Each month, we post an update to notify our readers about the latest archival collections to be processed and some highlights of our print material acquisitions. These resources are primed for research and are just a sampling of the many resources to be found at The Texas Collection!
February finding aids By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist
McGregor Plan records, 1936-1942 (#171): Consists of materials documenting the Baylor University Texas Collection’s participation in the McGregor Plan. The McGregor Plan assisted smaller libraries who lacked resources and access to book dealers in purchasing rare Americana to add to their holdings.
BU records: Donald I. Moore, 1939-2003 (#BU/383): Correspondence from World War II, letters relating to Moore’s compositions and work as director of the Golden Wave Band at Baylor University, marching band diagrams, photographic materials, programs, and film of the band’s performances.
February print materials By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials
Neal, Dorothy Jensen. The Cloud-Climbing Railroad: A Story of Timber, Trestles, and Trains. Alamogordo, NM: Alamogordo Print. Co., 1966. Print.
Dorothy Jensen Neal provides a close look at the construction history of the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway, which connects Alamogordo and Russia, New Mexico. Filled with photographs and maps, The Cloud-Climbing Railroad explores the challenges of building a railway that climbs nearly 5,000 feet in 32 miles. Click here to view in BearCat.
Lomax, John A. Cowboy Songs and other Frontier Ballads. New York: The Macmillan Company . Print.
Noted folklorists and musicologists John A. Lomax and his son Alan compiled this expansive volume containing sheet music, lyrics, and annotations of cowboy and frontier songs. This volume is revised from the original 1910 edition, which can also be found in The Texas Collection. Click here to view in BearCat.
Corpus Christi: The Ideal Summer and Winter Resort of Texas. Corpus Christi, TX: Noakes Brothers, . Print.
Like similar promotional books printed in the early 20th century, this volume is filled with beautiful full-color images that highlight the many resources found in Corpus Christi, including the abundance of game, fish, and fruit. Click here to view in BearCat.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been writing about the Parker family—see Part 1 and Part 2. Last week’s post was about the preservation of Old Fort Parker. Today we continue the story with the Parker family’s work to preserve its historical documents—what is now the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, housed at The Texas Collection.
The story of preserving Parker family materials through time is impressive in its own right. With many documents in the collection dating back to the 19th century, it is remarkable that so many of these papers survived. Family historians faithfully stored and studied the documents and made sure the materials endured for the next generation of the family. Now, by giving them to The Texas Collection, these documents are preserved and accessible for the public to view and research.
Materials in this collection were assembled, collected, and preserved by three distinct groups in the Parker family: Joseph and Araminta Taulman, Lee Parker Boone, and Jack Selden, though many other Parker family members contributed to the preservation of their family history, including Joe Bailey Parker and Ben J. Parker. Each of the three major preservation groups represents a different generation in the Parker family history, and each contributed different research materials and collecting emphasis to the collection.
It seems that family members began gathering historical documents relating to family history very early in their time in Texas. By 1854, the materials were stored in a container the family has referred to as the “blue box” by Dan Parker, grandson of Daniel Parker. This box of documents was added to over time and passed down through the family. It eventually came to Jack Selden and contained most of what is now Series I, the oldest materials in the collection.
Joseph and Araminta Taulman were active in Texas public history in the 1930s. Araminta was the great-great-granddaughter of Daniel Parker, patriarch of the Parker family in the 1830s. While the Taulmans created some materials now in the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden collection, most of the Taulman papers are now in the Joseph E. Taulman Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.
Lee Parker Boone, born in 1891, focused on collecting and describing Parker genealogy information for much of his life. Boone was a court reporter in Midland, Texas. In the Selden collection, many of the letters inquiring about family trees and giving information about possible family relationships were from or to Boone.
Jack Selden was born in 1929 and graduated from Palestine High School in Texas. After graduating from George Washington University, he served in the United States Air Force as a navigator and speechwriter for 21 years, eventually becoming a lieutenant colonel. Returning to Palestine, he became a civil trial assistant. In 1985, he became mayor of Palestine, serving three terms.
At some point, Selden became the historian of the Parker family and faithfully preserved an increasingly large collection of documents, photographs, and other materials containing his research on the topic, plus the work of Lee Boone, selections from Joseph Taulman, and others who contributed to preserving the Parker family story. With these resources, Selden wrote and published a book on the Parker family in Texas history. Return: The Parker Story, published in 2006, documents the Parker family’s arrival in Texas, and traces their history through Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker, and others, up to the Parker family reunions today. This past year, Selden donated this collection of materials to The Texas Collection.
