Our Owl Together Events

We have a couple of Homecoming / Owl Together events that we’d like to tell you about.

Research Updates from Rice University Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice – Monday, October 26, 7pm-8pm

spine of ledger
William Marsh ledger

Interested to know what the Rice University Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice is doing? Join this session for an overview of goals, activities, events, and research. Researchers from the Task Force will speak, and archivists will show original documents used in the research. Time will allow for questions and discussion.

Inside of William of Marsh Ledger

A preview of some of the archival materials include the William Marsh Rice Business and Estate Ledgers. 171 ledgers dating from 1855 comprise data on Rice’s personal investments, his estate records and those of the early Rice Institute. Several of these ledgers are currently being digitized and accessible in our Institutional Repository: https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/109105

Link to the Task Force website: taskforce.rice.edu

If you need another image/more text you could include the LibGuide link and screenshot(?) https://libguides.rice.edu/slavery-racial-injustice-at-rice

Houston Folk Music Archive Homecoming Concert, Thursday, October 29, 6pm

Poster text reads:
Rice University 2020 Virtual Concert
Houston Folk Music Archive
Oct 29 6pm
Vince Bell Sara Hickman
Opening Remarks Tamara Saviano
Special Sponsorship Woodson Research Center Friends of Fondren Library
Poster: Carlos Hernandez / Burning Bones Press 2020

The Woodson Research Center’s Houston Folk Music Archive and Friends of Fondren Library will co-present a virtual Homecoming House Concert with musical guests Vince Bell and Sara Hickman. Tamara Saviano, author of Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, will open the event.

Vince Bell playing music for FWIS course

There will be concert poster giveaways throughout the night. Carlos Hernandez of Burning Bones press created, signed, and numbered these awesome posters.

Sara Hickman

If you are a non-Rice person who wants to attend the concert, never fear. Here’s a registration link: https://bit.ly/30Kq08R

Hispanic History Project

Typed biographical resume and photocopy of image of students in traditional Mexican dress
YptedDorothy Farmington Caram interview and image

In the coming weeks, we will start digitizing oral histories gathered by HACER [Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice] in 2000-2001 and an earlier one collected in 1979 that are contained in a small collection entitled Rice University Hispanic History Project. Two of the oral histories are on VHS, and the others are on cassette tapes.

Typed biographical resume and magazine cover
Ninfa Cavazos

While, at this point, we cannot guarantee that these will go online, that is our intended goal. We are hoping that we can either find permissions within the collection or obtain permission from the interviewees and/or their heirs.

IDs, newspaper clipping, and photograph of Flores in front of Lovett Hall
Mary Alice Flores

As you can see the folders contain other goodies beyond the interviews. The folder for Mary Alice Flores has quite a few photographs and other ephemera.

Lee Brown Digitization

As part of our participation in a 2-year grant funded Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) project “Digitizing hidden selections of Houston’s African American and Jewish heritage,” I have been prepping items from the Lee P. Brown professional papers. In case Brown has not come to your attention before, check out his Wikipedia page.

Items selected include letters and other correspondence from and to Lee Brown from a U.S. attorney general, as well as four presidents.

3 letters from presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Gerald Ford, an image with Pres. George H. W. Bush

The main bulk of digitization are images. They span his time as a police officer in California to his time as a mayor. Some are serious in nature like when he welcomed Nelson Mandela to New York, while others are fun like a picture with Paul Hogan aka Crocodile Dundee. Here are two of the fun variety.

Throwing out the 1st pitch at an Astros game
Text reads on McDonald's sign: Mayor Lee B is the man

There are other materials that will be digitized including speeches covering the breadth of his career, as well as mayoral campaign materials.

Shepherd School performances: Karim Sulayman

The Shepherd School of Music has brought us some extremely fine performers, including Karim Sulayman, a Grammy Award-winning tenor. You can hear his Master’s recital from 2001 here:


KARIM SULAYMAN Tenor MASTER’S RECITAL Friday, February 16, 2001 6:00 p.m. Lillian H. Duncan Recital Hall.

The tenor sings a program of French repertoire by Fauré, Debussy, Massenet, and Poulenc, among others. My favorite piece in this concert is Poulenc’s lovely Les chemins de l’amour, which begins an hour and 5 minutes into the concert. After what was clearly a standing ovation by the audience, Sulayman performs an unidentified encore- extra points for anyone who can identify the piece for us.

Sulayman was awarded the 2018 Grammy for the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for Songs Of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’India & Landi, recorded with Apollo’s Fire, a critically acclaimed period-instrument ensemble specializing in early music (Renaissance, Baroque and early Classical). (The award was given in 2019.)

To learn more about the artist, I recommend this interview and biographical sketch.

Many thanks to our team member Steven Loyd, digital processing archivist and graduate student in English literature, for recommending this performance.

Hillel Scrapbooks

As students return to campus and get used to the new normal, here’s a look at one of our local campus groups in years past. 

Five Houston Hillel scrapbooks (1965-1982) that are part of the Houston Jewish History Archive have recently gone up in our digital repository. They include, primarily, materials from the wide variety of events Houston Hillel organizes every year, like this barbeque in 1970.
Looking to escape the smog of the big city?

