Special Collections

Archived Exhibits

Current exhibits may be found at exhibits.tcu.edu. Older archived exhibits are below.

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In the Beginning: the First Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 1962

That Van Cliburn, a 24-year-old American, won the first Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War, was unlikely enough. Still more unlikely was the siting of a new international piano competition in Fort Worth, Texas - a town known for cowboys and cattle. Yet it happened, and over the years the Van Cliburn became known as one of the world's foremost piano competitions. In the Beginning features materials from the Van Cliburn Piano Competition Archive at Texas Christian University, a repository created in 1991. Selections from among scarce 1962 materials highlight the roles of Van Cliburn and others in establishing and shaping the competition; events before, during, and after the first competition, and the competition's successes.

In all of sports, there's only one Horned Frog!

In 1897, TCU students and school officials adopted "Horned Frog" as the title for the student yearbook, and the lizard was soon embraced as the school mascot. The original Frog mascot made its debut at the opening game of the 1949 football season. The TCU student body had repeatedly called for a mascot that could actually participate in half-time activities during football games. The Daily Skiff reported that the new costume would be "complete with horns, scales, and ridges," with "space inside for a human being." The original mascot, a six-foot tall purple creature known as "Addie the Fighting Frog," was named after Addison Clark, Jr., who promoted intercollegiate athletics during the early years of the University.

The Bell Family Papers

Let me introduce you to the one and only Bell Vaudeville, an artistic company of thirteen siblings and their husbands, wives, and children. In the first decades of the twentieth century, the Bell Brothers toured the European and American continents with their variety show. Of Anglo-Spanish ancestry, but Mexicans at heart, the Bells were the artistic heirs of Richard Bell, the most famous clown in Mexican history. The Bell Family collection tells the saga of this family from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

Campus Views from 1928

A selection of photographs of the TCU campus in 1928.

When Skies Were Young

Nowhere is Americans' love for technology in the first half of the twentieth century more obvious than in the books they give their children. Between 1900 and 1950, over eighty technically oriented series, comprising over six hundred volumes, were available to readers (girls as well as boys) between the ages of 10 and 16. These include such titles as The Motor Boys (1906-1921), The Radio Boys (1922-30), and the greatest of them all, the Tom Swift stories (1910-35). All of them give their readers a picture of a society in which young persons, at home with various aspects of technology, use that technology to make their way in the world.