A Day in the (Texas Collection) Life: Petra Ibarra-Nagel and Priscilla Escobedo, Student Assistants

Meet Baylor seniors and archives student workers Petra Ibarra-Nagel and Priscilla Escobedo, in our latest staff post giving you a peek into the day-to-day work of The Texas Collection:

Magnified Petra
Sometimes archives work requires a closer look. Here Petra turns the magnifying glass on herself while working on the Foy Valentine papers.

My name is Petra Ibarra-Nagel and I am a senior international studies major from Bellingham, Washington. I have worked as a manuscript archives student worker since April 2011, and I also worked in the TC library this summer. I help with processing collections by making sure that materials are physically preserved to withstand deterioration over time and organizing those materials in a way that best assists researchers in their quest for knowledge.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a variety of archival materials at The Texas Collection, ranging from 19th-century pocket-sized family portraits to correspondence containing signatures of former presidents of the United States. It’s always fun to see what new materials come in—you never know what will be important elements of a historical narrative!

Smiling Pat Neff
Pat Neff was a somber man, Petra learned while working with his papers, so she was delighted to find this smiley (sort of) photo of the Texas governor and Baylor president.

My favorite collection to work on is the one that I was originally hired to assist in processing, the Pat Neff collection. Working with Pat Neff taught me a lot about the importance of preservation and organization of materials but also about integrity and teamwork. You may recognize the name Pat Neff from our campus’ beautiful golden dome-adorned administration building; however the legacy of Pat Neff extends far past his Baylor career. The former Texas House of Representatives speaker, county attorney for McLennan County, Governor of Texas, Texas Railroad Commissioner, and President of Baylor University rarely took a moment to himself.

That being said, it is understandable how there were approximately 643 boxes of Pat Neff material to process. Communication between everyone involved in processing is crucial to preserving the historical value of materials and integrity of the collection as a whole, especially when the collection contains so much material. If the materials are not processed the same way throughout the collection, locating individual items for researchers would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack…and then, without proper preservation methods, accidentally shattering the needle when you find it. In this way, The Texas Collection makes it easy to learn more about your passions throughout Texas history.


My name is Priscilla Escobedo, and I am a senior international studies major from Irving, Texas. I have been a university archives student worker at The Texas Collection for a little more than a year. I also worked in the TC library this summer.

The Texas Collection is located in Carroll Library, one of the oldest buildings on campus. It was once home to the Baylor Chapel, Baylor Museum, the early Robert Browning collection, and Baylor’s main library. I know all of this because of my work here! Some of my duties include research, our backlog sorting project, pulling books and collections for researchers, and various other archives duties.

Samuel Palmer Brooks' 30th anniversary of his Baylor graduation program
This spread comes from a program for a luncheon celebrating the 30th anniversary of the graduation of President Samuel Palmer Brooks, found while sorting backlog.

The backlog sorting project never ends. The university archives receives a box every month of newsletters, programs, flyers, and more, that get printed for the university…and these piled up over time. As a result, in addition to the new incoming boxes, we have many older boxes of miscellaneous materials that need to be sorted by department, organization, etc., so that those items can be found. The older boxes can be very interesting—I’ve found documents from the 1920s sitting next to documents from the 1980s. Needless to say, I’ve read a lot on Baylor’s history and have learned so much about life at Baylor.

Baylor University Catalogue, 1851-52
Priscilla has relied heavily on Baylor catalogues, such as this first one from 1851, for her research for the Baylor Book of Lists project.

My main project is the Baylor Book of Lists, a project that will list out who worked at Baylor since its inception. Right now I have over 60 pages of the names of people who worked and taught at Baylor and Baylor medical school, and the classes they taught. Some courses, such as orthography and ancient geography, are no longer taught at Baylor (although the subjects might be incorporated in other classes), and it’s interesting to see how education has changed over time.

Working at the Texas Collection has taught me so much about what it’s like working in an archives and library and about the history of Texas and Baylor.

The Texas Collection turns 90 this year! But even though we’ve been at Baylor for so long, we realize people aren’t quite sure what goes on in a special collections library and archives. So over the course of 2013, we are featuring staff posts about our work at The Texas Collection. See other posts in the series here.

A Day in the (Texas Collection) Life: Jynnifer McClinton and Samantha Buerger, Student Assistants

The Texas Collection turns 90 this year! But even though we’ve been at Baylor for so long, we realize people aren’t quite sure what goes on in a special collections library and archives. So over the course of 2013, we will feature monthly posts from our staff—from faculty to student workers—offering a little peek into the day-to-day work of The Texas Collection. This month you’ll learn about the work of two of our undergraduate student assistants. Our student employees help us with many projects, and all of their jobs are a little different. Meet Baylor senior Jynnifer McClinton and sophomore Samantha Buerger:

Creating a Mylar encapsulation for a newspaper
Jynnifer is creating a Mylar encapsulation for an issue of the Hillsboro Mirror from 1935

My name is Jynnifer McClinton, and I am a senior psychology major (pre-PT) from San Angelo, Texas. I have been a library student worker at The Texas Collection (TC) for seven months.

