Thursday, October 28th will be a big day here at The Texas Collection. It’s the grand opening of the Frances C. Poage Map Room. We’ll be celebrating with a ribbon cutting, a new exhibit of some beautiful maps, and a special guest lecture from Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name.
Our newly installed exhibit is called Mapping it Out: A Cartographic History of Texas. On display are twenty-one original maps dating from 1656 to 1887. These maps tell a story of Texas: from early exploration by the Spanish, through colonization, struggles for independence from Mexico, and statehood before and after the Civil War. They demonstrate technological improvements and record political conflicts. They bring us closer to understanding the craftsmen and entrepreneurs who made it their business to show settlers the way to Texas. And these maps connect us to the land which captured cartographers’ imaginations.
We hope you’ll join us at Carroll Library at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday to celebrate the new Frances C. Poage map room, the art of mapmaking, and the story of Texas.
In the days of the fountain pen, before the invention of the ballpoint, blotting paper was an everyday essential and advertising blotters were as common as today’s business cards. Advertising blotters were small cards, usually with colorful pictures, printed with advertising on the front. Nearly every company handed them out. The pictures might be related to the product being advertised, or they could be movie stars, pinup girls, calendars, or patriotic and historical images. To get a sense of how blotters fit into daily life, read “Tips from the Traveling Salesman” by Frank Farrington in which a frustrated man tears up a poor quality advertising blotter and gives the writer a lesson in best practices for blotter advertising [Grand Rapids Furniture Record , Vol. 36 (February, 1921), p.121].
The Texas Collection has in its archives, as part of the Frank Watt collection, a salesman’s sample book of advertising blotters. This book contains page after page of beautiful advertising artwork from what we think is the early 1900s. Businesses could choose the blank blotters they wished to imprint with their advertising and place an order with the salesman.
We hope you’ll share with us what you know about advertising blotters. Can you help us date this sample book? Do you recognize any of the artists responsible for the images? Add your comments below!
Welcome to the newly created Texas Collection Blog! The Texas Collection is steeped in tradition and history. There’s so much to share and show that we thought it was time to communicate more directly and informally with you–sharing highlights from our collections and projects, and providing a venue for your comments. We also want to learn from you because The Texas Collection houses a few mysteries that we’re hoping you can help us solve.
We’ll be updating this site regularly, so check back often to hear about our latest discoveries or read about what’s new. There’s always something exciting happening in Texas.
If you find yourself in Waco, come by and see us at The Texas Collection. We’re located in Carroll Library on the Baylor University campus. Visit before October 15th, and see our current exhibit: William Cameron Park: 100 years. You can learn more about the display on our Flickr page. Just click on any image in the slide show above to continue on to Flickr.