New Collections, Sneak Peek

Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price's suitcase and autographed photo.
There’s amazing stuff inside that suitcase.

While there will be more news about this later, we wanted to make a quick announcement. We will now be home to the Houston Blues Museum Archive. It will consist of the museum’s administrativerecords, along with artist collections like Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price and other collections that tell the history of Houston Blues.

Preserving this history is a wonderful way to celebrate Juneteenth.

New Collections 2019-06-11

Dr. George C.Y. Chiou seated with daughter, Dr. Linda Epner
Dr. George C.Y. Chiou seated with daughter, Dr. Linda Epner

Dr. George C.Y. Chiou ophthalmology career publications and papers, MS 852

The collection consists of records, news coverage, and materials from the career of Regents Professor Emeritus Dr. George C. Y. Chiou. It includes a plaque on which is mounted a cover of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology, Dr. Chiou having been the founding editor. There are also three bound volumes: the second edition of Ophthalmic Toxicology, edited by Dr. Chiou (1999); volume 20 of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2004); and The Vision of Innovation, The Challenge [sic] Story of New Drug Inventor and Entrepreneur George C. Y. Chiou (written in Chinese) (2015). 

Dr. George C. Y. Chiou was born in Taoyuan, Taiwan in 1934, and after earning B.S. and M.S. degrees at National Taiwan University, in 1964 he emigrated to the U. S. to pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. His wife and two daughters remained in Taiwan for a year and a half but then joined him in Nashville. On completion of his doctoral degree, in 1969 he was hired by the medical school of the University of Florida as assistant professor of pharmacology. Then in 1978 Dr. Chiou was hired away from the University of Florida Medical School to be head of the Department of Medical Pharmacology at the Texas A & M University School of Medicine Health Science Center. To his teaching and research he added administrative duties, serving as assistant dean in 1985-86 and associate dean 1987 to 1990.

The focus of Dr. Chiou’s research has been the development of new drugs for eye diseases. It has resulted in approximately thirty patents and has been recognized with awards such as the 2006 Excellence in Research Award by the College of Medicine, Texas A & M Health Science Center and the 2007 Patent and Innovation Award by the Office of Technology Communication, Texas A & M System. The first of the treatments developed by Dr. Chiou was the use of D-timolol to treat glaucoma. Developing eyedrops for the delivery of insulin was another achievement, and it was followed by discovery of a drug compound, MC-1101, that can potentially treat and halt the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Chiou has had the support of the Texas A & M Office of Technology Commercialization to bring this product to market. The name of the resulting company is MacuCLEAR.

The bibliography of Dr. Chiou’s authored and co-authored papers includes 265 items. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, of which the 2004 volume is the twentieth. He was also the editor of two editions of Ophthalmic Toxicology, a book intended for a wide variety of readers in academia, industry, clinics, research laboratories, and government agencies.

In addition to his position in the College of Medicine at Texas A & M, between 1986 and 1995 Dr. Chiou also held adjunct professorships in the Center for Biotechnology and the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In recognition of his accomplishments, in 2011 he was promoted to Regents Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics of the College of Medicine at Texas A & M, and in 2015 he became Regents Professor Emeritus.

Screenshot of Dr. Chiou oral history

This collection also has a video oral history with Dr. Chiou.

Joseph Lomax’s Life

A few years ago we received the Joseph Franklin Lomax materials from his brother John Lomax III. The collection is not completely ready for patrons, but in honor of Pride Month, we wanted to highlight it.

On February 19, 1949, Joseph Lomax was born into a family that loved and preserved music. His grandfather John A. Lomax and uncle Alan were famed song collectors. His father John, Jr. managed Lightnin’ Hopkins, helped found the Houston Folklore Society, and recorded three albums and performed often.

Black and white image of Clifton Chenier on a stage holding an accordion on his lap.
Clifton Chenier, ca. 1980, photographer: Joseph Lomax

Joseph Lomax like his family never turned away from music. He documented Zydeco in the article “Zydeco-Must Live On!” from the book collection What’s Going On? (In Modern Texas Folklore). He assisted the Houston Folklore Society. He co-owned Wings Press, which published the very collectible For the Sake of the Song song book by Townes Van Zandt. He began performing folk songs in the early 1980s, one of his last projects came at the Texas Tall Tellin’ and Music Festival in May 1986 with frequent accompanist, Hally Wood.

Black and white image of unknown bass player, shot at an unusual angle
Unknown, photographer: Joseph Lomax

Lomax also took photographs, lots of photographs. They detail his life in Montrose and his friends, parties at his home, photo shoots of Hally Wood and Frank Davis, nature, architecture, and his love of neon art. His collection contains many photographs of him though it’s unclear if he took them.

