Baylor University Poage Library

Poage Library Receives Miniature Photo Album

Alyssa K. Mendez
Baylor Journalism Student
October 15, 2010

It should come as no surprise that a man who loves books and collecting would have some of the most interesting and rare items in his collection.

Jack E. Hightower was born in Memphis, Texas, is a proud Baylor graduate and devoted a great deal of his life working in government positions.

Along with his love for books, Hightower has an interesting fascination with Abraham Lincoln.

"Since I was a small child I was a history buff and I used to quiz my daddy about his father," Hightower said. This eagerness to know more led Hightower to discover his grandfather was a Confederate Veteran and prompted his interest in the Civil War era and Abraham Lincoln.

"In the general public, if you ask somebody about Abraham Lincoln, they can say, 'Oh, yes, he was president,' but they have no idea when he served or anything like that," Hightower said.

He sought to go beyond the general facts and delve deeper in to history, and become familiar with the personality of Lincoln. "I think it's natural for a child to be more interested in personalities than events," said Hightower.

Baylor University's Poage Library now has the privilege of holding many items from Hightower's Lincoln collection.

An Abraham Lincoln tin type photo family album is the newest addition to this collection. This rare item was discovered online by Hightower. "I browse all the time and I think I bought it from some bookstore," said Hightower.

Tin type photos are photos that are printed on iron metal and blackened with paint, rather than being printed on paper. The tin type photo was invented by professor Hamilton Smith of Ohio in 1856 but was patented by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in the United States and instantly became popular.

The Lincoln tin type photo album is very small in size, with dimensions of 1 3/4" X 1 3/4" X 5/8," which is smaller than the hand. The album's binding is made of a brown, leather-like material with a gold engraved design on the front and the engraving of the word "album" on the spine.

Because of his love for special collections and the Baylor Libraries, Hightower has generously donated the album, along with a number of other items from his Lincoln collection to Baylor University.