Today in Texas: January 24th

by Leanna Barcelona, University Archivist 

Seventy years ago on January 24, 1948, three Texas cities became one. Formerly known as the “Tri-Cities,” the towns of Baytown, Goose Creek, and Pelly unified as what is known known as the city of Baytown.

Goose Creek Oil Field was discovered in the 1910s, which allowed for rapid growth in both the economy and population in neighboring communities, Pelly and Baytown. With the construction of an oil refinery, jobs were created and many people flocked to the area. Around the time the oil was found, Humble Oil and Refining Company built their refinery in the Baytown area. Today, this refinery is one of Exxon-Mobil’s largest refineries. The oil company, in conjunction with World War II, helped bring the Tri-Cities together.

Ralph Fusco, in his chapter titled “World War II’s Effects on Consolidation” in the book, Baytown Vignettes, describes how Baytown came to be:

“Despite such storm beginnings, these feelings slowly subsided and the construction and subsequent wartime expansion of the refinery proved the beginning of a stable community. Even with the seeds of unity planted by the formation of the Humble Oil and Refining Company, sectionalism hung on in several towns that survived. It took the drastic and rapid changes brought about by World War II to weld these separate districts into a single homogeneous city. While these changes initiated the breakdown of the old social, economic and geographic barriers, they also encouraged the ultimate consolidation of Goose creek, Pelly and Old Baytown into the present day city Baytown. Through precipitating these changes, World War II provided the catalyst that sped this consolidation. 

From Pictorial History of the Baytown Area, Edited by Gary Dobbs. p. 4

The many changes in this community due to the war effort included the government funded expansion of the Humble Oil and Refining Plant. The company received the first government contracts for toluene (toluol) production, an intrinsic part of the make up of TNT, in 1941. The toluene project, built on Humble Refinery sites at the cost of twelve million dollars, employed two hundred people, and included a barracks that would accommodate three hundred workers.

World War II, with its rationing, increased demand for industrial output, and creation of new employment opportunities caused the Tri-Cities area to grow and served to unite the area. New people coming into the area helped combine the separate groups that existed before the war into a single more homogeneous group. old geographic boundaries were being rapidly erased, and old community isolationism disappeared. Rapidly occurring changes lent a feeling of oneness to the area. In this sense World War II became a major contributing factor for change when earlier attempts at consolidating the Tri-Cities had failed. In 1949 the are communities joined and incorporated into one city, the City of Baytown.”

At The Texas Collection, we collect materials related to any Texan town. Click here for more resources available on Baytown, TX and stay tuned for more Today in Texas blog posts to come!

Color our (Texas) Collections

DimeNovel2Compiled by Amie Oliver, Brian Simmons, Tiff Sowell, and Amanda Norman

Inspired by the coloring trend and project sponsors New York Academy of Medicine and BioDiversity Heritage Library, The Texas Collection has selected a few pages from our print materials collection for your coloring pleasure. The selections are a good example of the wide range of subjects our collections cover–from botany to dime novels, you will find all manner of Texas topics in our holdings.

Download the coloring pages using the link below, color to your heart’s content, then share your artwork with us on Facebook and/or Twitter, with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. We look forward to seeing your creativity!

Color our (Texas) Collection!

Seeds botanical

You can see a long list of participating special collections here, if you just can’t get enough coloring pages! Be sure to check out other Baylor participants via the blogs for Armstrong Browning Library and Baylor Libraries Digital Collections.


Print Peeks: Captivity Narratives at The Texas Collection

Prepared by Amie Oliver, Librarian/Curator of Print Materials

Stolen Boy
Illustration depicting native children throwing tomahawks at Manuel. Image taken from The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts.

The Texas Collection is home to many stories, many featuring depictions of frontier heroes taming the Wild West.  One of the most captivating types of pioneer stories in the collection is captivity narratives, written accounts of those captured by Native Americans. Captivity narratives date to 1682 when Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by Massachusetts Puritan Mary Rowlandson who was captured and eventually ransomed, was published. These stories of capture became popular across the U.S. The Texas Collection contains many captivity narratives involving Texas or Texans. It should be noted that while many of these stories are true, some are only based on a grain of truth and are greatly embellished, and some are completely false. Let’s take a look at a few of the captivity narratives in The Texas Collection:

The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts: Written by English author Barbara Hofland and published in approximately 1830, this popular captivity narrative recounts the Comanche capture of Manuel del Perez near San Antonio. The volume describes his life among the natives for three years before his eventual escape and reunion with his family.

