UH Libraries News http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:08:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 University of Houston Integration Records http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/21/university-of-houston-integration-records/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/21/university-of-houston-integration-records/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:54:22 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3955 "I would'nt think of attending an all White school there.  Please pardon me." (detail of a letter from Merdis L.B. Holyfield to UH President, from the University of Houston Integration Records)

“I would’nt think of attending an all White school there. Please pardon me.” (detail of a letter from Merdis L.B. Holyfield to UH President, 1958, from the University of Houston Integration Records)

A number of new digital collections have been rolling out over at our Digital Library and if you blink, it’s been tough to keep up.  Over the coming days we will publish some highlights, showcasing these new and exciting primary sources now made available to researchers, free from the constraints of reading room hours or the patron’s locale.

One collection new and of note?  Check out the University of Houston Integration Records.

The University of Houston is rightly proud of its gender and ethnic diversity.  Often touted as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, Cougars come in all colors and creeds.  The integration of the University’s athletics programs under coaches Guy V. Lewis and Bill Yeoman changed the face of collegiate athletics in the South and is thoroughly documented in Katherine Lopez’s Cougars of Any Color.  The image of Lynn Eusan’s beaming smile in 1968, as she became the first black homecoming queen at a predominantly white university in the South, still looms large in our history and marked another step in UH’s legacy of integrated and equal.

However, this diversity and legacy did not happen by accident or overnight.

The University of Houston Integration Records document the early days of hand-wringing and  tiptoeing around an issue that still confounded so much of the nation and, unresolved, threatened to tear communities apart.  While violent opposition to integration plumbed new depths for history, particularly throughout the South, what resulted at UH were steady, incremental, and quiet steps, spearheaded by University Presidents Clanton C. Williams, A.D. Bruce, and Phillip G. Hoffman.  Working with community leaders, University Administration would eventually oversee an admissions process that resulted in twenty black students being enrolled at UH in the spring of 1963.

By 1964, football and basketball illustrated the importance of intercollegiate athletics, as Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney were dominating the hardwood for Coach Guy V. Lewis and Warren McVea was gearing up to revolutionize the game in Coach Yeoman’s veer offense (all while enduring merciless and ugly epithets from fans of programs in the Deep South).  The nation had been put on notice.  A university, in the South and striving to become colorblind, was not only surviving but thriving by serving all the sons and daughters of Houston, and ultimately scholars the world over.  In doing so, they have left us an inheritance of a virtual global village doing remarkable work on Cullen Boulevard.

Included in these University of Houston Integration Records are documents from the 1940s through the 1960s, with an emphasis on the ’50s and ’60s.  Correspondence and internal memoranda from University Administration, as well as documents and letters related to the applications of prospective black students (both domestic and international) highlight the poignancy of the collection.  The sheer absurdity of segregation laws and practices in the United States hits home as one reads President Williams’ flailing attempt in 1958 at an explanation to a Ghanaian student regarding the particulars of his denial of admission:

"I regret very much to state that there has been a misunderstanding on your part." (detail of letter from UH President Clanton W. Williams to prospective student, E.K. Aboagye, 1958, from the University of Houston Integration Records)

“I regret very much to state that there has been a misunderstanding on your part.” (detail of letter from UH President Clanton W. Williams to prospective student, E.K. Aboagye, 1958, from the University of Houston Integration Records)

I regret very much to state that there has been a misunderstanding on your part.

The University of Houston has not yet reached a decision as to when it will admit Negro students.  As of this date I must advise you, therefore, not to plan to enter this institution in 1959.

I strongly suggest to you that your desires might be realized should you apply to an institution which does not have the integration problem unresolved.  I presume that you are in contact with the American diplomatic authorities in Accra.

Needless to say, the University of Houston has come a long way since then, now embracing its diversity as a core value and strength.

Selections in the University of Houston Integration Records are pulled from the President’s Office Records in our University Archives.  Original documents may be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room during our normal research hours or on the Digital Library at your leisure.

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Guest Post: A Pithy Reflection of Spec Coll, Riots, and Gratitude (with a splash of humor) http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/18/guest-post-a-pithy-reflection-of-spec-coll-riots-and-gratitude-with-a-splash-of-humor/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/18/guest-post-a-pithy-reflection-of-spec-coll-riots-and-gratitude-with-a-splash-of-humor/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:03:16 +0000 Julie Grob http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3958 Today we have a goodbye post from Bryan Bishop ’14, the department’s first Instruction Support Student Worker. During his year in the position, he prepared rare materials for class visits, maintained the Evans Room (our classroom and function space), input student learning assessment data, digitized materials requested by patrons, and created descriptive metadata for a collection of World War II photographs.

A graduate of the UH Honors College in History and Political Science, Bryan is heading to Fonville Middle School in H.I.S.D. to teach U.S. History for the 2014-15 school year. He has also been accepted into the John W. Draper Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought at NYU with a deferred start date. All of us will miss Bryan’s intellectual curiousity, “can do” attitude, and sense of humor. Heeeeeere’s Bryan!

Student worker Bryan Bishop working in the stacks

Student worker Bryan Bishop working in the stacks

When I happened upon the Instruction Support position available in Special Collections last August, I had no idea what “instruction support” was, or that it would be the best job I ever had. As an older student worker I had had a few jobs prior to arriving at UH. But those jobs levied tremendous pressure, rarely yielding pleasure. This job was different. All that would be asked of me was to show up ready to work, complete thoroughly what was asked of me, and display passion for my projects, most of which involved research relating to my studies and interests: humanities and social sciences. Strange as it may sound, in 20 years of working this was the first time I was unconditionally happy.

Performing tasks around the department was a riot. True, I too have never associated riots with libraries. If anything, life surrounding a library is the complete opposite, serene. So how was working in Special Collections a riot? It was a riot in the sense of how I felt while and after performing my duties; that everything I did was significant for our university community and a team I hold in the highest regard—my co-workers, my friends. This, admittedly, is a peculiar illustration; however, I find that the more idiosyncratic a description is, the more unique, and in this case, special, the experience was.

I could utilize more space than the Interwebs have allotted to express my gratitude vis-à-vis the projects on which I was allowed to work. Ergo, I must devote my closing thoughts to my peers and managers in the department.

Okay, done.

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See the 2014 Student Art Exhibit online http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/07/17/see-the-2014-student-art-exhibit-online/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/07/17/see-the-2014-student-art-exhibit-online/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:59:15 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=467 The 2014 Student Art in the Library is now available in the UH Digital Library!

 Every spring the University of Houston Libraries hosts a juried exhibit of student artwork.  This competitive event is open to students of all classifications and majors.  A blind jury of arts professionals from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Collection, Blaffer Museum, UH School of Art faculty, and Houston art galleries selects the work that will be included each year.  The exhibit is on display in the M.D. Anderson Library during the spring semester.  The 2014 selections have been added to the Student Art Exhibit collection, which includes artwork and ephemera from all but the first two mounted exhibits.

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See the architectural drawings of one of Houston's greatest Modernists http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/07/16/see-the-architectural-drawings-of-one-of-houstons-greatest-modernists/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/07/16/see-the-architectural-drawings-of-one-of-houstons-greatest-modernists/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:41:39 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=465 The Lucian T. Hood Architectural Drawings are now available in the UH Digital Library.   Through his early drawings, this digital collection captures architect Lucian Hood’s eye for detail and exemplifies his artistry and graphic skills. These drawings, done before architects were aided by AutoCAD and other drafting software, embody the craftsmanship and sense of detail from a bygone era. In all, the collection contains 116 drawings done by hand in pencil. The drawings include floor plans, interior and exterior elevations, foundations, and plots.

