Baylor University, the Texas Collection

[Waco] Branch Davidians: William Smith Collection, Inclusive: 1984-1998, undated, Bulk: 1993-1995



Collection Summary

Creator Branch Davidians
Title [Waco] Branch Davidians: William Smith Collection
Dates: Inclusive: 1984-1998, undated, Bulk: 1993-1995
Abstract The [Waco] Branch Davidians: William Smith Collection consists of materials collected by William Smith concerning the Branch Davidians. This collection includes personal correspondence, photographs, negatives, pamphlets, books, legal documents, video tapes, audio recordings, and periodicals having to do with the sect. Smith devoted most of his attention to the nationally-publicized siege in 1993 as well as the public’s reaction to both the violence and the subsequent court hearings in 1994-1995.
Quantity: 6 document boxes and 5 oversized boxes.
Language of the Material English
Repository Baylor University, The Texas Collection

Biography/Profile

The Branch Davidians were the offspring of a reform movement that originated within the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Widespread controversy arose in the early 1930s when a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff claimed to have had personal revelations from God. Houteff published his views in his book entitled The Shepherd’s Rod (1932). The new Branch Davidian movement emphasized the need for the gift of prophecy among its leaders and believed that King David’s earthly kingdom would be re-established on earth prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Upon his official excommunication from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Houteff settled in Waco, Texas, and continued to teach his followers until his death in 1955.

The 1980s brought about division within the Branch Davidian sect. A newcomer named Vernon Howell joined the Branch in 1981. Three years later, a schism occurred within the Church, with Howell leading his own group of followers to a new site in Palestine, Texas. Through a series of confrontations between Howell and George Roden, control of the Branch Davidians’ headquarters in Waco passed to Howell who legally changed his name to David Koresh in 1990. Rumors concerning polygamy, abuse, and arms dealing within the Branch Davidian group aroused the suspicions of the federal government. Thus, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives began to monitor the group.

In response to a stockpiling of illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives secured a search warrant for the investigation of the Branch Davidians’ compound near Waco, Texas. From February 28th until April 19th, 1993, Branch Davidians under the leadership of David Koresh resisted federal agents’ attempts to storm Mount Carmel Center. The fifty-day siege ended when the compound erupted in flames, killing David Koresh and most of his followers.

William Smith was a local businessman who collected the documents in this collection concerning the Branch Davidian sect. He worked at Four Star Manufacturing Company in Waco, Texas. He was in constant correspondence with Pam Hawkins, founder of the Mount Carmel Independent Investigation Advocates and fellow sympathizer with the Branch Davidians. Following the Waco Siege of 1993, William Smith devoted his efforts to challenging the conscience of the general public. He was particularly critical of the law enforcement agencies that had resorted to violence against U.S. citizens, likening them to Nazi enforcers under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Smith’s concerns manifested themselves in political activism. His correspondence with federal legislators can be found in the first series of his collection. He donated much of his personal time and money to raising awareness about the Branch Davidians’ plight. He even served as the Organizing Chairman of the Mount Carmel Independent Investigative Committee which sought to hold the federal agencies accountable for their alleged crimes against American citizens. William Smith’s passion for the Branch Davidian controversy has led to the creation of substantial research collections which have been made available to the public thanks to Smith’s generous donations to The Texas Collection.


Scope and Content

The [Waco] Branch Davidians: William Smith Collection was acquired by gift in three separate transactions from private donor William Smith in 1994-1995, 1996, and January 1999. The chronology of the collection begins in 1984 with sermons written and preached by Branch Davidian leader David Koresh. It concludes in 1998 with an article located in Free American Newsmagazine. The following collection contains a wide range of primary and secondary source material including cassette tapes, video tapes, photographs, negatives, magazines, newspapers, books, personal correspondence, petitions, fliers, and legal briefs. Transcriptions and cassette tapes of the 911 calls made during the Siege of 1993 are present. The primary focus of the collection is on the general public’s reactions to the government’s handling of the situation and the violence that culminated in the deaths of nearly all the Branch Davidians who were living in the compound. Significant attention is also paid to the trials that surfaced in 1994-1995.


