Research Ready: September 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

A Sweet (and Sparkly!) Canvas

By Amanda Norman, University Archivist

A few weeks ago, we found a most unusual specimen among the records of W.R. White, Baylor president from 1948-1961. Museum studies graduate student Valencia Johnson is processing this collection, and she was surprised to find a portrait of White—painted on a block of sugar!

Sugar portrait of Baylor President W.R. White, 1956
Imagine pulling this out of a box! This artifact is part of BU records: Office of the President, Chancellor and President Emeritus (W.R. White) #BU/142.

Fortunately, I immediately knew its context. Before coming to The Texas Collection, I was a writer in University Development and went to the home of Jerry and Mary Marcontell to interview them for Baylor’s planned giving newsletter. Jerry was a key member of the 1957 Sugar Bowl team, and hanging on a wall in their house was a portrait of him on a block of sugar—one was presented to each athlete.

And apparently, administrators got them, too! Since becoming University Archivist, I had remembered that sugar portrait and rather hoped that no one would bring one to us. Cultural heritage professionals prefer not to have food in the stacks, both because it can invite critters who are detrimental to the records and because, well, food isn’t meant to last that long and thus is hard to preserve. But, it turned out that we already had White’s portrait in the house, tucked away in an unassuming archival box for decades. (We hadn’t found it before because the collection was restricted till just recently. Now, maybe we should inspect other old accessions to see what other surprises lurk…)

Fortunately, whatever they did to that sugar to prepare it for painting, it must have also deterred ants, roaches, and other insects who love sugar. There are a few baby roaches who appear to have met their demise in what looks like a tape frame around the object. (I’ve taken a picture of this but am told it’s rather unappetizing, so we’ll spare you.) There otherwise is not too much evidence of nibblings. It has lasted this long—almost 60 years now—and quite frankly, is an amazing object, so we decided to investigate ways to preserve the portrait.

White-Sugar Portrait-Angle
From an angle, you can really appreciate the sparkly canvas. (And see the crack that has formed.)

At this point, in email consultation with some archivists and conservators, there seems to be consensus that the primary threat to this item is water and moisture. Fortunately, while maintaining humidity in our stacks, especially in the summer, is a constant struggle, it’s not nearly as humid here as in a coastal area, so that will help. We are investigating housing possibilities, likely a custom box with rigid support (to prevent future cracks) and desiccants (to prevent moisture build-up). And we’ll definitely keep a close eye on bug traps around it to make sure it’s not attracting anything! (Many thanks to Susan Russick, Karen Pavelka, Suzy Morgan, and other conservation/preservation specialists who have weighed in on our piece.)

We’d love to hear if any other archives, museums, or other repositories have a sugar portrait in their holdings and how you’re going about preserving it. From the research we’ve done, it sounds like the Sugar Bowl had these portraits created for at least 10 years, so there must be more out there! Also, the enclosure and support of the portrait has a stamp for Krauss Co. Ltd., which from some quick Googling tells us was a New Orleans department store—perhaps the sugar artist was housed there?

We can’t afford to take in additional sugar portraits—one is enough for research value and display, and we can’t afford all of the custom boxes and space it would take to preserve them. However, we’re delighted to have found this artifact—and with a few months to spare before the 60th anniversary of Baylor’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl!

Huaco Club Fire of 1917: The Destruction of Waco’s Elite Golfing Facility

By Geoff Hunt, Audio and Visual Curator

The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (2)
This image shows the Huaco Club clubhouse a few years after its 1912 construction, as the shrubbery and landscaping look to have flourished. The water tank can be seen in the back right of the photo. Photo was taken not long before the entire facility was destroyed by fire in January 1917. Roy Ellsworth Lane collection, box 2, folder 1.

Built in 1912, the Huaco Club was one of the places to be for Wacoans of the 1910s. From golf and tennis to social events, wealthier Wacoans enjoyed spending time at the country club, located near Sanger Avenue and 29th Street.

However, the club didn’t last long. On January 4, 1917, the Huaco Club lost its clubhouse and surrounding structures to a devastating fire. A three-story building designed by architect Roy Lane, the clubhouse included two dining rooms, a parlor, offices, living rooms, reading room, and ballroom. The club also featured a nine-hole golf course, bowling alley, and tennis courts, on 50 acres. The next morning’s Waco Morning News reported: “Not a stick of the building or its contents was saved.”