Many of the drawings are from Hood’s early work on residential homes, which are representative of the architectural trends and influences of the early 1960s. These homes, located throughout the Houston neighborhoods of River Oaks, Tanglewood, and Memorial, are highly sought after in the marketplace, and owners are often interested in the original drawings in order to restore the homes to their original specifications.

Hood was a 1952 graduate of the University of Houston who studied under Donald Barthelme. He was one of Houston’s early Modernist architects and his work was in great demand for more than 40 years, from the 1950s through the 1990s.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Lucian T. Hood Architectural Collection.

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Book of the Month: The Great Gatsby (illustrated by Michael Graves) http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/11/book-of-the-month-the-great-gatsby-illustrated-by-michael-graves/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/11/book-of-the-month-the-great-gatsby-illustrated-by-michael-graves/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:59:27 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3930 In addition to the over 7,000 linear feet of archival collections made available for study at the University of Houston Special Collections, we are also proud to offer over 100,000 rare and antique books for use in our reading room.  Each month we will highlight a text from our collections.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, featuring artwork by Michael Graves

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, featuring artwork by Michael Graves

Book of the Month:  The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald; illustrated by Michael Graves (San Francisco : Arion Press, 1984)

Why So Special?:  Required reading for just about every high school student as they come of age, Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus is as American as Francis Scott Key’s offering.  Routinely re-imagined every few decades on our collective silver screens to reflect our contemporary hopes and fears, Gatsby is often hailed as the novel on the subject of the American Dream, as amorphous an idea as that remains, full of all of our longing, anguish, confusion, desire, and “romantic readiness.” From Francis Cugat’s cover (commissioned and completed in the impatient haste of Scribners, seven months before the novel would even be ready–those eyes floating in the night, hinting at the enveloping darkness amid the carnival and light), to the sheer audacity and imagination of one James Gatz (convinced he cannot only reinvent himself of his own design, but he can will time to his bidding should he simply desire it enough), and on through the final words of the narrative, crystallizing our longing for and obsession with the illusory and the intangible (“So we beat on, boats against the current…”), The Great Gatsby has remained uniquely American.

Sometimes deceptively so.

For some it remains a pseudo-documentary of what Fitzgerald christened as “The Jazz Age,” The Roaring Twenties, “the most expensive orgy in history,” an American decade that found no proper suitor throughout her flirtations, and decided to stay on for the remainder of the century.  To others it is a love story that sees desire run amok as it flies too close to a blazing white sun.  Still others would present it as a cornerstone for the so-called “New York City novel,” an homage and tragic love story for Our New Paris; a story of The City that does not simply resign itself to the towering icons and alleyways of Manhattan, but also peers back behind the kitchen curtain windows of Long Island, revealing a complex web work of symbiotic and predatory class relations.

But Nick Carraway, our faithful and reliable narrator, would insist it has nothing to do with the New World’s metropolitan jewel, after all.  He reflects on his “middle-west,” against the backdrop of that fateful summer of 1922:

That’s my middle-west–not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling, returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all–Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

If the story of the American Dream is not rooted in the narrative of the so-called New World in the last handful of centuries leading up to that frenetic decade, full of all their blood and loss, then from where else does it originate?  As if to underscore the point, it finally occurs to Nick while flailing about for his lost Eden at the tale’s conclusion, preparing to flee the corruption of the east, bound for his old, familiar home, he sprawls out on the Long Island beach and broods “on the old unknown world”:

And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes–a fresh, green breast of the new world.  Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And so it has remained for all of us, as we come of age in the New World, chasing the siren songs of phantasmal green lights hovering on our horizons.

inside detail of The Great Gatsby

inside detail of The Great Gatsby

This Arion Press imprint is limited to 400 copies and features the artwork of Michael Graves, of the New York Five fame, on the binding and throughout Fitzgerald’s prose.  The text hops and springs over and around the illustrations of Graves, not unlike that running Buchanan lawn, “jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens.”  This particular volume also includes the signature of Graves below the colophon.  Types used are Goudy Light and Piehler Capitals and the paper is French mould-made Rives, with a deckle edge.

Location:  Available for study in the University of Houston Special Collections Reading Room (sorry, no beach reading with this one), Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.  Bibliophiles or the simply curious should request call number PS3511.I9 G7 1984.

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High School Students Explore the Wonder of Larry McMurtry's Writing http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/09/high-school-students-explore-the-wonder-of-larry-mcmurtrys-writing/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/09/high-school-students-explore-the-wonder-of-larry-mcmurtrys-writing/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:33:24 +0000 Julie Grob http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3917 Martin & students

Zach Martin of Wonderworks shows manuscript to Houston high school students

Some high school students spend their summer vacations soaking up the sun or playing computer games. But Houston-area students enrolled in the Wonderworks academic enrichment program spend five weeks of their summer intensively studying art, architecture, film, or literature. In early July, Wonderworks students in a class called Story Lines visited Special Collections to get up close and personal with one of author Larry McMurtry’s manuscripts.

The students had already read McMurtry’s novel The Last Picture Show, a coming-of-age story set in a small Texas town, and viewed the classic film of the same name. But their instructors Zachary Martin and Daniel Wallace, PhD students in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, also wanted them to see first-hand the process McMurtry used in shaping his novel.

Larry McMurtry's typed notes and outline for The Last Picture Show (from the Larry McMurtry Papers)

Larry McMurtry’s typed notes and outline for The Last Picture Show (from the Larry McMurtry Papers)

Students examined the original typewritten first draft, noting McMurtry’s handwritten word changes and replacements of characters’ names. (Would the beautiful Jaycee have been as alluring if she were still named Lavetta?) Martin led the class through a typed outline of the plot points McMurtry originally intended his story to follow, encouraging them to identify which ones stayed in the novel and which ones were discarded by the author.

Martin used McMurtry’s draft as a springboard to talk to the students about their own writing, and the necessity of building up their prose and ruthlessly editing it into something stronger. Perhaps viewing the original words of one Houston-related writer has inspired the next generation of Houston writers.

To be inspired yourself, please visit the Special Collections reading room Our summer hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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From Our Collections... http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/07/from-our-collections/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/07/from-our-collections/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:14:47 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3906 a new rotating, mini-exhibition of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from the University of Houston Special Collections is now on display

a new rotating, mini-exhibition of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from the University of Houston Special Collections is now on display

The University of Houston Special Collections has begun a rotating exhibition showcasing highlights of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from our collections.  Located in the exhibit space adjacent to the Special Collections front door, in the Aristotle J. Economon, Hanneke Faber & Andrew J. Economon Elevator Lobby, “From Our Collections… Publications & Projects Featuring Research from the UH Libraries’ Special Collections,” shines a light on the fruits of research gathered from the rare books and archival collections preserved, safeguarded, and made available for study at the University of Houston.

With more than 7,000 linear feet of archival collections and over 100,000 rare books, the UH Special Collections provides daily research assistance to authors, filmmakers, artists, and patrons of all varieties.  What they produce and share with us, enlightens, often breaks new ground, and rarely fails to astound.

Works and research currently featured include:

In the Governor’s Shadow: The True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson, Carol O’Keefe Wilson (2014); featuring research from the Claude Elliott Texana Collection.

Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961, Mike Vance, editor (2014); featuring research from the George Fuermann “Texas and Houston” Collection and Houstonian Yearbooks.

‘For the Relief of the Texians’: A Theatrical Benefit to Aid the Texas Revolution,” Pat Bozeman (2012); from Southwestern Historical Quarterly, featuring research from the Governor James V. Allred Papers.

The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, The New Yorker Magazine (2012); featuring the short story “Chablis” by Donald Barthelme and research from the Donald Barthelme Literary Papers.