Arrangement

The [Waco] Branch Davidians: William Smith Collection is arranged into 5 series: I. Correspondence, II. Legal Documents, III. Literary Productions, IV. Photographic Materials, V. Audio Recordings.
Much of the general organization of the collection was maintained during the processing stage. The personal correspondence of William Smith was already set apart in its own folder. The rest of the series was gleaned out of other pre-existing folders. Many of the topics by which the previous archivist classified documents were maintained, especially the division of magazines and newspapers. Difficulty arose in dealing with the first box of the collection. While most of the folders were relatively narrow in focus, Smith created three general notebooks comprised of 120 random documents ranging from newspaper articles to legal documents. Due to the absence of a clear classification system, these notebooks were divided among pre-existing or newly created folders. The order of the video tapes and audio recordings remains unchanged. Both have been numbered sequentially across various boxes. The order of the boxes was maintained, but the boxes were renumbered for this finding aid.

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to The Texas Collection in writing. Please use the Request Form for Copying Materials sheet. Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator (s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Physical Description

General condition: Excellent.


Index Terms

Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Tex.
Seventh Day Adventists -- History.
Waco Branch Davidian Disaster, Tex., 1993.
Branch Davidians.
Koresh, David, 1959-1993.

Related Resources

Related references

Kerstetter, Todd. “‘That’s Just the American Way’: The Branch Davidian Tragedy and Western Religious History.” Western Historical Quarterly vol. 35, no. 4 (Winter 2004): pp. 453-471.
Lawson, Ronald. “Seventh-Day Adventist Responses to Branch Davidian Notoriety: Patterns of Diversity within a Sect Reducing Tension with Society.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion vol. 34, no. 3 (September 1995): pp. 323-341.
Rosenfeld Jean E., Mary Z. Stange, and Ivan Strenski. “Understanding Waco.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion vol. 62, no. 3 (Autumn 1994): pp. 919-946.
Wright, Stuart A. “A Decade after Waco: Reassessing Crisis Negotiations at Mount Carmel in Light of New Government Disclosures.” Nova Religio vol. 7, no. 2 (November 2003): pp. 101-110.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Waco] Branch Davidians: Joe Robert Collection, Accession #3194, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Acquisition Information

Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00

Processing Information

Described by Thomas DeShong. Released on 2013-06-17.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence 1993-1996, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00
box folder
1 1 William Smith 1993
2 William Smith 1994-1996
3 William Smith undated
4 Pam Hawkins Jan-Feb 1994
5 Pam Hawkins July 1994-1995
6 Larry Nichols and Don Tyson 1994
7 General 1993-1996, undated



Legal Documents 1993-1995

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00
box folder
1 8 Petitions: Folder 1 of 2 1994, undated
9 Petitions: Folder 2 of 2 undated
10 Search Warrant Feb 28, 1993
11 Brief: Paul Hall and Louis Beam, Jr. v US Apr 1993
12 Speech: Janet Reno Apr 28, 1993
13 Deposition: Stephen Higgins Apr 28, 1993
14 Brief: Gyarfas v US Sept 1993
15 Brief: US v Brad Branch May 1994
16 Brief: US v Jaime Castillo May 1994
17 Brief: Ferguson v Janet Reno Jan 1995
18 Brief: Brown et al. v US Feb 1995



