Memorabilia Monday: Original Campanile painting


In our vault, we have a section for paintings, plaques and other items that can stand upright. The above item lives there.

Here’s the label on the back of the painting:

Tidden, John Clark

Original painting from which illustration for “Classes” in 1916 Campanile was produced.

Given by Elva Kalb Dumas in memory of E. F. Kalb, Rice ’16. 07-30-1965


John Clark Tidden, born 1889, was an early member of the Rice Institute Art and Architecture faculty. His artwork is sought after and examples show up in the  HETAG: Houston Earlier Texas Art Group newsletters.

Tidden also enjoyed drama. In 1921, he started “The Green Mask Players” with Caroline Levy and Mrs. Charles Robertson. Blanche Higginbotham a science teacher who taught at Houston South End Junior High, later South Jacinto High School managed the group. Their acting troupe was part of the Little Theatre Movement and was the first of its kind in Texas. On a side note, after looking at the Wikipedia entry, no one has added the Houston theatre to the listing of theatres. If you are a Wikipedia editor, that information would be an easy addition using the source below.

It’s a little unclear what happened to Tidden after leaving Rice in 1925. One source has him marrying a Lois Little and refers to him as a commercial artist. If you know more, please let us know in the comments.

Sources used:

Texas High Schools: Classification and State Aid

The Little Theatre Review: A Forthnightly Survey

The Rice Thresher, December 11, 1925


Music in the Archives- Obsolete Media

I’m processing a local music collection from a 20th century performer who collected recordings in most of the formats of the last 120 years: CD’s, cassettes, vinyl records, 78’s in shellac, and this:

Edison Gold Moulded Records, 1905

Edison Gold Moulded Records, 1905








Thomas A. Edison invented the phonograph, the first device for recording and playing back sound, in 1877. In 1902, Edison’s National Phonograph Company introduced Edison Gold Moulded Records, cylinder records of improved hard black wax, capable of being played hundreds of times before wearing out. This cylinder was labeled “Rescue the Perishing”, a 19th century hymn- but that isn’t what was in the container. Someone over the years had changed out the contents to this:

“For Dixie and Uncle Sam”, George Wilton Ballard, Blue Amberol Record

This is a Blue Amberol recording, made out of a type of plastic similar to celluloid invented by Edison labs and sold beginning in 1912. These records were marked with the name of the music and the performer, in this case a tenor named George Wilton Ballard.  You can hear Mr. Ballard singing other songs in the Library of Congress site The National Jukebox – and you can learn more about Blue Amberol records and other cylinder records in the Museum of Obsolete Media.



Memorabilia Monday: AIDS Quilt Commemoration


In honor of Pride Month, this a section from a series of panels made by the Rice community to commemorate the display of the The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which visited campus. The Community Involvement Center, the Wellness Center, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs spearheaded the display in 2001.

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Here is a photograph of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Rice Memorial Center around February 15, 2002.


The AIDS Memorial Quilt still goes out on display and is searchable by name. In this vein, the oH Project collection, containing oral histories of HIV/AIDS in Houston, Harris County, and Southeast Texas, has a large number of interview transcripts online. If you want to learn more from AIDS survivors and caretakers in Houston, it is a wonderful resource.

Music in the Archives: Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961)

Carlos Salzedo publicity photo, undated

Carlos Salzedo was a French harpist, pianist, composer and conductor, regarded by many as one of history’s greatest harpists. At twelve years old he began studying the harp, and within a year was accepted as a harp student in the Paris Conservatoire. In 1909, Arturo Toscanini invited Salzedo to play in the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, and Salzedo moved to New York. From the 1920s onward, Salzedo appeared regularly as a soloist with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, and on tour as a recitalist, harp ensemble leader and flute-harp-cello trio member. The guide to his papers in the Woodson Research Center can be found here.

Salzedo taught hundreds of students during his career. He began a summer harp school in Camden, Maine in 1930, which continued after his death under the instruction of his student Alice Chalifoux, who was the principal harpist of the Cleveland Orchestra for decades. We have a wonderful photo from the summer of 1946 of Salzedo serving lobster on the beach to some of his students (it’s a Life Magazine photo, so we can’t publish it online, but you can view it in the archives.) Instead, here is a class photo of the Salzedo Summer Harp Colony from 2000, with Penobscot Bay in the background:

Salzedo Summer Harp Colony , 2000

The lovely silver-haired lady with the dog at her feet is Ms. Chalifoux.


Spare Albums and Deserved Recognition


A recent university archival collection yielded a large amount of LPs. Sadly, many of these are multiple copies. We have kept two for ourselves and will eventually digitize them. We’d like to offer the rest to you for free. Please email if you are interested.

