Baylor Founders' Exhibit Celebrates Baptist Heritage

January 15, 2009

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

The history of Baylor University is strongly rooted in the history of Baptist heritage. As part of the Baptist 400 Celebration, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Baptists, the Baylor University Libraries will host the Baylor Founders' Exhibit beginning Monday, Jan. 5, through Friday, Feb. 27. The exhibit will be held in the Allbritton Foyer of Moody Memorial Library on the Baylor campus.

The exhibit will concentrate on the early years of Baylor, founded by Baptist pioneers and chartered by the Republic of Texas on Feb. 1, 1845. Portraits of James Huckins, one of the university's founders; Henry Gillett, one of the first lecturers; and Henry L. Graves, the first president, will be among the many artifacts displayed.

Central to the exhibit is the recently restored Henry McArdle portrait of another Baylor founder, Judge R.E.B. Baylor, and the bell from the original campus in Independence. The portrait will be officially unveiled at a reception held at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Library foyer.

Other artifacts in the exhibit include Baylor's second president, Rufus Burleson's, watch fob, a candle mold, clock, bell jar, vacuum pump and chest made from the wood of several area structures. All the artifacts displayed belong to Baylor and are part of Mayborn Museum's collection.

"Baylor owes its founding to Baptist leaders who believed strongly in education," said Kathy Hillman, director of special collections for the University Central Libraries. "As the largest Baptist university in the world, Baylor has played a significant role in Baptist history in Texas and continues to do so."

The library wanted to mount an exhibit that tied Baylor's founding and the 400th anniversary of Baptists together. Hillman said she hopes that visitors will experience a sense of connection to the founders that brought the university into existence.

For more information on the exhibit, contact Kathy Hillman at (254) 710-6684.

The Baptist 400 Celebration will continue over the next year with a variety of conferences, lectures, exhibits and performances on the Baylor Campus. For more information on the celebration, visit