Research Ready: October 2018

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!Continue Reading

Research Ready: August 2018

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!Continue Reading

Research Ready: July 2018

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!Continue Reading

Research Ready: October 2017

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!

October’s finding aids
By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

  • Mission San Antonio de Valero [The Alamo] by Donald Yena
    The materials at The Texas Collection include many images of historical Texas and Baylor people, places, and events. One of the finest paintings in the Fine Arts collection is this framed oil on canvas painting of the Alamo, one of a series of paintings of the San Antonio missions by Donald Yena. You’ll find these items in the Fine Arts collection (#3839) at The Texas Collection, Baylor University.
    • Sanger Family papers, 1874-1990 (#581): Photographs, memorials, family trees, and other biographical materials related to multiple generations of the Sanger family. The Sanger family immigrated from Bavaria to the United States in the mid 1800s. Several brothers worked together to establish the Sanger Brothers Department Store chain in Central Texas following the Civil War.
    • Rufus W. Weaver papers, 1906-1947, undated (#3178): Collection contains materials produced by Dr. Rufus W. Weaver, a noted Southern Baptist pastor, educator, and cultural commentator. Weaver was the president of Mercer University, and his later church-state work led directly to the founding of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.

October’s print materials
By Amie Oliver, Librarian and Curator of Print Materials

Armstrong, Yvonne M. Black Trailblazers of San Antonio, Texas: Their Businesses, Communities, Institutions and Organizations. San Antonio: Inkbiyvonne, [2006]. Print.
Armstrong, Yvonne M. Black Trailblazers of San Antonio, Texas: Their Businesses, Communities, Institutions and Organizations. San Antonio: Inkbiyvonne, [2006]. Print.

Highlighting the contributions of black San Antonians, this volume contains information on the people, businesses, organizations, and events that helped shaped the city. Segregation, education, and the arts are also examined. Click here to view in BearCat.

 

 

The Majestic Hotel and Bath House Co. [Marlin, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1908 and 1920?]. Print.The Majestic Hotel and Bath House Co. [Marlin, Texas?]: [publisher not identified], [between 1908 and 1920?]. Print.

Complete with a bath house, sanatorium, and hotel, Marlin, according to this brochure, is the perfect vacation spot to “regain your health and vim.” Also included is an analysis of the hot waters, which supposedly cure rheumatism, blood and skin diseases, and stomach trouble.  Click here to view in BearCat.

 

Jordan, E. P. Souvenir of Austin, Texas. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Albertype Company, [1907]. Print.

Jordan, E. P. Souvenir of Austin, Texas. Brooklyn, N.Y. : Albertype Company, [1907]. Print. This photograph book features images of the Capitol, churches, residences, places of higher learning, etc. Especially interesting are photos of several University of Texas buildings, including a panorama of campus.  Click here to view in BearCat.

Armstrong’s Stars: Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson, Baylor Lariat, March 24, 1939
Friday’s Lariat announced the expectation of a performance on Monday by Marian Anderson. Baylor Lariat, March 24, 1939.

“Armstrong’s Stars” is a collaboration between the Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor’s Texas Collection. Once a month we feature a story about a celebrity who Dr. A.J. Armstrong brought to Baylor. These stories highlight an interesting part of Baylor’s history and include collection materials housed in both the Armstrong Browning Library and the Texas Collection.

This month’s story was contributed by Amanda Mylin, graduate assistant, The Texas Collection.

When renowned African-American singer Marian Anderson was not permitted to sing in the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C. in March 1939, the nation reacted (in large part) with astonishment. Anderson is quoted in an article published in the Baylor Lariat saying, “It shocks me beyond words that after having appeared in the capitols of most of the countries of the world, I am not wanted in the capitol of my own country” (“D.A.R. and Americanism,” 2).

Eleanor Roosevelt’s response was the most notable: the First Lady protested the move by resigning from the DAR, and encouraging a concert at an even more prominent venue. Anderson performed a free open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, encouraged and arranged by the First Lady, Anderson’s manager, Walter White of the NAACP, and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes.

