tact in winning others to your plans and getting them to do the things that ought to be done.” Guittard’s notes on the parade illustrate how he accomplished those Homecoming plans! (Guittard papers, box 4, folder 9)

The Homecoming parade is one of my favorite Baylor traditions, but I must confess that I never thought much about all the work that goes in to planning the event. Knowing who’s participating, assigning the order, getting everyone into position, encouraging marchers to, ahem, represent Baylor well…that’s a lot of work! These days the men and women of Baylor Chamber of Commerce organize the parade, but back when Homecoming and the parade were new traditions, it was faculty members who made the parade happen.

One of these faculty members was Francis Guittard, a history professor who had been teaching at Baylor since the early 1900s. Frank helped organize Baylor’s first Homecoming in 1909, and President Samuel Palmer Brooks called on him again to serve as one of the marshals for the second Homecoming in 1915.

Frank Guittard's Baylor Homecoming parade notes (page 5), 1915
Note Guittard’s emphasis on the spacing between marchers. He clearly wanted no one stepping on heels or straggling behind–this parade was a tightly run ship! (Guittard papers, box 20, folder 4)

Almost 100 years later, Charles Guittard (BU ’64) was doing research this spring at The Texas Collection for a book he plans to write about his grandfather. In the Francis Gevrier Guittard papers, Charles came across Frank’s notes for his comments to the 1915 parade participants. With the 2013 Homecoming parade coming up tomorrow, we thought this was the perfect time to look back at one of Baylor’s first parades.

First of all, Frank Guittard calls the event a “pageant,” not a “parade.” (The phrases seemed to be used interchangeably at the time in describing this Homecoming event.) Parade participants included student groups like the Baylor band, the Town Girls club, the “B” Association, the senior class (already suited out in caps and gowns), and Baylor’s four literary societies: the Philomathesian, Erisophian, Calliopean, and Rufus C. Burleson organizations. Lillie Martin’s model primary class from the Department of Education provided the cute children for the parade. President Samuel Palmer Brooks, prominent faculty, alumnus of Baylor at Independence, and more rode in the auto section. Bringing up the rear was “Prof Evans’ Human Calliope.”

1915 Baylor University Homecoming: Human Calliope
Wonder how Professor Evans talked students into being part of his Human Calliope–perhaps extra credit? Image scanned from the Baylor Bulletin on Homecoming 1915.

Wait, need some explanation of that last bit? First, a calliope is a musical instrument that produces (very loud) sound by sending steam or compressed air through large whistles. Apparently Evans, a piano professor, had concocted his own version (see photo to the right), consisting of Evans pounding a cookstove as the keyboard and various Baylor men serving as the whistles, “tooting of some popular airs which brought repeated applause,” according to the December 2, 1915 Lariat.

The parade progressed from Austin Avenue to 4th Street, then to Franklin and on to 5th Street, which took them to Carroll Field for the Homecoming game. Guittard heavily underlined in his notes “marchers three steps back of those in front”—perhaps marchers walking too close or too far from each other had been an issue in the 1909 parade. Students were encouraged to enlist all present members of the organization to participate in the parade, as well as alumni—as long as those alumni were “not too fat and wheezy and full of rheumatics.” Evidently Guittard had no time for potential stragglers!

Frank Guittard's Baylor Homecoming parade notes (page 7), 1915
Guittard called on Baylor students of 1915 to realize they were participating in a historic event–indeed, these early parades laid the groundwork for years to come! (Guittard papers, box 20, folder 4)

Despite Guittard’s close attention to detail, he also took the long view—he reminded students that pictures would be taken that could be enjoyed for years to come. And indeed, The Texas Collection sees researchers coming every year just to see photos of early Homecomings.

Guittard also noted that “this pageant is to be representative of the loyalty of Baylor students as well as a graphic representation of Baylor’s strength and influence….Each of you has been given a role in this pageant which will be a long-remembered event in the history of Baylor and it is earnestly hoped that each one of you will act his part nobly and loyally.”