Nine Years
Herman Lehmann dressed in Comanche war garb. Image taken from Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879.

Nine Years Among the Indians: Herman Lehmann, son of Mason County, Texas, German pioneers, was captured by the Apache when he was 10-years-old. His life with the Apache, and later the Comanche, had a great impact on him. When he was forcibly returned to his family in 1878, he no longer remembered them or the German language. His adjustment to white society was difficult. He considered himself to be native, maintaining contact with the Comanche for the rest of his life.

Boy Captives
Clinton and Jefferson Smith in 1927. Image taken from The Boy Captives.

The Boy Captives: Perhaps one of the best known Texas captivity narratives, this volume recounts the story of Clinton and Jefferson Smith who were captured in 1871 near their home between San Antonio and Boerne at the ages of 11 and 9 by a group of Lipan and Comanche. Rescue attempts to reclaim the children were futile, and the boys remained captive for five years before returning home. Their story was widespread and the Smith brothers later enjoyed fame as frontier celebrities.

The above volumes are but a small sampling of captivity narratives available in the collection. These volumes are ripe for research and provide unique insight into pioneer life.


Hofland, Barbara. The Stolen Boy: A Story, Founded on Facts. London: J. Darling for A.K. Newman and Company, 1830. Print.

Lehmann, Herman. Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co, 1927. Print.

Rowlandson, Mary. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Project Gutenberg. Web. 12 April 2014.

Smith, Clinton L. The Boy Captives. Bandera: Frontier Times, 1927. Print.

Print Peeks: Waco Newspapers Report on the Beginning of World War I

By Sean Todd, Library Assistant

On August 3, 1914, the British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey remarked, “The lamps are going out all over Europe, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”  Grey was commenting on the seemingly unstoppable slide into a cataclysmic war that was overtaking his country and all of Europe. The lights being extinguished across Europe did not go unnoticed in central Texas. A survey of Waco newspapers from early August 1914 demonstrates that people in Texas had practical economic concerns about the events in Europe as well as deep personal connections to the land and people that would soon be plunged into World War I.

Waco Morning News Aug. 5, 1914
Front page of The Waco Morning News for August 5, 1914, reporting on the declaration of war between Great Britain and Germany.

The events following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914, were fast moving and complex. Over the course of July and early August, the major European powers found themselves tangled in alliances that resulted in a major war. Even a century later the situation can be hard to fully understand, and this was no different for people all over the globe in 1914. Local newspapers had the difficult job of tracking and reporting each turn in the unfolding events. On August 5, 1914, the popular daily newspaper The Waco Morning News displayed in red ink across the front-page “GERMANY VS. WORLD” to mark the news that Great Britain had declared war on Germany. The Waco Morning News typically focused on national and international news stories from the Associated Press. On the front page of the August 5, 1914, edition, stories were filed from London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Quebec, New Orleans, and Constantinople, giving Waco readers a truly global perspective on the war.

Waco Morning News Aug. 5, 1914, Cotton and War
This August 5, 1914, article in The Waco Morning News examines the economic impact of the war on Texas.

However, on the editorial page a voice was given to local uneasiness about the developing conflict. Titled “Cotton and War,” the article points out that nearly 10 million bales of cotton that the United States annually exports were currently being readied for the international market, a market that was in danger of disappearing due to the war. If that were to happen, the cotton prices could plummet, causing an economic crisis for Texas and the entire US south. A proposal was put forth that if the cotton cannot be shipped overseas, then the federal government should buy the surplus. In one action the United States could aid cotton farmers and invest in a soon-to-be high demand commodity. It wouldn’t be long before European armies clamored for cheap fabric for uniforms and war material.

