The National College Baseball Hall of Fame and the Southwest Collection – 2014 Edition!

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Since 2004 the Southwest Collection (SWC) has served as repository for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame (NCBHoF) on behalf of the College Baseball Foundation. We’ve been fortunate to receive a host of items documenting the event as well as the history of college baseball, from scrapbooks, photographs, and videos to media guides and artifacts. Recent donations include ball caps, bats, uniforms, and even cleats. Perhaps most impressive, the SWC downloads and archives nearly 700 emails per day during each baseball season from over 200 Division I and other schools. We’re an incredibly fortunate archive! William Clarence Matthews

As we mentioned last year, recording oral histories with Hall of Fame inductees, as well as current NCAA baseball award winners who also attend the event, are another method through which the SWC preserves the history of college baseball. To date, nearly 100 oral histories have been conducted with players and their families. The Southwest Collection is proud to claim these as part of its massive oral history collection currently comprised of thousands of interviews, with new additions every month.

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The 2014 Hall of Fame induction festivities will start early Friday, June 27th and run through late Saturday evening. This year will see the induction of seven new members:

  • Bill Bordley of the University of Southern California
  • Alex Fernandez of the University of Miami and Miami-Dade South CC
  • Mike Fiore of the University of Miami
  • Demie Mainieri, coach of Miami-Dade North CC
  • William Clarence Matthews of Tuskegee Institute and Harvard University (seen above in turn of the century gear!)
  • Gene Stephenson, coach at Wichita State University
  • Mickey Sullivan, former outfielder and coach at Baylor University

Hall of Famers’ careers are not the only ones celebrated. College baseball’s finest young athletes received awards for their on-the-field excellence. The 2014 season’s award winners are will be announced at the nationally-televised Night of Champions dinner on Saturday evening, but can also be found on their website for those who can’t attend. They and the Hall of Famers will enjoy the finest hospitality that the Southwest Collection and Lubbock, Texas have to offer. In fact, each year, both the Hall of Famers and the award winners heap praise on the commemorative posters and baseball cards produced by the Southwest Collection’s exhibit preparator Lynn Stoll. These items highlight the biography and always-impressive stats of each of the 2014 award winners.

Participation in the National College Baseball Hall of Fame festivities is but one of many ways in which the Southwest Collection preserves and makes available all aspects of sports history. Prominent among its many other sports-related collections are the records of the former Southwest Conference, the Big XII Conference, and the few remaining records of the former Big 8 Conference. For more information about the SWC’s sports and other collections please contact our Reference Staff who would be happy to guide you through them.

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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s Quarterly Meeting Hosted at the SWC!

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Two weeks ago we wrote about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission’s (THGC) exhibit “Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide.” The Southwest Collection is proud to host the exhibit from October 3rd through November 7th, and is equally excited to announce that we are also hosting the THGC’s Quarterly Meeting on October 24th and 25th!

If you don’t know about the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission already, here’s their story. The THGC was established by the Texas Senate to ensure that resources are available to students, educators, and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. Education is not its only goal. Imbuing individuals with a sense of responsibility to uphold human value, especially in the face of genocidal travesty, is also one of its primary aims. The Commission also facilitates recognition of the horrors of genocide, as well as the people who strove instead to preserve human sanctity throughout these tragedies.

An excellent example of this is the Texas Liberators Oral Histories project. Oral history programs are present in many archives, including the Southwest Collection, but the THGC’s is particularly poignant. Conducted in conjunction with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, this project gathered oral histories from several Texas World War II veterans in order to celebrate their service and their efforts to free survivors of concentration camps. This project not only furthered the THGC’s educational mission, but also preserves in perpetuity the personal stories that recall atrocities of the Holocaust. Even better: these aren’t simply transcripts or audio recordings that patrons must request from an archive. Many were videoed and have been made available online!

One of the best examples the interviews they conducted is this conversation with a Dachau liberator. This Mauthausen liberator’s interview and this second Dauchau-related oral history are incredible as well.