Guittard understood the importance of Homecoming when the tradition was just beginning—it wasn’t an annual event till 1924 (and then World War II disrupted the tradition). But he was right that those early parades would be long-remembered, and the summary of the parade in the 1915 Baylor Bulletin would be an apt description for succeeding Homecoming parades: “it isn’t an overplus enthusiasm nor pride of university or city to insist that few institutions in the United States could have made the showing Baylor made in the parade.”

Check out our latest Flickr set, a slideshow of Kodachrome slides from the 1953 Homecoming parade.

A Lifelong Learner: The Education and Service of Dr. Francis Gevrier Guittard

“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 to Francis Guittard, 1902
This letter written from Baylor University President Samuel Palmer Brooks is the initial offer of employment made to Francis Guittard. The latter accepted his friend’s proposal and gradually moved up the ranks of his peers to the Chair of the History Department.

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.

Francis Guittard with Mrs. Norman Smith, 1927, at the Sam Houston piano at The Texas Collection
Francis Guittard with Mrs. Norman Smith, 1927, at the Sam Houston piano at The Texas Collection. Guittard and his wife, Josephine, helped to bring the piano to The Texas Collection.

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.

Francis Gevrier Guittard's diary, open to 1902-1906
This excerpt from Francis’ diary highlights some of the key events in his life including his promotion to an instructor of history, his attendance of the University of Chicago, and his marriage to his first wife, Mamie Welhausen.

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.”

Francis Gevrier Guittard's dissertation, 1931
Dr. Guittard earned his Ph.D. with the completion of his dissertation concerning President Theodore Roosevelt’s views of conservation. Notecards, an unpublished manuscript, and a final draft relating to the project can be found in the collection.

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

Looking Back at Baylor: Thanks for the Buggy Ride

This piece by former Texas Collection director Kent Keeth originally was published in The Baylor Line in August 1975, 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.

Watch your step! This couple departs the Baylor University campus for a buggy ride to Cameron Park, Waco, Texas, circa 1925
Boarding a buggy at Baylor! The photos in this student album were taken during the day, so they’re not part of the buggy protest, but they were taken around the same time period.

Today students grumble about the challenges of finding a parking spot on the Baylor campus, but back in the 1920s, the issue with cars was different. Enjoy a ride back to the days when cars were relatively new on the scene and students found creative ways to protest strict university policies. We’ve complemented Keeths piece with photos from a student album depicting a buggy ride to Cameron Park—you’ll see that students took this opportunity for romance. Happy Valentines Day!

If Baylor’s administrators give much thought to student-owned automobiles these days, their chief response is a sigh at the number of parking spaces they require. Fifty years ago, however, the student-operated motorcar elicited more than just a sigh from the university’s officials. The freedom from supervision which the automobile permitted seemed highly suspect to an institution which proudly stood “in loco parentis” to its students; and as the number of vehicles increased, the administration took action to safeguard its position.

In September, 1925, the dean of women, Miss Edna McDaniel, called a meeting to announce a new prohibition against “car riding” by Baylor girls after 6 p.m. “This is done, not because the women of Baylor can’t be trusted,” said Dean McDaniel, “but because they have the reputation of a Christian institution in their care.” President Brooks, who also spoke at the meeting, cautioned the young women to “avoid anything that begets gossip,” and assured them that “every gentleman will respect the wishes of a lady.”

Two couples in a buggy somewhere in Cameron Park, Waco, Texas, circa 1925
At this point, cars were on the rise and buggies weren’t in use as much. But, if the only way you can go on a double date is in a buggy, a buggy ride to Cameron Park it is!

For a time the new ruling went unchallenged. However a steady diet of evenings spent on campus soon began to pall on the students, and within two or three weeks men and women alike began to prepare counter-measures. On Saturday, October 10, senior women presented a unanimous petition to President Brooks. They were old enough and had been Baylor girls for long enough, they said, to know how to behave themselves. They therefore requested for themselves “the privilege of riding in an automobile to and from engagements after six o’clock p.m.” President Brooks promised to consider the petition.

