New HFMA Oral Histories

The Houston Folk Music Archive has been steadily posting new oral histories online. Here are few of the newer ones.

Danny McVey

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He talks about his time doing sound for a variety of performers in the city.

Jack Saunders

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He discusses playing with local bands, joining The Shake Russell Band, his duo with Shake Russell, and his recording studio White Cat.

George Ensle

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He describes how he came to folk music and his recording projects.

Dana Cooper

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He tells about his life growing up in Missouri and his careers in Houston and Nashville.

We’re also working on other oral histories by Don Sanders, Lynn Langham, Isabelle Ganz, Sara Hickman, and Franci Jarrard and Lyse Moore.

 

Primary Source Literacy

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Recently, we taught primary source literacy skills to students in Sophia Hsu’s FWIS 191. Literature and Public Health. The students looked at newspaper clippings, photographs, fliers, and other pertinent documents to get  a sense of how members of the administration, faculty, and students viewed the event. They also heard the voices of some of the major players including Dr. William H. Masterson on his megaphone, Dr. Clark Read speaking his mind, and Bari Kaplan explaining events from a student perspective.

In the class, the students first considered the differences between primary and secondary sources, identified the subjectivity of the archival items on their tables, and extracted information from the items, like key players and power relationships.

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After these exercises, the groups looked at the primary source materials that they will be working on for the semester, which includes a few items from the McGovern Historical Center and the Woodson’s Encyclopédie and the Vince Bell collection.

If you are interested in us doing the same for your course, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Images used: “Rice University students and faculty protesting outdoors during Masterson presidency controversy, wearing “It Can’t Happen Here” signs.” (1969) Rice University: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/75392.

Memorabilia Monday: Gilley’s Bumper Sticker

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This bumper sticker from the early 1980s comes from the Jack Saunders collection, which is currently being processed.

For those not from Pasadena/Houston area, Gilley’s is synonymous with Urban Cowboy the movie based on the Esquire article “The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy.” If you haven’t read about Rice’s connection to the story, you should read this blog post from the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies published a few years ago.

The CAMH at the Woodson

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Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs “Suite for Five” in April 1965 in conjunction with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston exhibition “Robert Rauschenberg.” Courtesy Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) recently donated their extensive archive to us. For more information, please read the recent Rice News & Media article about the transfer.

We are incredibly excited by this donation and cannot wait to share it with the public after it has processed.

Disaster Recovery

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The Woodson Research Center and its collections on an off site suffered no damage from Hurricane Harvey. We sincerely hope that you and yours made it safely through the storm.

If you did suffer any damage, we are sorry. If you are dealing with recovering precious items or know someone who is, we have created a research guide filled with information and tutorials.

We are doing a little bit of disaster recovery of our own. Melissa Kean brought in damp materials from the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston on Greenwillow St. We took the wet paper out of its binder and spread out the pages to dry.

KTRU Tuesdays: KTRU Now Online

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The KTRU digitization project has taken around two years to complete.

This includes:

  • receiving the donated 2-track reel-to-reel player from KTRU and station manager Will Robedee
  • getting the unit repaired
  • learning how to play and digitize reels with the help of Bill Coxsey and Scott Carlson
  • digitizing over 1200 reels, DATs and cassette tapes. Perhaps, 250 reels and DATs were digitized by a vendor.
  • listening to it all
  • creating metadata for it
  • embedding the metadata into the WAVs and MP3s with the help of Scott Carlson
  • creating a spreadsheet of Dublin Core metadata so that the audio files could be ingested into our institutional repository with the help of Amanda Focke and guidance from Monica Rivero
  • our programmer Ying Jin running a batch ingest

Without further delay, the finished product is here, waiting for you to find it. You’ll notice on the right side, the files have been organized into subjects, including: interviews, news, musician interviews, speeches and lectures, and sports.

This will also be the last KTRU Tuesday post. We hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Now, you can make the discoveries and share them with your friends.

Camp Logan in Memorial Park – Houston’s Hidden History

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.

Postcard of Post Office located in Camp Logan, circa 1918

“Post Office, Camp Logan postcard.” (1918) Rice University: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/92653.

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.

Overlay map of location of Camp Logan in today’s Memorial Park

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.

A current exhibit at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum covers the events of this riot in more detail and the museum is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Houston Riot with week-long events later this month. More information is available on their website: http://www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com/?event=100th-anniversary-of-camp-logan-mutiny-1917-2017&event_date=2017-08-21 

The Camp Logan exhibit in Fondren Library will be on display through the end of December 2017.

New Houston Folk Music Archive Collections

Two more collections are available for research from the Houston Folk Music Archive.

Lucille Borella collection

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In the late 1960s, Bill and Lucille Cade formed a folk duo. Over the next several years, they performed throughout the region. They played in Houston venues, such as Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant, the UH Coffee House, and the Wooden Nickel Club, as well the college ciruit in and out of the state. They also performed at Kerrville Folk Festival in 1974 with their young baby in tow.

Around 1976, Bill and Lucille Cade broke up. Later on, Lucille, now Borella, began performing with her husband Larry at Anderson Fair in 1979 under the name Larry & Lucille.

While no longer actively performing, Lucille Borella has stayed a member of the folk community. She and her husband support the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival.

David Rodriguez collection

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David Roland Rodriguez (1952-2015) was a Houston-born folk musician and lawyer. At the age of two, he contracted polio. Because of his decreased mobility, his parents bought him a guitar. Throughout his teens, he played in a variety of musical groups including a rock band, a folk group, and an avant garde ensemble as a pianist. In the early to mid 1970s, he honed his craft in Houston’s folk venues.

After relocating to Austin in the late 1970s, Rodriguez graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1981. He practiced law in Austin into the 1980s, focusing on criminal law and working with the Austin Arts Commission. While he maintained his music career in the early 1980s, he began to focus exclusively on his law practice in 1984. He even mounted an unsuccessful bid for public office in 1990.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Rodriguez began focusing more attention on music. Local Austin music magazine “Third Coast Music” voted him Best Texas Songwriter for 1992, 1993. and 1994.

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David Rodriguez with daughter Carrie, 2000s

In 1994, he moved to the Netherlands to play music full time. While abroad, fellow musician and daughter, Carrie Rodriguez would play fiddle with him on occassion. He had a vibrant career overseas and released a number of albums. David Rodriguez died at his home in Dordrecht, Holland, on October 26th 2015.

His most widely covered song “The Ballad Of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy” was recorded by Lyle Lovett, Melissa Greener, and many others.

Rodriguez came from a musical family, which includes his aunt singer and actress Eva Garza, his brother singer-songwriter Philip Rodriguez, and his sister singer Leti Garza.

To see more of our collection, please see the Houston Folk Music Archive research guide. You can also follow us on Facebook.