Another perspective on the war, unique to Waco, can be found in the August 8, 1914, edition of The Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune. This newspaper focused more on local events and was able to capture personal reactions to the outbreak of the war. The article, “Thoughts Evoked by the War,” recognized that many Wacoans were German veterans of the Franco-Prussian War of the early 1870s. With the Germans and French again marching to war, these residents were most likely feeling a mix of emotions over the lands of their birth. Ultimately, the editorial called for understanding of people’s regional loyalties.

Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune Aug. 8, 1914
This political cartoon was printed on the front page of The Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune on August 8, 1914. The cartoon illustrates the political chaos that existed in Europe in 1914 and led to the beginning of World War I.

Both articles concluded with the hope that the conflict would be short-lived. Unfortunately the War only grew larger in scale and loss. By 1917 these Waco newspapers would be printing the names of drafted local men as the United States entered World War I.


Spender, J.A. Life, Journalism and Politics, Volume II. New York: Fredrick A. Stokes Company, 1927.

The Waco Morning News, “Cotton and War,” August 5, 1914.

The Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune, “Thoughts Evoked by the War,” August 8, 1914.

“Print Peeks” is a regular feature highlighting select items from our print collection.

Print Peeks: Kendall's Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition-A Firsthand Account of a Trip Gone Awry

By Sean Todd, Library Assistant

Title page, George Wilkins Kendall's <i>Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition</i>, 1844
Title page, George Wilkins Kendall’s Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 1844

Texas has always attracted the adventurous, but few had the opportunity, combined with the skill, to write at any length about their experiences. That’s what makes George Wilkins Kendall’s 1844 Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition so special. As an experienced newsman, Kendall’s words bring to life an exciting narrative against the backdrop of the Republic of Texas.

Before Kendall came to Texas, he had already achieved success in the highly competitive newspaper business. After extensive travel throughout the United States as a young man and writing for newspapers in Boston and Washington, D.C., Kendall landed in New Orleans, where he co-founded the New Orleans Picayune in 1837. Kendall was not slowed by his success, and his interest began to turn to the Republic of Texas.

He learned that the President of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, was planning an expedition to Santa Fe in 1841. For years Santa Fe was a trading hub for all of western North America, making it a center of wealth. Lamar and many in Texas argued that Santa Fe was on the Texas side of the Rio Grande and therefore a part of Texas. The main goal of the Santa Fe Expedition was to open trade. However, if the military company found residents of Santa Fe wishing to be part of Texas, the expedition was to secure the region for the Republic.

"Texas and Part of Mexico and the United States Showing the Route of the First Santa Fe Expedition," by William Kemble, printed in Kendall's <i>Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition</i>, 1844
“Texas and Part of Mexico and the United States Showing the Route of the First Santa Fe Expedition,” by William Kemble, printed in Kendall’s Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 1844

Kendall jumped at the chance to join the expedition, first traveling to Texas, then leaving for Santa Fe with the large party in June 1841. After becoming lost, the expedition was soon captured in New Mexico by the Mexican Army. The prisoners were marched to Mexico City, and Kendall chronicles severe treatment during the journey southward. Following months of imprisonment and illness, Kendall secured his release in April 1842.

Upon his return to the United States, Kendall wrote about Texas and his experiences in Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, which became a popular book throughout the United States and Europe. After further adventures covering the Mexican-American War and the 1848 revolutions in Europe, Kendall returned to Texas. In 1856 he moved with his family to land he purchased near New Braunfels. He raised sheep and continued to write—achieving further successes in both fields. Kendall lived the rest of his life in Texas.        

<i>A Scamper Among the Buffalo</i>, by J. G. Chapman
This plate, “A Scamper Among the Buffalo,” by J. G. Chapman, appears in the front of the 1844 edition of the Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition; it was chosen to highlight Kendall’s experiences during the expedition, when hunting in the open spaces of Texas was a common sight.

The popularity of Kendall’s Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition is both a testament to Kendall’s writing and to the growing interest in Texas in the 1840s. As the annexation of Texas to the United States became a major political topic and settlers continued to come to Texas, Kendall’s book was widely read. Demand for the text remained consistent through the decades after the first copy was printed in 1844. Other editions were printed in 1845, 1856, and well into the 20th century, with new editions coming out in 1929 and 1935. The 1844 editions found at The Texas Collection are small and worn, but remarkable artifacts that can directly connect any reader to the days of the Republic of Texas.