Fire Destroys The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (4)
This image shows what remained of the Huaco Club the day after the fire. The fire’s intensity is evident–members survey melted steel lockers with hopes of retrieving any spared belongings. The frames of the lockers and the limestone mantel were among the only remaining structures. Photograph by E.C. Blomeyer, President of the Texas Telephone Company, and member of the Huaco Club. E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection, box 2, folder 9.

The club’s president, Dr. J.W. Hale, estimated that the fire’s destruction of the facility amounted to $70,000. In 1917, that was a hefty sum—in today’s money, that would equal nearly $2.3 million! Apart from the clubhouse, estimated at $35,000, and furnishings, the club’s stock of golf equipment for sale, and members’ personal gear were lost as well.

A report published soon after the fire in Safety Engineering, “Recent Fires and Their Lessons,” stated “Cause unknown” for the Huaco Club fire. But fire investigators concluded that losses were aided in part by the club’s late fire alarm system causing a delayed response by firefighters. It was also believed that its construction of easily combustible material enabled structures to become quickly engulfed by the flames.

The Huaco Club was the first golfing facility of its kind in Waco. In a 1915 article in The Waco Morning News, James Hays Quarles attributes Walter V. Fort with bringing golf to Waco in 1896. Fort was inspired by golf courses he saw in Dallas and worked with other prominent local citizens to assemble assets needed to establish a golf club.

The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (4)
A view of one of the many luxurious spaces at the Huaco Club’s clubhouse. This three-story building was once host to many social gatherings. The club not only served as a golf course but also hosted luncheons, dinner parties, dances, weddings, and banquets. Many of these occasions were mentioned in the society columns of Waco newspapers. Roy Ellsworth Lane collection, box 1, folder 16.

The charter for the Huaco Club was organized and signed on May 20, 1910. It called for $40,000 to be raised with 200 members purchasing shares of $200 apiece. The charter stated: “The purpose for which this corporation is formed is to support and maintain a country club for the promotion and encouragement of outdoor life, the games of golf and tennis and other innocent sports and amusements.” In 1913, the shareholder number met its goal. By October 1915, it had 183 stockholders with 63 associate members.

The club was more than just about sports—it was a meeting place for many Wacoans and out of town visitors. Many well-known Waco businessmen and prominent male and female citizens were on its membership rolls. The club frequently hosted luncheons, dinner parties, dances, weddings, and banquets, mentioned in the society columns of Waco newspapers on many occasions.

Fire Destroys The Huaco Club, 29th and Sanger, Waco, TX (2)
The remains of the white limestone mantel, a gift from the Huaco clubhouse’s architect, Roy Lane, mostly withstood the inferno. Here, it stands isolated as one of the last noticeable features of a once prominent building. E.C. Blomeyer photographic collection, box 2, folder 9.

Even though the Huaco Club and its contents were insured for approximately $26,000—far less than the $70,000 loss caused by the fire—plans for another golf facility were soon made. Chartered on August 27, 1917, and built circa 1920, the remaining club members opened a new facility, Spring Lake Country Club, at Day’s Lake in what is now Lacy-Lakeview. It included a larger course with 18 holes and an elaborate clubhouse. In a similar fashion as its predecessor, the new club continued to carry on various recreational as well as social functions. Meanwhile, the land the club occupied around 29th and Sanger Avenue was developed into one of Waco’s early “suburbs.”

The early days of golfing in the Waco area did have its setbacks and losses. But the sport that was once referred to as “pasture pool,” played in areas shared with grazing cattle, overcame such setbacks as the Huaco Club fire. Indeed, the love of the game, as well as the way it brings people together, still makes golf and its related activities thrive to this day, in and around Waco.

See more photos of the Huaco Club—before and after—in the Flickr slideshow below.


Created with flickr slideshow.

 

Sources

“Committee to Consider Probable Site for New Huaco Club House is Named; To Report Tuesday Night,“ Waco Morning News (Waco, TX). Feb. 2, 1917.

“Cows and Golfers Took Sporting Chance With Each Other When First Course Was Opened in Waco,” The Waco News Tribune (Waco, TX.). Apr, 5, 1925.