In addition to this new mini-exhibit, we pass along a gentle reminder to catch “LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works,” currently viewing on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library.  We hope you enjoy both of these exhibitions and look forward to sharing more in the future.

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The Hole in PGH http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/02/the-hole-in-pgh/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/07/02/the-hole-in-pgh/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:16:03 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3879 The portal or breezeway in the center bay of Philip G. HoffmanHall. Photo by the author

The breezeway in the center bay of Philip G. Hoffman Hall. Photo by the author

The recent post about Philip G. Hoffman Hall (PGH) failed to answer an important question:  Why does it have a big hole in it?  As with most cosmic questions, the answer to this one is that “it’s all connected.”  In this case, PGH and its hole are connected to the change in the university’s master plan in the mid 1960s.

1967 aerial view shows UH buildings arranged around several formal axes [UH Photographs Collection]

UH Campus looking east (1967). Note street between Anderson Library and Ezekiel Cullen Building.  UH Photographs Collection

The university’s original 1930s master plan provided for the buildings to be laid out very formally at right angles along a series of axes and esplanaded streets.  From important buildings like Ezekiel Cullen and M.D, Anderson Library, this offered unobstructed views to Cullen Boulevard. The university redesigned its master plan in the 1960s to replace these long vistas with smaller, people-oriented places.  The result was Anne Garrett Butler Plaza and the nearby Cullen Family Plaza.

Before the change in the master plan, a street ran through what is now Butler Plaza and passed between the Ezekiel Cullen Building and Anderson Library. See the 1967 aerial view of the campus. University planners decided to remove the street to create the plaza, and this required a new building opposite the library to provide a sense of enclosure.

Philip G. Hoffman Hall, Section view. Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers

PGH, section view. Agnes Arnold Hall in background. Note storm drain below breezeway. Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers

But below the street was a major city storm sewer, and an easement prevented them from placing a building over it.  Their solution was a building with a large hole in the center that left the area over the storm sewer open, providing access if it is ever needed. In the construction view below, looking to the southeast, excavation for a basement stops short of the center of the building.

Philip G. Hoffman Hall Construction [UH Photographs Collection]

Construction of Philip G. Hoffman Hall (c. 1972) UH Photographs Collection

Most people think the breezeway in the center bay of PGH is just a cool design feature—and it is—but that’s not why it’s there. Necessity is the mother of invention. The Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers are housed in the library’s Special Collections department and are currently being processed. Pictures of PGH and other campus buildings are available in the University of Houston Buildings collection of the UH Digital Library.

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Favorite Things: A Letter of Sympathy http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/27/favorite-things-a-letter-of-sympathy/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/27/favorite-things-a-letter-of-sympathy/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 14:05:37 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3697 Captain Albert H. Rooks (1941), Cruiser Houston Collection

Captain Albert H. Rooks (1941), Cruiser Houston Collection

Whether it’s a rare book printing found at long last or piece of ephemera found in an archival collection by chance, those who visit the University of Houston Special Collections almost always find something they cannot wait to share with others.  In this new series, we take a closer look at what makes the University of Houston Special Collections so special–our Favorite Things.

Valerie Prilop, Digital Collections Librarian, offers us the following as one of her favorite things.

One of my favorite things is a letter from Herbert A. Levitt, Ensign, to Mrs. Albert H. Rooks, the widow of the captain of the USS Houston. I came across this letter once, I can’t even remember now what I was doing, and I was struck by the eloquent expression of sympathy. I wrote down a portion of it on a large Post-it note and I still have it in my office:

“Words often fail to express the sympathy and sentiment that lie behind their cold, stern front, muffling and obscuring by their precise lines in print and their harsh sounds in speech the subtle and varying shades of compassion.”

detail from Herbert A. Levitt's letter to Mrs. Rooks, Captain Albert H. Rooks Papers

detail from Herbert A. Levitt’s letter to Mrs. Rooks, Captain Albert H. Rooks Papers

A copy of the 1945 letter, penned from the Mukden (Hoten) POW camp in Shenyang, China, is part of the Captain Albert H. Rooks Papers in our USS Houston & Military History Collections.  The letter, as well as other correspondence from the Rooks Papers, can be viewed and studied in the University of Houston Special Collections Reading Room.  Material related to Cdr. Levitt may also be found in the Cruiser Houston Collection, and additions have recently been donated by his daughter Kathie Levitt Tiedeman.

Do you have your own “favorite thing” about the University of Houston Special Collections?  If so, we’d love to hear about it!

Ed note:  The original text of this post has been modified to reflect recent recently acquired materials of research significance.

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Andy Warhol Index on display in the Architecture & Art Library http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/26/andy-warhol-index-on-display-in-the-architecture-art-library/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/26/andy-warhol-index-on-display-in-the-architecture-art-library/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:19:11 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=461 Photographer Nat Finkelstein (1933-2009) entered Andy Warhol’s Factory as a photojournalist in 1964. He, along with Warhol and others, contributed to 1968’s The Andy Warhol Index. In 1992, Finkelstein released – in a limited, numbered edition of 200 copies – A Catalogue as Multiple: Andy Warhol. Newly acquired by the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library, “the catalogue…consists of a handmade wooden box… the top and bottom of which have a silk screened portrait of Warhol made and signed by Nat Finkelstein. The box contains a mirror with a silk screened portrait of Nico, an Andy Warhol bottle, a rubber ball, and a catalogue – in loose sheets – describing more than a hundred various Andy Warhol items.”–Prospectus.

Both The Andy Warhol Index and A Catalogue as Multiple: Andy Warhol (its contents displayed) are currently on view upstairs at the Architecture and Art Library. Pop in for a peek at some Pop art artifacts.

andy

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Philip G. Hoffman Hall http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/25/philip-g-hoffman-hall/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/25/philip-g-hoffman-hall/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:16:47 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3780 PGH west 640

Philip G. Hoffman Hall from the west. Photo Eric E. Johnson by permission

Approaching M.D. Anderson Library, you can’t miss Philip G. Hoffman Hall (PGH) nearby. Completed in 1974, it honors one of the university’s most important leaders and is a major landmark at the center of the campus. PGH and its neighbor, Agnes Arnold Hall, were designed by Kenneth Bentsen (UH 1952), a talented architect responsible for Houston’s Summit sports arena (1975) and other important buildings.  PGH reflects the minimalist, modern style of the early 1970s. This style is not universally popular today, but formally this is a good building and I would like to show you why.

PGH distant.cc

Philip G. Hoffman Hall from the east, behind Peter Forakis’ Tower of the Cheyenne. Photo by the author

Despite its large size, PGH is an elegant building. The strong horizontal lines visually lower its height. The façade is based on a grid, of course, but like a tartan plaid, the elements are interwoven, with some lines projecting and others suppressed.  This is a subtractive composition where layers of the building are peeled away—slightly at the upper levels where, within each bay of windows, the projecting concrete fins provide a continuous bass note for the rhythm of repeating window mullions behind. There is a more pronounced cutting away at the lower levels; this culminates in the deep ground-floor gallery facing the plaza and the breezeway that penetrates the center. The slightly sculptural, three-dimensional facade prevents this from being just another boxy modern building.

PGH Detail shows concrete fins, window mullions, and holes. Photo Eric E. Johnson by permission

PGH details: concrete fins, window mullions, and holes. Photo Eric E. Johnson by permission

Bentsen’s attention to detail can go unnoticed unless you look closely. The concrete construction is left exposed—a common practice at the time—but concrete can be finished in many ways, from very smooth to very rough. It is not always done as well as it is here. Bentsen specified a slight texture and a warm color that is pleasing to the eye. The wall surface is scored by the repeating pattern of small holes left by the concrete pouring process. They form an almost imperceptible grid of dots that enlivens the surface of the building. The holes have to be there, but the designer decides how to arrange them.

