Visit 1912 Time Capsule Display at Cushing Library

Marketing and Communications | May 12, 2011

A time capsule containing important remnants of early 20th century Texas A&M University history is on display at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. The time capsule was discovered March 28, 2011 when stonemasons from Watson Signs and Monuments were working to renovate the YMCA building on campus. Encased in a cornerstone on the southeast side of the building, the time capsule’s contents were found inside a copper box (measuring 4 ½” x 5” x 10”).

Contents of 1912 YMCA Time Capsule

The capsule contained a 1911-1912 Annual Catalogue, a 1912 student handbook, an article on the groundbreaking of the YMCA building from The Battalion, pieces of a document that lists YMCA officers and YMCA bylaws, and a list of the class of 1914.

Although the YMCA thrived for many years without a building, the organization became the center of campus life for the young men of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas once the building was constructed. At the time, the YMCA building was viewed as one of the most beautiful buildings on campus. Among the many donors was Colonel E.B. Cushing, after whom the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives was named; John D. Rockefeller matched donations raised for the building.

“The cornerstone was a gift of the class of 1914. This class also put together the capsule and placed it in the cornerstone sometime in 1912. These items were discovered when the stonemason was cutting the cornerstone to be reused in the new west wing of the YMCA,” explained Mary Manning, assistant university archivist.

The time capsule would have gone undiscovered, except the cornerstone needed refitting around a building support column. The stonecutter’s blade sliced through one of the long sides of the box when cutting through the stone.

“Fortunately, the construction crew extricated this valuable artifact with only minimal damage to the materials inside the box,” Manning added.

Cushing Memorial Library and Archives is cleaning and preserving the materials, which includes piecing together a document containing YMCA officers and bylaws (a typed document that is now in pieces). The materials are extremely fragile—having baked in the Texas heat for close to one hundred years and requiring special preservation treatment to keep them available for generations to come.

The time capsule materials are on display  in the Mayo-Thomas Room on the first floor of the Cushing Library.

For more information about the time capsule, contact Mary Manning at 979-845-1951 or mmanning@tamu.edu.