Research Ready: February 2019

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

From a Newspaper to Milk: The Borden Family Legacy in Texas

By Casey Schumacher, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

Map of San Felipe, Texas, 1876
The extent of John Borden’s property is shown in this 1876 land tract of San Felipe, TX. Land deeds in the collection indicate that the four Borden brothers purchased several hundred acres in the Austin County region, often from one another. Borden family collection #78, box 1, folder 1.

The Borden family collection at The Texas Collection has nothing to say about Lizzie Borden, the infamous Massachusetts ax-slinger. Believe me, I checked. However, in 1908, another notable Lizzie Borden, daughter of John P. Borden, wrote a brief history of her family’s deep Texan roots. Together, Lizzie’s father, her uncles, and her brothers helped create a family legacy that played a key role in establishing the Republic of Texas.

Gail Borden Sr. had four sons who were all very proud, upstanding Texans. The family owned extensive property in Austin and San Patricio County, some of which we can see in the land plots and deeds included in the collection. All four sons were landowners and prominent businessmen in south Texas, but their devotion to the Republic had a ripple effect across the state and into the ports of Galveston.

Gail Jr., the oldest of the four brothers, partnered with his closest brother Thomas and a family friend to establish Texas’ first newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register in San Felipe de Austin in 1835. Circulation increased rapidly and within a year, they had 700 subscribers. After encroaching Mexicans threw their press into Buffalo Bayou, Gail traveled to Cincinnati to purchase a new press. The next issue, dated August 2, 1836, included a reprint of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Even after the Borden brothers left the printing company, the newspaper continued to publish important documents that organized the Republic of Texas.

Telegraph and Texas Register, 1921 reprint of October 1, 1835, first edition
This 1921 reprint celebrates the first edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register, published by the Borden & Baker printing company on October 1, 1835.

The Borden family didn’t just write about their Texas pride, however. In 1836, Gail Jr. presented Captain Moseley Baker with a flag he helped design for San Felipe. After leaving the newspaper, he went on to prepare the first topographical map of Texas. Soon after, he became the first collector of the port of Galveston and eventually founded the Borden Company.

At the same time Gail Jr. presented the flag at San Felipe, his younger brother John, Lizzie’s father, was a First Lieutenant under Captain Baker. John fought in the Battle of San Jacinto when he was 24 years old, and he was later appointed by Sam Houston as Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas. Both of John’s sons would also leave home to fight for the Republic. The oldest son, Thaddeus, joined the Confederate Army at age 17 and was killed. John’s second son Sidney joined the Confederate Army at age 19 and eventually returned to establish the river port at Sharpsburg.

In her family history, Lizzie tells her nieces and nephews about each of her uncles and their dedication to the Republic of Texas. Naturally, she favors her father’s accomplishments and pays special homage to her brothers, Thaddeus and Sidney. She closes with a story of her and Sidney’s trip to the Philadelphia Centennial. Needless to say, the Bordens were a very close-knit and proud Texas family. The Borden family collection sheds some light on their influence in the Austin County and San Patricio County areas, as well as their dedication to the Republic of Texas.


Barbara Lane, “Sidney Gail Borden,” Find A Grave, Aug 6, 2006.

Joe B. Frantz, “Borden, Gail Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 28, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Leonard Kubiak, “San Felipe de Austin,” Fort Tumbleweed. 2007.

University of North Texas Libraries, “Telegraph and Texas Register,” The Portal to Texas History, December 14, 2014.

Texas over Time: The Alamo, San Antonio

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph collection. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.


