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.

Friendly Gifts

The Woodson Research Center has re-opened this week, which means we’ve been diligently working on reference requests. One of these required me looking through Oveta Culp Hobby’s correspondence. It yielded some interesting results like letters filled with gratitude for various food-related gifts.

The first letter is from Madame Chiang Kai -shek aka Soong Mei-ling to Hobby. The 1953 letter thanks Hobby for their recent long conversation and hope that Soong’s gift of tea is similar to the one Hobby and Soong shared in Nanking aka Nanjing.

Letter is summarized in above text.
Letter is summarized in above text.

The next letter is from Nelson Rockefeller thanking Hobby for pecans.

Letter is summarized in above text.

The last letter is from Wilton B. Persons, the Assistant to the President in the Eisenhower Administration. Persons’ gratitude is in regards to “the famous Texas citrus fruit.” Would that be grapefruit? His phrasing is a bit odd.

Letter is summarized in above text.

Based on these various gifts, which one would you have wanted to sample? I think the tea would have been amazing.

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.

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.

Getting Ready with New Exhibits

Reads: Kathryn Morrow African American Research Collection - Recent donation to the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library Summer 2020
Exhibit title card

Even though the library is still closed, we have been updating our exhibits for the library’s re-opening. For the space just outside of the Woodson, we’ve added an exhibit that focuses on the new Kathryn Morrow African American research collection.

Image of books, documents, and media from the collection
Two books from the collection - Rice and Slaves; Black Majesty
Forgive the reflections
Image of books and documents from the collection

While it currently needs some updates, you can always check this page with a list of physical exhibits to see what’s on display around the library and in the Rice Memorial Center.

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!

Let’s hear it for the Vote!

Our new exhibit on the 1st floor, “Let’s hear it for the Vote! 100 years of activism,” recognizes the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, confirming the right to vote for women. The exhibit includes materials from Woodson Research Center collections of women who used their right to vote as leaders in Houston and the broader national community, working as activists for women’s rights, civil rights for people of color, rights for the LGBTQ community, improved education and heath care, and many other issues.

Items from exhibit case showcasing women's history at Rice.

Below are some profiles of the women in the exhibit. We’ve already highlighted Rice grad and suffragette Elizabeth Kalb.

Exhibit case focusing on Oveta Culp Hobby

Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995) lived an extraordinary life during tumultuous times; she served as the first Director of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, and the first Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (now Health and Human Services.)

Exhibit case focusing on Judge Clarease Mitchell Rankin Yates

Judge Clarease Mitchell Rankin Yates (1940-) began her legal career in the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney. In 1980, she accepted a position as an attorney with the Unites States International Trade Commission. She was appointed an administrative law judge in 1986.  Four years later Judge Yates became the first African-American appointed to the  U.S. Immigration Court. She served for eight years as a professor of law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Exhibit case focusing on Glenda Joe

Glenda Joe is a Chinese-Irish-Texan business owner, activist, and Asian festival director. Joe organized her first civil rights rally at age 13 and has since been a prominent activist for the community in Houston, serving as a consultant for Asian issues for the Houston Police Department, and investigating hate crimes against Asians. Joe was the first Asian-American to run for city council in Houston. She also led organizations presenting pan-Asian festivals providing authentic Asian cultural arts for the Houston community.

Exhibit case focusing on Billie Carr and Sara Hickman
Top of exhibit Billie Carr, bottom of exhibit Sara Hickman

Billie McClain Carr, “Godmother” of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, went to her first Democratic National Convention (1928) in Houston as a baby. She began organizing in 1952, running and winning the office of precinct chair. Carr established a statewide and national reputation as an organizer, convention strategist, and spokeperson for the liberal wing of the party.

Carr fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and rights for the LGBTQ community. She campaigned for Barbara Jordan in her successful runs for the Texas Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. In 1972 she was elected to the Democratic National Committee, serving until 2000, and remained a central figure in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Houston-native, Sara Hickman, made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter writing music for adults and children. In 2010, the Texas State Commission on the Arts named her the Official Texas State Musician.

Since her days at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Hickman has devoted her time to a myriad of political and charitable activities, such as fighting against the death penalty, supporting women’s reproductive rights, and combating homelessness.

Carroll Blue Exhibit

Image of Carroll Blue standing in front of a bridge
Image by Tommy LaVergne

We hope you’ll come view a new exhibit featured in the Woodson Research Center: “Carroll Blue: Visionary Artist and Native Houstonian, 1943-2019″ features Blue’s career in photography, filmmaking, community art, and art research.

Image of exhibit cases

Blue’s work focused on African American culture and community. At the time of her death, Blue was exploring the career of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, as a key example of the shift toward Global Art alongside Western Art. Blue served as an advisor and point person to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston on the inclusion of Anatsui’s large scale sculpture in the new MFAH Nancy and Rice Kinder building.