Jack Selden also wrote and performed in the “Telling of the Tales,” a dramatic reading of the Cynthia Ann Parker story. Other Parker family members also participated in the production. This drama was performed several times for the public, both at Old Fort Parker in the early 1980s and at Pilgrim Baptist Church near Elkhart, Texas. Programs and scripts from “Telling of the Tales” performances can be found in the Selden collection.
This concludes our series celebrating the Jack and Gloria Parker Selden papers arrival at The Texas Collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University. If you can’t make the lecture, follow us on Twitter—we’ll be live-tweeting the event at #ParkerFamilyTX.
Find a Grave, Inc. “Lee Parker Boone.” Memorial #22788886. Databases. Accessed February 8, 2016.
We recently wrote about the story of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker. Today we continue the story by discussing efforts through time to remember their story by preserving Fort Parker.
After the events of the Parker story in Texas—Cynthia Ann’s capture by Comanche, her recapture and return to Texan society, her son Quanah’s role as military leader against the United States army, and his subsequent role as a political leader to help the Comanche on the reservation—the Parker story became a popular one in Texas. (See Part One of this blog series if you need a refresher.) With Texan interest in historic preservation growing due to the impending Texas Centennial in 1936, people began to work towards preserving the site of Parker’s Fort or Fort Parker.
While the original fort was long gone, the site was selected in the 1930s as a work area for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was decided to build a replica fort, matching as closely as possible the original fort built by the Parkers. Several Parker family members visited the site of replica fort in the 1930s to help verify that it was the site of the original fort. Construction was still underway as the Texas Centennial came and went.
Only a couple of miles away, the same CCC camp built camping and outdoor recreational facilities around a 670 acre lake, formed from building a dam across the Navasota River. While the plan originally called for one site to be named Fort Parker State Park, which would include the replica fort, the lake, and all the recreational facilities, eventually the site was split into two separate areas. Confusingly, the recreation area with the lake became known as Fort Parker State Park, while the replica fort site became known as Old Fort Parker State Historic Site, or just the Old Fort.
In 1941, after years of planning and construction, Fort Parker State Park was opened to the public. Along with fishing, boating, and fireworks, people could also visit Old Fort Parker, where construction was complete on the replica fort.
After many years of use, the replica fort at the Old Fort site was rebuilt in 1967. Both Fort Parker sites were operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department until 1992, when the nearby cities of Groesbeck and Mexia, and Limestone County took over operations of the Old Fort. Fort Parker State Park continues to operate as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department site.
Today, visitors to Old Fort Parker can tour the replica fort, various historic structures from Central Texas, and the visitor center. For research opportunities, patrons can visit The Texas Collection and view materials on the Parker family and Old Fort Parker.
The next post in this series will examine the various creators of the Selden collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University.
The Texas Collection recently acquired a group of historic documents on the Parker family, including Cynthia Ann Parker and her son Quanah Parker. This amazing collection is one of several record groups on the Parker family already at The Texas Collection. In anticipation of Jack Selden’s February 18 lecture, “Return: the Parker Story,” this blog post will be the first in a series of posts that tell the story of the Parker family in Texas.
Cynthia Ann Parker came to Texas with 38 family members from Illinois in 1833, and the family settled near Groesbeck. By the summer of 1835, the Parkers had a rough wooden fort built that was called Parker’s Fort or Fort Parker. The family tended crops on about 12 miles along the Navasota River, returning as needed to the fort.
By 1835-1836, situations in Texas had changed drastically from when the Parkers first came to Texas. Good relations with local American Indian groups had given way to open hostility, as Texans attacked a Kichai village to recover horses thought to have been stolen. For several weeks, this group of Texans used Parker’s Fort as a base to search surrounding areas for Indian groups that they believed had stolen their horses.
Working relationships with the Mexican government had also deteriorated. Military hero Antonio López de Santa Anna overthrew the previous government, put down rebellions that broke out in various Mexican states, and sent military units to Texas to enforce Mexican law. By 1836, Santa Anna himself was in Texas at the head of a Mexican army to put down a brewing rebellion among the colonists, who spoke openly of independence from Mexico. After a string of Mexican victories, Sam Houston led a Texian army to win the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836, and the Texas Revolution was over.
Just one month after the Battle of San Jacinto, on May 19, 1836, Parker’s Fort was attacked by an American Indian force of several hundred warriors, long understood by eyewitnesses to be predominantly Comanche. With many of the Parker men out working in the fields, the 30 people in the fort were quickly overwhelmed. Five Parker family members were killed and five others were captured, but the rest escaped. One group of Parker family members, traveling only at night for safety, trekked 90 miles in six nights to the safety of Tinnenville.