Kendall, George Wilkins. Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. New York: Harper Brothers, 1844.

Kendall, George Wilkins. Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition.  Edited by Gerald D. Saxon and William B. Taylor. Dallas, TX: William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2004.

“Print Peeks” is a regular feature highlighting select items from our print collection.

Print Peeks: Exploring the World with the Cosmographia Geographia

By Tiff Sowell, Library Information Specialist

Full-page woodcut map of the world, as it was understood in around 44 C.E.

One of the oldest items in the collection might surprise you, and perhaps raise a few questions such as how and why The Texas Collection became the possessor of this unique volume. Pomponius Mela’s Cosmographia Geographia is often referred to by historians as sive De situ orbis (a description of the known world) due to its falling somewhere between a topography and a geography. Mela works around the Mediterranean Sea, which he calls “our sea,” and while he does not give exact locations as with modern geographies, he does include interesting anecdotes about locals and some of their customs.

First page of text in the Cosmographia Geographia. Note the use of color and beautifully illuminated initials.

We can date the volume to late 43 or early 44 C.E., as indicated by Mela’s reference to Emperor Claudius’ then recent victory in Great Britain. The text is considered the earliest, still existing geographical work in Latin, and is the only Roman treatise of the classical period devoted entirely to the subject. This was such a groundbreaking piece that it continued to be used well into the Age of Exploration (which starts in the 1400s) and was reprinted numerous times in various methodologies.

The Texas Collection’s copy of this important work was published in Venice in July 1482 by Erhard Ratdolt, a renowned German printer from Augsberg. This would have been just 32 short years after the invention of the printing press. Ratdolt was in Venice from 1476 to 1486 and during that time, he pioneered several firsts in the world of printing, such as the first book using more than two colors, the first full title page, and from what we can discern, the first scientific and mathematic works.

Provenance note with descriptive bibliographic information about our particular volume of the Cosmographia Geographia.

So what does this have to do with Texas? Not much, unless you were to link it to the early Spanish explorers, supposing some of their conceptions were most likely rooted in this work. So why is The Texas Collection in possession of this landmark geography?  Tracy McGregor established the McGregor Plan in 1932 to assist smaller universities in acquiring rare volumes, and The Texas Collection was one of the libraries selected to participate. This exquisite volume was purchased and remains available to patrons for examination thanks to Tracy McGregor’s generosity.

“Print Peeks” is a regular feature highlighting select items from our print collection.

Print Peeks: A Who's Who of Texas History in the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas Online

By Amie Oliver, Coordinator for User and Access Services

Biographical Gazetteer of Texas, Texas Collection reading room
Looking for information on a prominent Texas figure or ancestor? The Bio Gaz might be the resource for you! But you don’t have to come to our reading room (although you’re welcome)–you can search online!

“Do you have any information on my grandfather?” Texas Collection (TC) staff is regularly greeted with patrons seeking information on people. Typically we point patrons in the usual direction of census, birth, death, and marriage records. These records can provide the who, what, when, and where. But where do patrons look when they want to find the why or how? There is a resource unique to our collection that may help patrons answer those questions.

The Texas Collection is home to numerous volumes containing biographical sketches of notable Texans and early pioneers.  Many of these books do not contain an index, and when a patron needs information on a person, it can be overwhelming for staff and the patron to search through nearly 200 volumes of biographical sketches to find someone.

So, in the early 1980s, TC staff created a Biographical Sketch File. After identifying the volumes to be included in the file, staff created a catalogue card for each person listed in the biographical sketches. Each card included a name, birth and/or death date (if available), the book title, page number where the sketch can be found, and whether a portrait is included. This Biographical Sketch File became a popular finding aid, so in 1985, The Texas Collection published it as the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas. (You might hear our staff call it the “Bio Gaz.”) This six-volume set includes over 67,000 entries.

After using the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas in book form for over 20 years, staff and student employees entered the information into a searchable database in 2007. You can access it on our website—follow the instructions below to get started!

