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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 scholarship.rice.edu. 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 scholarship.rice.edu.
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.
“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.”
“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.
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:
Plate XI. Solar and Lunar eclipses. 1803.
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 response print. James Turrell’s Eclipse. 2000
2017 marks the centennial of the U.S. involvement in World War I (1914-1919). An exhibit in the cases near the east entrance of Fondren Library created in collaboration with Rice’s Anthropology department offers a brief account of the history of Camp Logan, a World War I training camp once situated in what is today Memorial Park in northwest Houston. This exhibit marks the 100 year anniversary of the opening of Camp Logan in 1917.
Although this centennial has served as an inspiration for the exhibit, Rice University faculty, staff, and students have been involved in researching and preserving Camp Logan’s history for some time: for example, the Woodson’s collections of papers and objects related to Camp Logan (the Clark Bruster Collection) and the recently acquired Paul B. Hendrickson collection. Dr. Jeffrey Fleisher and students from the Anthropology Department have been investigating Camp Logan archaeologically since 2015. These collections and the results of this research form an important part of this exhibit. Also on display are postcards, ephemera, and images graciously loaned by Robbie Morin from his extensive collection and items from The Heritage Society. These materials have greatly enhanced the exhibit.
Location of Camp Logan in today’s Memorial Park
Occupied for a short period of time from 1917-1919, the story of Camp Logan represents the complexities and tragedies of early 20th-century Houston. Camp Logan emerged quickly at the edge of this small but growing city, and provided a significant economic boost to it as more than 30,000 troops were trained there. But Camp Logan is also tied in historical memory with the Houston Riot and the racial segregation that structured the US military at this time.
One of the most well-known and tragic of these aspects is the Houston Riot of 1917. The all black 24th Infantry was sent to guard the still under-construction site of Camp Logan in early 1917. On August 23rd two Houston police officers assaulted and arrested two members of the 24th Infantry for inquiring why a half-dressed, black mother of five was being assaulted outside her own home in downtown Houston. In retaliation to this unfair treatment, and spurned on by the general racist attitude of the city as a whole, around 100 men of the 24th Infantry took matters into their own hands, gathered weapons from their stockpile and marched towards the police station with the intent of freeing their fellow soldiers. The two-hour riot that followed was a tragic and difficult episode in Houston’s history, the consequences of which meant the death of black and white Americans and the incarceration of black troops.
The first Rice reunion was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1919.
Members of the 1916 class returned to Rice for a full day’s events including an academic procession, football game, and Thanksgiving feast.
Class of 1916 Reunion program
Rice vs. University of Arkansas Thanksgiving game. Rice wins 40-7.
Held after the end of World War I, the day retained a tone of remembrance for the Rice students and graduates who fought and died in the war. Dr. Peter Grey Sears, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, delivered the Thanksgiving sermon: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” A Thanksgiving feast in the evening was hosted by Captain James A. Baker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Speeches were given from members of the 1916 class, undergraduates, as well as President Lovett. The day ended with a bonfire celebration.