Black and white image of Joseph Lomax next to the spray painted word "Gay."
Joseph Lomax, 1970s

In the 1970s as detailed in his journal in the collection, he began to struggle with his identity. He would later come out to his friends and family. One letter in the collection from his uncle Alan Lomax is an apology for his initial reticence to accept his nephew’s sexuality.

A page from a legal pad. It reads: Around me there is the spectre of a damaged immune system. That stalking killer AIDS, cruel arbiter of fate wears heavy boots in my mind. As soon as its heavy-trodden step is forgotten, it thuds resoundingly around the almost-forgotten corner of my mind.
Lomax writing about diagnoses

In 1986, Joseph Lomax was diagnosed with Kaposi sarcoma and later HIV. From a set of pages dated September 16, 1986, he writes about waiting for his official diagnosis, and what comes next in his life. He struggles with giving up and assigning everything to karma and his life force being ready to leave this realm or the inverse of his karma wanting to fight. Drawing upon his work as a massage therapist, he wonders if there are alternative remedies outside the traditional medical establishment. While it’s unclear what all he explored, there are photographs of him in the collection receiving acupuncture.

Sadly, Joseph Lomax passed on January 9, 1988, one of the many victims of the AIDS crisis. His memory is preserved in his collection, but also the AIDS Quilt. His panel sparkles like his collection does.

Screenshot of Lomax's panel taken from
Screenshot of Lomax’s panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt website

If you’d like to hear more about Joseph from his brother John Lomax III, you can check out this link.

Invitation to the Coronation

We stumbled across this find today in the Julian Sorell Huxley collection. In addition to his scientific work, duties as secretary of the Zoological Society of London, and travels documenting cultures around the world, Huxley found time to attend the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Invitation / Ticket to the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Tucked away in one our most used collections — an invitation to the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on May 12, 1937.

Map on the back of the invitation that includes directions.

So as not to get lost within Westminster, the map on the back directs the invitation holder to his spot in the north aisle of the nave.

Just in case you want to watch the coronation. Here is some BBC footage of the event.

New Collections, 2019-05-07

4 drawings - Morton Levy's architectural drawings of Congregation Brith Shalom
Morton Levy’s architectural drawings of Congregation Brith Shalom

Morton and Jean Levy papers, MS 845

The collection consists of one box containing a scrapbook of, primarily, Morton Levy’s architectural drawings of the proposed renovation to Congregation Brith Shalom’s interior, correspondence, news clippings, and photographs of the congregation’s interior from 1986-1996. In addition to the drawings in the scrapbook there are ten prints from Levy’s portfolio (1997) of a number of synagogues that he worked on. The rest of the material — two Congregation Beth Israel bulletins, news clippings, and two group photographs of Barnston B.B.G. members — is from 1948 to 1954.

Morton Levy, a native Houstonian, graduated from high school in 1951. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice Institute in 1955 and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture, with distinction, from Rice in 1956. He founded his own architectural practice in 1963 and was licensed to practice architecture in Texas from 1960 through 2014.  The resume for his award-winning practice includes service as architectural consultant to the U.S. Postal Service for thirteen years, eighteen projects for the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services, four projects for the Houston Independent School District, seven Houston area synagogues, and eight renovation/expansion projects for the Houston Jewish Community Center.  He retired in 2015.

Jean Merle Kanowitz Levy is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved with her family to Houston at the age of nine. A graduate of San Jacinto High School in Houston, Jean went on to receive a degree in Liberal Arts Studies from the University of Houston. Morton and Jean married in 1960 and have three children: Nanette (1961), Jay (1965), and Lisa (1966).   

Assortment of memorabilia and images on table - Items from the Shearith Israel Congregation collection
Items from the Shearith Israel Congregation collection

Shearith Israel Congregation collection, MS 738

The collection contains six boxes of correspondence, event materials (including programs, correspondence, and memorabilia), newsletters, bulletins, news clippings, books, photographs, financial documents, sermons, and video and audio material of events that document the history of Shearith Israel Congregation in Wharton, Texas, from 1921 to 2002.  