“Huaco Club is Completely Destroyed by Fire” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Jan. 4, 1917.

McReynolds, Mrs. B.B. “Current Events in Woman’s Sphere: Friday Night at the Huaco Club,” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Aug. 29, 1915.

Quarles, James Hays. “Waco Golf Club and Some of its Interesting History,” Waco Morning News (Waco, TX), Oct. 31, 1915.

“Recent Fires and Their Lessons: Clubhouses, City and Country,” Safety Engineering, v.33 (Jan.-June, 1917): p. 243.

Research Ready: December 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 are December’s finding aids:

Letter from Onnie Clem Jr. to "Julie" Cecile L. Julian Clem
Letter from Onnie Clem Jr. to “Julie” Cecile L. Julian Clem during Onnie’s 1945 public relations tour in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. They would marry seven months later. Onnie Clem Jr. papers #3939, box 1, folder 3.
  • Grant and Donell Teaff Baylor Football collection, 1948-2006, undated (#3835): Contains correspondence, football programs, newspaper clippings, and audiovisual materials relating to Teaff’s career as head football coach at Baylor University. As usual, the materials described in the finding aid can be seen at The Texas Collection, but many of them also have been digitized as part of the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive in collaboration with the Electronic Library. Check out game films, ribbons, and more in the online collection!
  • Onnie Clem Jr. papers, 1944-1948 (#3939): Letters between Marine Corps members Onnie Clem Jr. and “Julie” Cecile L. Julian Clem during World War II. Also included is a transcribed interview with Onnie Clem Jr. about his experience during the Bataan Death March and as a prisoner of war for two and half years.
Tax receipt for land in Liberty County, Texas
Tax receipt from 1850 for John Herpin’s land claims in Liberty County, Texas. A dispute about ownership of this land was still going on in 1910, according to the collection. John B. Herpin papers #1636, box 1, folder 2.

 

 

Research Ready: November 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 are November’s finding aids:

  • John M. Bronaugh papers 1862-1887 (#63):                                                                     Contains Bronaugh’s records from his time as Confederate surgeon for the 5th Texas Cavalry during the Civil War.
History Honors exam
How would you answer the questions on this test? This comprehensive history honors exam represents one of various subject exams from 1938-1941. BU records: Honors Program #BU/108 , box 2, folder 10.
    • Foy Valentine papers, 1918-2000 (#2948):                                                           Materials documenting the life of Foy Valentine, a leader in various Baptist organizations and Baptist philosophy on ethics.
    • [Waco] Veterans Administration Medical Center records, 1938, 1945-1982 (#2608):                                                                                                                 Photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other materials about the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Waco, Texas.
    • Sarah C. Pier Wiley papers, 1838-1868 (#139):                                                     Includes letters, photographs, and a journal about life on the Texas home front during the Civil War.
Handwritten poem
It was popular in the mid-1800s to handwrite poems in the personal notebooks of friends and family. Here we see Sarah Pier’s grandmother dedicating a poem to her. What poems would you dedicate to your friends and family? Sarah C. Pier Wiley papers #139, box 1, folder 6.

A Baseball Dream Come True: Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox Pitcher and Baylor Alumnus

By Adina Johnson, graduate assistant

Ted Lyons receives a car from White Sox fans, undated
The fan favorite Ted Lyons, “The Sunday Pitcher,” is given a gift (is it the car?)  from the White Sox contingent. Ted Lyons papers #1485, Box 1, folder 5.

It is every young Little League pitcher’s dream: to lead a college baseball team to a conference championship, try out for a major league team, and pitch in the majors in the very same month. But for Baylor star pitcher Ted Lyons, this scenario was not just a dream, but a happy reality. The Theodore “Ted” Amar Lyons papers, held at The Texas Collection, tell the story of Lyons’ mercurial rise to fame as a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, the only Baylor baseball player to have such great success at the professional level.

Baylor Bears, Southwest Champs, Baylor Lariat, May 23, 1923
The Baylor Lariat headline when Ted Lyons led his team to a Southwest Conference victory in 1923.

Admitted to Baylor on a baseball scholarship in 1919, Ted Lyons was also the starting center for the Baylor basketball team. After his coach convinced him to try pitching, Lyons’ career took off. His Baylor baseball years culminated in a victory over the Texas Longhorns in 1923, where Lyons pitched a 6-2 game to claim the Southwest Conference Championship. On July 2 of that same year, Lyons signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox and pitched in his first major league game the very same day.

