On October 3, 2009, Poage Legislative Library celebrated its 30th anniversary with a barbecue lunch in the Allbritton Foyer of the main library. Over one hundred friends of the library attended, including 17th district Congressman Chet Edwards.
The program after lunch included remarks by Edwards and several others. Bob Darden, a journalism professor, shared his experience working with Poage Library on “Drawing Power,” an exhibit last year of his original editorial cartoons. Mike Parrish, a history professor, spoke about the importance of a congressional archive on a university campus. Merri Carol Martens from Ogdensburg, Wisconsin, introduced a book by her father, Hyde Murray. The autobiography recalls his experiences as Republican counsel for the House Agriculture Committee and House Republican leadership for 35 years. Fowler West, chairman of The Standing Committee and former chief of staff for Congressman Bob Poage, concluded the program by introducing his book, He Ain’t No Lawyer: Memories From My Years with Congressman Bob Poage. Each guest received an anniversary tote, pen, cup and a copy of West’s book.
Following the program, everyone was invited to visit Poage Library to see the new anniversary exhibits. The main gallery highlighted the work on former congressmen Bob Poage, Marvin Leath, John Dowdy, Sam Hall, O. C. Fisher and Alan Steelman. Congressman Poage’s Washington office desk was part of the exhibit, along with a video of an oral history interview with Poage from 1981. Another exhibit reconstructed the home office of Bob Poage using materials purchased at the Poage estate auction in 2008.
Prior to lunch, there was a dedication of the Jack Hightower book vault. Although former congressman Jack Hightower was unable to attend, his wife, Colleen, and daughters, Amy Brees and Alison Suttle, shared stories about Jack’s love affair with books. The vault was constructed to house Judge Hightower’s collection of rare books and 3,000 signed books dating back to President John Quincy Adams. Pattie Orr, Dean of University Libraries, gave a background on the construction of the vault. Chuck Bailey, an Austin lawyer and friend of the Judge, related his experiences collecting books and political memorabilia with Hightower. John Wilson, assistant director of The Texas Collection, recalled the Judge’s long affiliation with Baylor, the libraries and books. Tours of the book vault were given following the dedication and again after lunch.
On October 15, Poage Library held its annual Open House in association with National Archives Week and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the library. A number of friends from throughout campus visited the library to tour the new exhibits. Student assistants also gave behind-the-scenes tours and explained the various projects they work on. Texas barbecue was served to all who attended.