While searching on another topic, I found myself drawn to a folder in President Lovett’s papers entitled “Anti-Reds – pamphlets, etc. 1950s.” It’s impossible to know if Lovett himself labeled the material in the folder as “Anti-Reds” or if someone else later decided to name it that.
If you are wondering what is in this mysterious folder, part of it is devoted to the Minute Women, which were quite strong in Houston. They were a group who were anti-Communist, anti-internationalist (as they termed it), anti-immigration, pro-poll tax, pro-capitalist, and promoted “Americanism in public schools.” They took over the HISD school board and tried to control what was being taught at the University of Houston. One way that the Minute Women were effective was their united voice. They used phones to get their views heard. Most of these newsletters remind the readers to call, call, call.
What follows are some highlights from the newsletters.
They were quite afraid of the UN and UNESCO. In Lovett’s file, there is a separate pamphlet about how UNESCO will corrupt children.
“National Women’s Magazine Hits New Low” focuses on education and their view of its infiltration by Communism, which is a running through line in their newsletters, examples below.
“What Sort of Education?” reveals another level to the fears of the group, teaching about non-white subjects. There definitely seem to be clear connections between the Minute Women’s line of reasoning about more inclusive teaching and Communism and today’s patriotic education laws that are sweeping the states. The Minute Women’s discussion of race above go hand in hand with their fervent support of the poll tax.
Fun fact: Pres. Lovett wasn’t the only notable Houstonian saving information on the Minute Women. Dominique de Menil was. As part of her daily ritual, de Menil would clip stories on various topics and file them away. In the 1950s, she saved Ralph O’Leary’s eleven part series on the group. O’Leary’s series led to the group’s downfall.
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.
For the first time, in many years, Woodson staff is taking two weeks, starting today, to focus only on our physical and digital collections. We are currently not fulfilling reference requests and our reading room is closed. We’re thinking of it as a way to get our house in order during this rather peaceful time of year on campus.
As you can see, we are making the most of this time.
The other amazing thing about today is it marks the first time since March 12, 2020 that we, the five full-time archivists, have worked together in the department at the same time.
Today we celebrate Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you! And in honor of the day you can find a recording of John Williams’ Jabba the Hutt theme from Return of the Jedi at the 10:50 minute mark on the recording here:
Imagine this played by the Cantina band at Mos Eisley.
We’re also celebrating the Shepherd School of Music Digitization project, and the considerable progress accomplished in the last year. Staff from Digital Scholarship Services, the Woodson Research Center, Reference, and Cataloging and Metadata Services have contributed to the completion of the first pass of audio review of analog tapes for over 1,500 performances. As of the end of the year 2020, over 300 audio files (for performance years 2000 through 2003) have been uploaded to the Digital Scholarship Archive:
Our amazing Digital Processing Archivist will continue to work on the project through the summer of 2021. We hope to have all the 1,500 performances uploaded to the institutional repository by the end of summer.
A few items were dropped off at the Woodson last Friday bound for our Rice University Memorabilia collection (UA 225). Among them was a cute little beer mug from the 70th birthday celebration for Charles Sidney “Sid” Burrus – Rice alum and Maxfield and Oshman Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
We were sad to hear of Dr. Burrus’s passing on Saturday at the age of 86.
If you would like to learn more about him, News and Media Relations wrote a nice obituary.
We recently received a rather odd time capsule found during the renovation of Mech Lab. It’s a Prince Albert tobacco canister with two items inside. The first is a piece of wood that has been written on with pencil. The other is a piece of paper crammed down in the bottom with potentially the same information as the piece of wood. The paper was so brittle and wadded up that I could only make out the name to confirm that the transcription of the wood was correct.
The text on the wood reads (we think): Jacob Boehler, 902 Ninton St., Toledo Ohio, 1911. I found a Jacob Boehler via the 1940 census living in Toledo, Ohio. At that time, he would have been 51, which would make Boehler approximately 22 yrs. of age when he “put himself” in the can, assuming this is the same man.
A “Jacob Boehler” does pop up in some newspaper articles from Toledo, but our library doesn’t have access to the newspaper.com database. I reached out to the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Toledo Library for information and will provide an update if I learn more.
As for the address, I can’t find a Ninton via Google maps. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist, but I couldn’t find it via a 1904 Toledo map either. Feel free to see if you can discover where he might have called home.
Sometimes we’d like to remind everyone of our amazing resources. One of these that exemplifies the diversity of Houston is the Houston Asian American Archive [HAAA]. Created in conjunction with the Chao Center for Asian Studies, the archive contains at this point 323 oral histories, a variety of archival collections, and more. You can access the oral histories via scholarship.rice.edu and the Chao Center’s custom site that contains much more about the archive and its activities. You can also find collections in our Asian American Materials in Special Collections research guide.
In case you are one of many who are in the mood to look back on the last year of the pandemic, please visit our online exhibit Covid-19 Reflections at Rice. You’ll find images, journals, student reflections, and an oral history with more to come.
If instead, you want to think about something not Covid related, then there’s this.
At the Woodson, we wish that everything that comes through the door is easy to identify. Sometimes, it’s not. If we don’t know the donor of the materials, which sometimes happens with our university archival items, then it’s really a mystery.
I present a small sterling silver trophy with the letter SSE on it. Does anyone know what this might be? Is this a Rice item or not?