• Happy 100th birthday, Texas Collection!

    Exterior of Carroll Library

    Baylor’s Texas Collection started in 1923 as a passion project of Dr. Kenneth Hazen Aynesworth, a Baylor graduate and prominent Waco physician (and future UT regent). As it celebrates its 100th birthday this year, the Texas Collection is now one of the largest Texana collections in the world, filled with materials documenting the history, heritage and culture of Baylor’s home state.

    After graduating from Baylor in 1894, Aynesworth earned his medical degree from UT-Galveston before returning to Waco, where he would spend most of the next 40 years. His love of Texas led him to begin collecting its history. When that collection got too big for his home in the early 1920s, he donated it to Baylor. For the next two decades — until his passing in 1944 — he continued to collect and contribute to the Texas Collection, while also raising support for the effort among fellow Texans. The collection found a home in Carroll Library after the famous 1922 fire, and has remained there to this day.

    Today, the Texas Collection is home to literally millions of primary sources — manuscripts, books, photos, maps, etc. — related to Texas, the Southwest, Mexico, westward expansion, and related topics. Scholars come to the collection from all across the world to research various aspects of Texas, including its history, agriculture, literature, religion, politics and education. In more recent years, the Texas Collection has also become home to the University Archives, collecting, preserving and providing access to records related to the history of Baylor.

    Jeff Pirtle took over leadership of the Texas Collection last year, coming to Baylor after serving as director of NBCUniversal’s archives and collections. “What I love about working in an archive like the Texas Collection is that I think everybody can find something they can identify with here,” he says. “Whether you are a first-gen Baylor student, a student from California, or an international student, I can guarantee that you will find something at the Texas Collection that you can identify with and that is personal to you.”

    The Texas Collection was officially established on June 12, 1923, and it will celebrate its centennial with a year-long celebration to encourage the Baylor community and Texans to embrace its legacy. The festivities will begin with a birthday celebration at Carroll Library on June 12. Future events include a lecture series, special exhibits, a gala during Baylor Homecoming for former Texas Collection workers, and more. Follow @TexasCollection and @BaylorLibraries on social media for updates.

    Sic ’em, Texas Collection!