Step 1: Click the “Biographical Gazetteer” link on our website (move the bottom slider until you see it in the list).

BioGazSliderHomepageStep 2: Click on the “here” to search the database.BioGazLandingPageStep 3: Type a person’s name and click the “Click Here to Find” button. (Do not hit enter after typing a name because the search will not work.) Be aware that many people use initials, so first names aren’t often necessary and may even return incorrect results. There also are many variant name spellings, so patrons should try several options.

 BioGazSearchStep 4: Results! This list informs the patron about where information may be found. If patrons see an entry that fits their search criteria, they may either come in to view the item or may request a photocopy of the material. To request a photocopy, click on the record number.

BioGazResultsStep 5: On the next screen, enter contact information and submit the request. Staff will then contact the researcher with photoduplication fees.

BioGazRequestTexas Collection staff often uses the Biographical Gazetteer of Texas and we hope that it is a resource that helps our patrons as much as it helps us. Happy hunting!

“Print Peeks” is a regular feature highlighting select items from our print collection.

Print Peeks: Easter in the Artesia

Easter cover of the Artesia, Waco newspaper, 1900
Easter cover of the Artesia, Waco newspaper, 1900

This month, we’re introducing “Print Peeks,” a regular feature examining select items from our print collection. Did you know that The Texas Collection has more than 167,000 books and more than 3,000 active serials titles? And that does not even get into our vertical files and other material types. Our first entry looks at one of our Texas newspapers. Enjoy!

By Sean Todd, Library Assistant

From 1892 to 1901, the Artesia was a popular Waco newspaper with a circulation of over 2,500 at its height. As a society paper, the Artesia focused its coverage on social events and comings and goings of Wacoans. A typical issue included columns titled “Happenings of the Week—Movements of People You Know,” with items on the Shakespeare Club, the ladies of Waco organizing the parade for “Street Fair Week,” and reports of the local dinner parties with a list of interesting visitors from Houston and San Antonio.

The paper was founded by a prominent member of the Waco Jewish community, Isaac Goldstein, and thus featured more activities of Jewish organizations of the time than did other papers. Goldstein, along with Louey Migel, owned a successful department store in Waco. Not surprisingly, Artesia’s pages were full of advertisements proclaiming the latest fashions and their availability at Goldstein-Migel. Vital to the Artesia’s publication was Kate Friend, who served as editor. Along with her duties at the paper, Friend was an authority on Shakespeare and an advocate for animal rights, even speaking on the subject in Washington, D.C., in 1935.

The 1900 Easter Artesia was one of the few instances that the Artesia featured a color front and back page. Color printing was a much costlier process and reserved for special occasions. Major holidays such as Christmas and Easter were more likely to be celebrated with full color pages because of the positive feelings associated with the event. (Occasionally, Sunday comic pages might get some red ink, and major news headlines would sometimes be printed in red.)

This Easter edition of the Artesia was published on April 15, 1900, and the content is typical of the publication. Notes from recent club meetings and social gatherings fill all four pages. However, the front and back covers are far from standard. The front cover (see above) features a powerful image of an angel, standing with purpose and eyes fixed upward. The mix of soft Easter pastels with a vibrant red and yellow background is striking.

Easter Ads in the 1900 Artesia, Waco newspaperThe back cover (to the left) includes festive scenes of children holding flowers and coloring Easter eggs. At the top is an advertisement for the Auditorium as a summer venue for people to come and enjoy the warmer weather. This seems to be a reference to the Auditorium Theater which, according to the 1900 Waco City Directory, was built at the corner of 6th and Columbus and had a seating capacity of 7,000. At the bottom of the page is an advertisement for the self-assured dress maker Miss Poyntz, who proudly claims that “I can not do poor work; I don’t know how.”  Both advertisements seem to be well timed as Waco began to anticipate the summer and upcoming social events.

The artwork featured in this edition of the Artesia is not only beautiful but provides the modern reader with a window in which to view holiday traditions that are more than a century old.

Interested in learning more about the Artesia? We believe we have the full run of the paper, which you can come and peruse in our reading room…among many other newspapers, Texas and otherwise!