About Waco History

Waco History is a joint venture by two programs at Baylor University, the Institute for Oral History and The Texas Collection. The Institute for Oral History houses the work of Waco History, identifying sites, supervising the creation of entries, and coordinating public partnerships for the project. Their collection of over 6,000 oral history enrich Waco History’s audio and video content. The Texas Collection shares its significant holdings on local history, heritage, and culture here. In particular, The Texas Collection's wealth of historic images of Waco and McLennan County provide Waco History's visual elements.

The Waco History team includes:

  • Prisca Bird
  • Anabel Burke
  • Michelle Holland
  • Ella Hadacek
  • Geoff Hunt
  • Sarah Miller
  • Skylar Ray
  • Amanda Sawyer
  • Steven Sielaff
  • Stephen Sloan
  • Regina Wenger
  • John Wilson
  • Ashley Yeaman

About the Institute for Oral History

The program for oral history was established in 1970 by a group of interested faculty members who recognized a shift in the historical profession, with increasing emphasis on nontraditional history. Our program has grown tremendously over the last few decades. We work to create oral history memoirs by preserving a sound recording and transcript of interviews with individuals who are eyewitnesses to history.

The Institute for Oral History is a freestanding research department within Baylor University's Division of Academic Affairs. Our oral history memoirs assist scholars whose research covers such specialized areas as religion and culture, civil rights, music and theater, historic preservation, rural life, and women's studies, as well as selected topics in economics, law, education, and politics. In addition, our oral history collection provides essential information for research in historical topics concerning Baylor University, Texas Baptists, Hispanic Baptists, and Waco and McLennan County, Texas. Currently the collection of the Institute for Oral History includes over 6,00 interviews.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History is to foster a deepening understanding of the past by collecting, preserving, and sharing the historically significant memories of individuals according to the highest ethical and professional standards, to work with scholars across disciplines to design and execute innovative research projects, to equipment community groups in their oral history endeavors, and to mentor students in the interdisciplinary field of oral history.

About the Texas Collection

In 1923, Dr. Kenneth Hazen Aynesworth, a local surgeon, presented to Baylor University more than one thousand volumes of Texana and did the same in 1924. At the time of the first gift Dr. Aynesworth stated,

“I am fully aware of two facts, that Texas is as rich in historical material… as any state in the United States, and that this material must be collected… if the culture of the past is to have a meaning for the present and future generations. I cheerfully donate this collection with the hope that the coming years may reveal a saner culture and a happier life because of the spread of knowledge of the history of our great state.”

From this philanthropic start The Texas Collection has expanded to become a major research center whose holdings on Texas and its contiguous regions are among the strongest in the nation. In addition to Texana, The Texas Collection has significant resources on the city of Waco and McLennan County.

Mission Statement

Established in 1923, The Texas Collection is a special library, archival research center, and the University Archive that collects, preserves, and provides access to materials documenting the history, heritage and culture of Texas for the Baylor community and the public.

We achieve our mission by:

  • Selecting materials from a broad spectrum of disciplines as they meet the collection management criteria policy;
  • Serving extensive constituencies by providing research fellowships, public outreach, publications and symposia, and supporting historic preservation locally and in Baylor’s birthplace in Independence, Texas.

Core Values: The Texas Collection strives to provide:

  • Exceptional patron service
  • Outstanding collections of enduring value
  • Innovative and useful technology for patron use

The combined holdings for The Texas Collection are:

  • 170,000 print volumes
  • 3,000 journal titles
  • 2 million photographs, negatives, and digital images
  • 15,000 maps
  • 23,000 vertical files
  • 2,500 manuscript collections

Privacy Policy

Baylor University, the Institute for Oral History, and The Texas Collection jointly operates the Waco History website and app. Whenever you use Waco History, we collect basic information that your browser or device sends to us that is called Log Data. This Log Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, browser or device version, content that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, and other statistics, including your location (if you have given us permission to do so, e.g. by enabling location services in your browser or device). We use this information only to provide core functionality and do not collect personally identifiable information for marketing or any other purpose. On the website – but not in the mobile apps – Waco History shares some collected information with Google for the purpose of analyzing general usage patterns. Google's terms and policies are available here. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding our Privacy Policy, please contact us.