Philip G. Hoffman Hall, 1970s

Philip G. Hoffman Hall and Anne Garrett Butler Plaza, 1970s. Photo UH Digital Library

PGH is also impressive because of the way it is scaled to fit the plaza in front of it. The building occupies an important place at a campus crossroads, and visually it commands both the plaza and the broad avenue that it overlooks on the west. PGH should be understood at an urban scale, not a human scale: It is supposed to relate to the size of the plaza, not the size of the people in the plaza.

PGH is worth another look the next time you pass by. Records of this and other Bentsen buildings  are housed in the Kenneth E. Bentsen Architectural Papers  in the library’s Special Collections Department, where they are currently being processed.

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LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/23/lgbtqi-literature-celebrated-classics-and-contemporary-works/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/23/lgbtqi-literature-celebrated-classics-and-contemporary-works/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 18:11:49 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3833 a new exhibit, LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works, is now on display on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library

a new exhibit, “LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works,” is now on display on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library

A new exhibit has opened on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library.  “LGBTQI Literature:  Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works,” curated by our own Julie Grob, features fiction, poetry, memoirs, and plays written by and about people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex.  Opening now to coincide with the annual Pride Houston celebrations, the exhibit serves as an excellent educational complement to the festivities marking historical milestones in the movement.

Tracing critical and popular literature from those days prior to Stonewall, the years following the so-called riots, through the dark days of the AIDS crisis, and on into contemporary pieces produced at the turn of the new century, “LGBTQI Literature” pulls from a number of distinct libraries available for study and research at the University of Houston Special Collections as well as a handful of pieces on loan from private collections.  Prominently featured throughout the exhibit are texts from the Norma J. Lee Collection and the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection, as well as works found in the Library of Cynthia Macdonald and the Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Book Collection.  A cursory glance of highlights will show the likes of a 1928 first edition of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando:  A Biography, Tony Kushner’s ever-popular Angels in America:  A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, as well as an 1891 printing of Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

We invite you to come view the exhibit for yourself, explore the exhibit’s website for more information, or stop by the History Tent on June 28th at the Houston Pride Festival and Parade where our own Vince Lee, Archivist for Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection, will be in attendance with more information and artifacts on display.

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Jenkins Library Ambassadors' Zine Workshop on flickr http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/20/jenkins-library-ambassadors-zine-workshop-on-flickr/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/20/jenkins-library-ambassadors-zine-workshop-on-flickr/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:51:06 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=459 A Zine Workshop, led by Zine Fest Houston, hosted by the Blaffer Art Museum, and organized by the Jenkins Library Ambassadors, the Architecture and Art Library’s student leadership organization, was held in April.  The work created at the workshop can now be viewed on flickr.  A printed copy will be available in the Architecture and Art Library collection later this summer.  If you are interested in joining the Jenkins Library Ambassadors or learning more about their programming, email archlib@uh.edu or visit the organization’s UH website(requires CougarNet login).

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Summer Book Club is back http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/19/summer-book-club-is-back-2/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/2014/06/19/summer-book-club-is-back-2/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:02:36 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/architecture_art/?p=457 This is the fifth summer that the UH Libraries and the Women’s Resource Center have co-sponsored a book discussion group for UH students, employees, and friends.

Readers will meet at noon on July 9th in the Women’s Resource Center to discuss The Fault in our Stars by John Green. Booklist gave it a starred review: “Writing about kids with cancer is an invitation to sentimentality and pathos or worse, in unskilled hands, bathos. Happily, Green is able to transcend such pitfalls in his best and most ambitious novel to date. Beautifully conceived and executed, this story artfully examines the largest possible considerations life, love, and death with sensitivity, intelligence, honesty, and integrity.”

Readers will meet at noon on August 4th in the Women’s Resource Center to discuss Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock.  “Writer and activist Mock came out as a transwoman when Marie Claire profiled her in 2011. In this memoir, she recounts her childhood belief in her true gender, her messy teenaged transition, and her adult life as a woman. A book sure to be both inspiring and important.”  – Library Journal

Bring a brown bag lunch and we’ll provide the drinks and desserts.

All students, staff, faculty and alumni are welcome to participate. Contact Catherine Essinger at cwessinger@uh.edu if you wish to borrow a copy of the book through the UH Libraries.

For more information, visit: http://www.uh.edu/wrc/

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Cadillac Ranch and the Houston Connection http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/18/cadillac-ranch-and-the-houston-connection/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/18/cadillac-ranch-and-the-houston-connection/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:40:13 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3798 Cad Ranch

Cadillac Ranch (1974), copyright Ant Farm, Photo Doug Michels Architectural Papers

The Cadillac Ranch marks its 40th anniversary on June 21, 2014, only four days after the death of its patron, Stanley Marsh 3. In this iconic art installation near Amarillo, the counter-culture art group, Ant Farm (1968 – 78), buried ten Cadillacs nose-first in a field alongside the old Route 66 as an homage to the Cadillac tailfin.

Ant Farm was based in San Francisco but got its start in Houston.  In 1969 the University of Houston’s College of Architecture hired two young architects, Doug Michels and Chip Lord, for a one-semester job as lecturers.  They founded Ant Farm and moved to San Francisco when the semester ended.

House of the Century, 1972, copyright Ant Farm, photo Doug Michels Architectural Papers

House of the Century (1972), copyright Ant Farm, Photo Doug Michels Architectural Papers

In 1971 Houston art patron Marilyn Oshmann commissioned the group to build a lake house on her family’s property near Angleton, Texas.  The result, called the “House of the Century,” was an unconventional structure best described as “biomorphic;” it had no straight lines and recalled a living thing. In 1973 Playboy magazine published an article on the unusual house, calling it a “Texas Time Machine.”

Doug Michels, Stanley Marsh 3, Chip Lord (L-R), Cadillac Ranch 20th Anniversary (1994), Photo Doug Michels Architectural Papers

Doug Michels, Stanley Marsh 3, Chip Lord (L-R), Cadillac Ranch 20th Anniversary (1994), Photo Doug Michels Architectural Papers

Among the readers was Stanley Marsh 3, an eccentric Amarillo businessman who often placed large outdoor art installations on his ranch.  He invited Ant Farm—which by then included Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez, and others—to come to Amarillo and make some art for him.  Their creation celebrated the love of the automobile and the open road that is at the heart of American popular culture.  Cadillac Ranch made Ant Farm famous, inspiring a song by Bruce Springsteen (1980) and a Hollywood movie (1996).

In 1978 Doug Michels returned to Houston where he created a futuristic media room called the “Teleport” for businessman Rudge Allen.  Michels’ Star Trek-inspired media room was published extensively.  The Allen family donated the room to UH in the late 1990s, and it was reinstalled in the architecture building.  Michels reunited with his Ant Farm colleagues in 1986 to create the flying Thunderbird car sculpture outside the Hard Rock Café on Houston’s Kirby Drive (now demolished).

Michels’ life came full circle in 1999 when the UH College of Architecture brought him back as a lecturer.  He continued to practice architecture and design in Houston until his death in 2003. The university acquired Michels’ papers and drawings, and they now form the Doug Michels Architectural Papers in the library’s Special Collections Department.

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Houston's Own "Stonewall" http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/16/houstons-own-stonewall/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/16/houstons-own-stonewall/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:02:55 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3754 Anita Bryant (Billboard, 1971)

Anita Bryant (Billboard, 1971)

On the evening of June 16, 1977 thousands of Houston’s gay and lesbian community assembled to march on the streets of downtown in protest of Anita Bryant’s appearance at the Texas State Bar Association’s meeting.