In the midst of this drama, Anderson came to Baylor. Two weeks before her famed Easter concert, Anderson performed at Baylor University’s Waco Hall at the behest of Dr. A. J. Armstrong and Sigma Tau Delta. She was the first African-American soloist to grace the Hall. Her March 27 performance included an array of spirituals and compositions by Handel, Schubert, and Carissimi. The Baylor Lariat for March 3 stated that Sigma Tau Delta had taken the “liberal side of the week’s race question” by selecting Marian Anderson to perform (“Negro Singer Will Follow First Lady,” 4). The same article also noted that Mrs. Roosevelt would speak in Waco Hall on March 13, two weeks before the concert. A nationwide commotion had found its way to Baylor’s campus in a small capacity.

Seats went quickly for Anderson’s upcoming performance, The Waco News-Tribune, February 26, 1939, Newspapers.com (accessed April 9, 2015).
“‘Procrastination is the thief of time’–and good seats!” Tickets sold quickly for Anderson’s upcoming performance, according to this ad in tThe Waco News-Tribune, February 26, 1939. Newspapers.com.

Anderson’s performance was well-received by the Waco audience even though it was primarily formed of a distinct “cross-section of the community’s white citizenship.” The Waco News-Tribune for the next day stated that this turn-out “was pretty much proof that the DAR of Washington, D. C., acted in silly fashion to say the least” (“Marian Anderson is Well Received by Waco Audience”). Furthermore, this article mentioned that Anderson’s well-attended performance was an instance of a slow but steady “solution of a leading American problem.”

Interestingly enough, even Waco Hall remained segregated for Anderson’s concert, with a special portion of the balcony reserved for African-Americans. Eventually, Anderson would insist upon what she called “vertical” seating for her concerts, with available seats throughout the auditorium reserved for African-Americans, and by 1950, she refused to sing for segregated audiences. Yet in the wake of the Constitution Hall incident, Anderson was pleased to perform at Baylor by invitation of Dr. Armstrong.

Dr. Armstrong attempted to bring Anderson back to Waco again in the 1940s, but her schedule was full. Her booking agency offered instead the Don Cossack Chorus, which did come to Waco that February.
Dr. Armstrong attempted to bring Anderson back to Waco again in the 1940s, but her schedule was full. Her booking agency offered instead the Don Cossack Chorus, which did come to Waco that February. Anderson, Marian, Records of Visiting Celebrities, Armstrong Browning Library.

Although Anderson was in a hurry and allegedly declined to discuss her recent deterrence by the DAR and the First Lady’s defense of her attempt to perform, she did offer a small informal interview to the Baylor Lariat. She had never been to Waco and commented on the beauty of driving through the Texas countryside from San Antonio. Her enthusiasm and unstoppable energy seemed to bubble over as she explained, “I think America offers vast unlimited opportunities for youthful singers who have the seriousness and determination to become great artists no matter what their race of color” (“Eleanor Roosevelt Versus D.A.R. Feud is Closed; Field Unlimited, Says Anderson,” 1).

Sources:

Negro Singer Will Follow First Lady,” Baylor Lariat, March 3, 1939.

D.A.R. and Americanism,” Baylor Lariat, March 23, 1939.

Eleanor Roosevelt Versus D.A.R. Feud is Closed; Field Unlimited, Says Anderson,” Baylor Lariat, March 28, 1939.

Marian Anderson to Sing in Waco Hall: Famous Conductor Says Negro Artist is Best Living in This Day,” Baylor Lariat, March 22, 1939.

http://marian-anderson.com

“Marian Anderson is Well Received by Waco Audience,” The Waco News-Tribune, March 28, 1939, Newspapers.com (accessed April 9, 2015).

Learn more about Armstrong’s Stars in previous posts.

Research Ready: April 2015

Photograph of the Conners, 1923-1939
Photograph of the Conners, 1923-1939

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are April’s finding aids:

  • George Sherman and Jeffie Obrea Allen Conner papers, 1866-1980 (#372):                                                                 Contains correspondence, speeches, notes, and other materials about African American life in Waco, education, home economics, and New Hope Baptist Church.
  • Duer-Harn family papers. 1832-1928, undated (#26):                                                                    Diaries, letters, legal and financial papers from the Republic of Texas and American Civil War. Notable documents include several diaries from the 1830s and 1840s written by German immigrant Johann Christian Friedrich Duer.

