Memorabilia Monday: Embroidered Bell Bottoms

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Donated by Bruce Bryant, Satsiri Yodi Sumler embroidered these jeans in the 1970s. They are one of the few items of hippie clothing that we have in our collection.

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Bryant moved to Houston in the 1960s and worked for KPRC, directing The Larry Kane Show in 1971. In the 1970s, he created The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python, as well as co-owned The Sweetheart of Texas Concert Hall and Saloon. He went on to direct various music specials, telethons, the documentary, For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair, and now opera simulcasts.

Below are some close-up shots of Sumler’s handiwork.

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Underside of embroidery

Memorabilia Monday: The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu El Cookbook

 

The Cook Book For All Seasons

Last week, we announced our new Houston Jewish History Archive, which we are building in conjunction with Joshua Furman, the Stanford and Joan Alexander and Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies, and Melissa Kean.

We’d like to show off an interesting piece of memorabilia from one of the collections. Produced by The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu El in 1977, The Cook Book For All Seasons, Recipes, Rituals, and Reasons is a very organized cookbook explaining not only what to make and but how to present it based on the holiday or ritual.

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The former owner made a few corrections throughout this book.

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Each section divider has a lovely line drawing.

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It seems like this cookbook would have been a wonderful gift for a new family.

Houston Folk Music Archive: New Collections

Over the past few months, we have been adding to existing collections and finished processing new collections. Here’s a run down of some of our new materials.

Jack Saunders collection

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Playing at Rockefeller’s as part of The Shake Russell Band, ca. 1982

Jack Saunders grew up in a military family that lived all across the U.S. After an eye-opening trip to Dallas, he relocated there to join its music community in 1971. Disapointed that the scene had moved on, he quickly relocated to Austin.

In 1976, at the behest of Rick Gordon, he moved to Houston. There he joined a wide range of bands from Taxi Dancer to The Revolvers to The Senders. In 1982, he joined The Shake Russell Band. That partnership with Russell continued for a more than a decade. After The Shake Russell Band broke-up in 1989, Saunders and Russell became a duo until 1996.

After they parted ways, Saunders embarked on a solo career. He followed that up with opening White Cat Studios in 1999.

Saunders currently plays at venues around Houston, most notably McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, works on recording projects for local and regional musicians,  and does side man work with a variety of regional and touring artists.

His collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, fliers, posters, and a wealth of live music from various stages of his career.

Lynn Langham collection

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Playing at Anderson Fair, ca. 1976

Lynn Langham grew up in Texas and spent her teen years in Freeport, Texas. At an early age, she gravitated to music learning first the piano and then the guitar. When she began college at the University of Texas, she started playing clubs in Austin and moved on to playing in Houston, Dallas, and Denton.

While in Houston, she became a part of the music community at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. On a daily basis, songwriters shared their work and motivated and challenged each other to improve as writers, players, and performers. She appears on the 12″ LP “Through the Dark Nightly,” which featured players from the venue.

At the request of a friend, she spent time in New York. She played at the famed Bitter End and other clubs in the area. Before ultimately relocating to Los Angeles, she briefly returned to Houston to continue her career.

After a long break from the music business and performing, she began recording again in Los Angeles. Moving to Nashville in 1989, she received a recording contract with Capital Nashville and began writing songs for a publishing company, Hayes Street Music. Although the album deal eventually fell through, she continued working for Hayes Street. While the writing scene has changed in Nashville, she continues to write and tours with her partner Doug Gill.

Her work has been recorded by Wynona Judd, Trisha Yearwood, and Carolyn Hester. The song “Old Yellow Moon,” which she co-wrote with Hank DeVito, is the title cut of the Grammy winning 2014 Americana Album of the Year by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.

Langham’s collection has a large amount of lyrics and photographs.