In the meantime the men of Baylor had not left the initiative entirely to the ladies. They had proceeded on their own to organize for the same Saturday night an excursion which the Daily Lariat later described as follows:

Buggies, wagons, hacks, and surreys of every description were called into service by enterprising Baylor youths who evidently sought to prove that while night auto riding may be under the ban for women of the University, night riding of another kind is interpreted to be on the “permissible” side of the list.

Riding in every kind of a dobbin-drawn hack, some forty Baylor boys drove up to Burleson Hall shortly after six o’clock, claimed their dates, then untied their nags. ‘Giddap Napoleon’ through the streets of Waco followed.

Headed by a phaeton with glaring headlights and drawn by a blind horse, the procession set off up Speight Street, came back to the University campus, and then proceeded down Fifth to town. There the bright lights illuminated a sight long out of vogue and therefore exceedingly amusing to all motorists, shopkeepers, and street corner ornaments.

A horse and buggy ride up to Lover's Leap at Cameron Park, circa 1925
Then and now, the view from Lover’s Leap in Cameron Park inspires romantic moments. (We assume this is what the 1920s Baylor administrators worried about!)

After the “drag” had been made twice and three cheers given for Baylor, the fiery steeds were turned back toward the University and the procession broke up at the campus where a rush was made for the one surviving hitching post

The report of the buggy ride was picked up from local newspapers and humorous accounts of the students’ ingenuity appeared nationwide and in at least one Canadian daily. According to Mr. R.G. Winchester ’27 of Yoakum, who recalled the incident for this column, the students’ prank inspired a popular song, “Thanks for the Buggy Ride,” [see p. 6] which was published in San Francisco in the same year. Click on the YouTube video below to hear a recording of the tune.

While university administrators may have been amused, they were not swayed. On the following Friday President Brooks refused the senior women’s petition and the ban on evening automobile rides remained effective. Though the ploy failed, the effort was not without its rewards. The students made their point, a good time was had by all, and the buggy riders clip-clopped their way into Baylor legend. (To see more photos from the Cameron Park buggy ride, click on the flickr slideshow below.)

Photos selected and prepared by Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

Sharing Student Scholarship Online: Access at Baylor, 1900-1920

For the first five weeks of the spring 2013 semester, we’re putting up teasers about the fascinating Baylor history that Higher Education and Student Affairs students analyzed and shared on the class’ blog. So far we’ve explored students and student organizations, curriculum, and finance at Baylor. This week we’re exploring Access at Baylor, and students found that for women, students wishing to gain a more global education, and students lacking financial means, access could be limited. Did you know that…

HESA Baylor History blog

  • While Samuel Palmer Brooks and other leaders supported women’s suffrage, traditional roles also were celebrated for Baylor women, for whom studies in the domestic sciences and arts were emphasized over other academic pursuits. Explore the constraints and opportunities for Baylor women in the early 1900s.
  • Foreign language clubs and visiting lecturers helped give students a broader worldview in the early 1900s. But professors who had traveled and studied abroad were the main resource for opening students’ eyes to the international community beyond Texas and the U.S. Learn more about how students learned about other cultures before study abroad became readily available at Baylor.
  • President Brooks allocated more than $13,000 (about $300,000 in today’s dollars) to tuition and other financial support of ministerial students in 1912. Discover other ways that Baylor responded to student financial needs, from scholarships to jobs to correspondence courses.

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 between 1900 and 1920. 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 now been posted on a University-hosted EduBlog site and grouped by their particular sub-topic so that patrons, researchers, and other interested persons could benefit from these students’ work. This is the first installment of an annual accumulating project–please visit again for future installments.

The Baylor Bear Facts: Fun and Games at The Texas Collection

Baylor Bear Facts trivia game
Although we can tell the game was created in the 1980s, we don’t know much about its origins. Anybody out there know more about this project?

