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Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections

About The Texas Collection

Established in 1923, The Texas Collection is a special library, archival research center, and the University Archive that collects, preserves, and provides access to materials documenting the history, heritage, and culture of Texas for the Baylor community and the public.

The Texas Collection’s holdings of books, archives, photographs, maps, newspapers, state documents, oral memoirs, and vertical files provide specialized published and primary materials for research into all phases of life in Texas. They are used not only by faculty, staff, and students of Baylor University, but also by visiting scholars and researchers from across the state, the nation, and other countries.

Learn more about The Texas Collection from their website.

The Texas Collection's Digital Collections

The Coleman Papers

The letters in this collection present a snapshot of the lives of Major J.N. Coleman of the Third Texas Cavalry and his fiancée, Virginia E. "Jennie" Adkins. John’s letters from the field provide readers with a unique insight into the horrors, excitement, and day-to-day monotony of a soldier’s life in the Confederate army, while Jennie’s letters detail life on the home front in Marshall, Texas.

Harding Black

Harding Black was a master American ceramics artist, who was active from the 1930s to the 1990s. Early in his career, he worked for the WPA and also taught ceramics classes to children at San Antonio's Witte Museum. Harding's greatest contribution to the ceramics community was his glaze research, primarily his attempts to recreate ancient Chinese glazes from the Song and Tang dynasties. He kept extensive notes on his glaze research, and it is possible to cross reference the glaze codes inscribed on most pieces of the test collection and look up the formulas in his notebooks, allowing researchers to recreate many of his most famous glazes. While he was alive, Harding Black freely shared his research, and this collection continues that tradition.

The Henry McArdle Collection

This collection features materials related to the life of Henry ("Harry") Arthur McArdle, an Irish-born painter whose works depicting major events in Texas history - including the battle of San Jacinto and the Alamo - are considered important contributions to the state's artistic heritage. McArdle studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, served under Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War and was Baylor University's first professor of art.

The Historic Old Independence Cemetery Project

This collection presents materials related to the Historic Old Independence Cemetery in Independence, Texas, the first home of Baylor University. The collection includes geospatial records of the cemetery, the last resting place for many early Texians, including the son of Sam Houston and the grandson of Moses Austin.

The Historic Waco Newspapers Collection

Features issues of newspapers released in Waco, Texas between the years 1875-1923. This unparalleled look at Waco's history is made available from the archival holdings of The Texas Collection.

Independence, Texas Collection

This collection contains materials from numerous sources in and around Independence, Texas. Located in Washington County, the village of Independence was the original home of Baylor University, founded by Texas Baptists in 1845. Materials in this collection present various aspects of life in 19th and early 20th century Independence. Correspondence, photographs, maps and other forms of documentation are included.

Liberty Community Cemetery Project

Items in this collection document the history of Liberty Community Cemetery in Independence, Texas. Each object presents an image of the marker, monument or headstone, relevant biographical information (date of birth, death, inscriptions) and a link to the marker's precise location on a Google map.

Mapping Waco: A Brief History, 1845-1913 (Exhibit)

The maps in this collection represent the changing landscape of Waco from its earliest days in the mid-1800s to the boom years of the late 1910s. Selections include bird's-eye views of the city drawn in the late 19th century; illustrated maps of new additions and suburbs; and blue lines of individual plats on Waco city streets.

Dr. Alex and Fanny Morgan Papers (1862-1865)

The Morgan letters are primarily from Alexander Morgan, a Confederate soldier, to his wife during the American Civil War. Additionally, one letter is written from Fanny in Mansfield, Louisiana to her cousin. The letters are written from a number of places, including Corinth, Mississippi; Greenville, Alabama; Mobile, Alabama; Tullahoma, Tennessee; Bridgeport, Alabama; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Marietta, Georgia; James Island, South Carolina; and Colleton, South Carolina. The bulk of the letters were written during Morgan’s time in Mobile and Bridgeport. The earliest letter is from April 9, 1862, and the latest is from January 29, 1865, with two undated portions of letters. The bulk of the letters are from 1863. All of the letters in this collection include a transcription.


Drawn from the extensive cartographic holdings of The Texas Collection, the items in this collection focus primarily on North America and, specifically, Texas. Maps from French, Spanish, German and American sources detail the evolving geography and human settlement of North America over the course of more than 200 years.

Pat Neff: 'The Plain Democrat' Governor of Texas, 1921-1925 (Exhibit)

"The Plain Democrat" is a curated digital exhibit consisting of speeches, campaign flyers and literature, lantern plates, photographs, and correspondence from the Pat M. Neff Papers housed at The Texas Collection at Baylor University. The exhibit focuses on Neff's gubernatorial campaigns and two terms as governor of Texas from 1921-1925.

Photographic Archive

This collection of vintage photographs, numbering in the thousands and growing, covers a broad range of topics including sports, civic life, historic buildings, Waco and Baylor history, and more. Of particular note are photographs taken by famed Waco photographer Fred A. Gildersleeve, including numerous large-format and panoramic views.

The Richard L. Farr Papers

Richard Loyal Farr was born in Fayette County, Georgia, on 1839 April 6, to the farming family of Jesse H. and Elizabeth Nixon Farr (both of whom were born circa 1804). Around 1858, Richard married Elizabeth K. (circa 1837-?). Together they had at least six children. On 1893 June 29, presumably after Elizabeth’s death, Farr married Minerva Eliza Lovvorn (1869-1918). Together they had at least four children.

Texas Promotional Materials

The promotional materials in this collection were created by various groups and individuals all intent on the same goal: bringing people to live in Texas. Railroad companies looking to lay their tracks further west were in need of passengers as well as produce to ship to city markets, and tailored their promotionals to farmers and their families. Fledgling Texas towns hoping to become more established sang the praises of their region and the unique activities available to those looking to settle or just visit.

Texas Collection - Selections

This collection of unique materials from the holdings of the Texas Collection will focus on pieces whose rarity or one-of-a-kind nature prevent their easy classification in other curated collections, with an emphasis on rare books.

Baylor University Catalogs

Baylor University was founded in 1845 at Independence, Texas. Upon its merger with Waco University in 1885, Baylor began its long association with the city of Waco and has become the largest Baptist institution of higher education in the world. This collection features copies of the known surviving university catalogs for Baylor during its time at Independence (1845-1885) and in Waco. Also included are the catalogs for Waco University from 1866-1883.

Waco City Directories (1876-1923)

The Waco City Directories are a rich resource for those interested in individuals, families and businesses located in Central Texas from 1878 to 1923. The directories alphabetically list residents of the city (usually by head of household), occupations, and addresses. Further, entries may also provide information on familial relationships, listing older children working or attending school but still in the household, as well as boarders with no familial relationship to the household.  Individual listings can also include information on ethnicity. Local advertising for goods and services is found on the covers and throughout the directories, providing a glimpse into daily life during these years.

'The War of the Rebellion Atlas'

When the War Department began to issue its 70 volume set of records generated by both the Union and Confederate Armies, it also created an Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, published in 1895. Its 175 plates contain more than 1,000 maps, illustrations, and diagrams detailing battlefield maps, scenes from the conflict, and military equipment. The Texas Collection at Baylor University is proud to house a pristine copy of the Atlas, and in 2010 the Digitization Projects Group scanned the plates and placed them online in this collection. The maps are searchable by keywords, including military personnel, city, state, and geographic features.

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