Sara Hickman collection

 

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Performing at her Necessary Angels party, 1994

Sara Hickman grew up in Houston, Texas and attended the famed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts [HSPVA] in the late 1970s. For college, she moved away from Houston to attend North Texas State University (University of North Texas) and graduated with a BA in painting in 1986. After graduation, she relocated to Dallas and embarked on her musical career, playing at venues like Uncle Calvin’s, Club Dada, and Poor David’s Pub.

After recording and promoting her first album “Equal Scary People,” Hickman signed with Elektra. While with the major label, she re-released that album and put out a new one, “Shortstop.” Due to a variety of factors, she parted ways with the company in 1993.

Since her third album masters were Elektra property, she raised money from family, friends, and fans to buy back her masters and went on to release her fourth album, “Necessary Angels.” Around the same time, she formed the trio Domestic Science Club with Robin Macy, formerly of the Dixie Chicks, and Patty Lege, which ended up putting out two albums.

In 1995, she left Dallas for Austin and has lived there ever since. She released 15 more albums over the next 20 years, including four children’s albums. In 2010, the Texas State Commission on the Arts named her the Official Texas State Musician.

Since her days at HSPVA, Sara has devoted her time to a myriad of charitable activities including Habitat for Humanity, House the Homeless, Race for the Cure, and the Uganda Fistula Foundation. While she retired from music in 2017, she still continues her charity work and does vocal work for national commercials.

Hickman’s collection spans the breadth of her career and documents her life through photographs, lyrics, charity work, music, and even fan mail.

Upcoming Projects

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2017 was an incredibly busy year for the Woodson. It included completing an inventory of all of our rare books, creating new online and physical exhibits, growing our fine arts and Jewish history collections, exhibiting the history of Camp Logan, placing the KTRU Rice Radio archive online, co-hosting the Houston Folk Music Archive Celebration with the Friends of Fondren Library, participating in the Oh Project collection, and helping our Fondren Fellow discover and map the hidden bits of information in our Civil War diaries.

Here’s some of what’s coming up in 2018:

  • We’re continuing our participation in the OSSArcFlow project to improve our digital preservation workflows and discoverability.
  • We’re going to be the home base for the Harvey Memories Project. This multi-institutional group will working to document the stories, images, audio, and video related to Hurricane Harvey. We will be taking the lead in digitally preserving any donated items.
  • We will be making new collections available for research from Audrey Jones Beck, Brochstein, Inc., and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston [CAMH].
  • We’ve continued to work with the Chao Center and are expecting new additions and improvements to the Houston Asian American Archive website.
  • Starting last year, we began working on our legacy media backlog. Over the past few months, the old floppies and zip disks have been preserved. Soon, our finding aids will contain descriptions of the files contained on that media.

As we complete some of the projects above and add new ones, we’ll update you on the results. Here’s to a great 2018.

Online Exhibit: Houston Folk Music Archive

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We’re happy to announce the new online exhibit for the Houston Folk Music Archive. It features a history of the scene, mini-exhibits on musicians, bands, music venues, and others. Each mini-exhibit contains a biography or history, images, and/or an oral history.

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The online exhibit also has a map of music venues where folk musicians played. It even includes a timeline where you can track the folk scene’s rise and fall.

A big thank you to Claudia Middleton, our student archivist, for all of her scanning, metadata work, and for creating the map.

More Folk Music Oral Histories

We have uploaded another batch of oral histories. These will all be included in our upcoming Houston Folk Music Archive online exhibit.

David John Scribner

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He speaks about his life and his time hosting the “Chicken Skin Music” program on KTRU.

Lynn Langham

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The Grammy winner discusses her long career in the music industry and her experiences as a singer-songwriter in Houston, New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.

Don Sanders

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He talks about his time playing at the most famed folk clubs in Houston.

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.

Fate Magazine

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Over the past year, we have expanded our collecting focus to include the paranormal. As part of a larger collection from Robert Fuller, we have Fate magazines dating back to 1948. They have incredibly interesting advertisements.

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Everything else seems like an ad found in a paranormal magazine, but the one below doesn’t really fit.

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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.