The University of Houston’s own beloved public television station, and the very first of its kind in the country, will celebrate its 60th birthday this weekend.
Dont’ worry, KUHT. You’re not old, you’re just long in the
tooth booth (broadcast booth, that is).
Before there was a Corporation for Public Broadcasting, before there was the Public Broadcasting Service, and before there was everyone’s favorite oversized fowl, KUHT was broadcasting on good ol’ Channel 8.
KUHT first hit the airwaves on May 25, 1953. A first for the nation, it was originally licensed to both the Houston Independent School District and the University of Houston, envisioned as an educational channel serving both communities. As the University of Houston became the sole licensee by the end of the 1950s, KUHT would become a home for UH’s first televised credit classes — continuing a UH tradition of expanding access to higher education in the city. As similar televisions stations began to crop up around the country in its wake, KUHT would go on to become a member of National Education Television and later PBS, as a politically muddy merger of stations took place. Programming has evolved throughout the years, but education has always remained at the forefront of the station’s mission.
As part of the University Archives here in Special Collections, the KUHT Collection looms large in our stacks, weighing in at nearly 500 archival boxes. Not surprisingly, over half of those boxes are comprised of video material. The challenges of preservation and the unique proprietary formats of the bygone eras dictate that not all of these videotapes are immediately available for public viewing. The remainder of the boxes and materials contained therein record the history of pioneering educational television. A finding aid is available for your review and our University Archivist should be able to help you with any specific questions regarding detailed inventories or the accessibility of specific materials.
If you’re just curious to take a glance, however, our Digital Library serves up some wonderful highlights from the collection. Hundreds of black and white photographs provide glimpses into KUHT over the years. In addition, a number of fascinating videos have been preserved, digitized, and are available for your viewing pleasure from the comfort of your computer. For example, a scathingly forthright documentary on the business and politics of H.L. Hunt (1965) portends the coming political woes and merger of public television stations, while films like Integration: Two Towns in Texas; The World of Billy Joe (documenting the struggle of integrating public schools in Southeast Texas) show the critical role public television can play towards a greater society.
Too often the city of Houston has a tendency to discard or wash away its history. The perpetual buzz of construction around the sprawling metropolis has become our recurring soundtrack. We seem to relish in pulling down long-standing authenticity so we can build the artificial over it again with a restlessness that results in a sort of amnesia for long-time residents and a disconnect for newly-arriving transplants.
In short, Houston is a city where it can be difficult to hold onto the thin threads of history.
For just over a century the Foley’s Department Store served as a cornerstone in Houston, serving the needs of the population beyond simple commercial interests. Paul and James Foley founded their Dry Goods Company in 1900. By the twenty-first century, the shifting sands of business had seen Macy’s take over operations of the iconic building down on Main Street and, shortly thereafter, the registers ceased their chiming as Houston’s old department store was shuttered. In-between those one hundred or so years, however, the Foley’s Department Store would be witness to and participant in the evolution and growth of Houston — and we have the records to prove it.
Part of the Houston History Archives, the Foley’s Department Store Records may seem like an unlikely source for the interested scholar. As one of the rare long-standing entities in Houston, however, the store’s records provide insight across a number of disciplines and attract scholars of different feathers. With materials representing the operations of marketing, legal, financial, and public relations departments inside Foley’s, there is a little something for everyone. Some are interested in studying the process of desegregation in the store’s dining facilities. Others may be inclined to watch the changing trends in fashion. Still others will want to look at the evolution of advertising and consumerism as it explodes in the post-World War II years. The construction of the “store of tomorrow” will no doubt please those interested in architecture. Studying transit and urban sprawl? Foley’s planned expansions into the developing Houston suburbs are documented in studies analyzing, among other things, transportation.
This collection is a genuine cornucopia for the famished scholar of Houston history.
Given the recklessness with which we treat our history at times, those more interested in a simple look into Houston’s past will feel fortunate to be able to view it from this singular window over these many years (Never you mind that the revolutionary building design of Kenneth Franzheim wasn’t real big on windows!).
In typical Houston fashion, the late twentieth century saw a new “uptown” shopping district being developed out west of downtown. The Galleria would go on to become synonymous with Houston, its commercial industry, and tourism. As other downtown power players jumped at the chance to leave their urban center, Foley’s seemed to understand that the view from Main Street is different than that from the fringe.
We invite you to come share this historic view of our city.