Shearith Israel Congregation had its inception in 1899 when the Jewish citizens of Wharton, Texas, first met to conduct religious services, using members’ homes as meeting places. As the community grew and the number of Jewish families increased plans were formulated for the building of a Synagogue. At first the membership consisted mainly of Wharton citizens, but as the Jewish population increased in surrounding towns the congregation expanded to include those who lived nearby from El Campo, Bay City, Ganado, Edna, Palacios, and Richmond. A tract of 2.14 acres was purchased and the building was completed in the fall of 1940. In 1956, the community dedicated a new, state-of-the-art synagogue building in the shape of a six-pointed Star of David at 1821 Old Lane City Rd., designed by Houston Jewish architect, Lenard Gabert. Perhaps, the most notable and enduring feature of the property, however, was the barbecue pit. Shearith Israel’s annual barbecue fundraiser, the social event of the year for the community, attracted hundreds of Jews and non-Jews from the area, as well as relatives and former members, who descended upon Wharton to eat chicken and cole slaw. The synagogue closed its doors in 2002, when membership dwindled from a peak of 400 members down to just 39, and sold its facilities. In 2010, the main building burned to the ground, and, besides the community hall that still stands, visitors to the site today will see nothing but a concrete slab where the sanctuary and school once stood.

Herman and Margarett Root Brown Family papers, MS 697

The collection consists of a range of keepsakes memorializing the lives of Herman and Margaret Root Brown and their family. The oldest in time are the high school senior class yearbook of Herman Brown and a framed loan document bearing his signature. There are many photographs, both formal portraits and small snapshots as well as intermediate size pictures. Among the people featured in addition to Herman, Margaret, and their children are the mother and sisters of Herman and George Brown, the wife and daughters of George, and some business associates.

Herman Brown, born in Belton, Texas in 1892, and Margaret Root, born in 1895, were married in 1917. Having begun doing construction work in Belton in 1914 and being paid in used equipment and mules, Herman formed a business which his brother-in-law Dan Root joined in 1919. They were in turn joined by Herman’s younger brother George in 1922. For the first twenty years their work was primarily road paving and bridge building throughout Texas. In 1942, with federal government involvement through freshman congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson, they completed a 1.3-mile-long dam near Austin.

World War II prompted the company’s expansion into ship-building, and it produced 359 destroyer escorts and other ship types. After the war Brown and Root expanded by acquiring (for $143 million) the U.S. government’s Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines (originally built to replace tanker ships vulnerable to German submarines). 

In 1951 Herman and George Brown and their wives set up the Brown Foundation, which has made large gifts beginning with Rice University, Southwestern University (Margaret Root Brown’s alma mater), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Two children joined the family of Herman and Margaret Brown, who had no children of their own. Louisa and Michael Stude were adopted and raised by the Browns but kept their birth names because their natural parents were still living.

Herman Brown died on November 15, 1962, and Margaret followed in 1963. To honor the memory of Margaret, George Brown and his wife Alice donated funds used to establish a residential college at Rice University. Margaret Root Brown College was dedicated October 3, 1965.

New Collections – 2019-04-17

Three images of Lynn R. Lowery outside among plants.
Photographs of Lynn R. Lowery

Because we are constantly processing collections big and small, physical and digital, we thought we’d promote new ones on a weekly basis.

Vietnamese Culture and Science Association event programs, 1999-2016, MS 824

The collection consists of programs from annual Youth Excellence Recognition luncheons, VCS Association newsletters, the 25th anniversary celebration program of VCSA, and the program from a 2004 national conference of the National Alliance of Vietnamese American Service Agencies.

Flor Guinhawa Filipino-American history books and gala programs, 2006-2016, MS 846

The collection consists of 21 bound programs from celebratory events of a variety of Filipino-American organizations, spanning the years 2006 to 2016, and 12 books to be cataloged separately.

Rush Moody, Jr. Federal Power Commission records, 1971-1985, MS 823

The collection consists of materials related to the service of Rush Moody, Jr. on the Federal Power Commission, to which he was appointed for a five-year term in 1971. Included is biographical and financial information prepared to support the nomination. Correspondence during the term is included, as are news clippings about it. There are also a report and speeches related to the work of the Commission from years following Moody’s term.

Lars Lerup Academic and Professional papers, 1960s-2010s, MS 830

These papers consist of the academic and professional papers of Lars Lerup the former Dean of the Rice School of Architecture, 1993-2009. The main part of his papers has been divided into four phases of his career: student work, University of California, Berkeley, SCI/ARC in Switzerland, and Rice University.

Mary Ann Pickens’ Lynn R. Lowery research collection, 1957-2007, MS 853

This collection consists of research material created and collected by Mary Ann Pickens about Lynn R. Lowery. It includes notes on interviews and copies of articles written by Lowery.

NASA Emblems and Snoopy Stickers

Norman Belasco in November 1977

One of our new Houston Jewish History Archive collections contains items related to the life and work of Norman Belasco. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 26, 1923. A veteran of World War II, he served his country in the Pacific theater for four years. Upon conclusion of his military service, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University. Belasco joined NASA in 1961. During his 20 year career, he helped to develop a flush toilet for zero gravity environments, shares a patent for inventing a medical subject monitoring system, and was Deputy Chief of Medical Operations. He passed in 2004.