A popular singer and former beauty queen, Anita Bryant founded Save Our Children, Inc. in 1977 to battle a growing gay rights movement, specifically working to repeal a Dade County law that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.  She staked out her stance and drew the battle lines, stating, “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.”

The successful repeal of the Miami legislation buoyed other similar, religiously fundamentalist groups around the nation.  These newly organized activists would eventually exert more organized political influence through the end of the century under the Moral Majority umbrella, with Jerry Falwell using similar adversarial language and tactics as Bryant’s 1977 campaign.

So it was that in 1977, at the height of her popularity and controversy, the Texas State Bar Association invited Bryant to appear at their meeting in Houston at the Hyatt Hotel.  Their political influence lacking, Houston’s LGBT community was unable to block Bryant’s appearance in Houston but, donning black armbands emblazoned with pink triangles, the throng outside (which by some accounts grew to near 10,000), made their feelings known as they walked the streets and passed outside the Hyatt.  Inside the meeting, Bryant sang patriotic songs and received a standing ovation.  The galvanizing event had taken place, however, perhaps unbeknownst to those on the streets or the meeting hall.  Almost a decade after Stonewall, Anita Bryant had unintentionally given birth to the organized gay rights movement in Houston.

The Daily Kos argues as much in this piece and those interested in a better understanding of this complex history would do well to give it a read.  Leaning heavily on Bruce Remington’s 1983 thesis, “Twelve Fighting Years: Homosexuals in Houston, 1969-1981,” it charts the rise of the gay rights movement in Houston, providing quotes and insights from those who helped forge history that night and the days to come.

Here at the University of Houston Special Collections, we not only have Remington’s thesis available for study, but we also offer access to recorded interviews that were used as source material for the thesis.  As Pride season approaches, we encourage you to take a closer look at Houston’s history which serves to remind us that June does not only remember Stonewall in NYC but, for better or worse, it also remembers Anita Bryant’s visit to Houston.

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Cullen Family Plaza: The Architecture http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/12/cullen-family-plaza-the-architecture/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/12/cullen-family-plaza-the-architecture/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:35:40 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3713 cullen_family_plaza

Cullen Family Plaza, photo/University of Houston

The buildings that define the edges of  Cullen Family Plaza—Roy Cullen (1939) and the Science Building (1939), designed by Lamar Cato, and Ezekiel Cullen (1950) by Alfred Finn—are the University of Houston’s original buildings. They were designed in a style usually called “stripped classicism” or sometimes “WPA modern” (so called because it appeared on many  post offices and other government buildings erected by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression).

Stripped classicism is a “transitional” style because it represents a bridge from the traditional Greco-Roman classical architectural style to the modern style.  In the 1930s, the modernist revolution swept the fields of art and architecture. Architects who practiced in the traditional styles felt the pressure to conform to changing popular tastes. Their solution was to transform the well-known classical architecture for those seeking something more modern.

The Parthenon by Frank Durr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Parthenon by Frank Durr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Classical architecture has a distinctive rhythm of solid and void—the masses and the gaps between the masses. In the ancient Greek Parthenon, the best known classical temple, the roof is supported by a row of columns with voids between them at regular intervals. The columns have grooves known as “flutes.” The columns support carved blocks called “capitals.” Modern architecture, however, is distinguished by its formal abstraction. The modern architect reduces the design to its formal essentials—a geometric box, for example—and avoids the superficial detail found in most traditional styles.

Proponents of stripped classicism abstracted the classical style by eliminating the ornament on the surface and making the building look more flat and two-dimensional.  Stripped classicism was much more formal and conservative than other modernist styles of the day, which made it acceptable for public buildings.

The relationship between the university’s original buildings and the classical style that inspired them can be seen in this picture of the Science Building, although E. Cullen and Roy Cullen have similar details.  Marching across the face of the building is a series of vertical masses separated by voids with the same regular pattern as a classical temple. To achieve this look, the edge of the second floor between the windows (the “spandrel”) is treated as part of the window frame and visually disappears.  The window openings suggest continuous voids.

science_bldg_sm

The Science Building (1939), photo by the author.

It’s easy to see references to the classical temple in the building’s details. The areas between the windows are carved with shallow grooves to represent the column flutes, and above the grooves a row of circular depressions suggests the capitals.  The building’s limestone cladding also helps the viewer make the connection with the ancient stone temples.

Anderson_2008_sm

M.D. Anderson Library (2005), photo by the author.

Stripped classicism appeared in the 1930s and already looked dated by the time E. Cullen opened in 1950.  The style was too fussy and conservative for the postwar era. But public tastes change. In the six decades since, the university has come to appreciate the architecture of its original buildings.  When Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott designed the expansion of M.D. Anderson Library (2005), they looked to E. Cullen for inspiration. The main building’s transitional style has proved to be more enduring than anyone expected when the building was completed.

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Architecture and Art Library closed 8:30-10:30 on Friday, June 13th http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/12/architecture-and-art-library-closed-830-1030-on-friday-june-13th/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/12/architecture-and-art-library-closed-830-1030-on-friday-june-13th/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:08:36 +0000 Catherine Essinger http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2500 The library will be closed so that staff members can attend college-wide training.

 

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Evolution of LGBTQI Literature on Display at UH Libraries http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/12/evolution-of-lgbtqi-literature-on-display-at-uh-libraries/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/12/evolution-of-lgbtqi-literature-on-display-at-uh-libraries/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:59:21 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2488 A new exhibit at the University of Houston Libraries underscores the evolving themes of LGBTQI literature from the late nineteenth century to present day.

LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works features works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama from UH Libraries Special Collections that were written by, and are focused on, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex.

Exhibit selections are drawn from the Norma J. Lee Collection, the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection, and the Library of Cynthia Macdonald.

VIDEO: Interview with Edward Lukasek on exhibit highlights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCRLMLYhfg0

“The books in this exhibit changed society and touched people’s lives,” said Julie Grob, coordinator of digital projects and instruction, and curator of the exhibit. “Many of them were groundbreaking, considered so shocking when first published that their authors or publishers were put on trial. Others played a role in expanding the new political and sexual freedoms of the seventies, and many express the diverse experiences of sexual preference, gender, race, ethnicity, and gender expression in contemporary society.”

Classic titles from the pre-Stonewall era include a second edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and Orlando by Virginia Woolf. The 1970s gay liberation and women’s liberation movements are represented by works such as Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, and the poetry of Mark Doty and Thom Gunn, depict the AIDS crisis. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel represent modern voices in LGBTQI literature.

The exhibit runs from June 20 (to coincide with Houston Pride Week) through September 26, 2014 in the MD Anderson Library. For more information, contact Julie Grob, curator, at 713.743.9744.

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Access to ScienceDirect from off-campus is down http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/2014/06/11/access-to-sciencedirect-from-off-campus-is-down/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/2014/06/11/access-to-sciencedirect-from-off-campus-is-down/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 21:10:19 +0000 brettk http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/er/?p=529 There is a problem accessing journals and articles form ScienceDirect for users that are off-campus.  You may be prompted to login or purchase an article after entering your CougarNet ID and password.  This should not be happening.  This is an error that is coming from ScienceDirect.  If you need an article, please contact the library.  Library staff can download a PDF and send it to you while this problem is occurring.

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New Additions to the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/10/new-additions-to-the-barbara-karkabi-living-archives-series/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/10/new-additions-to-the-barbara-karkabi-living-archives-series/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:33:45 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3712 Living Archives promotional material from the UH Women's Studies Program and Friends Collection

Living Archives promotional material from the UH Women’s Studies Program and Friends Collection

New and varied content continues to be published via the Digital Library on a regular basis.  Thanks to these efforts, researchers unable to visit the Special Collections Reading Room in person benefit from remote access to critical primary resources.  Last week some new additions went live and Vince Lee, Archivist for the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection, provides us with the details below.

