Online Exhibit Refresh

Capture of the H. M. Sloop El Vincego, digitally altered with color
Image from our British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars exhibit

Head on over to the page on our blog labeled “Online Exhibits and Story Maps” to find a host of refreshed online exhibits and some new ones, too.

Many of our online exhibits previously lived at the same URL 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 In our remote working environment, nit-picky work like creating unique banners, checking URLs, and updating out of date information became much easier to do.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!

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

The Game of Tradition

Working from home has given us a chance to get more materials uploaded into our digital repository and available to the public online.

The Houston Jewish History Archive at the Woodson Research Center already has a number of scrapbooks online, but we recently uploaded the first of our oral histories. In August 2019 we had a visit from Estelle Panzer and Janis Odensky – two of the three creators of the Tradition Board Game. The ladies were not only kind enough to donate Tradition materials to the Woodson, but also sat down for a recorded interview with HJHA curator, Dr. Joshua Furman.

Estelle Panzer and Janis Odensky looking at Tradition game
Image by Jeff Fitlow

Estelle and Janis, along with Judy Jordan, created Tradition in 1985, as a game of “Jewish facts, trivia, and humor,” modeled on Trivial Pursuit.

Tradition game card
Image by Jeff Fitlow

The game was very popular in the mid-eighties and was sold in department stores across the U.S., including Sakowitz in Houston and Bloomingdale’s in New York City, as well as throughout the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Page from scrapbook
Image by Jeff Fitlow

Houston Hadassah Scrapbooks

Hadassah Bulletin and newspaper clippings

While we might not be processing physical collections or have access to the rare books on the shelves, we do lots of materials to see online in our institutional repository at

Page of Hadassah scrapbook

You can view some new content like the Hadassah scrapbooks that Traci Patterson got uploaded before we closed down. She uploaded the 1970-1972 and 1973-1976 books, which were scanned by one of the amazing Houston Jewish History Archive interns, Danielle.

Hadassah was founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold after returning from a trip to pre-state Israel where she was horrified by the impact starvation and disease had on her people. She motivated Jewish women to support a feet-on the-ground approach to end the deplorable conditions in pre-state Israel. Hadassah Medical Organization flourished over the next century into two world-class medical and research centers in Jerusalem. The Houston Chapter is comprised of 15 groups that meet in various areas of the city, at varying times. It is the largest Jewish women’s organization in Houston. Debbie Angel was president of the Houston Chapter of Hadassah at the time this collection was created.

Excerpts from:

Let’s hear it for the Vote!

Our new exhibit on the 1st floor, “Let’s hear it for the Vote! 100 years of activism,” recognizes the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, confirming the right to vote for women. The exhibit includes materials from Woodson Research Center collections of women who used their right to vote as leaders in Houston and the broader national community, working as activists for women’s rights, civil rights for people of color, rights for the LGBTQ community, improved education and heath care, and many other issues.

Items from exhibit case showcasing women's history at Rice.

Below are some profiles of the women in the exhibit. We’ve already highlighted Rice grad and suffragette Elizabeth Kalb.

Exhibit case focusing on Oveta Culp Hobby

Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995) lived an extraordinary life during tumultuous times; she served as the first Director of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, and the first Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (now Health and Human Services.)

Exhibit case focusing on Judge Clarease Mitchell Rankin Yates

Judge Clarease Mitchell Rankin Yates (1940-) began her legal career in the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney. In 1980, she accepted a position as an attorney with the Unites States International Trade Commission. She was appointed an administrative law judge in 1986.  Four years later Judge Yates became the first African-American appointed to the  U.S. Immigration Court. She served for eight years as a professor of law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Exhibit case focusing on Glenda Joe

Glenda Joe is a Chinese-Irish-Texan business owner, activist, and Asian festival director. Joe organized her first civil rights rally at age 13 and has since been a prominent activist for the community in Houston, serving as a consultant for Asian issues for the Houston Police Department, and investigating hate crimes against Asians. Joe was the first Asian-American to run for city council in Houston. She also led organizations presenting pan-Asian festivals providing authentic Asian cultural arts for the Houston community.

Exhibit case focusing on Billie Carr and Sara Hickman
Top of exhibit Billie Carr, bottom of exhibit Sara Hickman

Billie McClain Carr, “Godmother” of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, went to her first Democratic National Convention (1928) in Houston as a baby. She began organizing in 1952, running and winning the office of precinct chair. Carr established a statewide and national reputation as an organizer, convention strategist, and spokeperson for the liberal wing of the party.

