When we have smaller VHS digitization jobs (a collection with 10 or fewer tapes), we can digitize them in-house. We use our laptop, VHS/CD combo player, RCA cable, and a program called Power Director. The output is a mpg video file that we convert to an mp4 using Handbrake.
Right now, I’m digitizing a live performance of The Mighty Orq playing at the Artery on January 4, 2008. The video is from the Houston Blues Society records, which are almost fully processed and ready for research.
Within the boxes of the Houston Blues Society records is a snapshot of the world of regional U.S. blues and music-related newsletters.
This grouping of newsletters mainly hails from the mid-to-late 1990s. They offer a glimpse into how the medium fulfilled a need to spread information about performances and engage with small audiences in the years before its generation of readers fully embraced email, message boards, and/or websites. It’s also interesting how many different types of blues societies exist/ed and how many of them loved the name “Blues News.”
The Houston Blues Society records will be fully processed in the couple of weeks.
We’ve spent the past year combing through thousands of books generously donated to us by Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson. Read our previous blog post here. And we’re excited to let you know that some of his rare and unusual books are now available for viewing.
Click the icon with three dots […] at the top and select Collection Discovery. Then select the Woodson Research Center tile to view the special book collections.
Click the Cuthbertson tile to browse the Gilbert Morris Cuthbertson Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts. If you find an available book you’d like to view in person, just contact one of our staff to schedule a visit to the WRC Reading Room.
Keep your eyes peeled for new books from Doc’s collection added every day!
Celebrating freedom this July makes us think of our neighbor Mexico, who began the process of abolition in 1818 while still part of the Spanish empire. The printed broadside pictured is the declaration of April 5, 1837, in which the Mexican Congress “abolished without exception all slavery in all the Republic.” (They also provided compensation for enslavers’ losses on a case-by-case basis: with the exception of settlers in Texas, who had seceded and later joined the United States as an enslaving state.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.