  • The original mission was built in 1718 as a Spanish mission by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares but was then leveled in 1724 by a hurricane. The mission was moved to the present site and rebuilt in 1744 but collapsed due to structural flaws in 1762. It was rebuilt using the same material but never completed.
  • The building was supposed to have been three stories tall, with bell towers on each side, with a dome as a roof. The four arches to support the dome were completed, but later demolished to fortify for the battle. Protective walls were put around it in 1758 to ward off Native American violence. Secularized in 1793, it became known as simply Pueblo Valero.
  • In 1803, a Spanish cavalry unit (the Second Company of San Carlos de Alamo de Parras) occupied the pueblo, from which the present-day name of “the Alamo” is derived.
  • In 1836, the famous battle occurred, pitting Santa Anna’s 1,500 troops against the between 188-250 Texians in the Alamo. After Santa Anna ended up losing the war two months later, he ordered General Andrade to demolish the fort. He burned down the cannon ramp, long barracks, and most of the Galera.
  • In the years between the fire and the US Army coming, locals would use bricks from the Alamo as building materials, when needed. The humped parapet that is so iconic today was added when the Army remodeled the Alamo for use as a local headquarters.
  • When the Army abandoned the Alamo in 1878, it was given back to the Catholic Church. A businessman named Hugo Grenet almost immediately bought the restored long barrack building for $20,000, which he then converted into a store. The church building was given over to the State of Texas in 1883, who then transferred ownership to the City of San Antonio. The long barracks was sold to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in 1905. The store that Hugo Grenet had built on top of the site of the old long barracks was demolished in 1911, and the original wall was restored. The Alamo is presently a museum administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office.

Thompson, Frank T. The Alamo: A Cultural History. Dallas, Tex.: Taylor Trade Pub., 2001. Print

Check out our Flickr set to see these and other images of the Alamo, which primarily came from our General-San Antonio-Alamo photo files. GIF and factoids by student archives assistant Braxton Ray.

Research Ready: November 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 November:

Broadside, decree from Jose Gomez de la Cortina, following Santa Anna's capture, 1836
Decree by Mexican Secretary of War Jose Maria Tornel, via District Governor  Jose Gomez de la Cortina, regarding Mexico’s response to Santa Anna’s capture at San Jacinto: while Santa Anna remains in prison, a bow of black crepe was to be placed on all flags and standards, and the national colors were to be flown at half mast. Jones Texas Broadsides, box 1, folder 11.
Program, Woodrow School of Elocution and Physical Culture presentation, 1916
A program from a 1916 presentation by the younger girls attending the Woodrow school. The school used the White system of expression, a noted methodology to teach students how to best utilize gesture, emotion, and voice in public. Woodrow School of Expression and Physical Culture, box 1, folder 1.

Research Ready: July 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 July:

Wellington children, circa 1888
A few years after Anna Wellington Stoner and her husband, Clinton Stoner, moved to Bullshead, Edwards County in Texas, Clinton died in 1884. In October of the same year, Anna moved her three small children (pictured) back to the Nueces River Canyon and bought 320 acres of land there. This was the beginning of the Stoner Ranch, which has grown to 2,000 acres today.
  • [Waco] Branch Davidians: Bill Pitts papers, 1963-2001, undated: This collection contains materials produced and collected by Bill Pitts, a professor in the Religion Department at Baylor University. The materials primarily cover the Branch Davidians siege of 1993.
  • Benjamin Edwards Green papers, 1840-1865: Green’s papers consist of a postcard, pamphlets, written notes, an unpublished manuscript and other chapter fragments. Among other roles, Green was a lawyer, served as an American diplomat at the Mexican capitol in the early 1840s, and was a secret agent in the West Indies.
  • James Weldon Jones papers, 1917-1919, circa 2010: This collection contains a series of letters sent from Alexander “Tip” Jones to his son, James Weldon Jones, while the latter was serving in the United States Army during World War I.
  • Vivienne Malone-Mayes papers. Inclusive: 1966-1977, undated: Malone-Mayes’ papers consists of correspondence, minutes, reports and other records related to her terms as a member and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation Center in Waco, Texas. The collection also contains personal materials and coursework Dr. Malone-Mayes assigned in her mathematics courses at Baylor University. She was Baylor’s first black faculty member.
Women and Mathematics / Mathematical Association of America publication, 1976
Vivienne Malone-Mayes was a trailblazer for women, particularly African Americans, in the mathematics profession. In 1966, she became only the fifth African American woman to earn her PhD in that field. After gaining employment at Baylor University, Vivienne did her part in encouraging women to pursue careers in mathematics, including editorial and consultation work with the Mathematical Association of America.
  • Irwin Green and Lillie Worley McGee papers, 1893-1899, undated: The McGee papers consist of notes, assignments, and exams produced by Irwin Green and Lillie Worley while attending Baylor in the 1890s, providing insight into Baylor’s curriculum during this period.
  • Walter Hale McKenzie papers, 1926-1952: The McKenzie papers contain correspondence and board and committee minutes illustrating McKenzie’s relations to prominent Baptists J.G. Hardin, George W. Truett, Pat Neff, and others, and his service to Baylor University, Baylor College for Women, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
  • Wellington-Stoner-McLean family collection, 1833-2007, undated: This collection consists of family documents collected by Margaret Stoner McLean. The collection includes correspondence and postcards, photographs, financial documents, books, personal ledgers, and publications about the family and the Stoner ranch.

