Memorabilia Monday: Embroidered Bell Bottoms


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.


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.




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.



The former owner made a few corrections throughout this book.


Each section divider has a lovely line drawing.


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


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


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



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


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.

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


He talks about his time doing sound for a variety of performers in the city.

Jack Saunders


He discusses playing with local bands, joining The Shake Russell Band, his duo with Shake Russell, and his recording studio White Cat.

George Ensle


He describes how he came to folk music and his recording projects.

Dana Cooper


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.


The CAMH at the Woodson


Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs “Suite for Five” in April 1965 in conjunction with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston exhibition “Robert Rauschenberg.” Courtesy Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) recently donated their extensive archive to us. For more information, please read the recent Rice News & Media article about the transfer.

We are incredibly excited by this donation and cannot wait to share it with the public after it has processed.

Disaster Recovery


The Woodson Research Center and its collections on an off site suffered no damage from Hurricane Harvey. We sincerely hope that you and yours made it safely through the storm.

If you did suffer any damage, we are sorry. If you are dealing with recovering precious items or know someone who is, we have created a research guide filled with information and tutorials.

We are doing a little bit of disaster recovery of our own. Melissa Kean brought in damp materials from the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston on Greenwillow St. We took the wet paper out of its binder and spread out the pages to dry.

New Houston Folk Music Archive Collections

Two more collections are available for research from the Houston Folk Music Archive.

Lucille Borella collection


In the late 1960s, Bill and Lucille Cade formed a folk duo. Over the next several years, they performed throughout the region. They played in Houston venues, such as Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant, the UH Coffee House, and the Wooden Nickel Club, as well the college ciruit in and out of the state. They also performed at Kerrville Folk Festival in 1974 with their young baby in tow.

Around 1976, Bill and Lucille Cade broke up. Later on, Lucille, now Borella, began performing with her husband Larry at Anderson Fair in 1979 under the name Larry & Lucille.

While no longer actively performing, Lucille Borella has stayed a member of the folk community. She and her husband support the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival.

David Rodriguez collection


David Roland Rodriguez (1952-2015) was a Houston-born folk musician and lawyer. At the age of two, he contracted polio. Because of his decreased mobility, his parents bought him a guitar. Throughout his teens, he played in a variety of musical groups including a rock band, a folk group, and an avant garde ensemble as a pianist. In the early to mid 1970s, he honed his craft in Houston’s folk venues.

After relocating to Austin in the late 1970s, Rodriguez graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1981. He practiced law in Austin into the 1980s, focusing on criminal law and working with the Austin Arts Commission. While he maintained his music career in the early 1980s, he began to focus exclusively on his law practice in 1984. He even mounted an unsuccessful bid for public office in 1990.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Rodriguez began focusing more attention on music. Local Austin music magazine “Third Coast Music” voted him Best Texas Songwriter for 1992, 1993. and 1994.


David Rodriguez with daughter Carrie, 2000s

In 1994, he moved to the Netherlands to play music full time. While abroad, fellow musician and daughter, Carrie Rodriguez would play fiddle with him on occassion. He had a vibrant career overseas and released a number of albums. David Rodriguez died at his home in Dordrecht, Holland, on October 26th 2015.

His most widely covered song “The Ballad Of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy” was recorded by Lyle Lovett, Melissa Greener, and many others.

Rodriguez came from a musical family, which includes his aunt singer and actress Eva Garza, his brother singer-songwriter Philip Rodriguez, and his sister singer Leti Garza.

To see more of our collection, please see the Houston Folk Music Archive research guide. You can also follow us on Facebook.