When I first started at the TC, my main priority was helping with a huge project: a complete reorganization of all the newspaper holdings. The work of putting in order thousands of issues was more alphabetizing and numbering than I had done since kindergarten! I now help preserve those rare and fragile papers by making Mylar encapsulations for them.

Material retrieval is one of my daily tasks. Due to the unique and valuable nature of the items that we house, only TC staff is allowed into the stacks to retrieve requested items for patrons, and we must take proper care in the transportation of our many fragile items. I also am one of two students entrusted with preparing periodicals for binding so that they will be better protected and preserved.

Preparing periodicals for binding is only one of many tasks at The Texas Collection
Periodicals back from the bindery (that show the wide range of topics represented at The Texas Collection)

Maintaining and updating vertical files by clipping old newspaper articles is my favorite duty. I sometimes get caught up reading articles more often than I probably should, but some of the articles are ones that I would likely never have seen if I did not work here. I have come across articles about the Titanic only a day after it sank, Albert Einstein showcasing a new invention, Wild West shootouts and robberies (sensationalism at its best), the JFK assassination, and my favorite—historic articles about my hometown.

My least favorite task at the TC also involves vertical files: copying old articles before filing them. We have to make sure that copies are as neat as possible—so no crooked titles, shadows, or any extra marks on the copies.

One perk of my job is the great work environment. It has a very laid-back and casual feel. On holidays, we have parties with a boat-load of food. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this TC family?

Each duty I perform is a necessary component in maintaining the validity and integrity of our materials in order to provide TC patrons with access to treasured and hard-to-find materials. It is truly incredible the amount of history that we have housed in this building, and due to our work here, we have access to it every day.


Baylor Bear mascots embrace at a football game
One of Samantha’s favorite photos: Mascots embrace at the 1975 Cotton Bowl game versus Penn State (Baylor–Mascots–General (8x10s)

My name is Samantha Buerger, and I am a sophomore earth science major from Friendswood, Texas. I have been working at The Texas Collection as a photography archives student worker since the beginning of my freshman year.

When I started I had no experience with negatives or scanning pictures and knowing the correct resolution to use, but while working here I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about photography and the scanning of pictures and negatives. I have worked with a large range of negatives, anywhere from 35 mm negatives to 8×10 cellulose negatives. I appreciate and enjoy photography from the past, which is mainly what I work with.

I have contributed to a multitude of projects while working here. For example, I am scanning some of the many Fred Gildersleeve negatives to get a positive image, making a spreadsheet inventory of our (quite immense) photo collection, and entering metadata into a spreadsheet on KWTX broadcasts from the 1970s and ’80s, as well as some other smaller projects.

Baylor students enjoy some horseplay in a fountain, 1940s
Baylor students enjoy some fun and games in a fountain, 1940s, in another one of Samantha’s favorites (Baylor Students–Horseplay–1940s)

For the KWTX metadata project, we are putting together an inventory of the approximately 2,000 KWTX newscasts we have in our collection. The inventory includes the specific stories on that tape, their length, and the date of the story. The newscasts are kept on VHS and U-Matic tapes. The KWTX project is demanding because of its considerable size.

My favorite project so far has been making the spreadsheet inventory of our photo collection, because to do that you must look at every single photo we have, which is really fascinating because we have so many photos and the majority of them have to do with Baylor and Waco. This project is challenging due to the fact that we have over 300 boxes of pictures in our photo file collection.

Overall I have learned a lot about photography and the history of Baylor and Waco while working at The Texas Collection.

Sharing Student Scholarship Online: Finance 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 and curriculum at Baylor. This week we’re exploring Finance at Baylor, from how athletics activities were financed, to fundraising tactics employed by Baylor administrators, to how students earned money to pay for their Baylor education. Did you know that…

HESA Baylor History blog

  • In 1915, alumni and Baylor’s athletics association raised $9,000 for a new bath house and grandstand to support Baylor football and other athletic endeavors. (With inflation, that would be around $200,000.) The 1915 grandstand seated only 1,000seems small to us today, compared to the efforts for the new Baylor Stadium, but that was pretty big at the time. Read about how athletics were financed in the early 1900s at Baylor.
  • J.B. Tidwell (for whom Tidwell Bible Building is named) didn’t come to Baylor initially as a Bible and religion instructorhe gave up the presidency of Decatur College (another Baptist institution) in 1909 to serve as Baylor’s Endowment Secretary. In 15 months on that job, he raised more than $90,000which would be more than $2 million in today’s dollars. Learn about the tactics Tidwell and other Baylor fundraisers used to persuade donors and organizations to support Baylor.
  • About one-third of the Baylor student body worked on campus to help pay for their education. Jobs ranged from library assistants to grounds keeping to teaching. Not so different from today! Explore other ways that Baylor students financed their education in the early 1900s.

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.