Remote Again

Because of the rise of infections in the city, the university has asked for employees to stay home if they can. Until February 8th, the circulation desk/Access Services will be available for Rice faculty, students, and staff. All other departments including the Woodson Research Center, Reference, the Kelley Center and GIS/Data Center, Friends of Fondren Library, and Digital Scholarship Services will either continue or begin working remotely.

At the Woodson, generally two of us were working in the department each day throughout the fall semester. We cut that down to one after the semester came to a close. With the new changes, we are now all working remotely. What that means is that we’ll be getting new content online, working on digital preservation, and other behind the scenes projects.

If you want to check out new items online, here are a couple of tricks.

William Marsh Rice Institute Calcasieu Parish pine land, Merryville tract, 1907
William Marsh Rice Institute Calcasieu Parish pine land, Merryville tract, 1907

University Archives – If you go to, click on University Archives and Rice History, and scroll down, you’ll see all of our newly uploaded materials, including lots of materials related to William Marsh Rice’s financial information and the charter trial from the 1960s. These uploads are related to the work being done by the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice.

Alfred's of Houston Delicatessen, 1966
Alfred’s of Houston Delicatessen, 1966

Special Collections – Again, at, click on Cultural Heritage Collections and from the list of Sub-Communities, select Woodson Research Center. From there, scroll down and you’ll discover new items that we’ve added including oral histories and scrapbooks.

We hope everyone stays safe out there.

Honor and Influence

Title page
The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863)

One of our newest book acquisitions is this copy of The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, a groundbreaking volume of biographies of 57 black men and women across history. Issued in 1863, the same year as the first volume, this revised and expanded edition was written by William Wells Brown. Brown was a prominent African-American abolitionist, novelist, and historian.

Writing and publishing The Black Man during the Civil War, Brown writes about his contemporaries acknowledging they were living in momentous times and to single out black men and women too long ignored or belittled: those “who by their own genius, capacity and intellectual development, surmounted the many obstacles which slavery and prejudice have thrown in their way, and raised themselves to positions of honor and influence.”

To the advocates and friends of Negro Freedom and Equality, wherever found, this volume is respectfully dedicated by the author.

This first “revised and enlarged edition,” second edition overall, contains four biographies not present in the same year’s 288-page first edition: artisan Joseph Carter; Union scout James Lawson; Union Captain Joseph Howard of the Second Louisiana Native Guards who fought the racism of Northern Union officers to command his black soldiers in battle, and Union Captain Andre Callioux, now recognized as “the first black warrior-hero of the Civil War, an officer in the first black regiment to be officially mustered into the United States Army and the first to participate in a significant battle. Both in life and in death, he did much to inspire, embolden and unify people of African descent in New Orleans” (New York Times). Also featuring Brown’s revised Memoir, along with rear leaf containing “Opinions of the Press,” containing praise from Frederick Douglass’ Monthly, the Liberator, and other key sources—not present in the first edition.

Table of contents
Table of Contents

Gillis in December

I’m currently exploring an old collection that has become a bit of a dumping ground for duplicate Rice items. One of the discoveries is this 2003-2004 calendar created by the Rice Thresher. It comes in a sort of CD jewel case that acts as a display for the months.

Calendar of December with image of Malcolm Gillis

Most of the images are the usual fare, Beer Bike, Baker 13, etc. The last one of university president Malcolm Gillis for December is pretty fun.

Image of the 12 images used for each month of the calendar and creation information.

As you can see, Malcolm Gillis did approve this calendar.

Oscar Wilde Update

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about a book on our shelves containing the signature of Oscar Wilde. Below is an image of it.

Cover of Poem's by Oscar Wilde

For an event, we displayed the book and let students look at this awesome piece of history. Well, Oscar suffered some damage. The image below is before the injury, but shows its fragile state.

Shows fragility of binding.

Thankfully, our amazing restoration company, Octávaye was able to rescue poor Oscar. He’s now refreshed and as good as new.

Book box
Book in opened book box
Show the book repair

The damage is undone.

Outdoor BBQ?

According to a website that traffics in odd holidays, the first Thursday of the month is “Men Make Dinner Day.” Yep, that’s an odd holiday.

In celebration of such an important day, I searched our institutional repository for men cooking. What I found is a TGIF held at Sid Rich in 1977. There’s definitely something smoking and I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s food. If you feel otherwise, please let me know in the comments.

Elections of Yore

Top of first page of the Rice Thresher. Link to source:

If you are hungering for info about elections in the past, check out KTRU’s coverage of the 1980 election. Dr. David Gow provides analysis. Dr. Gow went on to write an article about the 1980 election.

If you want to dig deeper on this topic, you can go to the KTRU section of the university’s institutional repository and use the search term “election.” There’s everything from university election controversies to KTRU coverage of local, state, and national elections. Enjoy!

The Age

You never know what someone on the phone might have for a donation. This time it was a “directory” called The Age, which is a newspaper with more ads than stories. The donated book covers the years 1875-1876. It was published by J.W. Fourmey who was part of the team of Morrison and Fourmey, which did assemble directories of a more traditional kind. Based on a few articles mentioning his name via the Portal to Texas History, Morrison and Fourmey put together directories for various cities in Texas.

The Sunday Gazette of Dennison, TX from July 16, 1899 via the Portal to Texas History

Here’s an example of their Houston directory.

Not sure why his name is misspelled.

To get a sense of what is in The Age, here is a taste of the ads.

As mentioned above, there are also news stories. Some of these like current news aggregators are from around the U.S. There are quite a few stories on immigrants (though the definition of who they are and where they are from is a mystery), Mormons (?), crime, and feel good stories.

One surprising feel good story.

One unsurprisingly racist crime story.

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:

Link to the Task Force website:

If you need another image/more text you could include the LibGuide link and screenshot(?)

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:

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.