Literary Productions 1993-1998, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00
box folder
1 19 Book: Ron Cole: Sinister Twilight 1993
20 Book: Ron Cole: Sinister Twilight 1994
21 Book: Ron Cole: Colorado First Light Infantry 1994
22 Book: Scott Cost: BATF Abuses in the U.S. 1994-1995
box folder
2 1 Book: Ken Fawcett: Blind Justice 1994
2 Book: David Kopel and Paul Blackman: The God Who Answers by Fire 1994
3 Book: Scott Michaels: Massacre at Mount Carmel undated
4 Book: Gordon Novel to David Hall 1994
5 Book: Gordon Novel to Cyril Wecht 1994
6 Book: James Quintiere and Frederick Mowrer: Fire Development Analysis: Folder 1 of 2 1993
7 Book: James Quintiere and Frederick Mowrer: Fire Development Analysis: Folder 2 of 2 1993
8 Periodicals: American Firearms Industry 1993-1994
9 Periodicals: American Rifleman 1993-1996
10 Periodicals: EIR 1993-1994
11 Periodicals: First Things May 1995
12 Periodicals: Free American Newsmagazine Jan 1998
13 Periodicals: Gun News Digest 1995
14 Periodicals: Media Bypass 1994
15 Periodicals: Penthouse undated
box folder
3 1 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune June-July 1993
2 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Aug-Oct 1993
3 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Nov 1993
4 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Feb-May 1994
5 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune June-July 1994
6 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Mar-Apr 1995
7 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune May-June 1995
8 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Jan-Mar 1996
9 Periodicals: Soldier of Fortune Apr 1996
10 Periodicals: Texas Monthly Feb 1994
11 Periodicals: Texas Monthly July 1995
12 Periodicals: Texas Republic Mar-Apr 1994
13 Periodicals: The American Spectator Aug 1995
14 Periodicals: The Balance 1993
box folder
4 1 Periodicals: The Balance 1994
2 Periodicals: The Balance 1995
3 Periodicals: The New American June-Nov 1993
4 Periodicals: The New American Feb-Apr 1994
5 Periodicals: The New American Sept 1994-May 1995
6 Periodicals: The New American Dec 1995
7 Periodicals: Time 1995
8 Periodicals: General 1993-1996
9 Essay: Paul Blackman 1993
box folder
48 10 Essay: Alan Stone 1993
box folder
4 11 Report: Oklahoma City Bombing 1995-1996
12 Newsletter: Cause Foundation 1993-1996, undated
13 General: Pam Hawkins 1993-1995
14 General: Pam Hawkins undated
15 Speeches: David Koresh 1993
16 Clippings: Waco Tribune-Herald 1993-1995
17 Clippings: Waco Tribune-Herald undated
18 Clippings: Waco Citizen 1994-1996
19 Clippings: General 1994-1995, undated
20 Research Notes July 8-21, 1994
21 Research Notes July 21-Aug 23, 1994
22 Transcriptions: 911 Tapes 1993
box folder
5 1 Press Releases: Ron Engleman Sept-Nov 1993
2 Press Releases: Ron Engelman Dec 1993-1994
3 Press Releases: Ken Maynard undated
4 Programs: General 1994-1995
5 Programs: General: Folder 1 of 2 1996, undated
6 Programs: General: Folder 2 of 2 undated
7 Articles: David Koresh 1993
8 Articles: Linda Thompson 1993
9 Articles: Larry Pratt undated
10 Articles: Timeline of Events 1987-1993
11 "Have You Been to Mount Carmel?" 1994
12 Ruby Ridge Materials 1995
13 Warriors poster undated
14 General clippings 1994
15 Waco Tribune-Herald: (1 of 2) 1994 January 13
16 Waco Tribune-Herald: (2 of 2) 1994 January 13
17 Waco Tribune-Herald: (1 of 2) 1994 February 27
18 Waco Tribune-Herald: (2 of 2) 1994 February 27
19 Waco Tribune-Herald 1994 October 30
20 Waco Tribune-Herald 1995 January 24
21 Waco Tribune-Herald 1994 March 14
22 Waco Tribune-Herald: (1 of 2) 1995 April 19
23 Waco Tribune-Herald: (2 of 2) 1995 April 19
24 Waco Tribune-Herald 1995 May 5
25 Waco Tribune-Herald 1995 December 21
26 Waco Tribune-Herald 1996 February 26
27 TheNew Gun Week 1994-1996
28 The Jubilee (1 of 2) 1993-1996
box folder
6 1 The Jubilee (2 of 2) 1993-1996
2 Waco Citizen 1994 October 25
3 Waco Citizen 1995 March 17
4 Waco Citizen 1995 April 14
5 Waco Citizen 1995 April 18
6 Waco Citizen 1995 April 21
7 Waco Citizen 1995 April 25
8 Waco Citizen 1995 April 28
9 Waco Citizen 1996 March 3
10 Waco Citizen 1996 April 7
11 Waco Citizen 1996 April 10
12 Waco Citizen 1996 April 24
13 Waco Citizen 1996 May 29
14 Waco Citizen 1996 June 16
15 Action 1994
16 Full Disclosure undated
17 San Antonio Current 1994 February 10
18 The CDL Report 1995 January
19 Firearms Sentinel 1995 January
20 Firearms Sentinel 1995 fall/winter
21 Articles: 1994 Trial: Ken Fawcett Jan 1994
22 Articles: 1994 Trial: Jack DeVault 1994
23 Articles: 1994 Trial: General 1994-1995
24 Articles: 1994 Trial: General undated
25 Brochures 1993, undated
26 Reports: Faxes: Sons/Daughters of Liberty 1993-1996
27 Printed Materials: General 1993-1995