Who knew that oral histories could be so much fun and attract such a star-studded lineup?  The University of Houston Special Collections is pleased to announce six new additions to the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series. You’ll meet  Houston women who impacted the environmental movement, allowing us to enjoy Houston’s  green spaces, women who had a hand in designing the architecture you see all around you, and women whose dishes you may have savored in the culinary world.  If that wasn’t enough, watch an interview with Joanne King Herring as she recounts her role in charities and assisting Afghan resistance fighters (as depicted by Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War).  Or, if pop culture grabs your interest, Tina Knowles talks about her early life and career in establishing her brand in the fashion industry (yes that “Knowles,” the mother of Beyoncé–who attended the original interview recording, by the way, and drew huge crowds on campus). Finally, we have our very own President Khator as she recounts her own personal life and journey which took her from India, to the United States, to ultimately being confirmed as the President and Chancellor of the University of Houston.

Visit the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series or Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection for more information.

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Cullen Family Plaza: The Planning http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/05/cullen-family-plaza-the-planning/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/05/cullen-family-plaza-the-planning/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:49:14 +0000 Dr. Stephen James http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3575 cullen_family_plaza

Cullen Family Plaza, photo/University of Houston

The following continues a series of contributions from Dr. Stephen James, who works with the Architecture and Planning collections here at the University of Houston Special Collections.  Dr. James holds a Ph.D. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia and for many years was a lecturer at the University of Houston College of Architecture.

Our look at campus architecture today begins with Cullen Family Plaza, a favorite gathering place at the University of Houston. The plaza honors the Cullen family, whose patronage and leadership have shaped the university from its earliest days. Located in front of the Ezekiel Cullen Building, it is—along with the nearby Anne Butler Plaza in front of the M.D. Anderson Library—the social heart of the campus. Both plazas are relatively recent additions to the campus and resulted from a major overhaul of the university’s campus planning principles in the mid 1960s.

The University of Houston as proposed by the landscape architects Hare & Hare.

The University of Houston as proposed by the landscape architects Hare & Hare.

The campus was laid out in the 1930s by the Kansas City landscape architecture firm of Hare & Hare, which also designed Houston’s Hermann Park. Hare & Hare created a very formal, axial plan for the university, with the main buildings arranged in a rectilinear fashion and aligned symmetrically on either side of a centerline or axis.  Several such axes can be seen  in a 1930s rendering of the master plan from the Library’s Special Collections Department and in a 1967 aerial photograph  from the UH Digital Library.

1967 aerial view shows UH buildings arranged around several formal axes

1967 aerial view shows UH buildings arranged around several formal axes, from the UH Photographs Collection and available for download in the Digital Library

National Mall, Washington, D.C.

National Mall, Washington, D.C.

This type of formal, axial planning, which dates back to ancient Rome, is used with monumental public buildings and is intended to convey a sense of grandeur or importance (think of the Mall in Washington, D.C.). The traditional architecture of the buildings represents the important public institutions housed within. Their predictable arrangement implies a reassuring sense of order, and their large scale makes the viewer seem insignificant in relation to these institutions. Formally, the spatial void in the center (the lawn or mall) is not meant to be inhabited;  it reinforces the buildings that define it and helps tie the ensemble together.

The events of the 1960s changed public attitudes toward  authority. Such formal planning became unpopular, as architects tried to humanize public institutions and make them less intimidating. Many campuses took on a “suburban” appearance by using more naturalistic landscape design and less rigid building placement.

These trends influenced  the University of Houston, which abandoned its original master plan in 1966 to give the campus the casual, park-like character that it has today. Planners placed new buildings such as Farish Hall (1970), McElhinney Hall (1971), and Hoffman Hall (1974) across the important axes to create small plazas that might become centers of public activity in their own right, rather than simply reinforcing the importance of the buildings around them.

Cullen Family Plaza in the 1970s, shortly after its completion

Cullen Family Plaza in the 1970s, shortly after its completion, from the UH Photographs Collection and available for download in the Digital Library

Cullen Family Plaza resulted from this change in 1972. Landscape architect Fred Buxton replaced the elliptical reflecting pool in front of E. Cullen with a large water pool that spanned the distance between the Roy Cullen and Science Buildings. Dramatic water jets introduced a dynamic element that balanced Lee Kelly’s large metal sculpture called “Waterfall, Stele, and River.” Farish Hall, completed shortly before the plaza, provided the necessary enclosure on the west side. In the four decades since, the landscaping has matured to soften the edges and further isolate the plaza from the distractions of the campus.

The UH Digital Library’s University of Houston Buildings Collection is an excellent resource for anyone looking for more information about the history of Cullen Family Plaza.

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Last Chance* to Catch the Greatest College Show on Earth http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/03/last-chance-to-catch-the-greatest-college-show-on-earth/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/06/03/last-chance-to-catch-the-greatest-college-show-on-earth/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 14:03:31 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3674 from the 1957 Houstonian yearbook and available for download in the Digital Library

from the 1957 Houstonian yearbook and available for download in the Digital Library

As the heat and humidity crank up and students return to campus to begin the summer session, the changing of the season also marks the final days of the latest exhibition from the University of Houston Special Collections.  “Frontier Fiesta:  The Greatest College Show on Earth,” available for viewing on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library, ends its run on Friday, June 6th.

Every spring, give or take a few years, Frontier Fiesta sees students at the University of Houston turn a small part of our campus into a living and breathing ol’ western frontier town known as Fiesta City, complete with cook-offs, music, and themed performances.  The annual event debuted in 1940 and WWII threatened to end the tradition before it even began.  Following the war years, however, it resumed and grew into an event like no other.  By the early 1950s it had been proclaimed by Life magazine to be the “Greatest College Show on Earth,”  and its rising popularity served as a fundraising mechanism for the students, bringing in funds for a campus recreation center and swimming pool in its early years and later helping to provide scholarships.

Gov. Allan Shivers signs the Fiesta City charter making it an official township in the state of Texas (1952)

Gov. Allan Shivers signs the Fiesta City charter making it an official township in the state of Texas (1952)

Through the years the event has grown, morphed, and has now further evolved for a new generation of Cougars and Houstonians.  All the while, Frontier Fiesta has provided a subtle insight into the story of the University itself and its relationship with the City of Houston.  Celebrating the history of one of the University’s most enduring and colorful traditions, “Frontier Fiesta:  The Greatest College Show on Earth,” curated by University Archivist Mary Manning, tells that remarkable story with artifacts from the UH Frontier Fiesta Collection, items from other collections in the University Archives, as well as mementos and keepsakes generously shared by University and community partners.

We will miss our “Mini-Fiesta-City” that has become a fixture on the Library’s first floor, but as the seasons bring us something new so does our calendar of exhibits.  Up next?  Well, we won’t spoil the fun too much.  However, Archivist Julie Grob is currently hard at work curating our next exhibit, pulling from the rich Contemporary Literature collections held here at the University of Houston.  Look for the curtain to rise on this exhibit Friday, June 20th.

* Until then, don’t miss this last chance to catch the Greatest College Show on Earth–until spring 2015, that is.  Another spring will see tomorrow’s UH students continue that tradition started back in 1940 and, once again, resurrect Fiesta City out of some dusty corner of campus.

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UH Special Collections Archivists Selected for SSA Leadership Roles http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/02/uh-special-collections-archivists-selected-for-ssa-leadership-roles/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/blog/2014/06/02/uh-special-collections-archivists-selected-for-ssa-leadership-roles/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:29:05 +0000 Esmeralda Fisher http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/?p=2482

Two archivists with the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections were appointed to leadership positions at the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) recent Annual Meeting.

