Oral History Institute Completes Abner Mccall Transcripts Jan. 29

Jan. 17, 1997

The Institute for Oral History at Baylor University has completed the transcripts of a series of interviews with the late Judge Abner McCall, former president of Baylor. The transcripts will be presented to Mary McCall, widow of Abner McCall, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the reading room of the Texas Collection in Carroll Library.

The interviews, conducted over a period of 22 years, filled 36 hours of tape or 924 pages of text. Thirty hours of the interviews were shot on video. A wide range of subjects are covered such as McCall's life as an orphan growing up in the Masonic Home, his FBI training, the Baylor football program, the separation of Baylor College of Medicine from the university and many others. The interviews took place between 1972 and 1994.

"The interviews were done in fits and starts," said Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Institute for Oral History. "It was easier to interview Judge McCall after he retired.

"The transcripts are delightful - they sound just like Abner McCall. Then when you listen to the tapes or watch the video you say 'That's the judge we all remember.'"

Part of the interviews dealt with controversies that took place at Baylor while McCall was president. Sharpless said that McCall was very candid in discussing various issues such as the Playboy controversy, the resignation of Paul Baker, and fundamentalist attacks on Baylor. However, what stands out to Sharpless are the colorful stories McCall recounted during the interviews.

"Judge McCall had a marvelous ability to tell stories and had a wonderful memory," said Sharpless.

The Institute for Oral History previously had conducted interviews with former Baylor presidents, W.R. White and Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds. Anyone interested in accessing the McCall interviews can do so in the reading room of the Texas Collection in Carroll Library.

For more information, contact the Institute for Oral History at 755-3437.

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