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: 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.

Transcripts from oH Project
Transcripts from the OH project

Upcoming Red Book Panel

Congregates standing outside of Mt. Pillar Baptist Church on 601 Hemphill Street.

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.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar school, 928 Clark Street

You can read more about the project in this article from Rice’s Katharine Shilcutt. There will be more press this weekend (fingers crossed) from Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle and an interview on KUHF’s Houston Matters on Monday.

To find the final story map on the 28th, visit our online exhibit.

P. H. McCullogh and O. B. McCullogh

If you’d like to attend the Zoom panel, you can sign up here.

New Music Exhibit

Images include: Taj Mahal, Stanley Clarke, Lightnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker

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.

Images include: Jimmy Reed, Albert Collins, Tyrone Brown, Gatemouth Brown, Bob Marley, Anthony Braxton, Buckwheat Zydeco
It must be noted that cell phone images of exhibits never capture them in their full glory.

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.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobby Blue Bland, Fats Domino, B.B. King

If you want to see more of this collection, it will be getting its own online exhibit later in 2021.

Chandler Davidson African American oral histories

While we don’t know much about the creation or intent, there are two interviews in the Chandler Davidson Texas Politics Research collection with two Black men. The interviews focus on voting, working, and teaching as well as their relations to white people. Sadly, the interviewees are unknown, their identities lost to history. In the second interview, the interviewee seems to be quite old, recounting his life in 1889.

During the summer and fall of 2020, Gabby Parker transcribed the digitized audio for the bulk of the interviews that Davidson and others completed in the mid to late 1970s. All of those interviews are available online.

If you want to explore other oral histories by Black people from the Houston area, you can explore the Gregory School Interviews.

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.

Remote Again

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.

William Marsh Rice Institute Calcasieu Parish pine land, Merryville tract, 1907
William Marsh Rice Institute Calcasieu Parish pine land, Merryville tract, 1907

University Archives – If you go to scholarship.rice.edu, click on University Archives and Rice History, and scroll down, you’ll see all of our newly uploaded materials, including lots of materials related to William Marsh Rice’s financial information and the charter trial from the 1960s. These uploads are related to the work being done by the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice.

Alfred's of Houston Delicatessen, 1966
Alfred’s of Houston Delicatessen, 1966

Special Collections – Again, at scholarship.rice.edu, click on Cultural Heritage Collections and from the list of Sub-Communities, select Woodson Research Center. From there, scroll down and you’ll discover new items that we’ve added including oral histories and scrapbooks.

We hope everyone stays safe out there.

Elections of Yore

Top of first page of the Rice Thresher. Link to source: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth245454/m1/1/zoom/?q=%22jimmy%20carter%22&resolution=3&lat=4607.408585708473&lon=2006.7271464271187

If you are hungering for info about elections in the past, check out KTRU’s coverage of the 1980 election. Dr. David Gow provides analysis. Dr. Gow went on to write an article about the 1980 election.

If you want to dig deeper on this topic, you can go to the KTRU section of the university’s institutional repository and use the search term “election.” There’s everything from university election controversies to KTRU coverage of local, state, and national elections. Enjoy!

The Age

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.

The Sunday Gazette of Dennison, TX from July 16, 1899 via the Portal to Texas History

Here’s an example of their Houston directory.

Not sure why his name is misspelled.

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.

One surprising feel good story.

One unsurprisingly racist crime story.

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 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!

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 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.