Two archivists with the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections were appointed to leadership positions at the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) recent Annual Meeting.

University Archivist Mary Manning was chosen as SSA president-elect for a three-year term. She currently serves as vice president and chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee.

Hispanic Collections Archivist Lisa Cruces was appointed as editor of the quarterly newsletter, The Southwestern Archivist. Cruces will also be chairing the Publications Committee, and collaborating with liaisons and archivists throughout the southwest to raise awareness of diversity initiatives, ongoing projects and archival collections.

SSA is a professional organization serving 530 archivists, special collections librarians, preservationists, conservators, and records managers in the member states of Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

“The organization has grown significantly in the past few years,” Manning said. “One of our major goals over the next few years is working to better serve underrepresented archivists and affiliated professionals.”

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Society of Southwest Archivists Meets in New Orleans http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/05/30/society-of-southwest-archivists-meets-in-new-orleans/ http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/2014/05/30/society-of-southwest-archivists-meets-in-new-orleans/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 09:58:55 +0000 Gregory Yerke http://weblogs.lib.uh.edu/speccol/?p=3603 SSA 2014:  Casting a Wide Net

SSA 2014: Casting a Wide Net

The offices at the University of Houston Special Collections are a little quieter than usual today as some of our faculty are on the road, attending the Society of Southwest Archivists annual conference being held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The SSA, a professional organization serving hundreds of archivists, librarians, preservationists and the like, has met annually in one of the six member states since the early 1970s to build relationships among the various organizations and institutions committed to documenting our history, establish standards and principles to help guide processes, and provide education and training to its members.

As the conference has grown to encompass more days, more sessions, and more pre-conference workshops, the meat of the meeting remains today and tomorrow.  With an overarching theme of “Casting a Wide Net:  Broadening the Archival Experience,” panelists will present sessions covering topics like creative strategies to connect archives to underserved populations, ways to better facilitate the undergraduate experience in special collections, as well as boot camps for archivists to help with some of the other day-to-day challenges they face.

Our own Stacey Lavender, Houston Arts and History Archives Fellow, will lead a session with two other colleagues entitled, “Archival Adaptation: Responsive Approaches to Standards-Based Processing,” where she will present her paper, “Less Process, More Problems: An Adaptive Approach to Implementing MPLP.”

For those not so well-versed in the archival alphabet soup of acronyms, MPLP or “More Product, Less Process” is shorthand for an approach to the cataloging and processing challenges resulting from an increase in the acquisition of collections and sheer volume of collections in our information age, coupled with stagnant or reduced staffing levels in many archives.  MPLP’s modest proposal is an attempt at “pragmatically revamping traditional processing approaches to deal with late 20th-century collections,” and, in the process, provide increased access to researchers while decreasing the number of collections in the queues of various archives.  In her paper, Ms. Lavender reports on the specifics of her hands-on experience in the MPLP schema, processing collections like the Main Street Theater Records, the DJ Steve Fournier Papers, and the Carlos “DJ Styles” Garza Papers at the University of Houston.

To all the archivists in New Orleans this weekend, a tip of our hats, a hearty “thank you” for preserving our narrative, and here’s wishing you all safe passage as you head home.

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Architecture and Art Library closed 8:30-10:30 on Friday, June 13th

categories: Announcements

The library will be closed so that staff members can attend college-wide training.

 

Evolution of LGBTQI Literature on Display at UH Libraries

categories: Announcements

A new exhibit at the University of Houston Libraries underscores the evolving themes of LGBTQI literature from the late nineteenth century to present day.

LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works features works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama from UH Libraries Special Collections that were written by, and are focused on, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex.

Exhibit selections are drawn from the Norma J. Lee Collection, the Edward Lukasek Gay Studies Collection, and the Library of Cynthia Macdonald.

VIDEO: Interview with Edward Lukasek on exhibit highlights.

“The books in this exhibit changed society and touched people’s lives,” said Julie Grob, coordinator of digital projects and instruction, and curator of the exhibit. “Many of them were groundbreaking, considered so shocking when first published that their authors or publishers were put on trial. Others played a role in expanding the new political and sexual freedoms of the seventies, and many express the diverse experiences of sexual preference, gender, race, ethnicity, and gender expression in contemporary society.”

Classic titles from the pre-Stonewall era include a second edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and Orlando by Virginia Woolf. The 1970s gay liberation and women’s liberation movements are represented by works such as Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, and the poetry of Mark Doty and Thom Gunn, depict the AIDS crisis. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel represent modern voices in LGBTQI literature.

The exhibit runs from June 20 (to coincide with Houston Pride Week) through September 26, 2014 in the MD Anderson Library. For more information, contact Julie Grob, curator, at 713.743.9744.

UH Special Collections Archivists Selected for SSA Leadership Roles

categories: Announcements

Two archivists with the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections were appointed to leadership positions at the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) recent Annual Meeting.

Two archivists with the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections were appointed to leadership positions at the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) recent Annual Meeting.

University Archivist Mary Manning was chosen as SSA president-elect for a three-year term. She currently serves as vice president and chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee.

Hispanic Collections Archivist Lisa Cruces was appointed as editor of the quarterly newsletter, The Southwestern Archivist. Cruces will also be chairing the Publications Committee, and collaborating with liaisons and archivists throughout the southwest to raise awareness of diversity initiatives, ongoing projects and archival collections.

SSA is a professional organization serving 530 archivists, special collections librarians, preservationists, conservators, and records managers in the member states of Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

“The organization has grown significantly in the past few years,” Manning said. “One of our major goals over the next few years is working to better serve underrepresented archivists and affiliated professionals.”

In Memoriam: Rosemary Summers McBride

categories: Announcements

Rosemary Summers McBride

Rosemary Summers McBride, a 1942 University of Houston alumna and supporter of UH Libraries Special Collections, passed away in April.

Her appreciation for her alma mater involved continuing interest and participation in university programs. In 2001, she created The Rosemary Summers McBride Endowment, to which she contributed generously.

Head of Special Collections Pat Bozeman says, “Rosemary McBride not only was monetarily generous to Special Collections, but she took exceptional interest in its goals and programs, befriending a number of the staff over the years. I considered her a close friend and miss her very much. Her indomitable spirit will always be with me.”

Innovation at UH Libraries: Microgrant Program

categories: Announcements

UH librarians and library staff are encouraged to submit ideas to the Microgrant Program.

University of Houston librarians and library staff have a unique opportunity to make a big impact.

The UH Libraries Microgrant Program, open to all UH library staff and librarians, is designed to foster the creation of new and innovative ideas in support of the Libraries’ Strategic Directions and the University’s Tier One Initiatives.

Librarians and staff are encouraged to submit fresh, experimental ideas for new services, methods, initiatives and technology. The Microgrant Committee has streamlined the submissions process, and detailed resources for applicants, including an FAQ and how-to guide, are available on the Libraries Intranet.

Librarians and staff who are awarded microgrants have a direct, positive influence on the Libraries’ mission of providing a high-quality library experience for each user, and also realize a substantial benefit to professional growth.

Why UH Librarians and Library Staff Should Apply

Thought leadership: Share your ideas on a broad scale. Funded projects can generate valuable data and insights, with the potential for presentations and publications that advance careers and the profession.

Unleash your creative side: Your vision moves the UH Libraries forward by translating inspired concepts into tangible successes.

Collaboration: Learn from your colleagues. Projects funded by the Microgrant Program cultivate inter-departmental engagement and promote knowledge-sharing.

The Microgrant Committee invites UH librarians and library staff to an Open Forum on Wednesday, June 4 at 11:00am in Room 10-F. Meet the committee members and find out more about how you can participate, and bring your questions and comments about the application and process.

