August 1619

This month marks the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in Virginia. What follows are bills of sale. You can follow the links to find more information and transcriptions of the documents.

Bill of sale of woman and child from William R. Warwick to Joseph Dunbar, Sept. 10, 1811

Bill of sale of woman and child from William R. Warwick to Joseph Dunbar
Bill of sale of woman and child from William R. Warwick to Joseph Dunbar

Bill of sale for a negro named George, 1847

Simple receipt for a man named George

Sale of a man from Mexican Gulf RWC to Alexander Gordon, Jan. 11, 1847

Sale of a man from Mexican Gulf RWC to Alexander Gordon

The New York Times is observing the anniversary with the creation of the 1619 Project, in case you want to read more about its lasting effects. There’s also an amazing project called Slave Voyages. It includes a 3D video of a slave ship, timelines of estimates of captives embarking and disembarking, and a timelapse map showing ships crossing the Atlantic.

The Whole Internet

We’re currently weeding our reference collection, which resides on the shelves in our reading room. It has slowly grown over the years and contains some useful items, but also books that quickly aged out of relevance. A perfect example is The Whole Internet: User’s Guide & Catalog by Ed Krol published in 1992.

Front cover of book

In 1992, this book would have been ahead of its time. I first remember surfing the net at the end of 1994. It was a brand new frontier that moved incredibly slow. Today, this book provides a bit more guffawing. Here are some notable sections from the Table of Contents.

List of table of contents
List of table of contents
List of table of contents
List of table of contents
List of table of contents
List of table of contents
List of table of contents
What are robotic librarians?

At the end of the book is a list of News Groups. This one for the publishers of the book had the cutest illustration. O’Reilly Media still exists.

List of table of contents

On a completely different note, archivists at the ONE Archives and the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives have been trying to identify a couple, their friends, and families from the 1950s. The story is quite touching. If you are from the Philadelphia region or have family there, consider sharing the story with them.

Cal Dean Hill, Jr. scrapbook

After his death in 2017, Cal Dean Hill, Jr.‘s widow donated some items related to his time at the Rice Institute and his life in Houston and Sugar Land.

His scrapbook that documents his life as a boy has a number of highlights from tickets to the Houston Symphony to newspaper clippings of movies that he went to with his mother. What follows are some of the more interesting tidbits.

Caption reads: At the Ft. Bend Co. Fair and Cap Rich's Rodeo, Rosenberg, Texas, Friday afternoon, Oct. 11, 1940. Includes 5 images the rodeo with some including Hill.
Letter and autographed picture of Gene Autry. Caption reads: "Saw Gene and Champ at Texas Theatre in Palestine when I was 6 years old."
Postcards and photographs of trip to Houston. Captions reads: "Where I had my first lessons in art Summer 1941, Mrs. Bessell, teacher." "On the Museum steps, July 1941." "Mrs. Bessel and some of the pupils At Herman Park zoo."

For those wondering why he highlighted his first art lesson, it’s because he continued to paint throughout his life. I found an example of his work here.

Items documenting art class and visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Photograph of Hill at new home and at Allen School. Captions read: "At 1611 Francis Ave., Houston, Texas." "Allen School."
Hill’s new home in Houston and Allen School

The home pictured above no longer stands in midtown. Here is the new residence.

Woodson in the News

Melissa Kean and Michelle Miller in the in the stacks of the Woodson.
Melissa Kean and Michelle Miller amongst the archival stacks.

The Woodson is popping up all over the place.

First, you can check out our own Melissa Kean talking about Houston and Rice’s connection to NASA that aired on CBS This Morning on Saturday.

Second, a story about our recent acquisition of the Houston Blues Museum Archive appeared on Thursday’s Houston Matters with an extended version on the new podcast Unwrap Your Candies Now.

NASA and Rice: from Houston to the Moon (and beyond)

Alan Bean and Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment 1969-1971 on the Moon, Apollo 12 Mission


July 20th, 1969. “Houston.  Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Humanity’s first words from another world.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing this week , the Woodson Research Center is curating an exhibit in the Fondren Library Hobby Information Concourse.


The exhibit displays items in the Woodson Research Center which were donated by Rice scientists and astronauts during the long and productive partnership between Rice University and NASA. One of the highlights is the mechanical model of the Suprathermal Ion Detector which Apollo astronauts used to train from 1969-1971. The experiment was designed by John Freeman, former NASA scientist and a long time professor at Rice University in the Space Sciences Department. Also included is a flight jacket donated by Scientist/Astronaut Curtis Michel and other memorabilia from the Jack McCaine NASA papers and from former NASA employee Joe Hatfield.  Ray Viator’s book, Houston: Space City, USA, along with pictures of Mission Control and the Johnson Space Center make up the rest of the exhibit.

There is also a permanent exhibit in the alcove nearby with photos of the Rice University scientist/astronauts  who participated in many important missions for NASA, and the Lunar sample (moon rock) awarded to Rice University on the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing.

Duplicate Books

Our rare books frequently show libraries work. While looking for something Independence Day themed, I found a book that was more interesting than its contents.

Title page of book

We have a three volume set of The history of the rise, progress, and establishment, of the independence of the United States of America; including an account of the late war; and of the thirteen colonies, from their origin to that period by William Gordon.

Gordon was a Englishman who sympathized with the cause of the revolution and wrote a history about it. Our edition is an 1801 version, not a first edition or anything particularly special other than it’s old.