Research Ready: May 2013

Katherine Lucylle Cope Fulmer scrapbook on Baylor University life, 1939-1941
Lucylle Cope Fulmer created this scrapbook documenting her life as a Baylor coed in the early 1940s. On this page she included student IDs, handbooks, and church promotional pieces.

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 is our one-year anniversary of telling you what’s Research Ready, so we added things up. We’ve announced nearly 90 finding aids completed between May 2012-May 2013. Wow—that’s a lot of research just waiting to happen! We look forward to sharing many more research opportunities with you. Here’s the scoop for May 2013:

Unidentified downed biplane, undated
Unidentified downed bi-plane from the Nick Pocock papers. Pocock, a pilot who emigrated from England to Waco in the mid-twentieth century, was a scholar whose book, Did W.D. Custead Fly First?, explores the possibility that a Central Texas man flew a flying machine before the Wright brothers.

Reporting from the Battlefield: A Newspaper Account of San Jacinto

Although intriguing, newspapers as historical sources can be problematic. As history’s “first draft,” mistakes are bound to happen. But as a way to gauge daily life, contemporary reactions, or to read accounts of major historic events, newspapers are invaluable primary resources.

Albion (New York) Masthead
The Albion newspaper’s coverage of the battle of San Jacinto, along with John Quincy Adams’ speech against the annexation of Texas, indicates the importance of the Texas Revolution to the United States’ interests.

With this in mind, one particular issue of a New York newspaper—the June 11, 1836 issue of The Albion—caught my eye as I began to inventory newspapers at The Texas Collection. To anyone familiar with Texas history, the year leaps off the page—surely events of the recent Texas Revolution would be mentioned! In fact, news of the battle of San Jacinto had been slowly filtering to the New York media.

When a major event happens today, reports are instantly available, but in the 1830s, communication was still very dependent on the mail. Most newspapers didn’t have correspondents to report on national and international events. Instead, travelers often wrote letters back to their local editors or, more commonly, editors received copies of newspapers from other major cities. In the case of The Albion in 1836, an account of the  battle of San Jacinto on April 21 had reached their offices through two New Orleans newspapers.

The account was a firsthand description of the engagement at San Jacinto, though unfortunately anonymous. The author describes the shock of the unprepared Mexican army as the smaller Texas force charged through their camp: “Some of the men were sleeping, some cooking, some washing, in short, in any situation but that of preparation for battle, when they were pounced upon by us at about 4 o’clock P.M. of the 21st.” The Texas fighters are described as shouting “The Alamo and La Bahía” (La Bahía being a common name for the location of the Goliad Massacre) in an early version of the now famous battle cry.

Battle of San Jacinto McArdle painting postcard
The Battle of San Jacinto, by Henry A. McArdle. The original painting hangs in the Senate chamber of the Texas State Capitol. Postcard reproduction printed in 1985 by the Balcones Company, Austin, TX, for Texas’ sesquicentennial.