One of those captured was Cynthia Ann Parker. Just twelve or thirteen when taken captive, she was adopted into the tribe and became thoroughly Comanche. She became the wife of Peta Nocona, a noted leader in the Naconi band of the Comanche. They had three children, two boys and a girl: Quanah, Pecos, and Topsannah. Peta Nocona was probably killed in the Battle of the Pease River in 1860. Cynthia Ann was captured by Texas Rangers in this battle, and was identified as the Parker’s Cynthia Ann, who had been with the Comanche for almost 25 years. Though she was returned to Texan society, Cynthia Ann never recovered from her capture and made several attempts to escape back to her life on the plains. She died in 1870, and was originally buried in Fosterville Cemetery, Anderson County, but was reinterred in the Post Oak Mission Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma, in 1910. Cynthia Ann was reburied a final time in 1957 in the Fort Sill Post Cemetery, Lawton, Oklahoma.
Cynthia Ann’s son Quanah Parker became the last major Comanche chief to surrender to United States authorities. A leader in the Quahada subtribe of the Comanche, Quanah for years frustrated the efforts of the United States army to capture his people. After the Comanche defeat in the Battle of Adobe Walls in 1875, Quanah and his people were pursued by the United States army during the Red River War, the last major military campaign in Texas. After their supplies were destroyed, Quanah and his people were forced to surrender, and were taken to the reservation designated for the Comanche and Kiowa in southwestern Oklahoma.
Over time, Quanah adjusted to reservation life and became a very wealthy and influential man. Though increasingly powerful in Indian-government relations, he could not stop the movement to break up the reservations and distribute the land among the individual Indians, who were then forced to sell much of their land by unscrupulous land dealers. Quanah continued his efforts to help his people however he could, including negotiating leases of land to ranchers, which brought in much-needed income for the tribe. After a visit to the Cheyenne Reservation, Quanah became ill and died twelve days later, in 1911. His remains have been moved once, from Post Oak Mission Cemetery in Oklahoma to Fort Sill Post Cemetery, Lawton, Oklahoma.
The next post in this series will focus on the restoration of the Fort Parker historic site, and the final post will examine the various creators of the Selden collection. Mark your calendar for Selden’s lecture: Thursday, February 18, at 3:30 pm in the Guy B. Harrison Reading Room of The Texas Collection, located in Carroll Library at Baylor University.
Gwynne, S.C. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches. New York: Scribner, 2010.
Just in time for Homecoming 2011, The Texas Collection has rediscovered a rare advertising cover from the very first Home-coming held in 1909. The gold lettering still shines on the green envelope which proudly declares “Baylor Claims Her Own.”
Baylor’s 1909 Homecoming celebration was one of the very first collegiate homecomings held in America. It took place on Thanksgiving weekend and included a band concert, class and society reunions, and an old-time “soirée” where students could listen to music.
The idea of a homecoming would certainly have been familiar to many members of the Baylor community as it was a common celebration in rural southern churches. Homecoming in these churches usually took place annually as a way of bringing people who had been scattered by migration into cities and towns back to their sacred place of origin. Sometimes the festivities would honor the charter members of the congregation, and always there was the celebration of families and the recognition of the church as the “family of God.” In this way the themes of history and tradition, community and family were woven into the fabric of the day.
The letter sent in its Home-coming envelope, is addressed to Papa. Apparently students’ needs in 1909 were not so different from those today. The author asks for his mother to send him some clothes he left behind, and he also needs some money by first of the week to buy an overcoat. Just to let everyone know that he’s being frugal, the student sends home a statement of how his money has been spent.
He also shares a bit of news, mentioning a trip to San Antonio where he saw Alamo and other places of interest. He inquires as to Papa’s health since he “Got letter from Mama heard you not feeling well…” and asks “Have you gotten the bay filly from Brown’s yet or is his boy still riding her?”
You can see more items from the history of Baylor Homecomings on exhibit at The Texas Collection in Carroll Library. We hope you’ll stop by to join the fun!
Tucked away in an envelope, in a box, on a shelf in the basement of Carroll Library is a tiny book embossed with a picture of a rabbit. Smaller than a smart phone, this wonderful little object is an autograph book that once belonged to Ida Ainsworth of Liberty Hill, Texas. It’s dated 1888 (though a few pages seem to be from 1887), and is signed by her friends and family, and by her teacher.