Photographic Materials 1993-1995, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00
Index Terms
Photographic print
Video home system (VHS) tapes
box folder
6 28 Negatives undated
29 Printed Pictures 1993
30 Printed Pictures undated
31 Photographs: Folder 1 of 3 undated
32 Photographs: Folder 2 of 3 undated
33 Photographs: Folder 3 of 3 undated
box folder
7 OVZ 1 Video Tapes: ATF News Conferences: Item 1 of 2 1993
2 Video Tapes: ATF News Conferences: Item 2 of 2 1993
3 Video Tapes: Demolition of Mt. Carmel Center 1993
4 Video Tapes: Mt. Carmel Fire 1993
5 Video Tapes: News 3 Recordings undated
6 Video Tapes: Bill Caruth: Why Mt. Carmel? Nov 1993
7 Video Tapes: Waco-The Big Lie undated
8 Video Tapes: Mt. Carmel 1993
9 Video Tapes: “The Waco Incident” undated
10 Video Tapes: Day 51 undated
11 Video Tapes: Ron Engelman undated
box folder
8 OVZ 1 Video Tapes: Day of Information: Item 1 of 3 Apr 1994
2 Video Tapes: Day of Information: Item 2 of 3 Apr 1994
3 Video Tapes: Day of Information: Item 3 of 3 Apr 1994
4 Video Tapes: Ken Fawcett Theory undated
5 Video Tapes: News Clips undated
6 Video Tapes: Waco Hearings Shorts undated
7 Video Tapes: Answers in the Ashes undated
8 Video Tapes: ABC Newscasts Jan 13, 1994
9 Video Tapes: R. Spence Interview undated
10 Video Tapes: The Jeff Davis Show undated
11 Video Tapes: Jerry Springer Show undated
box folder
9 OVZ 1 Video Tapes: Catherine Matteson undated
2 Video Tapes: Expose of Janet Reno undated
3 Video Tapes: Assault on Branch Davidians undated
4 Video Tapes: Memorial Service: Item 1 of 3 1995
5 Video Tapes: Memorial Service: Item 2 of 3 1995
6 Video Tapes: Memorial Service: Item 3 of 3 1995



Audio Recordings 1987-1994, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 3194. Acquired 0-00-00
Index Terms
Cassette tape
box item
10 OVZ 1 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 1 of 7 undated
2 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 2 of 7 undated
3 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 3 of 7 undated
4 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 4 of 7 undated
5 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 5 of 7 undated
6 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 6 of 7 undated
7 Pam Hawkins: “I Want to Know Why”: Item 7 of 7 undated
8 Pam Hawkins: Sacred Rendition undated
9 Pam Hawkins: Interview: Item 1 of 3 undated
10 Pam Hawkins: Interview: Item 2 of 3 undated
11 Pam Hawkins: Interview: Item 3 of 3 undated
12 Ron Engelman undated
13 Ron Engelman Apr 19, 1993
14 Ron Engelman Apr 20, 1993
15 A Day of Information: Item 1 of 3 Apr 17, 1994
16 A Day of Information: Item 2 of 3 Apr 17, 1994
17 A Day of Information: Item 3 of 3 Apr 17, 1994
18 911 Calls: Item 1 of 4 Feb 28, 1993
19 911 Calls: Item 2 of 4 Feb 28, 1993
20 911 Calls: Item 3 of 4 Feb 28, 1993
21 911 Calls: Items 4 of 4 Feb 28, 1993
22 911 Calls: Item 1 of 3 undated
23 911 Calls: Item 2 of 3 undated
box item
11 OVZ 1 911 Calls: Item 3 of 3 undated
2 911 Tapes: 1-13 undated
3 911 Tapes: 14-48 undated
4 Initial 911 Call: Item 1 of 4 undated
5 Initial 911 Call: Item 2 of 4 undated
6 Initial 911 Call: Item 3 of 4 undated
7 Initial 911 Call: Item 4 of 4 undated
8 David Koresh: Sabbath: Item 1 of 2 Mar 15, 1986
9 David Koresh: Sabbath: Item 2 of 2 Mar 15, 1986
10 David Koresh: Ezekiel 21 Oct 19, 1984
11 David Koresh: Assyrians Jan 10, 1987
12 David Koresh: Untitled Mar 2, 1993
13 David Koresh: Radio Broadcast undated
14 David Koresh: What is Truth?: Item 1 of 2 1987
15 David Koresh: What is Truth?: Item 2 of 2 1987
16 David Koresh: Seventh Angel Jan 30, 1985
17 David Koresh: Jonah Apr 25, 1987
18 Voice of Fire undated
19 David Koresh: California 1987
20 David Koresh: Letter to Steve Schneider and Wisconsin Brethren undated
21 Carl Klang: “Seventeen Little Children” undated