The Texas Collection’s holdings include many weighty academic tomes and important archival records. Even the paintings that hang in our reading room tend to the serious side—neither Samuel Palmer Brooks nor Pat Neff look amused in their portraits. But we have many fun items too, like the Baylor Bear Facts.

Baylor University Registration in the 1990s
Baylor women in this 1990s registration photo are taking advantage of the dress code rule passed in 1969. (#4)

A trivia game centered on Baylor, the game was produced in the 1980s and includes trivia tidbits in the categories of sports, clubs, history, personalities, and potpourri. Below are just a few of the many questions available in the game. Try your hand at some Baylor trivia and find out how well you know Baylor! You might be surprised by some of the “bear facts.” (The photos are clues for a few of the questions—and answers are below the photos.)

  1. What was Baylor’s first women’s social club?
  2. Were there any dancing classes taught at Baylor in 1922?
  3. What did S.P. Brooks abolish in 1906?
  4. On April 7, 1969, what could Baylor coeds wear for the first time anywhere on campus?
  5. Baylor played a cross-town rival in its first-ever Homecoming football game. Who did Baylor beat in that historic game?
  6. What year did the senior class gifts become a Baylor tradition–1907, 1931, or 1945?
  7. Who was Baylor’s first clean shaven president?
  8. He is a Baylor grad, [was] director of the Student Center, and was elected mayor of Waco in 1984. Name him.
  9. This famous folk group performed in Marrs McLean Gym in a three hour show in 1969. The show was referred to as the P, P, and M show. What was the name of the group?
  10. This former Baylor student of 1856 rescued Cynthia Ann Parker from the Indians. Who was he?
Sul Ross, a Baylor alumnus, Texas governor, and president of Texas A&M
After rescuing Cynthia Ann Parker, this gent went on to serve in the Civil War, as Governor of Texas, and as president of Texas A&M. The elementary school that was behind the Whataburger near campus bore his name. (#10)
William Carey Crane, Baylor University's fourth president
This president helped Baylor survive through the end of the Civil War and the university’s last years in Independence, Texas. A program for gifted undergraduate students in Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning bears his name. (#7)

 

1899 Baylor football team--the first!
As rough a sport as football can be today, in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, it was brutal. Baylor was among many universities that were concerned about such a violent sport being a part of their campus life. (#3)
Baylor University Centennial Monument, 1945, located on Founders Mall
The Centennial Monument, located on Founders Mall, was not the first senior class gift. Here we see students bring forward the time capsule to be placed in the monument. The capsule is to be opened in 2045. (#6)

Answers:

  1. Alpha Omega (now Pi Beta Phi)
  2. Yes, in the Physical Education department, folk dancing was taught. (The first official dance at Baylor wouldn’t be till 1996, however.)
  3. Football (due to the brutality of the game—but the sport was reinstated in 1907, due to popular opinion and modifications to the game to make it safer)
  4. Shorts and slacks (Before, even if a woman had a physical education class, she had to wear a long coat over her gym attire while walking to class.)
  5. Texas Christian University (before its move to Fort Worth)
  6. 1907 (The gift was a circular bench to sit outside Carroll Library–and it is still there in Burleson Quadrangle.)
  7. William Carey Crane. (The Texas Collection holds the William Carey Crane papers in its archives. The Royston Crane papers also have a good deal of information about Crane’s presidency and Baylor at Independence.)
  8. Ruben Santos (He served 35 years as director of the Student Union Building. Santos also was active with the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair, which is now housed within The Texas Collection.)
  9. Peter, Paul, and Mary. (To learn more about the wide variety of guests Baylor has hosted, check out this Digital Collections blog post on the Baylor press release digitization project.)
  10. Sul Ross (He rescued Parker in his role as a Texas Ranger. He went on to serve as a Confederate general, President of Texas A&M University, and Governor of Texas. The Texas Collection holds the Ross Family papers in its archives.)

The Texas Collection has archival records on many of these historical figures and events. Come visit us to learn more!