In other news, our own Amanda Focke won the Society of Southwest Archivists Distinguished Service Award. She is a long serving member, who has been active on a variety of committees, served as president, and is currently a board member. Congrats to her on such a well-deserved honor.


New collections in the Houston Folk Music Archive

Over the past few months, we’ve processed a number of collections for the archive. Here’s a run down of the new collections.

The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python collection


Still of Vince Bell from The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python

This collection contains digitized video, correspondence, and a master list of performers including performance dates.

The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python aired on KPRC from 1975 to 1980. It was the brainchild of Bruce Bryant, whose friend and long term production partner, Jim Barham, provided film shorts. The show aired on Saturday nights between Monty Python and the station’s sign-off.

The show featured film shorts, comedy bits, clips from classic films, and in-studio performances. The performers include but are not limited to Townes Van Zandt, Wheatfield, Hoyt Axton, Vince Bell, Ry Cooder, Frank Davis, Richard Dobson, George Ensle, Danny Everitt, Blaze Foley, Nanci Griffith, Eric Taylor, Emmy Lou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Don McLean, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Reed, Shake Russell, Dana Cooper, Doug Sahm, Don Sanders, and John Vandiver.

Bruce Bryant collection

This collection contains news clippings, photographs, audio, video, and memorabilia collected or created by Bruce Bryant. The video highlights work by Shake Russell, Dana Cooper, John Vandiver, and Don Sanders.

Born in Austin on November 10, 1942, Bruce Bryant moved to Houston in 1965 to work for KPRC. During his time with the local NBC affiliate, he directed the Larry Kane Show in 1971. He went on to create and direct “The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python,” which featured a hippie/experimental sensibility and showcased local and regional musicians. This series aired from 1975 to 1980.


Still of Shake Russell, Pete Gorisch, and Dana Cooper from the Russell Cooper worktape

He also opened The Sweetheart of Texas Concert Hall and Saloon with Charlie Hargrave in 1974. It showcased regional Texas singer-songwriters, as well as some national acts. The venue closed in 1975.

Bryant eventually went on to direct live events, telethons, TV specials, documentaries on Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. He now directs opera productions for television and live opera simulcasts.

Bianca DeLeon collection


Photocopy image of Bianca DeLeon from press kit

This collection consists of correspondence, fliers, business records, audio, and digital images charting the life and career of Bianca DeLeon. There is correspondence and audio from songwriter Fred Koller.


Growing up in and around Houston, as a teenager, Bianca DeLeon began performing in local Houston clubs in the late 1960s to early 1970s and became friends with others in the Houston folk music scene including Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Rex Bell. She moved with Van Zandt to Nashville. Over the next few years, she travelled between Nashville and Santa Cruz, California.

In the 1980s, in Santa Cruz, she formed the band the Mudflaps and started a logging company. After the 1989 earthquake, because of environmental regulations, she stopped logging and set up a fishing business. During this time, she maintained her connection to the Texas music scene continuing her connection to Townes Van Zandt and becoming friends with David Rodriguez.

In the late 1990s, she moved back to Texas and restarted her music career in Austin. She has released five albums, “Outlaws and Lovers” (2001), “Live: From Hell to Helsinki” (2002), “The Long Slow Decline of Carmelita” (2004), “Love, Guns and Money” (2011) and “Dangerous Endeavor.” She tours throughout Texas and overseas.

Bob Johnston collection

This collection mainly consists of live recordings of shows at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant.

Bob Johnston (October 28, 1947 – May 24, 2012) worked as a volunteer at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurants. For almost three decades, he recorded shows at the venue. He helped start Camp Stupid at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Earlier in his life, Johnston attended Rice University in 1965. He went on to serve in the Vietnam War.

About Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant, taken from Wikipedia:

“Anderson Fair is one of the oldest folk and acoustic music venues in continuous operation in the United States. Located in the Montrose area of Houston, TX, it has been called an ‘incubator’ of musical talent for the folk scene, especially during the folk music heyday of the 1960s-1980s. Notable performers who credit Anderson Fair as an important part of their careers include Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams and many more.

Anderson Fair was founded as a restaurant in 1969 by partners Marvin Anderson and Grey Fair. In the early days, patrons would flock to the Fair for a lunchtime meal such as spaghetti or tacos. The club was housed in the Montrose area of Houston which was, at that time, an enclave for artists, free-thinkers, and war protestors. As a result, it was not long before the Fair became a gathering place for musicians and artists from the community to come together and talk politics. By 1973, the crowd that frequented the barn-like building on Grant Street began to turn the lunch club’s main focus towards live music. Gradually, the venue grew into a destination for singer-songwriters who were willing to perform for an attentive, albeit discerning, audience.”, page written by our student archivist Claudia Middleton.

