Bling Rings

Image is of four gold rings displayed in a clear suspension box. Rings are: 
2003 NCAA World Series Championship ring
1996 Champions Forever ring
1997 WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Champions NCAA College World Series ring
1994 Football Southwest Conference Champions - (Rice were co-champions)

The Woodson Research Center recently received 4 rings that belonged to former Rice President Dr. Malcolm Gillis honoring athletic achievements during his tenure:

1996 SWC Champions Forever ring
1997 WAC Champions NCAA College World Series ring
2003 NCAA World Series Championship ring
1994 SWC Football Champions ring – (Rice were co-champions)

Our thanks to Dr. Gillis’s widow, Elizabeth Gillis, for sending us these wonderful additions to our collections. Mrs. Gillis is also the inspiration for the most prestigious prize given to university staff each year, the Elizabeth Gillis Award for Exemplary Service . The award is presented to staff who demonstrate exemplary commitment and service to the university, just as Elizabeth Gillis did during her years of service to Rice.

Color photograph of Dr. Malcolm Gillis, president of Rice University, in the dugout area of Reckling Park baseball field, speaking with members of the Rice Owls baseball team. Gillis is wearing dark glasses, a white, short-sleeved shirt with black collar and a white and black baseball cap. and A trio of players are sitting on the edge of the dugout facing him, with other players and spectators standing in the background. The bleachers, filled with spectators, are visible in the distance.
“Dr. Malcolm Gillis with members of Rice University Baseball team.” (2003) Rice University:

Shelving New Books

Newly catalogued books for Woodson Research Center collections

In addition to the named Rare Book Collections that are housed in the Woodson Research Center we also add newly published books to our collections. We recently received some new books written or edited by Rice University faculty and staff. These include a 2 volume work edited by Dr. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, and a professor in the Department of Political Science: Voting and Political Representation in America; and Joy at Work: Organizing your Professional Life written by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business.

It’s also exciting to see new books written by our colleagues here in Fondren. David Bynog, Head of Acquisitions, has recently written Notes for Violists. Published by Oxford University Press, the work offers historical and analytical information on 35 pieces for the viola, from Bach to Weber. Bynog is a violist himself and edited more than 40 compositions. Bynog’s book will be preserved in the Woodson Research Center available for researchers.

Independence Day

We recently welcomed Lauren DuBois as the Copy Cataloger for the Dr. Gilbert M. Cuthbertson Collection. She is working to organize the book collection donated to Fondren Library by the longtime Rice political science professor who passed away in 2019.

“Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson in his office, Rice University.” (2005) Rice University:

An example from his collection came across my desk this week to review. It’s a copy of Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington. Published by James Chrissy in Philadelphia, circa 1832, it contains 10 maps on folded leaves, illustrating Revolutionary War battles and campaigns.

Title page from Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington

The atlas is a companion to the multi-volume biography written by Chief Justice John Marshall begun in 1799 following Washington’s death. Marshall was granted by Washington’s surviving family full access to all of his records, papers, and personal archives.

Plan of New York Island and part of Long Island showing the position of the American & British Armies before, at, and after the engagement on the Heights, August 27, 1776.

The Woodson Research Center will be closed Thursday-Friday, July 1-2, 2021 in observance of Independence Day. Happy 4th!

Celebrating Pride Month

Bumper sticker reads: "My Gay Kid Goes to Rice University" and Rice Gay/Lesbian Support group t-shirt
Rice Gay/Lesbian Support Group 1979 t-shirt and bumper sticker

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:

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.

Transcripts from oH Project
Transcripts from the OH project

Houston Public Library provide online access to William Marsh Rice papers

Support for the research work of the The Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice continues in Fondren Library in 2021. In addition to digitizing materials from the Woodson Research Center collections and making them available online, staff are providing research assistance to Task Force members, graduate and undergraduate students, and our Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Will Jones.

Archival materials related to William Marsh Rice’s history are not only found at the Woodson Research Center. The Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), an archival branch of the Houston Public Library, focuses its collections on the history of Houston. The William Marsh Rice Papers is a collection of Rice’s personal and financial correspondence as well as financial records covering his residency in Houston, with the earliest papers dating from 1841. There are some financial records dating back to 1869. The collection also contains personal and financial papers of Frederick Rice, Rice’s brother, and of John H. Brown, a business associate of Rice and the first husband of Rice’s second wife, Julia Elizabeth Baldwin.

Thanks to the wonderful librarians and archivists at the HMRC, this collection has been digitized and is now available online providing additional resources to researchers investigating William Marsh Rice’s history in Houston. For more resources on books and archival materials see our research guide.

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

Digitizing hidden selections of Houston’s African American and Jewish heritage

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration booklet

Archivists are busy prepping materials for digitization as part of a 2-year grant funded Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) project “Digitizing hidden selections of Houston’s African American and Jewish heritage.” This project will provide public access to collections highlighting the history and experiences of  African-American and Jewish communities in and near Houston, which in turn shed light on nationally significant issues including politics, art, race, and religion. These communities are underrepresented in archival repositories across the nation, and particularly in publicly accessible digital repositories.