 

 

  • Gertrude Wallace Davis papers, 1896-1959 (#2166):                                                  Includes correspondence, notebooks, newspaper clippings, and other materials about the life of Gertrude Wallace Davis. Several items are from the Catholic-affiliated Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Waco, Texas, where Davis attended school.
German-language diary of Johann Christian Friedrich Duer, 1832
German-language diary of Johann Christian Friedrich Duer, 1832

 

Research Ready: January 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are January’s finding aids:

      • Elizabeth Borst White papers, 1905-1995, undated (#3910):                       Contains cookbooks produced by Texas utility companies as a service to their patrons, postcards of various places in Texas, and photographs of rice harvesting and processing machinery. White has also generously given The Texas Collection many historic cookbooks of Texas, which can be found in our online library catalog.
Truett Seminary Faculty Competition Advertisement
During finals, some Truett Seminary faculty participate in a Fight Club Wii boxing competition series–a chance for students to unwind by watching their professors compete! Students help campaign for and cheer on their professors with flyers like this one. BU records: George W. Truett Theological Seminary #BU/298, box 38, folder 10.

 

        • Lou Ann Sigler East Waco Community Photograph collection, 1925-1961, undated (#3916):                                                                                             Contains photographs of African American life in Waco, including Paul Quinn College and A.J. Moore High School students. Most of the people in the record group are unidentified.
Texas Carrots Cookbook page
In the mid-twentieth century, the Texas Department of Agriculture began distributing cookbooks to the public in order to support Texas grown products, such as beef and carrots. Elizabeth Borst White papers #3910, Box 7, Folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Research Ready: July 2014

Tarrant County superintendent election certificate for Wade Hill Pool, 1888
Wade Hill Pool earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor in  1887 and very shortly thereafter was elected the Tarrant County  superintendent of public schools. He returned to Baylor to lead its  Academy in 1892. Wade Hill Pool papers #76, box 1, folder 2

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. This month’s finding aids include several produced by the Archival Collections and Museum class from spring 2014. Topics include the papers of a Paul Quinn College professor, a Texas lawyer involved with the Nazi war trials right after World War II, and a committee that considered moving Baylor University from Waco to Dallas, Texas. Here are July’s finding aids:

Inside pages of “Military Training at Paul Quinn College” pamphlet
This pamphlet shows the military training Paul Quinn College students received during World War II. John H. Talton papers #3082, box 1, folder 7.

 

Research Ready: February 2014

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here’s the scoop for February:

Flood at the Interurban Bridge, Waco, Texas, circa 1916
The Interurban Bridge with a rail car crossing it is seen here from the west side of the Brazos River, Waco, Texas, circa 1916. Flood level water is obvious as it flows just under the bridge. Digital ID 3886-Blomeyer-500-1; box 1 OVZ, photo negative 2:33.
  • Edward C. Blomeyer Photographic collection, 1906-1923: Blomeyer was a leader in the early telephone industry and an amateur photographer whose subjects include the telephone industry in Missouri and Texas, scenes in Waco, Texas, and his family vacations.
  • Roxy Harriette Grove papers, 1906-1953, undated: Grove was chair of the Baylor School of Music from 1926 to 1943, when Baylor became the first school in Texas to attain membership in the National Association of Schools of Music. Her papers consist of correspondence, literary productions, financial papers, and teaching materials.
  • Frances Cobb Todd papers, 1899-1990, undated: The Todd papers represent the third generation of Smith-Cobb-Bledsoe family heritage and New Hope Baptist Church materials at The Texas Collection. The collection contains items from Todd’s life and work in Waco and New Hope Baptist Church.
"Alma Mater," by Roxy Grove (soprano part)
The Baylor faithful will know that, while this music is called “Alma Mater,” it is not actually used as Baylor’s alma mater! Roxy Grove, who was chair of Baylor’s School of Music from 1926-1943, wrote the piece when Baylor did not yet have an official alma mater. “That Good Old Baylor Line” became the school song in 1931. “Alma Mater” was still sung, but not nearly as often. Roxy Harriette Grove papers #1422, box 3, folder 12.

