Anti-Reds

Slip of paper reminding Minute Women to be poll tax collectors.

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.

Minute Women newsletter focusing on UN.

They were quite afraid of the UN and UNESCO. In Lovett’s file, there is a separate pamphlet about how UNESCO will corrupt children.

Minute Women newsletter

“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.

Section from a Minute Women newsletter
Section from a Minute Women newsletter
Section from a Minute Women newsletter

“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.

Iron Mountain to Library Service Center

Image of a Woodson box with a lot of stickers on it.
So many stickers

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.

Image of Woodson boxes on the new shelves in the LSC. Image taken by LSC staff.

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.

O-Week Damage

Cover page for report

While going back through the Lovett College Magisters’ records, I found a lovely report compiled by the recently retired Dr. Jimmy Disch.

Highlights include: Chair stacking and the smearing of Crisco

List of vandalized things from Baker College

A self-reported list from Sid Rich. A “hostage” was involved.

Missing door knobs

List of damages from Wiess

How much does a door knob cost? $50.00.

Damage and Vandalism Report

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

Stacked boxes
Radoslav A. Tsanoff Family Papers

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.

Stacked boxes and ledgers
William Marsh Rice ledgers

As you can see, we are making the most of this time.

Boxes on tables and carts
Assorted new collections

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.

Okjökull, August 2019 funeral posters

Image of book opened up to reveal posters, stamp, stamp pad, and informational booklet.

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.

Close-up of stamp

Melanie Mowinski and Joseph Ostraff created the book. They were inspired to create the posters after participating in the installation of a plaque that recognized the death of Okjökull, which was orchestrated with Rice professors Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer.

Image of 2085 poster
Image of 2138 poster

We are honored to have a copy of this very rare book.

Lady Ottoline Morrell

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.

5 photographs pasted into a scrapbook
Top left to right: Julian Huxley, Aldous Huxley; bottom left to right: Bertrand Russell, Lady Ottoline Morrell (both pictures)

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.

5 photographs pasted into a scrapbook with one loose one.
Top left and bottom left: Lady Morrell. Top right loose photograph is of Lady Morrell with a girl on a horse.

You should really check out Lady Morrell’s Wikipedia page. It is fascinating. I’m glad I got to know her today.

Upcoming Red Book Panel

Congregates standing outside of Mt. Pillar Baptist Church on 601 Hemphill Street.

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.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar school, 928 Clark Street

You can read more about the project in this article from Rice’s Katharine Shilcutt. There will be more press this weekend (fingers crossed) from Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle and an interview on KUHF’s Houston Matters on Monday.

To find the final story map on the 28th, visit our online exhibit.

P. H. McCullogh and O. B. McCullogh

If you’d like to attend the Zoom panel, you can sign up here.

Burrus Beer Mug

Image of Sid Burrus and the text "csb@70."

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.

Jacob Boehler in a Can

Front image of can

We recently received a rather odd time capsule found during the renovation of Mech Lab. It’s a Prince Albert tobacco canister with two items inside. The first is a piece of wood that has been written on with pencil. The other is a piece of paper crammed down in the bottom with potentially the same information as the piece of wood. The paper was so brittle and wadded up that I could only make out the name to confirm that the transcription of the wood was correct.

Back image of can

The text on the wood reads (we think): Jacob Boehler, 902 Ninton St., Toledo Ohio, 1911. I found a Jacob Boehler via the 1940 census living in Toledo, Ohio. At that time, he would have been 51, which would make Boehler approximately 22 yrs. of age when he “put himself” in the can, assuming this is the same man.

Piece of wood

A “Jacob Boehler” does pop up in some newspaper articles from Toledo, but our library doesn’t have access to the newspaper.com database. I reached out to the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Toledo Library for information and will provide an update if I learn more.

As for the address, I can’t find a Ninton via Google maps. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist, but I couldn’t find it via a 1904 Toledo map either. Feel free to see if you can discover where he might have called home.

Celebrating the Houston Asian American Archive

Willet Feng and Diane Wu Feng are owners of the restaurant Burger-Chan and Rice University alumni.

Sometimes we’d like to remind everyone of our amazing resources. One of these that exemplifies the diversity of Houston is the Houston Asian American Archive [HAAA]. Created in conjunction with the Chao Center for Asian Studies, the archive contains at this point 323 oral histories, a variety of archival collections, and more. You can access the oral histories via scholarship.rice.edu and the Chao Center’s custom site that contains much more about the archive and its activities. You can also find collections in our Asian American Materials in Special Collections research guide.