While searching on another topic, I found myself drawn to a folder in President Lovett’s papers entitled “Anti-Reds – pamphlets, etc. 1950s.” It’s impossible to know if Lovett himself labeled the material in the folder as “Anti-Reds” or if someone else later decided to name it that.
If you are wondering what is in this mysterious folder, part of it is devoted to the Minute Women, which were quite strong in Houston. They were a group who were anti-Communist, anti-internationalist (as they termed it), anti-immigration, pro-poll tax, pro-capitalist, and promoted “Americanism in public schools.” They took over the HISD school board and tried to control what was being taught at the University of Houston. One way that the Minute Women were effective was their united voice. They used phones to get their views heard. Most of these newsletters remind the readers to call, call, call.
What follows are some highlights from the newsletters.
They were quite afraid of the UN and UNESCO. In Lovett’s file, there is a separate pamphlet about how UNESCO will corrupt children.
“National Women’s Magazine Hits New Low” focuses on education and their view of its infiltration by Communism, which is a running through line in their newsletters, examples below.
“What Sort of Education?” reveals another level to the fears of the group, teaching about non-white subjects. There definitely seem to be clear connections between the Minute Women’s line of reasoning about more inclusive teaching and Communism and today’s patriotic education laws that are sweeping the states. The Minute Women’s discussion of race above go hand in hand with their fervent support of the poll tax.
Fun fact: Pres. Lovett wasn’t the only notable Houstonian saving information on the Minute Women. Dominique de Menil was. As part of her daily ritual, de Menil would clip stories on various topics and file them away. In the 1950s, she saved Ralph O’Leary’s eleven part series on the group. O’Leary’s series led to the group’s downfall.
This past week we have been busy preparing materials to go on loan as part of a collaborative exhibit with partner institutions and community archives. The exhibit will be on display later this summer at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University. The exhibit will feature examples of LGBTQ+ history from archival collections collected in the greater Houston area.
Some of Rice’s collections include The Houston Area Rainbow Collective History (ARCH) oral histories. This collection of oral history interviews was created by the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, & Sexuality (SWGS). Rice students conducted interviews with Houstonians who have made contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Edited interviews are available online in our Institutional Repository: https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/97789
Rice PRIDE records share the history of the student organization from its beginnings in 1979, as the Rice Gay/Lesbian Support Group (RG/LSG). The organization maintained this title until 1986 when it was renamed Gays and Lesbians of Rice (GALOR). To be more inclusive, GALOR became Pride in 1994. The members wanted to include not only gays and lesbians, but also bisexuals, transgendered people, and allies.
The oH Project: is another collection of oral histories focusing on HIV/AIDS in Houston, Harris County, and Southeast Texas. Founding partners of the project include Legacy Community Health, Montrose Center, and the Woodson Research Center.
We rely upon the Library Service Center [LSC] to store the majority of our collections. A few years back it filled up. As we waited for a new module to be added to the building, we sent around 2000 boxes to Iron Mountain [IM]. Yesterday, the former IM boxes found their new home in the new module in the LSC.
Now, begins our multi-step process of moving all 2000 boxes from IM to the LSC. It involves:
permanently withdrawing the boxes from IM
checking the boxes and ripping off the IM barcodes — every time IM retrieves a box, they stick a new barcode on it.
scanning our Fondren Library barcodes
requesting Technical Services staff to switch the location of the box in the system
sending the boxes to the LSC
updating our finding aids and other internal tracking with the new location information
Given the amount boxes, this task will take us a few months, hopefully ending sometime in the fall. If you happen to come into the Woodson during this time, you’ll see that we have a lot of boxes. Please forgive our clutter.
We would like to thank all of the library staff at the LSC, in Technical Services, and in IT that are helping us with this big move.
For the first time, in many years, Woodson staff is taking two weeks, starting today, to focus only on our physical and digital collections. We are currently not fulfilling reference requests and our reading room is closed. We’re thinking of it as a way to get our house in order during this rather peaceful time of year on campus.
As you can see, we are making the most of this time.
The other amazing thing about today is it marks the first time since March 12, 2020 that we, the five full-time archivists, have worked together in the department at the same time.
We recently received an artist book created to commemorate the funeral for the melting of the Icelandic glacier Okjökull. The book consists of a series of 200 posters dated from 2019 until 2219, an ink pad, a stamp, and some explanatory materials. The creators envisioned that owners of the book each year would stamp and display that year’s poster as a way to remember the glacier and other glaciers that are melting. This would take place for the next 200 years ending with the death of the last glacier, Vatnajökull. The hope is that through our actions we could stop the melting of the Icelandic glaciers, and thus would no longer have to stamp and display the posters.
Today we celebrate Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you! And in honor of the day you can find a recording of John Williams’ Jabba the Hutt theme from Return of the Jedi at the 10:50 minute mark on the recording here:
Imagine this played by the Cantina band at Mos Eisley.
We’re also celebrating the Shepherd School of Music Digitization project, and the considerable progress accomplished in the last year. Staff from Digital Scholarship Services, the Woodson Research Center, Reference, and Cataloging and Metadata Services have contributed to the completion of the first pass of audio review of analog tapes for over 1,500 performances. As of the end of the year 2020, over 300 audio files (for performance years 2000 through 2003) have been uploaded to the Digital Scholarship Archive:
Our amazing Digital Processing Archivist will continue to work on the project through the summer of 2021. We hope to have all the 1,500 performances uploaded to the institutional repository by the end of summer.
While taking care of a reference request for images of Julian Huxley from the 1910s, I ran across a rather striking woman in a scrapbook from the Julian and Juliette Huxley papers, MS 512. But first let’s backtrack a bit. I had noticed a man with the name B. Russell. Because it was a Huxley scrapbook (any famous Brit could be in there), my brain jumped to Bertrand Russell, which was correct.
The woman in the picture next to him reminded me a bit of Virginia Woolf, but upon further comparison, was definitely not Woolf. I couldn’t read the writing (Huxley’s handwriting is horrible.) that identified the woman. There was though a loose photograph of her that had a more complete name written on the back. A Google search led me to Lady Ottoline Morrell, an aristocrat and patroness of artists and writers, including Aldous Huxley. She also had a long time affair with Bertrand Russell, so that’s why he might be at the same get together sitting on the same bench.
You should really check out Lady Morrell’s Wikipedia page. It is fascinating. I’m glad I got to know her today.
A couple of years ago we featured The Red Book of Houston in a post. That post began a series of events that will conclude with an unveiling of an ArcGIS Story Map at a panel featuring local/regional historians on Wednesday the 28th.
A few items were dropped off at the Woodson last Friday bound for our Rice University Memorabilia collection (UA 225). Among them was a cute little beer mug from the 70th birthday celebration for Charles Sidney “Sid” Burrus – Rice alum and Maxfield and Oshman Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
We were sad to hear of Dr. Burrus’s passing on Saturday at the age of 86.
If you would like to learn more about him, News and Media Relations wrote a nice obituary.