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.
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.
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.
If you want to see more of this collection, it will be getting its own online exhibit later in 2021.
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.
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.
Based on these various gifts, which one would you have wanted to sample? I think the tea would have been amazing.
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.
Here’s an example of their Houston directory.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Below are some profiles of the women in the exhibit. We’ve already highlighted Rice grad and suffragette Elizabeth Kalb.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.