Third year anniversary booklet

This project will span two years and will transform scholarship by enabling researchers and community members to engage with thousands of previously inaccessible archival records about the history of two ethnic communities in America’s fourth-largest city, and one of its most diverse.  Anniversary booklets and bulletins from Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church from the Rev. William A. Lawson papers are included in this project. Rev. William Alexander Lawson (1929- ), is the founding Pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church located in Houston, Texas. Established in March 1962 with 13 members, the congregation has grown in excess of 3,500 members. The initial emphasis of the church was to help meet the spiritual needs of Baptists in a transitional community near Texas Southern University, but has become one of the leading Baptist churches in the city of Houston.

Original materials in formats such as photographs, correspondence, reports, synagogue and church bulletins, sermon recordings, and more will be digitized, described, and made available online via the UNT Portal to Texas History and Rice’s repository at More than 200 of the Lawson sermon recordings, dating from 1996-2004, have already been digitized from their original audio-cassettes and will soon be online at

100: The Great War Seen through the Eyes of two Soldiers

WWI exhibit poster

A new exhibit is now on display in the main hallway of Fondren Library celebrating the 100th anniversary of World War I. “100: The Great War Seen through the Eyes of two Soldiers” was first shown in France as part of the commemoration of the centennial of the Great War. It is curated by the French non-profit “Cercle de Valmont” in collaboration with the Woodson Research Center to honor the memory of the American soldiers who went to combat with the allies on French soil.

The exhibit shares two soldiers’ stories taken from two unpublished sources. One is a scrapbook album from the Woodson which retraces the World War I experience of Galveston native and Rice graduate James S. Waters, Jr. The other is a private archive of 450 photographs taken in the trenches by a young French soldier, Paul Gueneau.

The photographs Gueneau took in the trenches are a powerful testimony to the realities of the frontline displayed alongside narrative panels documenting Waters’ movements from Rice Institute graduate,  training as a “90-day wonder” officer, and experience overseas in France.

Gueneau and Waters were the same age, born in 1895 and 1894 respectively. When Waters became an Engineering freshman at Rice Institute, in 1913, Gueneau had abandoned his dream of becoming an engineer, dropping out of school and working as a bank clerk at 14 to provide for his family after the premature death of his father. In December 1914, Gueneau, 19, was enlisted in the French 56th Infantry Regiment and spent the next 4 years at the frontline, until he was put out of combat by mustard gas injuries on September 4th, 1918. Just days later, Waters was at the frontline for the first time, fighting in the St-Mihiel offensive. Gueneau and Waters never crossed paths, but today their combined testimonies give us an invaluable glimpse into the past.

The exhibit will be on display until end of March 2019.

100th anniversary of the Armistice of World War I

Paul B. Hendrickson in uniform

“Will be glad to see home some time and have a good long talk. Your loving son, Paul”

Sunday, November 11 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. Armistice Day commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany, ending hostilities on the Western Front of WWI. The cessation took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. A formal peace agreement was reached at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

We recently digitized one of our World War I collections and it is now available in our digital archive. The Paul B. Hendrickson World War I collection contains correspondence written by Hendrickson to his family back home during his time in service. There is a diary kept during the year he was in France and almost 300 postcards which were sent home.  Hendrickson was stationed in France near Saint Mihiel sector on Armistice Day and wrote to his parents: “This is a big day here. Every one is celebrating. We played quite a while, and some of our boys grabbed a couple Frenchmen and began dancing.”

Hendrickson Armistice day letter

“This is a big day here. Every one is celebrating. We played quite a while, and some of our boys grabbed a couple Frenchmen and began dancing.”

Hendrickson enlisted on April 12, 1917 in Danville, Illinois in the Band, Headquarters Co, 5th Illinois Infantry National Guard, serving in the first enlistment. The regiment initially trained at Camp Parker in Quincy, Illinois. While there, he studied bugling and map drawing. On September 14, 1917, he traveled to Camp Logan, a newly created training camp in Houston, Texas. Hendrickson arrived at Camp Logan on September 17, 1917.  While at Camp Logan, he trained in trench warfare, open formation maneuvers, and rifle range practice. He arrived in France on May 24, 1918. He served in the Amiens sector, July 21-August 18; Verdun sector, September 9 – October 17; and St. Mihiel sector, November 7-11, 1918. He returned to the U.S. on May 22, 1919. View the finding aid online.

Eclipse Monday: Celestial Observances

Today marks the first total solar eclipse in 38 years. Everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse.

From our History of Science book collection we have examples of 17th-19th century astronomers observing solar and lunar eclipses to test scientific theories and gain knowledge about the sun and our planet. James Ferguson, a Scottish self-taught astronomer published the 1756 bestseller Astronomy Explained upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles and Made Easy for Those Who Have Not Studied Mathematics and included a chapter “Of Eclipses: their number and periods. A large catalogue of ancient and modern eclipses” and feature these beautiful plates:

phases of solar and lunar eclipses

Plate XI. Solar and Lunar eclipses. 1803.

The Geometrical Construction of Solar and Lunar Eclipses

Plate XII. The Geometrical Construction of Solar and Lunar Eclipses. 1803.

From a more recent book, we have James Turrell’s Eclipse published in 2000 to commemorate the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999 and Turrell’s creation of a perceptual space: The Elliptic Ecliptic, a Sky Space built on a hillside facing St. Michael’s Mount, in Cornwall, England. The book includes this beautiful aquatint:

aquatint solar eclipse print

Aquatint response print. James Turrell’s Eclipse. 2000

Today, we’ll be (safely) looking to the skies!