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A Curtain Call for “Collective HER-Story”

categories: Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Exhibits

exhibit, Collective HER-story, A Mosaic Masterpiece: Exploring the Carey C. Shuart Women's Archives

exhibit, Collective HER-story, A Mosaic Masterpiece: Exploring the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archives

The exhibit, “Collective HER-story, A Mosaic Masterpiece: Exploring the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archives” comes to a close this week.

This ambitious exhibit, featuring a broad and eclectic range of history representative of the Shuart Archives, opened on October 14, 2013 and enjoys its final weekend at the M.D. Anderson Library, running through Sunday March 2nd.  From Mayor Annise Parker to the Gorilla Girls, from former Mayor Kathy Whitmire to the WNBA’s first dynasty, the Houston Comets, the “Collective HER-story” exhibit has a little something for everyone.

UH Moment: HER-story Celebrates Accomplishments of Women in Houston

The M.D. Anderson Library and exhibit are open to the public over the weekend.  The “Collective HER-story” exhibit can be viewed on the first and second floors of UH’s M.D. Anderson Library (Exit 1 off Calhoun Road).  Come catch it (one last time) before it closes.  The exhibit may close, but the legacy of these women and study of their history will endure.

The Toni Beauchamp Papers and Table Talk 2014

categories: Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Department News, Events

Toni at home in Houston, with a carpet of fallen ginkgo leaves

Toni at home in Houston, with a carpet of fallen ginkgo leaves

Archivist Vince Lee of the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection will showcase artifacts from the recently acquired Toni Beauchamp Papers at Table Talk 2014, presented by the University of Houston Friends of Women’s Studies on Thursday, February 27th.

Defining Toni Beauchamp’s legacy in Houston is an exciting challenge.  The term “patron” was often applied to her during her lifetime and certainly remains today.  However, her involvement with art went beyond mere patronage, and we may find that word to be too narrow, now.  The role of art was exemplified into two spheres in her life, civic duty and personal advocacy.  Her involvement and leadership on such public projects involving the renovation of Buffalo Bayou and Market Square Park fulfilled a vision that art, thoughtfully integrated with urban design, results in beautification, preservation, and forging an identity for the community.  Art was also very personal for Toni.  Art provided her a means to shape and influence the community, forge friendships, and most importantly it was an opportunity for her to educate and share information with others.

Toni and Jeff Beauchamp at their first apartment

Toni and Jeff Beauchamp at their first apartment

Her connection to the University of Houston dates back to 1973, when she earned her BA in Art and where she would later serve as assistant director of the Blaffer Gallery.  The acquisition of her papers, thanks to the generosity of her husband Jeff Beauchamp, has us very excited to begin the work of processing, arranging, and making these materials available for study to scholars both local and abroad.  These papers complement other offerings in Special Collections like her collection of essays, Good, and “Remembrances of Toni” (a collection of reflections on Toni’s life) compiled by her husband Jeff.  The spirit and legacy of Beauchamp make her papers a natural fit amongst the other bold women at the vanguard, whose collections grace the stacks of the Shuart Women’s Archive.

Archivist Vince Lee, Jeff Beauchamp, and personal assistant Kim Pence, overseeing the transfer of the Toni Beauchamp Papers

Archivist Vince Lee, Jeff Beauchamp, and personal assistant Kim Pence, overseeing the transfer of the Toni Beauchamp Papers

At Table Talk 2014 Vince Lee will have artifacts from Toni Beauchamp’s work on Good, as well as her involvement with the “Buffalo Bayou Master Plan” and “Market Square Park Project.”  Friends of Women Studies hosts the annual Table Talk series, “a fascinating combination of conversations over lunch, led by dynamic women of various cultures, professions and experience at each table,” benefiting Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Houston.  A list of Conversationalists attending this 17th annual Table Talk can be found here.

Time permitting, be sure to attend Table Talk 2014 and visit with Vince Lee for more information regarding the legacy of Toni Beauchamp, the research potential her papers will offer, and their new home in the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection.

Hip Hop History and Culture

categories: Houston Hip Hop, Instruction

AAS 3301 students peruse items from the Houston Hip Hop Collection

AAS 3301 students peruse items from the Houston Hip Hop Collection

The following comes to us via Julie Grob, Coordinator for Digital Projects & Instruction here at the University of Houston Special Collections.

Undergraduate students from the course African American Studies 3301, Hip Hop History and Culture taught by Professor John Chiles, visited Special Collections Thursday night. Students viewed materials from the DJ Screw Papers and the newly acquired Carlos “DJ Styles” Papers, as well as items related to Houston artists such as Geto Boys, K-Rino, and UGK. Students teamed up in pairs to analyze individual items, and reconvened to discuss as a group how these items shed light on issues such as identity, gender, entrepreneurship, and Afrocentrism. The students enjoyed the chance to see original hip hop artifacts in person.

Items from the newly acquired Carlos “DJ Styles” Papers

Items from the newly acquired Carlos “DJ Styles” Papers

A reminder to faculty that you may make arrangements to bring a class to use Special Collections materials on a variety of topics by contacting Julie Grob.

A Farewell from Ryder Kouba

categories: Department News, Guest Posts, University Archives

The following comes to us courtesy of Ryder Kouba, exiting University Archives Fellow here at the University of Houston Special Collections. After a year and a half of service to the University, Ryder has accepted the position of Digital Collections Archivist in the University Archives at the American University in Cairo. We wish Ryder all of our best!