Franci Jarrard collection

This collection consists of digital audio files and images documenting the Houston folk scene of the 1970s-1980.

Born and raised in Houston, Franci Files began hanging out at Sand Mountain Coffee House in the late 1960s. She befriended members of the community including Guy and Susanna Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Don Sanders, and Vince Bell.

A few years later after graduating from college, she became one of the co-owners of Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. As one of the crew, she organized and handled food preparation, specifically the spaghetti lunches.

As the 1980s approached, Franci Files married Stephen Jarrard and began to explore her own musical career. She teamed up with her husband as a duo, performed in the band Terry and the Telephones, and lent vocals to Richard Dobson’s second album, “The Big Taste.”

Ready for a change, in the early 1980s, Franci and Stephen Jarrard relocated to the Austin-area. They continued to explore their music. Franci Jarrard started to play the accordion and performed with Richard Dobson when he played in Texas. In the 1990s, Stephen and Franci participated in the strolling trios Europa Trio with Javier Chaparro and Troika with Ann Mesrobian.

Rich Layton collection


Hot Air Band, L to R: Rich Layton, Jack Saunders, and Buddy Duncan

This collection consists of photographs, audio, news clippings, and poster/fliers documenting the Houston career of Rich Layton.

Growing up in Houston, Rich Layton fronted a junior high garage band, attended Lightnin’ Hopkins’ concerts at the Jewish Community Center and was heavily influenced by the various musical styles the bayou city had to offer. Ready for another Lone Star music adventure, he headed to Austin for college and earned a degree in Radio, Film and Television from the University of Texas.

While in Austin, he began playing harmonica with then-girlfriend Lucinda Williams. Lu convinced him to move back to Houston to join the burgeoning music scene at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant in Montrose, where he became the house harmonica player.

In 1979, Rich joined Rock Romano to form “Dr. Rockit,” the city’s legendary rockin’ blues party band. Adding the Sisters of Mercy, the band played regularly in Houston, throughout Texas and along the Gulf Coast in the early to mid 1980s. Throughout this time, he continued to play with other performers in the area and beyond, including Buckwheat Zydeco, Rocky Hill and Alan Haynes. In 1984, he was named one of five Texas Harmonica Tornados by “Buddy Magazine.”

In 1996, Rich moved to Portland and broke into the NW music scene. In 2003, he formed Rich Layton and The Troublemakers. The band has released two albums to date – “Chop Shop Pit Stop” and “Tough Town.”

You can find a complete list of all of the collections in our archive, as well as new oral histories via the Houston Folk Music Archive research guide.

Memorabilia Monday: Reckling Park Groundbreaking



Since the Rice Owls baseball team is about to battle Louisiana Tech in the first round of the C-USA Baseball Championship, it’s fitting to showcase a bit of baseball history.


Almost 20 years ago, construction crews broke ground on Reckling Park. Here’s an article from the Rice Thresher about the groundbreaking.


The same May 25, 1999 issue has an interesting story that maps out all of the upcoming changes to the campus.


Memorabilia Monday: Giant Lens


To capture the stunning images in her photographs, Vera Prasilova Scott needed amazing equipment. Here is one lens from her collection. In the finding aid, it’s labeled as a Karl Zeiss Jena 1.45-15 cm lens, but this seems incorrect.


The actual lens is a Voigtländer and Sohn manufactured in Braunschweig, Germany. It’s numbered 8325, though it’s unclear what the number means, model no. or number produced.



If anyone else knows about these types of lenses, please feel free to write more in the comments.

For anyone that needs a reminder, here’s an example of Vera Prasilova Scott’s work.


Winifred White, 1931

Architects in the Archives – William T. Cannady (1937- )

William Cannady, Rice University campus, 1977

Professor of Architecture at Rice University since 1964, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, William T. Cannady teaches both undergraduate and graduate design studios, focusing on sustainable design principles applied to real-world projects, and providing opportunities to the graduate studio for interdisciplinary collaboration with a wide array of consultants from outside the university and MBA students from Rice’s Jones School of Management.  In his architectural practice, he has designed and built over two hundred projects, and his firm has been honored with sixty awards for outstanding design. Cannady has contributed two collections of his ongoing work to the archives: his academic papers and his architectural projects records.

Will Cannady, President Kenneth Pitzer, William Caudill, and Thomas Vreeland at Rice School of Architecture Rice Design Fete, 1967

Cannady celebrated his 50th year of work as Professor at the Rice School of Architecture in 2014; I highly recommend this article in the Rice News, which includes a video celebration of his work. My favorite part of the article discusses his long work as chair of Rice’s parking committee: “I’ve enjoyed it because it’s been so hard,” he said.