The Texas Collection Turns 85 - Part II

No part of this exhibit may be reproduced in any form without the permission of The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

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After some 15 years of growth, it became clear that The Texas Collection had completely exhausted the space its single room could afford. In 1939, with the completion of Pat Neff Hall--envisioned by President Neff as the home of campus "Historics"--the library had the opportunity to occupy an entire second-floor wing of that building.

Retaining its two reading tables and free-standing, glass-doored bookcases, which had been gifts to the collection from the Class of 1929, the library furnished its enlarged quarters by ordering four additional tables with sufficient new chairs for all, and commissioned the construction of built-in bookcases with leaded-glass doors to line its walls. At the same time, the library began to acquire a collection of three-dimensional objects that would eventually grow to include pianos, flags, statuary, and other artifacts related in various ways to Texas history.

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With the continuing interest and support of President Neff, The Texas Collection systematically expanded its holdings, adding new materials at a rate that rapidly began to fill the space it had gained by its move to larger quarters. By the end of another fifteen years, the library would again need to relocate to an even more spacious facility.

title6 Completion of a new building for the School of Law in 1955 permitted the Law Library to vacate its former home on the third floor of Carroll Library. Into that space The Texas Collection moved, this time occupying a full floor of the building instead of a single room.

Bringing not only its books but also its tables and chairs, bookcases, pianos, flags, and other materials, the library essentially recreated its reading room from Pat Neff Hall, right down to the blue tile floor. In addition, the new location afforded several separate areas for shelving, offices, and work rooms.

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It appeared that The Texas Collection would enjoy ample accommodations for the foreseeable future. But while the library eventually began to seek alternative homes for many of its larger artifactual holdings, its other collections continued to grow, expanding into separate holdings of personal papers and institutional records, photographs, oral history memoirs, audio and videotapes, maps, and other forms of resource materials.

Thus the removal in 1968 of the university's main library from the Carroll Building to Moody Memorial Library came none too soon. The Texas Collection spread immediately into the newly vacated stacks and second floor. Under this configuration the Library Division's offices, work rooms, and most of its books occupied the third floor, while the newly formed Archives Division had its offices, reading area, and many of its materials on the second. The stacks were divided between the two units. This arrangement continued until the end of 1992, when the university announced that it was ready to remodel Carroll Library to provide additional space for The Texas Collection. During most of 1993 the library's staff, with portions of its materials, occupied temporary quarters in former music practice rooms in the basement of Roxy Grove Hall.

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In January 1994, following an eleven-month renovation of the Carroll Building, The Texas Collection moved once again into its former and future home. During the remodeling, every interior wall had been demolished, leaving in place only the floors and support columns, and the space within the structure had been completely reconfigured and updated. As a result, the amount of assignable space within the building increased and, for the first time, The Texas Collection would occupy space that had been specifically designed for its use.

Another 2 pic The basement, first, and second floors of the building were reserved for The Texas Collection. The reading room, circulation area, and administrative offices occupied the first floor, directly accessible from Fifth Street and Burleson Quadrangle. The offices, workrooms, and stacks of the Archives Division filled the basement, while the stacks of the Library Division and a room for meetings and events were located on the second floor. Two of the university's institutes shared the third floor.

Planners attempted to retain the "feel" of the earlier public areas, re-using the traditional furniture, bookcases, and other familiar attributes--including, once again, the library's trademark blue tile floor. The reading room itself expanded to permit the use of all of the collection's varied kinds of materials within a single location.

At age 85, The Texas Collection looks toward the increase of its traditional resources and the expansion of its services into the realm of information technology. In the years leading toward its centennial and future milestones, it will continue to change and grow while retaining, at a fundamental level, the vision expressed by Dr. Aynesworth in 1923 and fulfilled by the donors, friends, and administrators who have guided its development during its first three-quarters of a century.

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