Image of stamps in book

What’s interesting about it is who might have owned it before us. Each of the volumes has two stamps “Gansevoort-Lansing Collection” and “The New York Public Library Duplicate Sold.” Prior to the NYPL the books came from the Gansevoort-Lansing estate. According to the NYPL finding aid for the collection, this included the Gansevoort, Lansing, and Melville families. Yes, that Melville. Well known Gansevoorts include: Peter 1749-1812, Peter 1788-1876, as well as others, like a beer brewer, if you feel like falling down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. The Lansings include Abraham Lansing 1835-1899. Peter Gansevoort the younger was the uncle of Herman Melville.

Does this mean that Herman read these books thoroughly and created marginalia or anything interesting? No, not really. The bindings are pretty tight and may not have had much use. The first volume was mended, the second one has a bit of red rot, and the final is in a special box, because the front cover is literally hanging by a thread.

Thread holding together front cover and binding

These volumes came into the Rice Institute library January 28, 1932. They received the customary embossed stamp that put holes on the page.

While their origin is a bit clearer, these volumes do contain a mystery. There is a signature in the first book. Other than “Crawford, May 1846”, I can’t make it out. Can you?

Mysterious signature

We will be closing down for the holiday on the 4th and will be back open on the 8th. Have a pleasant holiday.

Paul Bunyan Day

June 28th is the day to celebrate big Paul Bunyan. We’ve got an amazing Limited Editions book club version of the stories.

title page: The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan. Now retold by Louis Untermeyer together with illustrations by Everett Gee Jackson. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1945

First, the book really plays up the idea of wood. There’s a box made of cardboard with a fake wood paper on the outside. Within that, there’s a similar fake wood paper removable cover also made out of cardboard. Then, there’s the actual cover of the book with same wooden print.

Cover and spine of book

Unlike some of the older Limited Editions, this one has beautiful illustrations.

Illustration of baby Paul Bunyan. Text: "He got out of it-picked it up-and waded to shore!"
Illustration of Babe the Blue Ox making the Red River. Text reads: "And that's show the Red River got its name."
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox leaving. Text reads: "I guess there isn't anything more to say."

It’s also signed by the illustrator.

Signature page. Text reads: Fifteen hundred copies of this edition of The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan have been made for the members of The Limited Editions Club. The edition was designed by Richard Ellis and printed by The Aldus Printer in New York. The illustrations were drawn by Everett Gee Jackson and printed by The Dunewald Printing Corporation. This copy is number: 555 and is signed by the illustrator.

One more thing, here are some news items about the Woodson and those connected to our collections.

The creator of our Sugar Land Convict Leasing System collection Reginald Moore and Rice professor Caleb McDaniel gave interviews for a story in The Guardian on the Sugar Land 95.

Here’s the official Rice press release about the new Houston Blues Museum Archive.

New Collections, Sneak Peek

Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price's suitcase and autographed photo.
There’s amazing stuff inside that suitcase.

While there will be more news about this later, we wanted to make a quick announcement. We will now be home to the Houston Blues Museum Archive. It will consist of the museum’s administrativerecords, along with artist collections like Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price and other collections that tell the history of Houston Blues.

Preserving this history is a wonderful way to celebrate Juneteenth.

New Collections 2019-06-11

Dr. George C.Y. Chiou seated with daughter, Dr. Linda Epner
Dr. George C.Y. Chiou seated with daughter, Dr. Linda Epner

Dr. George C.Y. Chiou ophthalmology career publications and papers, MS 852

The collection consists of records, news coverage, and materials from the career of Regents Professor Emeritus Dr. George C. Y. Chiou. It includes a plaque on which is mounted a cover of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology, Dr. Chiou having been the founding editor. There are also three bound volumes: the second edition of Ophthalmic Toxicology, edited by Dr. Chiou (1999); volume 20 of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2004); and The Vision of Innovation, The Challenge [sic] Story of New Drug Inventor and Entrepreneur George C. Y. Chiou (written in Chinese) (2015). 

Dr. George C. Y. Chiou was born in Taoyuan, Taiwan in 1934, and after earning B.S. and M.S. degrees at National Taiwan University, in 1964 he emigrated to the U. S. to pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. His wife and two daughters remained in Taiwan for a year and a half but then joined him in Nashville. On completion of his doctoral degree, in 1969 he was hired by the medical school of the University of Florida as assistant professor of pharmacology. Then in 1978 Dr. Chiou was hired away from the University of Florida Medical School to be head of the Department of Medical Pharmacology at the Texas A & M University School of Medicine Health Science Center. To his teaching and research he added administrative duties, serving as assistant dean in 1985-86 and associate dean 1987 to 1990.

The focus of Dr. Chiou’s research has been the development of new drugs for eye diseases. It has resulted in approximately thirty patents and has been recognized with awards such as the 2006 Excellence in Research Award by the College of Medicine, Texas A & M Health Science Center and the 2007 Patent and Innovation Award by the Office of Technology Communication, Texas A & M System. The first of the treatments developed by Dr. Chiou was the use of D-timolol to treat glaucoma. Developing eyedrops for the delivery of insulin was another achievement, and it was followed by discovery of a drug compound, MC-1101, that can potentially treat and halt the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Chiou has had the support of the Texas A & M Office of Technology Commercialization to bring this product to market. The name of the resulting company is MacuCLEAR.

The bibliography of Dr. Chiou’s authored and co-authored papers includes 265 items. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, of which the 2004 volume is the twentieth. He was also the editor of two editions of Ophthalmic Toxicology, a book intended for a wide variety of readers in academia, industry, clinics, research laboratories, and government agencies.

In addition to his position in the College of Medicine at Texas A & M, between 1986 and 1995 Dr. Chiou also held adjunct professorships in the Center for Biotechnology and the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In recognition of his accomplishments, in 2011 he was promoted to Regents Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics of the College of Medicine at Texas A & M, and in 2015 he became Regents Professor Emeritus.

Screenshot of Dr. Chiou oral history

This collection also has a video oral history with Dr. Chiou.