On May 14th and 17th, Beth German and Nicci Westbrook conducted one-on-one testing in the M.D. Anderson Library with four faculty volunteers recruited by Julie Grob. The one-on-one usability testing focused faculty perception of the full site as it existed on the testing date. View the report here.
Today the Project Team met to brainstorm steps in the timeline to finish up this project and to plan the Open Forum.
8-5 on weekdays
1-5 on Saturdays, following Intersession
source blog: Architecture & Art Library
This month, Arte Público Press publishes In Defense of My People edited by Professor Olivas. The book assembles a collection of essays from Mexican and U.S. scholars on the life and legacy of Alonso S. Perales, initially presented as part of a 2012 conference and exhibit organized in conjunction with the University of Houston Special Collections and the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project. Alonso S. Perales was noted for his civil rights legal work in the Mexican-American community as well as his influential and prolific writing on the topic of racial equality. However, he is perhaps most remembered for the leadership he was able to provide in maneuvering the legal and logistical hurdles of uniting a number of disparate civil rights organizations under the banner of LULAC.
(Professor Olivas provides some background and perspective on Alonso S. Perales)
Arte Público Press and Olivas will donate royalties from purchases of the book to establish a scholarship with the UH Law Center’s Hispanic Law Student Association. The first scheduled award, to a recipient exhibiting “academic merit and a record of involvement in the Houston Latino community,” is slated for 2014.
Thanks to the generous donation of the Perales family, the Alonso S. Perales Papers are now more accessible to the community at large and we are pleased to have them available for study in the Special Collections reading room during normal reference hours. This collection, a part of our larger Hispanic Collections, is a rich resource and draw for scholars still attempting to provide a robust picture of a region and time complicated by competing ambitions and voices. For starters, the collection includes correspondence with other noted civil rights leaders, organizational documents for LULAC, as well as his notes regarding personal writings, interviews, and radio addresses. However, the detailed finding aid will be able to guide your research and provide more insight into the contents.
Our Digital Library has assembled a number of documents and photographs as highlights from this collection and they are available for viewing and high resolution download here. In addition to the Perales papers, our Hispanic Collections offer a number of finding aid resources that may complement your study.
The history of “Aztlán” is infinitely complex and made more so when voices are muted. We are pleased that, thanks to the efforts of scholars like Professor Olivas and others, those voices continue to garner an audience. In addition, thanks to the continued generosity of he and his wife, Professor Augustina Reyes, now another scholarship has been established to ensure those futures voices are heard.
Please take a look at some of the online resources above. If you are just beginning your education on Perales and his impact, videos from scholars on the exhibit page should provide a nice introduction. However, if you are looking to expand your research, come visit us at your earliest convenience.
Sprint 7 was announced by the development lead, Sean Watkins. Sprint 7 is estimated to consist of 114 hours of development time and will start on Tuesday, May 14th through the end of the day May 28th.
Do you watch Mad Men? A lot of us here in Special Collections do, and we noticed that on last night’s episode (no spoilers here, we promise) the book that Don Draper is reading on the airplane is Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show. Not only do we have in our stacks a copy of that exact edition in Draper’s hands (a first printing of the Dell paperback from 1967), but we also have in our archives Larry McMurtry’s first draft of the typescript of the novel, complete with handwritten notes, a character list, an outline, and some discarded pages. Researchers and fans of McMurtry’s work can visit us here to follow the evolution of this novel from first draft to second draft to publisher’s copy, and compare these to the final published piece. (We highly recommend the 1971 film version of the book as well, available in the Anderson library’s DVD collection.)
So, what does it mean for Don Draper to be reading The Last Picture Show? Well, we have some ideas, but don’t want to give away any spoilers in case you haven’t watched the episode yet.
A development deadline has been set for Tuesday May 28th (the library will be closed May 27th). If the estimated time for the requests is after May 28th developers will have to see what items are acceptable to cut to meet the deadline. This will allow time to move the system over to digitaldev and prepare it for the Open Forum.
Developers also received the list of metadata changes from MBS and checked CONTENTdm about the impact of potentially changing the display names of existing fields. The good news is that changes in metadata display names will not impact the system. The bad news is any field currently tied into customization that must be removed as part of the audit process will break the system. Developers sent MBS a list of metadata fields that are currently used for custom features, these fields are:
Developers are confident they can work out solutions to these potential issues. However, close coordination will be needed in the future regarding what changes are being made and when as part of the metadata audit project.