Wednesday, June 11, 2008

UMHB Then and Later

I'm not the only nut out there. For some time I have been purchasing items on EBAY that pertain to the early history of my alma mater, Mary Hardin-Baylor College (now University). I have a nice collection of early 1920s-1930s yearbooks, a scrapbook that belonged to a student in the 1920s, and assorted ephemera dating to the same general era.

Earlier this week a postcard came on the auction block - a photo of the ruins of the female dormitory at the original site of Baylor at Independence. (For those who have not grown in the collegiate family, Baylor originated at Independence with the boys college on one hill and the girls college on another. Baylor moved to Waco and Baylor Female College moved to Belton, later to become Mary Hardin-Baylor College.) My monetary limit on historic postcards was surpassed almost immediately, so I resigned myself to losing out on this piece of history. I was fortunate that the seller had not watermarked the picture, so I grabbed a copy for my records and then watched the bidding war progress.

The auction ended last night and the winner paid $100 for this postcard.

What is unique and desirable about this postcard is that the building itself no longer exists. You can tell that even at the time of this photo the building was in ruins. Now only the columns have remained to mark the spot and have been stabilized so that we children of Mary Hardin-Baylor can make the pilgrimage to have our photos taken there. This photo of me was taken in the mid-1980s on a trip my mother and I made to the hallowed grounds. (Notice the ubiquitous dog in my lap. This was Missy, about the third of our long line of little dog dictators.)

Back when I was a student at MHB, the college would organize a trip every fall for the freshmen to make the journey to Independence to visit the birthplace of our school. Independence also happens to have historic connections to Sam Houston, so a program would be given at the church where Sam Houston was a member, we would visit the museum and we would have a picnic on the grounds near the college ruins. It was common for the upperclassmen and some of the teachers to join the freshmen on this annual jaunt. We all felt a real connection to this pile of stones.

The person who won the auction has a buying history that indicates his or her interest is in the history of the Brenham area. I hope the person also has a connection to Baylor, because he/she beat out about 6 other interested folks and who knows how many of us who never had a chance to participate. I'm not the only one who cares about the history of Baylor Female College.

So far as the personal family history goes, in addition to myself, Mary Hardin-Baylor was the college home to my mother Nettie, my aunt Bettye, my great-aunt Fay, my 1st cousin once-removed Jo, my 4th cousin Maxine, and assorted Huddleston kinfolk. My Baylor connections run deep. Long live MHB.


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