Four silkscreened emblems
Silkscreened emblems
Close-up of Apollo 11 silkscreened emblem

Because of his work, he saved NASA-related items. At first, I thought these emblems were just unfinished patches, but they are potentially so much more. The emblems have actually been silkscreened onto glass fiber cloth, the same as the astronauts’ suits. Some of the silkscreened Apollo 11 emblems were brought on that historic voyage. It’s unclear if this one was, but it’s neat to imagine that they’ve been to the moon and back.

Silkscreened emblem reading "Borman Lovell Anders"

Belasco saved another neat treasure from his time at NASA, Snoopy-themed stickers.

5 Apollo 11 Snoopy Stickers

Democratic Fun-Fest

Paper flier from the Democratic Fun Fest, explaining activities, from July 4, 1977

Come one, come all to the Democratic Fun-Fest. The letter below sent to Billie Carr outlines logistics like how to name your booth, for example the Amy Carter Lemonade Stand. It would have been interesting to know what “fun” name Carr came up with for her fortune teller and fish pond booths.

Letter to Billie Carr from Clintine Cashion explaining to Carr how the event will work.

Lately, the Billie Carr political papers have been getting some attention. In honor of the start of Women’s History Month, let’s shine a light on the woman and her work.

Billie McClain Carr (later known as “The Godmother” for her work on behalf of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party) was born in Houston, Texas, June 1, 1928. She grew up near downtown Houston, graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1946, and married three months later; she had three sons, and over the years took courses at South Texas College and the University of Houston. 

Carr’s activities as a political organizer began in 1952, when political issues in Texas stirred her to run for Democratic chairman of her precinct and she unexpectedly won. Soon afterward she became a protégé of Frankie Randolph, a leader and benefactress of liberal causes who helped found the Harris County Democrats (a liberal precinct organization) in 1953. She taught Carr the art of grass roots political organizing, and over time Carr assumed a leadership role in Harris County Democrats and began to establish a statewide reputation as an organizer, convention strategist, and spokesperson for the statewide liberal coalition. 

In 1954 Carr was elected a member from her precinct to the Harris County Democratic Executive Committee, serving in that capacity until 1972; she was also Harris County’s member on the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee from 1964 to 1966. She was a leader in efforts to achieve proportional liberal participation in presidential conventions and became nationally known in the Democratic Party for taking a rump delegation to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, an action which helped initiate a party-wide set of reforms abolishing the use of the unit rule by which conservative Democrats had been able to minimize the election of liberals as delegates to presidential conventions. 

As a liberal activist and strategist, Carr also fought for civil rights. She protested the Vietnam War and fought for women’s rights in the 1970s, and for gay rights in the 1980s. She helped organize the 1966 campaign leading to the election of Barbara Jordan, the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate, and was later described by U. S. Rep. Mickey Leland as “the grand old lady of liberal politics” for her efforts in helping a number of minority candidates (including himself) win political office. She later established a business, Billie Carr & Associates, specializing in campaign and other political services. 

In 1972 Carr was elected to serve as a member of the Democratic National Committee (a position she held until 2000); there she was elected “whip” for the progressive-reform caucus and in June 1981 was elected chair of the newly-formed Progressive-Liberal Caucus. At various periods she also served on the Credentials Committee, the Platform Advisory Committee on Older Citizens, and the Executive Committee. She passed away in 2003.

If you’d like to hear more from Carr, check out her oral history conducted by Rice’s own Dr. Chandler Davidson from 1974.

Woodson in News from Fondren

Cover of News from Fondren issue

In case you haven’t seen it, there are quite a few articles about the Woodson’s various projects and collection in the most recent issue of News from Fondren. They include information on the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) archive, the Reginald Moore Convict Leasing research collection, the Shepherd School digitization project, the Houston Folk Music Archive’s Homecoming concert, and the Wilson Collection of Historical Cartography and Geography.

Happy New Year!

Image of Paul B. Hendrickson in uniform.
Paul B. Hendrickson, 1917

We hope everyone had a nice break. We’re back and ready for researchers, if you’re able to drag yourself in. If you’d rather stay at home, we’ve got you covered.

Our hardworking student archivist, Trevor Egerton created a new online exhibit entitled: A Soldier’s Story: WWI Letters and Diaries of Paul B. Hendrickson

Image of Paul B. Hendrickson wearing a gas mask and holding a rifle with a bayonet.
Paul B Hendrickson at Camp Logan, 1917

It tells the story of Paul B. Hendrickson and includes an interactive map about his time here in Houston and in Europe. We hope you enjoy it.