Published in 1915, The Red Book of Houston: A Compendium of Social, Professional, Religious, Educational and Industrial Interests of Houston’s Colored Population is quite rare. According to WorldCat, there are two versions of this book held in libraries across the United States. One is at Rice and the other is Prairie View A&M University. This isn’t the full story, though.
While Rice does have a version, ours is quite inferior. It’s simply a photocopy. According to their catalog, it looks like Prairie View’s is, too. If you’d like to see it in it’s actual glory, then please visit the Internet Archive’s version. They have digitized a version owned by the Library of Congress, whose version is not listed on WorldCat.
Back to the actual book, the book is written by and for Black people. It acts both as a piece of information about Black Houston for outsiders, like a promotional book, and as a way to praise the strides made by those featured.
What follows are noteworthy images and sections from the book. If you have never seen this book in all of its glory, you should check it out. Also, for those thinking about connections to The Negro Motorist Green Book, it was first published much later in 1936 by a man named Green. I did a search to see if there might be other “Red Books” and couldn’t find anything. If anyone has any more information, please share in the comments.
Sections of the book include schools with listings and addresses of each employee, as well as a focus on churches and their pastors. There is even a listing of clubs and lodges and all of the Black-owned businesses.
The man who took all or most of the images in the book was C.G. Harris.
There are many images spread out of prominent African-Americans and images of their homes.
In a section called “Social Calendar,” there’s a listing of the mostly married women, their address, phone numbers, and short and long bios. Mrs. Annie Hagan above posing with her house is featured.
Throughout the book, there are profiles of notable African-American men.
While many of the homes profiled in the book are gone. Here is one that still exists and has an historical marker.
Finally, one of the most harrowing images is of former slaves, living in Houston. Some of the ages are off, but it makes sense why some would not have known their years of birth.