The Jack E. Hightower Book Vault is home to many rare and unusual items. The collection in the vault was generously donated to Baylor University by former Congressman and Texas State Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower. The collection ranges from everyday books most people would have on their bookshelves at home to rare books dating from the 1600s. What makes these unique though is many of the books are signed by the authors. One of the more interesting items in the collection is not a book; it is a dagger from the Middle East.
Hightower acquired the dagger on a trip to Pakistan in 1980. The blade is a Pathan Dagger handcrafted in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. Lt. General Fazle Haq presented the dagger to Hightower on February 7, 1980. The dagger is housed in a craved wooden case. A hand-painted metal and wooden scabbard covers the blade. The handle of the blade is ornately painted metal with jewels at the end of the blade.
To see the dagger and the rest of the treasures in the Hightower Book Vault visit W. R. Poage Library 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
United States Presidents are closely scrutinized while in office. Their policy decisions are analyzed, appointments are questioned and every speech they give is dissected in newspapers and on TV across the country. So it would come as no surprise that even their wardrobe would be talked about.
The appearance of a president has come to define many of them over the years. And in many cases it has not been the clothes they were wearing but what was on their head that mattered. Washington in the Colonial Army hat, Lincoln in his top hat and Reagan in a cowboy hat are just some of the presidents defined by their hats. The W. R. Poage Library is fortunate to have one of these hats that defined the look of a U.S. president.
The Resistol, Wide Country XXX beaver hat belonged to Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. The inscription on the band of the hat reads, "made expressively for President Lyndon B. Johnson." This hat came to define Johnson's look as a Texas rancher and politician. He was not often without it during his time on his ranch. And the hat just added to the persona of the tough Texan.
Along with Johnson's hat is at top hat from the 1888 campaign of President Grover Cleveland, which features oval pictures/portraits of Cleveland and his running mate Allen G. Thurman. Both hats are housed in the Jack E. Hightower Book Vault in the library and came to the library as a part of the George Meyer LBJ collection. The collection has many items chronicling LBJ's time in public service as a member of the House of Representatives his time in the Oval Office, and at the Johnson Ranch. Both hats once owned by LBJ were gifts to the Poage Library from George Meyer, Georgetown, Texas.