Over the Generations: Documenting Waco's African-American Community through the Eyes of the Cobb Family

By Paul Fisher, Processing Archivist

Bosqueville School women's basketball, Central Texas champions, 1948
Bosqueville School women’s basketball, Central Texas champions, 1948. Frances Cobb Todd papers #2960, box 5, folder 12.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many members of the African-American community in Waco preserved memories of family, friends, and community by donating collections of letters, photos, financial documents, and more to The Texas Collection. While the collections may have arrived separately, the stories they tell often overlap and provide various perspectives on the same people and events. With items dating from 1861-1991, these collections cover many important events in the life of the African-American community in Waco and the story of Waco.

One family in particular, the Cobb family, has brought three generations of family materials to be preserved and made accessible to researchers at The Texas Collection. These items contribute to many record groups documenting the African-American experience in Waco for 130 years. Learn more about these historic figures in the paragraphs below—every hyperlink represents a collection.

Reverend Stephen Cobb, first pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas
Reverend Stephen Cobb, first pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas. Irene Cobb papers #2918, box 6, folder 17.

Stephen Cobb, representing the first generation of Cobb materials in The Texas Collection, helped found one of the oldest African-American churches in Waco, New Hope Baptist Church. He also served as the first pastor of the church. Through two marriages, Cobb had thirteen children, eleven of whom lived to adulthood.

Many of Stephen Cobb’s children and relatives became prominent in the Waco black community—see the Smith-Cobb family collection to learn more. Several became schoolteachers, one daughter taught music, and another daughter married the noted Texas educator Robert Lloyd Smith. A protégé of Booker T. Washington, Smith served two terms in the Texas Legislature and founded a society to help black sharecroppers in the early 1900s. This society, called the Farmers Improvement Society, had 12,000 members in 800 branches across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas at its high point in 1911.

Jules Bledsoe, preparing for his role in "Showboat"
Jules Bledsoe, preparing for his role in “Showboat.” Jules Bledsoe collection #2086, box 10, folder 8.

One of Stephen Cobb’s daughters, Jessie, married Henry Bledsoe. Their son, Julius Bledsoe, or Jules Bledsoe as he was popularly known, was an international opera star in the 1920s-1940s. He sang for audiences around the world, wrote music, and performed in plays, radio, and television.  His most famous piece was “Ol’ Man River” from the musical “Showboat,” though he also sang many other songs and spirituals. After a career of 22 years, Bledsoe died in Hollywood in 1943.

At least one generation later, Irene Cobb was also active in the Waco area. A schoolteacher for 31 years at various schools around Waco, Cobb was also active at New Hope Baptist Church. By this time, she was at least the third generation of Cobb family members to attend New Hope.

Prom night for A.J. Moore High School at the Blue Triangle YWCA, 1948.
Prom night for A.J. Moore High School at the Blue Triangle YWCA, 1948. Frances Cobb Todd papers #2960, box 6, folder 15.

Irene Cobb’s daughter, Frances Cobb Todd, continued the family tradition of activity at New Hope, and followed her mother’s career path and became a teacher in the Waco Independent School District. Frances Todd was one of several New Hope members to take an interest in preserving historical documents important to the Waco African-American community, and she helped bring several New Hope-related collections to The Texas Collection.

Other African-American record groups at The Texas Collection include the papers of Vivienne Malone-Mayes, the first African-American professor to teach at Baylor University, and of Oscar “Doc” Norbert and Mary “Kitty” Jacques Du Congé—Oscar was the first African-American mayor of Waco. Several of the people in these collections also were interviewed for oral histories that can be found in the digital collections of the Baylor Institute for Oral History.

Resources such as historic photographs, music, letters, financial documents, programs, and many other materials are available for research in our African-American collections. If you are interested in donating materials documenting the African-American experience in Waco or Texas, we would love to talk with you!

Love the photos above? Check out our Flickr set below to view a few more from these collections (click on the crosshairs in the bottom right corner to make it full-screen). And then set up a visit to The Texas Collection to see even more great documentation of the African-American community in Waco.