Category Archives: TCU history
Special Collections recently completed a project to digitize the TCU Horned Frog yearbooks dating from 1905 through 1999 and make them available in its online repository. Special Collections and Library staff worked with Lyrasis Digitization Collaborative to scan the yearbooks. Each volume can be downloaded or viewed online by users.
The TCU Horned Frog yearbook was first published in 1895 and has been published annually since 1905 with a few exceptions. No yearbook was published in 1910, the year of the Waco fire. In 1974, the Horned Frog folded due to lack of student support and funding. Image magazine was created in the 1973-1974 school year as a magazine to replace the yearbook and continues as a magazine today. The yearbook came back briefly in 1978 and 1979. From 1983 through 1985 TCU published The Feature, a magazine-like volume that covered the major events and organizations of the university, but did not include individual pictures of students. The Horned Frog resumed regular publication in 1986.
Yearbooks published earlier than 1905 will be digitized in-house and added to the repository. A complete collection of TCU yearbooks from 1895 through 2015 can be viewed in our reading room.
Special Collections is pleased to announce that Commencement Programs dating from 1891 through 2015 are now available through the TCU Digital Repository. These programs are frequently requested by researchers and document where and when the ceremonies were held, the names of graduates and degrees awarded, honored speakers, and more.
Commencement ceremonies were held once a year until 1924. Beginning in 1925, two ceremonies were held, a Spring commencement in late May or early June, and a Summer commencement held in August. This tradition continued until 1990, when Spring and Winter commencements were held in May and December, respectively. During World War II the university shifted to a trimester program with shorter courses held in between. This allowed students in the V-5 and V-12 programs to fit more courses into their schedule, graduate earlier, and become commissioned officers. As a result, four graduation ceremonies were held each year in 1944 and 1945. After the war, regular semesters and graduations resumed.
Commencement exercises have been held in a variety of locations across the campus, including the former Administration Building (now Dave C. Reed Hall), campus lawns, Ed Landreth Auditorium, Amon Carter Stadium, and Daniel Meyer Coliseum. In recent years, commencement has been held at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
TCU has hosted many notable commencement speakers including the presidents of UT, Texas A&M, SMU, Baylor, Texas governors, congressmen, mayors, and journalists. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave the commencement address.
We are excited to make this collection widely available to our researchers and the TCU community.
Allison Kirchner contributed to this article.
In honor of Veterans’ Day, Special Collections would like to highlight two special military programs in TCU’s history.
During WW II, the U.S. War Department looked to colleges and universities around the country to meet the high demand for officer candidates needed by the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. TCU was selected to host both the V-5 Naval Aviation Training Program and V-12 Navy College Training Program.
In 1943, a Naval detachment came to TCU and lived in Jarvis Hall as part of the V-5 elementary pilot training program. The V-5 program continued at TCU until 1944.
In July of 1943, V-12 students began to move into Clark Hall, which was renamed U.S.S. Clark Hall. The V-12 students were required to dress in their Navy uniform at all times and kept a rigorous schedule of classes and training. “V-12 students will begin their day at 6 a.m. (0600); “chow” will be served at 7:15 a.m. (0715), 12 noon (1200) and 6 p.m. (1800). Lights out at 10 p.m. (2200).” (The Skiff, July 9, 1943) Despite their academic and service obligations, V-12 students could freely participate in student activities and joined clubs, played sports, and held student government positions.
The V-12 students chose from two majors: basic training, leading to a commission as a deck officer, or pre-med. The V-12 students took most of their classes with civilian students with a focus on physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology, American history, American government, and English. Classes in Naval History, Engineering Drawing, and Celestial Navigation were offered to V-12 students only. In October 1943, the Navy also selected Brite College of the Bible to train V-12 men as Chaplains. The first TCU V-12 graduates were commissioned in 1944 after graduating from Midshipman School at Northwestern University.
As the war was winding down, in August of 1945, the Navy decided to end the V-12 program at TCU. Over 28 months, the program trained 754 men and one woman, Yeoman Camille Yater, and most received commissions as deck officers. Some became supply trainees or went into pre-aviation programs and others continued on to medical school. At a farewell dress parade , Lt. Commander Michael Schmidt awarded TCU with a “Mark of Commendation” from the U.S. Navy Department, stating, “the Navy is very appreciative of the fine work TCU has done in its officer training program through the V-12 unit.”
More information about theV-5 and V-12 programs can be found in Special Collections.
The Skiff, October 22, 1943; December 3, 1943; January 28, 1944; March 24, 1944; August 3, 1945; October 12 and 26, 1945
The History of Texas Christian University by Colby Hall, 1947, pp. 299-303.
The records of the Bryson Club are now available in TCU Special Collections. The English department formed the Bryson Club in 1923 in memory of Walter Buxton Bryson, who chaired the department from 1917 until his death in 1922. Professors Mabel Major and Rebecca Smith Lee became the club’s first faculty advisors. In 1933, Lorraine Sherley took over as advisor, guiding the club for over 50 years until her death in 1984. In 1981, Ernest Allen became co-advisor, and donated the club’s records to TCU prior to his death in 2007. The club invited juniors and seniors with a 3.0 G.P.A or higher to join, and hosted bi-monthly meetings in which students submitted and read manuscripts, plays, poems, essays, or short stories. Beginning in 1935, the club extended invitations to upperclassmen other than English majors. In 1938, the club established a scholarship fund to assist qualified members.
The club crest was the Bryson Buxton shield. It bore a Horned Frog and three stars signifying social and physical health, scholarship, and leadership. The club colors were white, blue, and gold. The club’s motto was “Do it with thy might.”
The records include documentation on club membership, meetings, finances, and the organizational constitution. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, artifacts, guest books and photographs of meetings, initiations, and parties are also in the collection.
The club still exists today as the Bryson Literary Society.