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.
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.
While the library may not get as much foot traffic, the Woodson staff has continued to create exhibits to showcase the archives and our various projects.
A new one went up inside the Woodson entitled “One Night in Houston: Selections from the Ralph Fales photograph collection.” One thing I must admit is that many of these performers did perform more than one show in Houston and sometimes they performed a set of shows. But the title is catchy and concert-related, and a shoutout to the new film One Night in Miami.
Anyway, the new exhibit highlights photographs from the Ralph Fales collection that came in almost exactly a year ago. It also focuses on more specifically Black musicians that graced the stages in Houston in the mid-1970s. The performers include: Bob Marley, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Houston’s own Lightnin’ Hopkins, and many others. If you are wondering why no Black women, there is only one image of Sippie Wallace from a show in Boston.
If you want to see more of this collection, it will be getting its own online exhibit later in 2021.
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.
Because of the rise of infections in the city, the university has asked for employees to stay home if they can. Until February 8th, the circulation desk/Access Services will be available for Rice faculty, students, and staff. All other departments including the Woodson Research Center, Reference, the Kelley Center and GIS/Data Center, Friends of Fondren Library, and Digital Scholarship Services will either continue or begin working remotely.
At the Woodson, generally two of us were working in the department each day throughout the fall semester. We cut that down to one after the semester came to a close. With the new changes, we are now all working remotely. What that means is that we’ll be getting new content online, working on digital preservation, and other behind the scenes projects.
If you want to check out new items online, here are a couple of tricks.
You never know what someone on the phone might have for a donation. This time it was a “directory” called The Age, which is a newspaper with more ads than stories. The donated book covers the years 1875-1876. It was published by J.W. Fourmey who was part of the team of Morrison and Fourmey, which did assemble directories of a more traditional kind. Based on a few articles mentioning his name via the Portal to Texas History, Morrison and Fourmey put together directories for various cities in Texas.
Here’s an example of their Houston directory.
To get a sense of what is in The Age, here is a taste of the ads.
As mentioned above, there are also news stories. Some of these like current news aggregators are from around the U.S. There are quite a few stories on immigrants (though the definition of who they are and where they are from is a mystery), Mormons (?), crime, and feel good stories.
Many of our online exhibits previously lived at the same URL exhibits.library.rice.edu. We have wanted to move each of the exhibits to a unique URL, but were unable to find the time for it in addition to our other duties. In our remote working environment, nit-picky work like creating unique banners, checking URLs, and updating out of date information became much easier to do.
You’ll find information on Dick Dowling, the Abbie Hoffman Incident, and U.S. Civil War Narratives, along with other exhibits that focus on Rice history, local history, and rare books.
Any new online exhibits and story maps will be added to that page. Have fun!
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.