Ads in The Aegis

In the Marguerite Johnston Barnes Research Materials for Houston, The Unknown City, 1830-1991 (MS 455), there is a box of multiple editions of The Aegis, a publication created by Houston High School, later known as Central High School, and now named Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center.

The yearly publication is filled with ads for a variety of things, many that would not appeal to high school students. Let’s take a tour of Houston ads from 1909-1911.

A Night for Guy

Verlon Thompson playing guitar
Verlon Thompson, longtime friend and accompanist to Guy Clark

Last Wednesday, we co-hosted an event with Shawn Parks and Matt Harlan that celebrates the life and musical legacy of Guy Clark. Enjoy these great shots from campus photographer Jeff Fitlow. You can read more about the event from a wonderful write-up by the Houston Press’s Gladys Fuentes.

Matt Harlan playing guitar and singing
Matt Harlan, co-planner and performer
George Ensle on stage
George Ensle – The Woodson has his archival collection.
Libby Koch playing guitar
Libby Koch
Verlon Thompson, surprise guest Shawn Camp, Noel McKay performing, playing guitars
Verlon Thompson, surprise guest Shawn Camp, Noel McKay

To see more images of the event, check out the Rice News post.

The Woodson staff will be participating in a regional conference this week and will be taking a reading room break next while working on collection management. Our reading room and reference services will resume on May 31st.

Impossible Exhibits

We recently updated our exhibits around the library. One which is located in the metal hallway, in the front cases near the main entrance, and the 3rd floor next to the Kyle Morrow Room is in conjunction with Archives of the Impossible conference. If you want to read more about the archives, Wired published an article about Jacques Vallée and his papers.

Inside the Woodson is an example of Covid-related art that has been donated.

Outside Woodson and across from the central elevator are exhibits of James Fraher’s photography for the books Zydeco in Texas and Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues written by Roger Wood. The focus is on the Black women highlighted in the books.

As always, please forgive the exhibit case photos. With all of the glass and without great equipment, they are hard to make pretty.

It’s spooooooooky season

This week’s blog post comes from Lauren DuBois who is working with the Doc C collection.

We are no strangers to creepy stories, haunted tales, or other unexplained phenomena here at the Woodson, so we felt it was appropriate to feature some ghostly Texas tales ahead of the holidays later this month.

These items have come into our possession (eek!) thanks to Dr. Gilbert M. Cuthbertson, who passed in 2019 and donated his extensive and wonderful rare book & manuscripts collection to the Woodson.

Image of 7 books from the Doc C collection.

We are especially enchanted by Unsolved Texas Mysteries with its chapter on “Raiders of the Lost Archives.” Archive raiders may purloin rare documents to forge and reprint, steal and resell valuable items for personal gain, or might even be collectors themselves. Some important letters and historical artifacts from Texas’ long and colorful history are probably lost forever, but perhaps there are others you can help locate.

You can find these books on display in the exhibit case near the elevators. Happy Halloween!

Searching for Alums

While checking the transcriptions for Hispanic oral histories conducted in 2000 by HACER, I have relied heavily on the Campaniles and Threshers to track down the appropriate spellings of names. Is it Barbara or Barbra or which of the many spellings of Christie?

Interviewee Dorothy Farrington Caram ’55 threw me for a loop with one name, Yramategui. I heard “Martequiz.” I found him in the 1943 Campanile by searching his first name “Manuel.” Manuel Armando Yramategui ’44 in his short life made a long lasting impact on the Houston region.

Head shot of Manuel Armando Yramategui
Senior photograph

He became the curator at the Burke Baker Planetarium and was president of the Texas Conservation Council. He was also the go to astronomy and paleontology expert for the Houston Chronicle. Yramategui’s quotes show up frequently in the WATCHEM section. In the 1960s, he would appear on KTRK as a nature expert, a bit like Jack Hanna.

Black and white microform image of Manuel Armando Yramategui holding a fossilized bone next to his colleague.
Yramategui and a colleague, Houston Chronicle image, May 30, 1968

In January 1970, Yramategui’s life was cut short in what appears to be a robbery gone wrong while on his way to view a comet.

A year later the Middle Bayou area that he loved was renamed Armand Bayou. In 1974, Hana Ginzbarg raised funds to start the Armand Bayou Nature Center.

To learn even more about Yramategui, please read this loving and informative blog post about him and Ginzbarg.

Pottery and a Skull

Earlier in the week, while prepping our boxes for the move from Iron Mountain to the Library Service Center, I opened up a rather light box and discovered some pottery. I decided to revisit the box later.

Here are some of cups in the box.

But there was more . . . a male human skull. While it makes sense that the artist Hannah Holliday Stewart would want a skull as a model, it is rather odd that she chose this one. There are a variety of marks on the skull, along with tape residue. If you have any other thoughts on this, please share.

human skull from front
human skull from side
human skull with top of cranium removed

In case you are intrigued by skulls and have a strong stomach, you can check out this article on how human remains were made into skeletons in centuries past.

Exhibits Around the Library

Small statue of Doc C - Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson

August has begun and it will soon be time to welcome everyone (faculty and students) back to campus. They will be now be greeted with new exhibits. Here’s a look at some of them.

Crowdsourcing transcription of historical documents – Location: 1st floor main hallway

This exhibit reveals a new software that we have been using to help small groups and/or the general public transcribe/translate historical documents. If you’ve got time on your hands and want to transcribe William Marsh Rice’s ledgers, we’d love to have your assistance. Click through the gallery to see how you can participate.

Remembering “Doc C” through his collection – Location: 1st floor exhibit case near front entrance

This exhibit, assembled by Doc C Copy Cataloguer, Lauren DuBois, shares highlights that she has discovered while working through his book collection.

Image of exhibit case of Doc C items.

Stewart Alexander Collection: Books and original recordings of trance and physical mediumship – Location: 1st floor exhibit cases outside of Woodson

These two exhibit cases showcase items from the newly acquired Stewart Alexander collection, which makes up part of the Archives of the Impossible.

Beauty from Above: Book Covers from the Anderson Collection on the History of Aeronautics – Location: 1st floor inside Woodson

In case anyone needs a dose of pretty, this exhibit simply puts a spotlight on some of the beautiful books in the Anderson collection.

Image of Anderson book covers in an exhibit case

Jimmy Don Smith collection

Image of embroidered bell bottom jeans that say "BLUES POWER," an LP, and two photographs of Jimmy Don Smith

We recently got in a new collection featuring Jimmy Don Smith. It includes posters, fliers, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other interesting items. Check out those embroidered jeans.

Smith (1948-10-28 – 1986-01-25) was a Houston transplant and made his name as a Blues guitarist and founder of The Cold Cuts, as well as other bands throughout the 1960s-1980s. He/His bands opened up for Blues musicians like Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Albert King, and Freddie King, the King trifecta. He had also been the lead guitarist for Billy Joe Shaver and Roy Head.

Two Liberty Hall posters: one for Freddie King and the other for Willie Dixon and the Chicago All-Stars

The collection includes a variety of unique posters that generally showcase the opening act, but Jimmy Don Smith or his band at the time served as an opening act.

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.