Texas Collection features author, homecoming

The Texas Collection features exhibits showcasing the artistic talents of Texans, including James P. Bevill and his new book “The Paper Republic” which discusses the financial aspects of Texan history.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor

By Jessica Foreman

James P. Bevill, author of “The Paper Republic,” will explain the importance of economic factors in shaping Texas history to Baylor students Thursday in a lecture hosted by The Texas Collection. “The Paper Republic” tells the story of Texas’ initial beginnings from a different perspective, highlighting how money and credit played a huge role in Texas’ sovereignty and its annexation to the United States. Bevill will speak at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.

“Mr. Bevill will also highlight the eerie similarities between the debt crisis in our headlines today and the similar issues that faced leaders of the republic of Texas,” John Wilson, director of the Texas Collection at Baylor University, said in a YouTube video inviting viewers to attend the upcoming exhibits.

Bevill’s award-winning book “The Paper Republic,” tells of the monetary struggles Texas’ founders encountered and answers questions about financing the Revolution, an early credit system based on informal agreements, and the ultimate surrender of Texas to the United States.

“The Paper Republic” was named the 2009 winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts Literary Award by the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and in August 2010, it received the Best Specialized Book on U.S. Paper Money by the Numismatic Literary Guild at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Boston.

There will be a book signing, a time for questions and a reception following Mr. Bevill’s presentation.

Another important feature up and coming within the Texas Collection is the “Baylor Homecoming Traditions” exhibit. The exhibit, put together by Ann Payne, library associate for the Texas Collection and 2011 bachelor’s graduate, and Robin Bischof, archives associate for the Texas Collection and 2011 master’s graduate, will feature several treasured Baylor artifacts from semesters’ past.

“The whole goal of the exhibit is to showcase what this university has, which is a lot,” Payne said. “Basically to instill a sense of heritage in the students that come to view this exhibit and to see where we’ve been.”

“We have a lot of older alumni come through and they’re just kind of looking for a feeling of nostalgia, and seeing this takes them back,” Payne said.

The main exhibit will showcase a shoulder mount from Baylor’s first bear to live on campus, Joe College. The bear was originally a circus bear from Waco’s Cotton Palace Zoo. During the Depression Era, Joe was transported to live on the university’s campus, where Payne said he became the first of many mascots and the bear responsible for the provoking the initial “sic ’em.”

The exhibit, which composed of three sections, will also feature pictures of past Baylor bears, old slime caps, letter jackets, pennants that hung on campus, the first Baylor homecoming football from 1909 and original sheet music of past university fight-songs.

The homecoming exhibit will be available next week. The Texas Collection staff encourages students, parents, alumni and anyone interested to stop by.