Carr fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and rights for the LGBTQ community. She campaigned for Barbara Jordan in her successful runs for the Texas Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. In 1972 she was elected to the Democratic National Committee, serving until 2000, and remained a central figure in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Houston-native, Sara Hickman, made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter writing music for adults and children. In 2010, the Texas State Commission on the Arts named her the Official Texas State Musician.

Since her days at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Hickman has devoted her time to a myriad of political and charitable activities, such as fighting against the death penalty, supporting women’s reproductive rights, and combating homelessness.

Carroll Blue Exhibit

Image of Carroll Blue standing in front of a bridge
Image by Tommy LaVergne

We hope you’ll come view a new exhibit featured in the Woodson Research Center: “Carroll Blue: Visionary Artist and Native Houstonian, 1943-2019″ features Blue’s career in photography, filmmaking, community art, and art research.

Image of exhibit cases

Blue’s work focused on African American culture and community. At the time of her death, Blue was exploring the career of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, as a key example of the shift toward Global Art alongside Western Art. Blue served as an advisor and point person to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on the inclusion of Anatsui’s large scale sculpture in the new MFAH Nancy and Rice Kinder building.

Vietnamese Resettlement in Houston story map

Still shot of "villages" with images of the apartments and the locations on a map of Houston.

Oral histories from the Woodson Research Center’s Houston Asian American Archive are featured in an online map-based narrative entitled “Life After the Tragic Exodus: Vietnamese Resettlement in Houston (1975 – Present).” This story uses oral history clips, photographs, maps, and news clippings to share war, migration, and resettlement experiences from the Vietnamese perspective. It forms part of the online peer reviewed journal, Transnational Asia, Volume 3, Issue 1 (Fall 2019). This issue explores the Houston Asian American Archives program in detail, from its modest beginnings nine years ago, to its more robust presence now with well over 200 fully transcribed oral histories online, and 27 related archival collections available at the Woodson Research Center.

U.S. map showing four military bases where Vietnamese landed.

Jack McCaine NASA photographs

Aerial View of the Manned Spacecraft Center, 1966
Aerial View of the Manned Spacecraft Center, 1966

Our team recently uploaded a batch of images from the Jack McCaine NASA papers. Here is more information on these items.

First Floor, Looking Northeast, Building 24, 1964-01-23
First Floor, Looking Northeast, Building 24

The Jack McCaine NASA papers consist of newspapers, books, magazines, brochures, posters, photographs, certificates, charts, memorabilia, awards and recognition. He joined the Spacecraft Center Area Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1962. From August 1962 – January 1966, Jack McCaine was employed as project manager for the design and construction of the Mission Control Center, Buildings 30 and 48, and an addition to the Central Heating and Cooling Plant, Building 24 at the Manned Spacecraft Center. This project had an extremely tight schedule, being tied to the space program in progress. This was a first–no one had built a Mission Control Center before. He was project manager for design of the Project Engineering Facility, Building 45, which is a seven-story office building. He was also manager for design of the Test Operations Support Facility, Building 32A. This was an addition to the large vacuum chamber building.

Labeled Aerial View of the Manned Spacecraft Center, 1966
Labeled Aerial View of the Manned Spacecraft Center, 1966

Upcoming Event – 11/14

Image of poster for event.

For those living locally, we’d like to invite you to a showing of For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair. The event will include a short reception with mini-empanadas, the film, a performance by Vince Bell, and a Q&A with the director Bruce Bryant.

It’ll be a great night celebrating a segment of Houston’s music history. We hope to see you there.

Sisters’ Symposium

A few years ago we received a small collection of materials from Mayor Annise Parker. They mainly document gay rights and the AIDS/HIV epidemic of the 1980s. There are a couple of HOOT! newsletters from 1993. For the uninformed, HOOT! is/was a publication of the Rice Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association.

Below Mayor Parker’s anecdotes from her time at Rice and the creation of the Sisters’ Symposium from January 1993. Bonnie Huval, later in July, expands on the group’s early days.

Section of newsletter.
Section of newsletter

If you’re on campus, check out our new exhibit “LGBTQ @ Rice & in HTX.” It features information and items from our Oh Project collection, Queers and Allies records, the ARCH oral histories, and others.