If you’ve never seen one, an autograph book is meant to be a keepsake. They were customarily filled with rhymes and memorable sayings, each signer choosing a page and trying to come up with a poem that no one else had used. Autograph books’ popularity has declined in recent years, but you can still purchase one for graduation or your next trip to a Disney theme park, and there is even a book of autograph rhymes if you haven’t had a chance to memorize anything beyond “Roses are red, violets are blue….”
Though autograph books may still be found, with a few exceptions, the messages in Ida’s book are strikingly different from those a modern student would write. They are often touching and sober, recalling the passage of time, the parting of friends, and the inevitability of death. They reminded me a bit of memento mori, and I thought of all of Ida’s friends who have long since passed.
Yet, even as it brings to mind the dead, this little book also stands against time’s stream, as each page becomes not only a memento mori but also a memento mei—“Remember me!” Dear Ida, Dear Reader, remember my youth, my laughter, our friendship. Remember me as I was in this moment.
Dust to dust…the saying applies to people and to books. Those of us who work in libraries and archives are in the memory business. Though we do not know who Ida was, or anything of her friends and family, we preserve the memento they have left behind, and hold it for the researcher who may someday come to recreate the story of these lives, and others, that make up the story of Texas.
My Friend Ida A. When this you see remember me. Henry T. Jan 2 [?] 88
July 5th 1888 Dear Ida. Speak of me kindly When life drems are ore. Speak of me gently when I am no more Tinae Gillaspy
Dear Ida A line is enough to Ask rememberance Your Schoolmate Emm H. Liberty Hill Nov. 28 1888
Dear Ida, Poor ink Poor pen poor writer Amen. Your Nephew Walter Lasseberger
Dear Ida- Think often and always kindly of your true friend. Francis
Dear Ida Remember a beautiful life ends not in death.
Little Friend: In the golden chain of friendship regard me as a link. Your friend Hollie Cates Liberty Hill Jan 21 1888
Dear Ida. Will you sometimes think Of me with kindness and Love. Liberty Hill, Jan. 19 1888 Your friend Nora Gillaspy
Dear Ida. Love many trust Few and Always paddle your own canoe. Is the wish of your friend Elie
To Ida If you wish that happiness Your coming day and years may bless And virtues crown your brow; Remain as as you are wont to be Faultless as you’ve been knon to me Remain as pure as you are now. Is the wish of— Sister Mattie
My little student. Always remember with true affection. Your teacher Jean S. Fry. –19, ‘87
To Ida Love me little Love me long Do not flirt for that is wrong.
Dear Ida When you get old and canot see put on your specks and think of me Your friend and Schoolmate Marine
Dear Little Ida, Who does the best his circumstance allows, Does well; Acts nobly; Angels could do no more. Lovingly, Mother Liberty Hill Feb 10th 88
Dear Lera—How are you these hot days? Electric light man is here and will study by new lights tonight. Everything is in a tumble. Every one is well. Baby has three teeth now. How do you like this card? Miss H. didn’t say a word it was me will tell you later. May go to Dallas tomorrow after a hat. Will write soon. Perle B.
Like the artist’s sketch dashed off to capture a moment, a few words and a picture on a postcard can open a much larger world to the imagination. Mailed in 1911 to Miss Lera Brown at Baylor, this postcard shows a young man envisioning a beautiful woman in his cigarette smoke. Along with her face and hair there is a ring—perhaps an engagement ring—signaling that he imagines his beloved, or a yet-unmet future wife. The couple’s red lips and eyes mirror each other, and the shape and angle of the ring echo the man’s collar. It’s a dreamy picture that creates a fantasy for the viewer, that of the dashing young man who longs for love and marriage.
The note on the back is also full of revealing details conveyed with great economy. The card was mailed in October but it’s still hot in Texas! And “everything is in a tumble” as the new electric lights are installed. How delightful it will be to study tonight by the light of this relatively recent home improvement.
We read about the baby who is growing, and a possible trip to the big city to shop for a new hat. We sense that Perle B. found this postcard interesting or fitting, as she wonders, “How do you like this card?” There is a hint of mystery and a need for discretion regarding a Miss H. (“will tell you later”), and like Lera, we can’t wait to hear all the details.
But by this time, there is no more space for writing, so the postcard ends with the promise we all hope to hear when we are away from home: “Will write soon.” I like to imagine that Perle kept her promise and sent other cards and letters to Baylor that year, knowing, as John Donne did that “more than kisses, letters mingle souls, for thus friends absent speak.”