In August 2012 I joined the staff of Special Collections as the University Archives Fellow. Fresh out of the University of Texas’ School of Information, I was excited to return to my hometown of Houston to help preserve and make accessible the unique history of UH. Working at UH for the past 18 months has been a very rewarding experience, both professionally and personally.

My tenure began with a fun project documenting the history of the venerable Robertson Stadium before it was torn down in the fall of 2012. To create an exhibit covering the multiple uses of Robertson over the years required background research into notable events, what materials we had in our collections, and reaching out to departments around campus and individuals in the community.

A focus of my time was creating policies and procedures for the University Archives and Special Collections with Mary Manning, the University Archivist. An important aspect of documenting the university’s history is acquiring the appropriate materials; to that end Mary and I created transfer policies and guidelines for departments on campus as well as for private individuals, such as alumni. Standardizing these processes will allow Mary to acquire materials more efficiently from a wide variety of organizations and people.

Establishing guidelines for accessioning born-digital materials was the largest project I worked on, and I feel like the most valuable. When I arrived the University Archives had over 600 CDs, which as anyone who has scratched one can attest, are not the most durable of media. Creating policies and procedures from scratch was an intensive process of researching the fundamentals of preserving born digital materials (which UT had given me a solid foundation in) and seeing what other institutions were doing. After much work fine tuning our procedures, experimenting with software, and sharing it with fellow staff members, I’m happy to report that most of the 600+ CDs have been moved to storage on our servers.

I have been lucky that UH has been very supportive in my professional development; I’ve been able to attend conferences and workshops, particularly regarding digital practices, and bring my newfound knowledge back to UH. I was also able to present a case study of our development of policies and procedures at the Society of Southwest Archivists conference in 2013.

The end of my time at UH began as it started; working on an exhibit that Mary is putting together showcasing the history of Frontier Fiesta, one of UH’s most notable traditions. Overall, it’s been a wonderful year and a half for me, and Special Collections as well. I’ve provided professional level staffing to process university records, create policies and procedures, and showcase university archives holdings through exhibits. I have also been able to serve the entire library through committee work and serve both the university and community through providing reference services and outreach.

I will miss my colleagues in both Special Collections and M. D. Anderson Library and look forward to hearing about the exciting growth of the library and university in the coming years.

Engineering Houston

categories: Department News

In lead up to the premiere of “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station” this evening on PBS (9pm/8pm CST), American Experience has been soliciting contributions to its Engineering Map of America.  A number of academic institutions have partnered with American Experience to assemble an interactive map of some of America’s greatest engineering endeavors.  Valerie Prilop, our Digital Collections Librarian, has contributed a number of resources from the University of Houston Special Collections.  Today, we highlight a few of these.

Houston Ship Channel, Turning Basin, from the James H. Branard Jr. Port of Houston Collection, University of Houston Libraries' Special Collections

Houston Ship Channel, Turning Basin, from the James H. Branard Jr. Port of Houston Collection, University of Houston Libraries’ Special Collections

The Houston Ship Channel:  The Houston Ship Channel is a man-made channel for ocean-going ships that supports the Port of Houston, the nation’s busiest port in terms of foreign tonnage and the second largest petrochemical complex in the world. The channel, which officially opened on November 10, 1914, after its completion on September 7 of that year, was originally a swampy bayou and surrounding marshland with dense vegetation. Steamboats and shallow draft boats were the only vessels that could navigate the waterway and the dredging and deepening of the channel contributed greatly to the growth of Houston and Texas.

Even after its official opening, the channel continued to be widened and deepened. It now measures 45-feet deep and runs up to 530 feet in width. The entire channel stretches 52 miles from the Gulf of Mexico through Galveston Bay and up the San Jacinto River, ending less than 10 miles east of downtown Houston at the Turning Basin.

Astrodome, from the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Papers, University of Houston Libraries' Special Collections

Astrodome, from the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Papers, University of Houston Libraries’ Special Collections

The Astrodome:  Upon its completion in 1964, the Reliant Astrodome was the world’s first completely enclosed stadium, the first air conditioned stadium, and the largest domed structure, and when it opened as the Harris County Domed Stadium in April 1965 it was called the Eighth Wonder of the World.  A major engineering challenge was how to span 642 feet, an unusually large area for a roof structure, without interior supports. The final design used a steel lamella trussed roof structure. The resulting 660-foot-wide circular roof was at the time of completion the largest self-supporting dome.

Main Street Viaduct, from the George Fuermann "Texas and Houston" Collection, University of Houston Libraries' Special Collections

Main Street Viaduct, from the George Fuermann “Texas and Houston” Collection, University of Houston Libraries’ Special Collections

The Main Street Viaduct:  From the time of its founding, Houston relied on bridges for connecting the city and allowing commerce to flourish. Buffalo Bayou, upon which the city was founded, presented a major challenge to mobility as it separated the north and south ends of the city. To answer this problem, planning started in 1911 to build a monumental bridge across Buffalo Bayou. An extension of Main Street, the bridge was to extend 1,650 feet across the water.  When it was completed in 1913, the Main Street Viaduct was the largest single-arch concrete span in Texas, with the central arch measuring 150 feet. The cost of construction was a half a million dollars, and the bridge was high enough to allow for several railroad tracks to pass underneath.

View all of these and more on the Engineering Map of America!

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