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East Texas Normal College Collection

Identifier: 2008.197-B

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of six series documenting the history of East Texas Normal College: Series I. Alumni and former students, Series II. College documents (non-published), Series III. Faculty, Series IV. Photographs, Series V. Publications, and Series VI. Student materials. Series I. consists of an alphabetical directory and newspaper. Series II. consists of a charter, exhibition captions, manuscripts, and a telegram. Series III. consists of an alphabetical directory and a file on an individual faculty member. Series IV. consists of photographs and negatives. Series V. consists of booklets, catalogs, flyers, invitations, newsletters, newspapers, postcards, programs, and a student directory. Series VI. consists of an autographs album, class enrollment card, diplomas, grade reports, letters, letters of recommendation, notes, notebooks, a receipt, a scholarship, and a term final, in addition to materials relating to the Lightfoot Society and W. L. Mayo Literary Club.


  • Creation: 1889-1990, undated

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

East Texas Normal College (ETNC) was the name of the university now known as Texas A&M University–Commerce from its foundation as a private normal college in 1889 to its acquisition by the State of Texas in 1917. It was founded in Cooper by Kentucky native William L. Mayo, who served as its president from its foundation until his death in 1917. It moved to Commerce after its original campus burned down in 1894. A popular school for active teachers seeking state certification or recertification, it was largely shaped by Mayo's own personal beliefs about education, which focused on participation and hands-on learning instead of memorization or rote learning.

ETNC's relative success during this period led to rivalry with other nearby colleges such as T. Henry Bridges' Henry College in Campbell, a 1904 attempt by Denison to entice Mayo to relocate the college there for a considerable amount of financial aid, and praise from perhaps its most famous alumnus, future Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sam Rayburn. By the time the 35th Texas Legislature voted to buy the college in 1917, it had educated more than 30,000 students, including more public school teachers than any other college or university in Texas during the same period.


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Language of Materials



All materials ordered first alphabetically by topic and then chronologically.

Separated Materials

Originally interfiled with the other materials from the ETNC and W.L. Mayo Artificial Collection (2008.197), which have been removed into seven separate collections: the Mayo Family Collection (2008.197-A), East Texas State Normal College Collection (2008.197-C), East Texas State Teachers College Collection (2008.197-D), East Texas State University History Collection (2008.197-E), Mayo Memorial Collection (2008.197-F), Northeast Texas Church History Collection (2008.197-G), and Commerce Independent School District Collection (2008.197-H).

East Texas Normal College Collection
Michael Barera
July 17, 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives, Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository