Sketches of Old kaylor
C. C. JEFFRIES
THE sun shone bright on old Baylor. Like an enchantment,
its radiance has come floating down the years, and those
who felt its touch deem themselves as favored of the gods.
I was not there long, just went in at one door and out of the
other; but that little time was sufficient to bring me under its
spell, and many of the things I saw and heard and took part in
have remained indelibly on my memory.
The term "Old Baylor," as commonly used, connotes the time
of the institution's earliest history when it was at Independence.
In this paper, however, it has reference to a later date, specifically
the school year 1896-1897, the end of the regime of Rufus C.
Burleson; from that date, the school's history began a new era.
Baylor for some time had been steadily declining in numbers.
till in 1896 the enrollment was down to less than five hundred,
and nearly three-fourths of these students were in the preparatory
department. Although reduced in numbers, its spirit was not in
the least weakened. Its smallness only welded it into a more com-
pact fraternal body and made for a fiercer patriotism. And speak-
ing a little extravagantly, there was not one within its compass,
from president to janitor, who would not have shed his blood in
The field of Baylor's operation was out of all proportion to,
its size. In addition to the regular literary side, there were several
other features of a secondary nature of scarcely less importance.
Probably the most noted of these was the school of music, which
was perhaps the best of its kind in the state. The girl who had a
diploma from Baylor in voice or piano truly had an endowment.
Then there was the school oratory; and the long line of high-
order speakers who came out of it, including S. P. Brooks, Pat
Neff, and Tom Connally, attest to its excellence. The military
department was not large; probably not half the boys of the
school were enrolled in it; but such was its thoroughness that
when the government inspector examined the cadet companies,
that spring, whether or not in flattery, he pronounced them the-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed April 21, 2014.