Baylor History Instructor awarded IOH Faculty Endowment for Family Research

March 31, 2023
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Baylor University history instructor Dr. Lisa Lacy has been awarded the prestigious Institute for Oral History Faculty Research Fellowship to support her research project on W-O-R-D Inc. and its families. Dr. Lacy's father, Jarrell McCracken, was one of the founders of Word Records, a prominent Christian corporation that publishes and produces music by Christian artists. With the Endowment, Dr. Lacy will travel to conduct interviews with former employees of Word Records to gain insight into the working environment of the original Waco-based company. 


The oral history project promises to shed light on the impact of Word Records on the Christian music industry and its lasting influence on American culture. The company's success story is one that deserves to be told, and Dr. Lacy is the perfect person to tell it. As an accomplished historian and the daughter of one of the company's founders, she brings a unique perspective to the project. 


In a recent interview, Dr. Lacy spoke about her goal with the project, stating, "What I really want to do is document from them [the employees] what their perception of their time at Word was like. The culture, the company, the camaraderie, to see what they have to say." While the newspapers and written records of W-O-R-D are in the Texas Collection Archives, Dr. Lacy wanted the spoken word of individuals. Dr. Lacy said,

"One could go into that collection [The Texas Collection] and dig up the facts, but what I really wanted was the culture, the family feel, the vibe. It was such a happy place, stressful at times like any company, but I wanted to try and provide an oral history for such a unique environment." 


When asked why she decided to research her father's company, Dr. Lacy responded, "I just feel like it's a story that needs to be told. From a Baylor perspective, it's an alumnus who built a significant company and always remained an avid Baylor fan. He was always a loyal supporter of Baylor, and I think historically, this tells a story of a young preacher's kid who built a company from scratch without even intending to. I just think those stories are interesting, and it provides people of this generation a guide." 


With the grant from the Institute of Oral History, Dr. Lacy will be able to fund the travel and labor required for her project. She is excited to delve into the rich history of Word Records and share her findings with the world. This project is sure to be a valuable addition to the field of Christian music history, and a fascinating look into one of the most successful Christian music organizations of all time. 


Find out more information about the Institute for Oral History Faculty Research Fellowship (here). 


Congratulations Dr. Lacy! 


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