New Library Discovery Interface Improves Search for UH Students, Faculty

categories: Announcements

The new OneSearch provides an optimized search experience for UH students and researchers.

Students and researchers at the University of Houston will soon have an enhanced online discovery experience.

UH Libraries is implementing a new and improved OneSearch, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for.

The new OneSearch, accessible from the Libraries’ home page, provides targeted results from a wide variety of sources, including databases, the Libraries’ catalog and the UH Digital Library. The improved OneSearch goes live on June 2.

OneSearch users will benefit from the following enhancements:

  • Greater relevancy of results
  • Easy filtering for full text only
  • Clean and simple user interface
  • The Recommender Service offers additional full text results related to your search
  • Save Your Citations feature
  • Export results to RefWorks

The Libraries’ OneSearch Implementation Team and the Resource Discovery Systems department will gather user feedback over the course of the summer to further enhance the discovery interface. Users who are interested in sharing feedback, taking part in focus groups or participating in usability testing may contact Discovery Systems Librarian Kelsey Brett to be included.

UH Libraries Wins ‘Best of Show’ Award

categories: Announcements

The UH Libraries was selected as a winner of the Best of Show Awards Competition at PR XChange.

The University of Houston Libraries was chosen as a winner of the Best of Show Awards Competition at PR Xchange, for its video titled University of Houston Libraries.

The Best of Show Awards Competition is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) Library Leadership Administration and Management Association – Public Relations and Marketing Section, and is overseen by the PR XChange Committee.

The annual Best of Show Awards Competition at PR Xchange recognizes top public relations materials produced by libraries. Winners are selected for content, originality and design by a team of public relations, graphic design, communications and marketing professionals.

The UH Libraries winning entry in the Advocacy – Electronic cateogory was created as a strategic centerpiece for the redesigned Libraries employment web page. The video includes Dean Dana Rooks and librarians discussing the Libraries’ high-performing organizational culture, and showcases its services and features designed to support the academic and research needs of UH students, faculty and staff and the scholarly community.

The video was produced as a collaborative effort by librarians and staff, and was coordinated by the Libraries Office of Communications.

The UH Libraries will be recognized at the Best of Show Ceremony at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas next month.

UH Libraries’ Dean Rooks Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

categories: Announcements

Dana Rooks, Dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair, was presented with the Texas Library Association Lifetime Achievement Award at the 101st TLA Annual Conference.

Dana Rooks, Dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair, was presented with the Texas Library Association Lifetime Achievement Award at the 101st TLA Annual Conference last month.

The award recognized Dean Rooks’ distinguished career, noted for her excellence in librarianship and outstanding contributions to the profession. She is known amongst her colleagues as a committed leader and mentor.

Her career began in 1970 at the University of Oklahoma Libraries. After four years, she moved to the University of Missouri – St. Louis Libraries. Rooks then joined the University of Houston in 1980 as the Business and Economics Librarian. She was named Dean in 1997.

Dean Rooks has held several national leadership roles, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA), having served on the Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).  She also served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), and as Vice-Chair of the Board of AMIGOS Library Services.

Dean Rooks founded and served as President of the Texas Council of Academic Libraries, and is one of the founders of TexShare, providing leadership in the creation and development of the innovative model for statewide library resource sharing. She has served as President of the Texas Library Association, and currently serves as Chair of the Texas Digital Library Governing Board Executive Committee.

Dean Rooks is the recipient of the 2009 TLA Distinguished Service Award and the 1997 Librarian of the Year Award. She is a prolific author and expert in the areas of administration and organizational development, the application of library technology, and library fundraising.

Her achievements in fundraising have had an impact on the academic careers of countless students and scholars. She completed a $20 million campaign for a Library building addition, secured significant support for collection endowments, three endowed chairs, and numerous endowments for program support, including staff recognition and library excellence

Hispanic Collections Archivist Awarded Scholarship to RBMS Preconference

categories: Announcements

Lisa Cruces, Hispanic Collections Archivist

Lisa Cruces, Hispanic Collections Archivist at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, has been awarded a scholarship to attend the 55th Annual Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) preconference, “Retrofit: Exploring Space, Place and the Artifact in Special Collections.”

This highly competitive scholarship has been offered to first-time RBMS preconference attendees since 2000. It is intended to promote attendance and participation by students, qualified paraprofessionals, early career librarians and librarians with limited professional development support; to introduce attendees to RBMS and ACRL; and to foster diversity in RBMS and the profession.

Cruces recently joined UH Libraries in the newly-created role of Hispanic Collections Archivist to document the influence of Hispanic history and culture in Houston.

“I’m very thankful and thrilled to be the recipient of this financial award,” said Cruces. “Along with being eager to attend my first RBMS pre-conference, I’m especially drawn to this year’s metaphorical themes of space, place, and the artifact. I will strive to bring back knowledge and strategies for expanding our services to undergraduates and graduate students in archival research and engaging Hispanic members of the community in the representation of Houston history. Also as a new member of the archives profession recently arrived at a new institution, I’m excited to learn more from my peers across the country and share the great collections and projects happening at UH.”

Library Ambassador Hosts Zine Workshop

categories: Announcements

zine_workshop

Catherine Gonzalez at the DIY Zine Workshop held on April 8. Image provided by Andrew Gressett.

Art history senior Catherine Gonzalez will graduate from the University of Houston this semester. Through her studies of the analysis of art and visual culture, Gonzalez was immersed in the abstract realm, yet she wanted to explore art’s practical, tangible side.

After her freshman year, she jumped into internships. Her curiosity was piqued during her curatorial internship at Austin’s Mexic-Arte Museum, where she encountered the visual art form known as the zine.

She noticed that her colleagues at the museum, including art historian and curator Claudia Zapata, were working on a zine called ChingoZine, which she helped to promote with friends and family.

What’s a zine? “It’s a little handmade book, and it could be anything from drawings to photography to poetry,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of people make them for fun, to distribute their work.”  Zines combine thematic elements that represent ephemeral, creative concepts in a personalized package.

At UH, Gonzalez became involved with the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library Ambassadors, a new student organization that promotes the library’s collections and services. The group organizes events and activities that highlight library resources, promotes student research, and integrates UH art disciplines. Each member of the Library Ambassadors receives advanced research training, enabling them to guide their fellow students on the use of library resources.

“The Jenkins Library Ambassadors facilitate how students can create a relationship with the library,” said Gonzalez, who wanted to give back to fellow students in her own way. She brainstormed ideas with the group: what would be a creative way to help UH students?

The idea for a DIY zine workshop emerged. Gonzalez sought advice from local business owners who regularly run creative workshops, and was also referred to artists from Zinefest Houston, who agreed to be the facilitators of the zine workshop at UH. Gonzalez approached the artists of Antena @ Blaffer, and they offered to share their space in the Saleri Studio and co-host the workshop.

Library ambassadors and students from painting, photography, interior design, architecture and graphic design participated, and the result was a collaborative zine, comprising collages created with content ranging from Art Forum to Japanese comic books to scuba diving publications.

Gonzalez organized the workshop through networking, a practical skill that is essential for success in life after college. She says that people are quite approachable if you just allow yourself to be open and find common ground. She gained confidence in crafting her own creative event at which students enjoyed themselves while learning how to harness inspiration.

After graduation, Gonzalez hopes to meet more artists in the industry. “I love the Houston arts scene,” she commented. “There are really unique institutions that have opportunities to either host or curate fantastic exhibitions.”

Gonzalez says that curators hold a unique place in organizing and showcasing the past and present in art form, and she wants to fulfill that role. “The world is so complicated,” she said. “We don’t really remember that there are things like slowing down and looking at a painting. The role of curating is essential for preserving what your culture is producing. I want to be the example of why art is important.”

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