The description is very candid about the brutal close-contact fighting as the Mexican army fled. As the battle intensified, there was no opportunity to reload and firearms became clubs. Some heavy stocks were said to have been broken over the heads of the enemy. For all its intensity and political ramifications the battle was over quickly—just nineteen minutes before the Mexican army was routed. The author estimates that there were over 600 Mexican killed in the battle with only eight Texans killed. The casualty numbers in the account closely mirror Sam Houston’s official report (630 Mexicans killed and nine Texans), giving weight to its accuracy.

The United States was coming to grasp the battle of San Jacinto’s significance. By the date of this publication, the Treaties of Velasco had been signed and people began to speculate about Texas’ future. This was evident in the preceding pages of the June 11, 1836 issue of The Albion. A published speech by former President, and then current member of the House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams, addressed the “consequences” of the Texas Revolution. Adams strongly opposed Texas annexation, citing conflicts with Mexico and European powers, and an already unstable, ill-defended territory in the U.S. South. And so, of course, Texas did not become a state until 1845.             

In a single issue among thousands of newspapers at The Texas Collection, I found an example of Texas history at its most dramatic. Enjoy San Jacinto Day this weekend!

By Sean Todd, library assistant

Research Ready: November 2012

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 November:

Gene Autrey entertaining veterans at a military hospital, 1945
Gene Autrey entertains veterans at a military hospital in 1945. Hannibal “Joe” Jaworski’s photo album includes photos of several notable figures who visited soldiers during World War II.
  • Baylor-Carrington Family Papers, 1715-2007, undated: These family papers consist of correspondence, financial and legal documents, literary productions, books, photographs, artifacts, and scrapbooks pertaining to the Baylor and Carrington families. The bulk of the collection spans from 1840-1930.
  • Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Collection, 1944-1946: This collection consists of a scrapbook relating to Eleanor’s service in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II.
  • Hannibal “Joe” Lucas Jaworski Papers, 1895-1987: The Hannibal “Joe” Lucas Jaworski Papers include correspondence, literary productions, books, and photographic materials related to his service in World War II and his response to the Waco Tornado of 1953.
  • BU Records: Student Volunteer Band, 1900-1957: This archives consists of organizational records, missionary correspondence, and a history of the origin of the band. The group originated to inspire students to missionary action and involvement by educating them about world missionary movements.
Baylor University Student Volunteer Band Minutes Book, 1940s-1950s
The Student Volunteer Band, or Foreign Missionary Band, kept meticulous minutes of the organization’s meetings, from its earliest days in 1900 through the 1950s. Note Dick Baker’s name on the right side of the book–Baker would go on to be a leader in Baylor’s Youth Revival Movement and began the Baylor Religious Hour Choir.

Research Ready: August 2012

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 August:

"Big Auto Race at Cotton Palace Track, 1916"
Pictured is a “Big auto race at Cotton Palace track, 1916”–one of the many attractions held at the Texas Cotton Palace exhibitions in Waco, TX. The Texas Cotton Palace Records cover the life of the exhibition, from 1910 to 1931, and include correspondence, minutes, programs, and many fascinating photographs.
    • Cego German Evangelical Church Records: These records contain the minutes of Cego German Evangelical Church (located in Falls County, Texas), produced by secretary A.A. Miller during the Great Depression.
    • Matthew Ellenberger Papers: The Matthew Ellenberger Papers contain Ellenberger’s research notes and correspondence as well as literary publications concerning Texas Revolutionary Albert C. Horton and American Revolution figures Thomas Walker and Jack Jouett.

      B. H. Carroll on Evangelism--an address at the Southern Baptist Convention in 1906
      A leader among Texas Baptists, B. H. Carroll contributed many years to Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, among other denominational efforts.
    • Texas Cotton Palace Records: This collection contains correspondence, legal and financial documents, literary productions, photographs, and an artifact pertaining to the Texas Cotton Palace and its festivities in Waco, Texas.
  • Benajah Harvey Carroll Papers: The Benajah Harvey “B.H.” Carroll Papers consist of correspondence, financial records, and literary productions regarding the various positions Carroll held throughout his life, including pastor of First Baptist Church in Waco, professor and chairman of the board of trustees of Baylor University, secretary of the Texas Baptist Education Commission, and founder and president of Baylor Theological Seminary/Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.