Ted Lyons meets George V, Edward VIII, and George VI when on tour in England, circa 1942
“Three Kings of England wearing derbys shake hands with Teddy Lyons: George V, Edward VIII, then Prince of Wales, and George VI, when he was on tour in England 15 years ago.” (Description from Baylor Century, January 1943.) Ted Lyons papers #1485, Box 1, folder 4.

According to Chicago newspapers, Ted Lyons quickly became the most popular player on the White Sox team. His career would span 21 years, winning 260 games with a not-so-successful team that never finished higher than third in their division. His career included three 20-win seasons, and he led the league in wins twice. Amazingly, Lyons pitched an entire 21-inning game on May 4, 1929. Lyons was so reliable and popular that from 1939-1942 he pitched almost exclusively on Sundays, the day of highest park attendance. Thus Ted Lyons became known in baseball as “The Sunday Pitcher.”

Ted Lyons with the Baylor University Band, undated
Ted Lyons with the Baylor University Band, undated. Ted Lyons papers #1485, Box 1, folder 4.

In 1942, after a season where he posted an exceptional 2.10 ERA, Lyons left baseball to join the war effort. As a Marine, Lyons served primarily in the South Pacific, notably organizing a baseball camp in the Marshall Islands to spread goodwill with America’s national pastime. After returning to the White Sox in 1946, Lyons pitched one more season before becoming the Sox manager for three years. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

Ted Lyons, Chicago White Sox pitcher for 21 years
Ted Lyons pitching for the Chicago White Sox, where he spent his entire 21 year career. Ted Lyons papers #1485, Box 1, folder 5.

Ted Lyons never married and spent the rest of his life back home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Even as late as 1981, he was receiving hundreds of autograph requests each year. He died on July 25, 1986. His legacy and career as a Baylor Bear and White Sox pitcher are an indelible part of Baylor’s history. His small collection of papers at The Texas Collection, consisting of letters, clippings, and photos, will preserve his memory and fuel baseball dreams for generations of Little Leaguers to come.

More on Ted Lyons:

http://baseballhall.org/hof/lyons-ted

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/b3442150

Before Brittney: A Legacy of Champions

Love the Lady Bears? Ever wonder about the beginnings of women’s athletics at Baylor? Well, we have a book for you!

Goodloe-coverWe have many researchers visit The Texas Collection who are working on book projects, and we are always so excited when we hear one has been completed. Dr. Nancy Goodloe, emeritus professor of health education at Baylor, visited our collection several times while working on Before Brittney: A Legacy of Champions. Her recently published book explores the path from the first female varsity letter winners in 1904—and then there were no more varsity letters awarded to women until 1976—to the national prominence Baylor women’s athletics enjoys today.

Goodloe, a former Bearette, coach, and athletic trainer in the women’s programs (1965-76), places Baylor’s story in the national context of struggles for women’s intercollegiate athletics. At The Texas Collection, Goodloe drew on the Olga Fallen papers, presidential records, Lariats, Round-Ups, and our photograph files. She also interviewed various coaches, athletes, and other people who witnessed the development of women’s athletics at Baylor.

The Baylor Bookstore is hosting a book signing event on March 22 from 10-11:30 am. Books will be available for purchase at the event. If you can’t make it but would like to order the book, it is available for purchase via the publisher’s website.

Interested in hands-on exploration of women’s athletics at Baylor? Check out our blog post on the Olga Fallen papers and Flickr sets here, here, and here on women’s basketball, and there are some good tennis photos too. And then there are the athletics photos we’ve put on our Texas Collection photos page on Baylor’s digital collections site. But these online resources are just the tip of the iceberg, so come and do some research with us at The Texas Collection!

Research Ready: December 2013

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 December:

Tidwell Bible Building promotional brochure, late 1940s-early 1950s
Tidwell Bible Building promotional brochure, late 1940s-early 1950s. Note that the architectural design on this piece is not what was built! BU Records: Tidwell Bible Building Campaign Committee, box 1, folder 6.
Waco University ribbon
Waco University ribbon, Waco University collection, box 1, folder 11