Peter Gardner Reels


Image courtesy of The Media Preserve

The family of Peter Gardner had a large trove of over 100 reel-to-reels that they wanted to digitize. We worked with them to send the reels to The Media Preserve and now the music on the reels is alive once again.

A little background on Peter Gardner. He arrived in Houston in 1963 with his then wife and musical partner Isabelle. She now goes by Isabelle Ganz, expect an oral history from her in the coming months. The Gardners traveled the U.S. and Europe performing unique arrangements of traditional folk songs from all over the world. In 1963, Peter became the Director of Adult Activities at the Jewish Community Center. He started the radio program “The Sampler” on KRBE in 1965, which he recorded in his home. Peter also hosted pickin’ parties there in the mid-1960s, which is where Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt met.

The reels themselves shine a light on the early days of Houston’s folk scene and also provide a glimpse into the programming at the JCC. Live performers include Frank Davis, Kay (K.T.) Oslin, Ed Badeaux, Carolyn Terry, Sara Wiggins, John Lomax, Jr., Jerry Jeff Walker, perhaps the first recording of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and other surprising discoveries like The Gospel Mellowtones.


Image courtesy of The Media Preserve

It will be a few months until the items are reading room ready, but we wanted to give everyone a sneak peek of what is to come.

Autry House

Autry House, ca. 1923

Yesterday we had a delightful visit with a donor whose parents and grandfather attended the Rice Institute. Among her grandfather’s materials were Schlueter photos, including this wonderful photo of Autry House, built in 1921 as a community center for Rice on Main Street across from the Institute.

I particularly like the sign of the Owl, visible through the trees, and the biplane hovering over the area.

The Ingoldsby Legends: 1929 Edition


Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been showcasing our editions of The Ingoldsby Legends. This time we’re going to look at the 1929 one. It is really a treat.


There’s our little friend the bird. He showed up in the 1840 first edition.


Caption: “Hey! up the chimney lass! Hey after you!”



Title: “Around, and around, and around they go.”


Caption: “The little man had seated himself in the centre of the circle upon the large skull”


Caption: “There’s an old woman dwells upon Tappington Moor.”

If you enjoy these beautiful Rackham illustrations, his Wikipedia page has an extensive list of his work.

Oral Histories and Wheatfield Concert

The Houston Folk Music Archive has a couple of new oral histories that have been indexed and are ready for viewing.


The first is from Walter Spinks. He tells about his teenage years going to Sand Mountain Coffee House, his duo Fat and Furry, and being a co-owner of Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant.


The second is from Houston folk band Wheatfield. They talk about the band’s formation, becoming a regional powerhouse band, their lives post-Wheatfield, and the reformation of the band.

If you are interested in watching more oral histories about Houston’s folk music scene, you can find more here.

Wheatfield will also be playing at Fondren Library live on November 2nd at 6 p.m. If you are in town for Homecoming or just love live music, please stop by. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.


2018 HFMA Concert Letter 1 side rev

The Owners of The Ingoldsby Legends


A few weeks ago with another Fondren librarian, I went searching through our stacks for spooky book bindings and illustrations. One of the standouts included The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby aka Richard Harris Barham. I’m going to break up this book into three blog posts on the owners of the first edition, its illustrations, and the 1929 version with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

First let’s look at the owners of the book.



John Leveson Douglas Stewart of Glenogil, Angus, Scotland August 1, 1842 – 1887 was the first owner. Since the book published in 1840, he was probably not the original one.


Then, the book fell into the hands of Sir Herbert Henry Raphael a British barrister (1859 – 1924).

At some point even between the two owners mentioned or at a later time, the book ended up at the W. Heffer & Sons Ltd. Booksellers in Cambridge, England. Raphael did attend school in Cambridge, but that doesn’t mean he purchased it at that time.


Before coming here, its last owner was Fleming L. Mays who gifted it in October 1953. I was unable to find out anything about him. Please let us know in the comments if you know more.

Somewhere along the line, someone decided to spruce up this book. In the final pages, there is the original spine and cover. It now sports a calf leather cover with gilding.



KTRU Tuesdays: Update

While we are not completely finished, we wanted to let our devoted KTRU-ers know that we are updating the news masters at

We’ve used the University of Kentucky’s OHMS viewer to index the news masters to ensure that you can find what you need fast.

For example, if you go to, search for “news masters,” select News Master 4. and click the blue button labeled “Synchronized Viewer,” you’ll see this.


You can click on any indexed part. You can then select “play segment” or “segment link.” If you do the latter, you can post the snippet of audio to Facebook or elsewhere.


We hope you enjoy this added level of functionality.

Memorabilia Monday: Winning Racket


Today is a wash out for tennis, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show off this racket.


Owned by Frank Guernsey, Jr. he used this racket in the 1938 and 1939 NCAA Championships.


In case you can’t read the caption from the image above, it reads: Pint-sized FRANK GUERNSEY, JR. (1941) already was tennis champion of four Southern states before he came from Orlando, Fla., to Rice as a freshman as a result of meeting Rice Tennisters Joe Lucia and Bobby Curtis at a summer tournament. He picked up where Wilbur Hess left off, winning the National Intercollegiate singles in 1939 and 1940, thus giving the Owls top spot in college tennis three out of six years. To illustrate how completely Coach Quin Connelly’s Owls dominated SWC tennis, Frank beat another Ricer, Jack Rodgers, in the 1940 SWC semifinals, beat teammate Bobby Curtis in the singles finals, then with Curtis teamed to win the doubles from—guess who—Rodgers and Dick Morris, Owl No. 2 team. (Sounds like nowadays). In a long, after college net career, Frank won the national indoors doubles title twice with Don McNeil, played No. 1 U.S. star Bobby Riggs in all five times, winning twice, and with McNeil lost an all-time rhubarb and “disputed-call” match to Billy Talbert and Gardner Mulloy for the national outdoors doubles in 1946. Now a successful printing company executive-owner and amateur golfer in Houston, Frank is active in R Association affairs.

He also has a detailed Wikipedia entry. If you want to see 1940s tennis in action, his 1946 U.S. National Double’s Finals match where he partnered with Don McNeill against Gardnar Mulloy and Bill Talbert is here.