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.
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.
Have you seen the tents in front of the grocery stores, bursting at the seams with blossoms and blooms? You had not forgotten, had you? She raised you better than that.
Mother’s Day is this weekend, April showers have brought on May flowers, and, as I cannot move about our fair city without the sweet waft of offerings for Mom in my nose, there seems no better time to highlight the work of some of Houston’s green thumbs. Their toiling ready to bear fruit, May is typically the time of year that garden and flower clubs in Houston begin to wind down their activities and meetings and take some time to bask in their handiwork.
In Houston, we are fortunate to be home to a number of garden and flower clubs that assist in the obvious, the beautification of the city, but also benefit the community in more subtle ways, through various service projects. In addition, historically these types of organizations have allowed for an arena of subtle political action for women. Having secured a right to vote early in the 20th century, equality remained elusive. Prior to the Women’s Liberation struggles of the 1960s, it was not uncommon to think a woman “unladylike” for vociferously proclaiming her political opinions or for simply asserting herself in the public sphere. These clubs and organizations, dominated by women and out of sight to about half the population, provided almost a parallel system of local political maneuvering. Members were able to negotiate and channel their politics through the selection of service projects and causes championed, thereby impacting public life.
The Houston Council of Texas Garden Clubs Records collects a number of scrapbooks and documents detailing the history and work of the chapter, including documents related to shows and service projects. The River Oaks Blossom Club Records date back to 1939 and include scrapbooks, yearbooks, photographs, and administrative files.
Of course, if all of this beauty has you reassessing your stewardship of the environment, and you want to make sure you’re taking care of that other Mother of yours, our Houston History Archives hold a number of resources documenting the environmental history and activism of the Houston and Gulf Coast region. Collection highlights there include the Park People Records, the Bayou Preservation Association, and, of course, the Terry Tarlton Hershey Papers.
Don’t forget to take care of your Mother on Sunday and be sure to come examine these wonderful resources and collections during the week. Caps and gowns are fluttering across campus, but we remain open and at your service Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
To mine, to yours, to all, a Happy Mother’s Day!
The finding aid for the Houston National Bank Records (1889-1964) has recently been published as part of our Houston and Texas History collection area. The records for the Houston National Bank, founded in 1876, contain administrative files as well as scrapbooks from individuals associated with the bank.
The Houston National Bank was founded in 1876, moved into the bustling and growing downtown area in 1928, and remained a financial cornerstone in the city until it merged with the Tennessee Bank and Trust Company in 1964. Its former home, a beautiful neoclassical construction of limestone on a black granite base, sat vacant as the 20th century came to a close. University of Houston alumnus Hakeem Olajuwan purchased the property and it now breathes new life as the Islamic Da’wah Center.
The Houston National Bank Records consist primarily of correspondence, photographs, news clippings, and promotional material related to the 75th and 85th anniversary celebrations in 1951 and 1961 respectively. Personal papers and scrapbooks belonging to the likes of former bank president Melvin Rouff round out the collection.
categories: Department News
This weekend the Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor will host the 67th annual Texas State Saengerfest in League City. Houston’s oldest music organization will lead this two-day celebration of German music and culture while showcasing new and original music from Rebecca Oswald, R. Michael Daugherty, and Carlie Hunder Burdett.
During the 19th century German immigrants were drawn to Texas, spurred on by a number of factors. Early settlers like Johann Friedrich Ernst (or Friedrich Diercks) sought independence and economic opportunity. Ernst’s letters home championed the cheap and readily available land through Empresario Austin, the mild winters, and the wide-open landscape teeming with game and natural resources. These letters were published in Germany and they spurred on a wave of wide-eyed optimists ready to make their new lives. Later, a number of colonization programs would try to capitalize on this popularity with Germans and ramped up immigration into Texas. By the 1890s rural German enclaves peppered across the Texas landscape while significant percentages of the population had been established in San Antonio, Galveston, and Houston, creating a virtual German Belt.
This German influx led to the establishment of a number of singing societies, not only in Texas but around the country, embracing the old Germanic culture of the Saengerfest. Those longing for the Fatherland could return home, if only in song, for those few happy hours of meeting and celebration. However, during the first half of the 20th century, membership numbers would reflect concerns over anti-German sentiment as horrific warfare dominated the European landscape and spilled over into the rest of the world. Shortly after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Houston Saengerbund changed their name to “The Houston Singing Society,” ceased singing German songs, and began using English as their official language of operation (as reflected in the recorded minutes). Following World War II, as tensions subsided, the club restored their official name and purpose — the celebration of German music.
Today, 130 years after its founding, the Houston Saengerbund continues that celebration.
At the University of Houston Special Collections, our Houston Saengerbund Records stand ready to share in that rich history of celebration. The collection contains materials dating back to the society’s inception up to the present day, including records, Saengerfest songbooks, and programs (some as early as the 19th century). Whether you are a vokalist looking to add to your repertoire or you just want a little sampling of the Vaterland, drop by Special Collections and have a look.