News clipping about event
Houston Hillel Scrapbook, 1965-1979

Head out to Conroe for some good eatin’ and fellowship.

Image of people at barbecue. Text reads: "'Uncle' Saul is really enjoying the great smog-free outdoors."
Houston Hillel Scrapbook, 1965-1979
Students sitting around a table.
Houston Hillel Scrapbook, 1965-1979

Or some fun on the volleyball court…kind of crowded out there.

Students playing volleyball.
Houston Hillel Scrapbook, 1965-1979

Special thanks to Rabbi Kenny Weiss at Houston Hillel for donating the scrapbooks.

Elton John and Billy Joel

While filing away some t-shirts in our Rice Historic Clothing collection, much to my surprise I found one wrapped in tissue paper. When I opened it, it revealed this.


Black t-shirt. Caption reads: Face to Face Elton John Billy Joel Rice Stadium April 5 1995


Two owls wearing glasses. Caption reads: Face to Face

The question is were these specially printed for the event? Who printed them? I couldn’t find a similar t-shirt online.

To see a few images from the concert, you can look at this blog post. There are more images from Rice Stadium concerts at scholarship.rice.edu. Just put in the search box: concert “rice stadium.”

This one is my personal favorite.

Guitarist holding double neck guitar.
Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions at Texxas Jam, “The Monsters of Rock” festival at Rice Stadium

Shepherd School performances

For those of you who follow and support the Shepherd School of Music-there is an ongoing project to digitize the thousands of past performances by the students and faculty of the Shepherd School. With the generous support of Fondren Library, the Friends of Fondren Library, and the Rice Historical Society, recordings in multiple obsolete formats have been digitized and are being added to the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/77130, along with scanned versions of programs and other documentation.

This post is the first in a series highlighting performances which were recently put online by our team. You can listen to this concert from 2003 here:


CLASS OF 2003 CONVOCATION and PRESIDENTIAL CONCERT Friday, May 9, 2003 at Stude Concert Hall. This concert was in celebration of Rice University’s Ninetieth Commencement; it includes a wide variety of musicians, including the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, the Rice Brass Choir, vocalists, pianists, and the Attacca Winds Quintet. I recommend “Vilia” from The Merry Widow, about 24 minutes into the concert; it always makes me smile.

International Beer Day

Plugging “beer” into the University Archives and Rice History section of our institutional repository does bear fruit.

People drinking beer . . .

Sid Richardson College Beer Bike, 1971, photographer: J. Venn Leeds

People pouring beer . . .

President Norman Hackerman drawing the first mug of beer at Willy’s Pub, 1975

And doing odd things at Beer Bike like this . . .

Rice Parachute Team incident during Beer Bike, 1972

And this . . .

Member of GSA Riding the Keg Bike at Beer Bike, 2003, photographer: Tommy LaVergne

Hope you can enjoy a beer if you are so inclined on this hot summer day.

The Abbie Hoffman Incident

Students gathered, sitting in bleachers with the signs "come together" and "if free speech is dead..."
Students and banners at the all-student convocation, photographer Bob Roosth

In March, our Fondren Fellow, Anna Ta, completed the second half of the online exhibit entitled “A Time of Protest at Rice.” The first part had been completed in May 2019 by Fondren Fellow Emma Satterfield. It covered the Masterson Crisis. Ta focused on the Abbie Hoffman Incident.

The two major protests in 1969 and 1970 were of their time, but also had a unique Rice spin. The university thoroughly documented one and ignored the other. For Satterfield, the history of the Masterson Crisis had been teased out through oral histories and an archival collection called Dr. William H. Masterson controversy records. Anna Ta’s work on Abbie Hoffman was very unclear. There wasn’t an archival collection devoted to the incident. She had to rely upon a rough timeline, news stories, and the KTRU news masters. She also had to dig around in many different collections like the Dean of Students papers and college minutes.

Banner reads "occupied."
Allen Center occupation banner, photographer Bob Roosth

Anna Ta’s final product breaks down the timeline of what happened and attempts to sort out what is and is not part of the overall event, including bomb threats and more. She even did oral histories with Dr. Ira Gruber and Dr. Allen Matusow. Please check out her amazing work and relive the time through the photography of Bob Roosth and Paul Hester.

Paul Hester’s photograph of a jam session at Allen Center is quite cool.

Image of four piece band playing at Allen Center with others sitting down and standing around.

Getting Ready with New Exhibits

Reads: Kathryn Morrow African American Research Collection - Recent donation to the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library Summer 2020
Exhibit title card

Even though the library is still closed, we have been updating our exhibits for the library’s re-opening. For the space just outside of the Woodson, we’ve added an exhibit that focuses on the new Kathryn Morrow African American research collection.

Image of books, documents, and media from the collection
Two books from the collection - Rice and Slaves; Black Majesty
Forgive the reflections
Image of books and documents from the collection

While it currently needs some updates, you can always check this page with a list of physical exhibits to see what’s on display around the library and in the Rice Memorial Center.