Texas Collection in top 20 worldwide

The Texas Collection Exhibit in Carroll Library. Sarah George | Lariat Photographer
The Texas Collection Exhibit in Carroll Library.
Sarah George | Lariat Photographer

By Amando Dominick

Staff Writer

Baylor’s library system has garnered international attention for its hard work in preserving Texas history and culture.

“The Top 20 Most Impressive University Special Collections,” an article produced by The Online Education Database, ranked Baylor’s Texas Collection as no. 11 internationally. The Online Education Database is a website that helps students find education programs to fulfill their academic and career objectives.

This ranking places Baylor’s special collection among those from universities such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Tulane and Johns Hopkins. The article describes American history as a painting, with Texas history as a large, crucial splatter on the canvas.

The Texas Collection, an archive of materials that chronicle the history and culture of Texas, is Baylor’s oldest special collections library and is located in the Carroll Library building

“Our mission is pretty clear: We collect preserve and provide access to materials about Texas. And it’s not only print materials, it’s an enormous print collection, but it’s maps, photographs, archival collections and newspapers about Texas as well,” said John Wilson, director of the Texas Collection.

Although the Texas Collection is not first on the list, Wilson said he believes Baylor’s collection is different than the other universities’.

“For us, we’re only interested in Texana in all of its forms, and we have been for 89 years,” he said.

The Texas Collection features information on many features of Texas events, occurrences and people, but Wilson said the collection’s archive on Waco native and Baylor alumnus Leon Jaworski helps to set the collection apart.

“He was the special prosecutor for the U.S. government that brought down President Richard Nixon. He was also a prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials in World War II, prosecuting Nazi war criminals. The archives include newspaper clippings, government documents and even his memos about the cases he was working on,” Wilson said.

Baylor also features prominently in the collection. Wilson said Baylor has important ties in Texas history, and proof of it can be found in the tremendous amounts of information that the Texas Collection houses concerning the university.

Wilson said Baylor, the oldest university in Texas, used to be located in Independence where Sam Houston initiated the revolution that brought Texas into the United States.

Not only was Baylor in the center of the revolution, but six of Sam Houston’s seven children attended Baylor, Wilson said.

“It’s a pretty amazing collection,” Wilson said.

Amanda Norman, Baylor’s university archivist, said she is thrilled to see that the Texas Collection made the international list.

“It really reinforces the good work that the Baylor libraries and archives have been doing,” Norman said.

Wilson said he believes the international attention benefits the entire university.

“I think it adds a prestige to the university and to the research mission, as well as the teaching mission. It certainly brings attention to the university library system in a very positive way,” he said.

The Armstrong Browning Library, located at 710 Speight Ave., was also mentioned in the article as “another Baylor highlight.”

The Armstrong Browning Library features the world’s largest collection of materials related to Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in addition to other 19th century works of art.

Several websites, including FlavorWire and CampusGrotto, which critique culture and college campuses respectively, have listed the Armstrong Browning Library as one of the 50 most beautiful college libraries in the world.

“We hope that all of the exposure attracts more students to come learn about the history of Texas,” Wilson said.