Searching for Alums

While checking the transcriptions for Hispanic oral histories conducted in 2000 by HACER, I have relied heavily on the Campaniles and Threshers to track down the appropriate spellings of names. Is it Barbara or Barbra or which of the many spellings of Christie?

Interviewee Dorothy Farrington Caram ’55 threw me for a loop with one name, Yramategui. I heard “Martequiz.” I found him in the 1943 Campanile by searching his first name “Manuel.” Manuel Armando Yramategui ’44 in his short life made a long lasting impact on the Houston region.

Head shot of Manuel Armando Yramategui
Senior photograph

He became the curator at the Burke Baker Planetarium and was president of the Texas Conservation Council. He was also the go to astronomy and paleontology expert for the Houston Chronicle. Yramategui’s quotes show up frequently in the WATCHEM section. In the 1960s, he would appear on KTRK as a nature expert, a bit like Jack Hanna.

Black and white microform image of Manuel Armando Yramategui holding a fossilized bone next to his colleague.
Yramategui and a colleague, Houston Chronicle image, May 30, 1968

In January 1970, Yramategui’s life was cut short in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong while on his way to view a comet.

A year later the Middle Bayou area that he loved was renamed Armand Bayou. In 1974, Hana Ginzbarg raised funds to start the Armand Bayou Nature Center.

To learn even more about Yramategui, please read this loving and informative blog post about him and Ginzbarg.

Box Explosion

Image of boxes in the reading room

We are entering our final weeks of shifting a portion of our collection (roughly 2000 boxes) from Iron Mountain to the LSC. We have been receiving 200 box deliveries on Tuesdays during the month of September. We have closed down our reading room on Tuesdays and Wednesday to deal with the largess.

Image of boxes in the reading room

If you come in during September, please forgive our box overflow issues. We are trying our best.

We’ll be happy to get through this big move at the end of the month.

Pottery and a Skull

Earlier in the week, while prepping our boxes for the move from Iron Mountain to the Library Service Center, I opened up a rather light box and discovered some pottery. I decided to revisit the box later.

Here are some of cups in the box.

But there was more . . . a male human skull. While it makes sense that the artist Hannah Holliday Stewart would want a skull as a model, it is rather odd that she chose this one. There are a variety of marks on the skull, along with tape residue. If you have any other thoughts on this, please share.

human skull from front
human skull from side
human skull with top of cranium removed

In case you are intrigued by skulls and have a strong stomach, you can check out this article on how human remains were made into skeletons in centuries past.

Economic Summit of Raccoons

During our epic shift of roughly 2000 boxes from Iron Mountain to the LSC, it has given us a chance to revisit some of our collections. While moving a relatively light box from the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations records, I decided to look inside. What I found were some nifty branded bags.

Bag from the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations event.
Another bag from the event.

If you are using a bag like the one above to store anything important, you might want to remove the contents. I noticed that some of the plastic inside of the bag had begun to breakdown and was a little sticky.

You might be wondering where the whole raccoon part comes into this. The library has been battling the critters for the last year. They love the 1st floor ceiling.

Yesterday, they decided to take a stroll through the stacks. Because raccoons are not allowed in the library, they were caged and taken away by professionals. Despite their cuteness, we don’t want them to live here.

Raccoons walking down an aisle of books.

Exhibits Around the Library

Small statue of Doc C - Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson

August has begun and it will soon be time to welcome everyone (faculty and students) back to campus. They will be now be greeted with new exhibits. Here’s a look at some of them.

Crowdsourcing transcription of historical documents – Location: 1st floor main hallway

This exhibit reveals a new software that we have been using to help small groups and/or the general public transcribe/translate historical documents. If you’ve got time on your hands and want to transcribe William Marsh Rice’s ledgers, we’d love to have your assistance. Click through the gallery to see how you can participate.

Remembering “Doc C” through his collection – Location: 1st floor exhibit case near front entrance

This exhibit, assembled by Doc C Copy Cataloguer, Lauren DuBois, shares highlights that she has discovered while working through his book collection.

Image of exhibit case of Doc C items.

Stewart Alexander Collection: Books and original recordings of trance and physical mediumship – Location: 1st floor exhibit cases outside of Woodson

These two exhibit cases showcase items from the newly acquired Stewart Alexander collection, which makes up part of the Archives of the Impossible.

Beauty from Above: Book Covers from the Anderson Collection on the History of Aeronautics – Location: 1st floor inside Woodson

In case anyone needs a dose of pretty, this exhibit simply puts a spotlight on some of the beautiful books in the Anderson collection.

Image of Anderson book covers in an exhibit case

Shelving New Books

Newly catalogued books for Woodson Research Center collections

In addition to the named Rare Book Collections that are housed in the Woodson Research Center we also add newly published books to our collections. We recently received some new books written or edited by Rice University faculty and staff. These include a 2 volume work edited by Dr. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, and a professor in the Department of Political Science: Voting and Political Representation in America; and Joy at Work: Organizing your Professional Life written by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business.

It’s also exciting to see new books written by our colleagues here in Fondren. David Bynog, Head of Acquisitions, has recently written Notes for Violists. Published by Oxford University Press, the work offers historical and analytical information on 35 pieces for the viola, from Bach to Weber. Bynog is a violist himself and edited more than 40 compositions. Bynog’s book will be preserved in the Woodson Research Center available for researchers.

Jimmy Don Smith collection

Image of embroidered bell bottom jeans that say "BLUES POWER," an LP, and two photographs of Jimmy Don Smith

We recently got in a new collection featuring Jimmy Don Smith. It includes posters, fliers, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other interesting items. Check out those embroidered jeans.

Smith (1948-10-28 – 1986-01-25) was a Houston transplant and made his name as a Blues guitarist and founder of The Cold Cuts, as well as other bands throughout the 1960s-1980s. He/His bands opened up for Blues musicians like Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Albert King, and Freddie King, the King trifecta. He had also been the lead guitarist for Billy Joe Shaver and Roy Head.

Two Liberty Hall posters: one for Freddie King and the other for Willie Dixon and the Chicago All-Stars

The collection includes a variety of unique posters that generally showcase the opening act, but Jimmy Don Smith or his band at the time served as an opening act.

Independence Day

We recently welcomed Lauren DuBois as the Copy Cataloger for the Dr. Gilbert M. Cuthbertson Collection. She is working to organize the book collection donated to Fondren Library by the longtime Rice political science professor who passed away in 2019.

“Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson in his office, Rice University.” (2005) Rice University: https://hdl.handle.net/1911/77991.

An example from his collection came across my desk this week to review. It’s a copy of Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington. Published by James Chrissy in Philadelphia, circa 1832, it contains 10 maps on folded leaves, illustrating Revolutionary War battles and campaigns.

Title page from Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington

The atlas is a companion to the multi-volume biography written by Chief Justice John Marshall begun in 1799 following Washington’s death. Marshall was granted by Washington’s surviving family full access to all of his records, papers, and personal archives.

Plan of New York Island and part of Long Island showing the position of the American & British Armies before, at, and after the engagement on the Heights, August 27, 1776.

The Woodson Research Center will be closed Thursday-Friday, July 1-2, 2021 in observance of Independence Day. Happy 4th!

International Fairy Day

I’m offering up a fairy drawing from George Cruikshank from Thomas Keightley‘s Fairy Mythology.

Etching by George Cruikshank showing a man with fairies underfoot.

The fairies look like a pretty fun bunch.

Sadly, I can’t find a name for this etching or what it might be describing. If you know more about fairy lore, please chime in.

This book is also lovely as a book.

Spine of book
Decorated fore edge

Bonus, it’s got an odd book plate.

Book plate