Finally, the THGC worked with the Texas legislature to set aside the month of April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. In their words: “genocides begin when intolerant and hateful individuals dehumanize others in a society by putting them into separate and unequal classes and deliberately harming them.  Genocides in the last two decades have emphasized the pertinence of this issue, and the threat of further atrocities remains alive in the world today.” The THGC not only wants to share the stories of the past, but ensure that the world prevent such tragedies in the future.

Those interested in finding out more about the THGC, their many projects, or their Quarterly Meeting at Texas Tech University, should contact them at (512) 463-8815 or via their website. As always, we at the SWC are always happy to answer any questions as well.

-by Robert Weaver, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and the Texas Historical Commission

It’s Football Season: Time to Read about the Southwest Athletic Conference Records!

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These figurines are actually whiskey bottles molded to resemble the mascots of former Southwest Athletic Conference schools. From left to right: back row: the University of Texas Longhorns, Southern Methodist University Mustangs, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. Center row: Rice University Owls, University of Arkansas Razorbacks, and Baylor University Bears. Front row: University of Houston Cougars and Texas Tech University Red Raiders.>

NCAA universities throughout the U.S. are now deep into 2013’s football season. The Southwest Collection has close ties with this yearly phenomenon, as well as all other NCAA sports, by virtue of being the archive of record for the now-disbanded Southwest Athletic Conference (SWC). Former SWC teams now populate the Big 12 Conference, Southeastern Conference, and others.

On May 6, 1914, several universities’ representatives met to discuss the future of regional sports among local schools. Baylor University, Southwestern University, Texas A&M College, Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), Louisiana State University, the University of Texas, and the University of Arkansas participated. That December, representatives from the Rice Institute (now Rice University) and the University of Oklahoma also met with the group at the Rice Hotel in Houston. With the exception of Louisiana State, all participants became charter members of the Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

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The Southwest Conference Records contains programs and pre-season guides for all sports. Most numerous are football Roster & Record books like these.

The SWC saw ten universities join or leave their league during its over 80 year run. Rice left for a short spell from 1916-1917. Southern Methodist University joined in 1918, Texas Christian University hopped on in 1923, Texas Tech University joined in 1958, and the University of Houston signed up in 1972. Southwestern left in 1917, Oklahoma dropped out in 1920, Oklahoma A&M departed in 1926, and the University of Arkansas left in 1991. For one year, 1920, Phillips University of Enid, Oklahoma, was a member of the conference.

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Southwest Conference football teams have appeared in numerous bowls, most frequently the Cotton Bowl. Above are commemorative artifacts from some of those games, most notably a clock celebrating 1988 Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and Notre Dame.>

It was not until 1938 that the SWC would elect an Executive Secretary (later renamed Commissioner in 1982.) Dr. P. W. St. Clair served from 1938-1945 as a part-time employee. Others who served were the following: James H. Stewart (1945-1950), Howard Grubbs (1950-1973), Cliff Speegle (1973-1982), Fred Jacoby (1982-1993), Steve Hatchell (1993-1995), and finally Kyle Kallander (1995-1996).

The Southwest Conference also spawned such sports legends as Carl Lewis (track), Doak Walker (football), Sheryl Swoopes (women’s basketball), Darrell Royal (football, coach), Teddy Lyons (baseball), Earl Campbell (football), and Andre Ware (football) to name only a few.

So what SWC records does the Southwest Collection have? Over 300 linear feet of material! There are boxes full of day-to-day business records such correspondence, memoranda, financial materials, and memorabilia. Among its copious printed material are media guides, game programs, news clippings, and record books from each of the member universities. But that’s not all: included are 343 sound recordings, 854 video tapes, 10 reels of microfilm, 538 oversized items, and 12 linear feet of photographic material. Oral histories of numerous individuals involved with the Conference are also available.

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This is the memo sent to all Southwest Athletic Conference university presidents regarding the dissolution of the Conference 1996.

Sadly, on June 30, 1996, the Southwest Athletic Conference disbanded. Its teams departed for other conferences such as the Big 12…the records of which the Southwest Collection also houses!

But that’s a story for a future blog…

By Robert Weaver
Photos by John Perrin