The latest digital collection containing materials related to the USS Houston, the Lt. Robert B. Fulton USS Houston Letters, is now available in the UH Digital Library. This collection contains letters Fulton wrote home prior to the sinking of the USS Houston (CA-30), along with other correspondence and documents.
Fulton was aboard the Houston when she was sunk by Japanese torpedoes in the Java Sea on Feb. 28, 1942, and he, along with more than 300 survivors of the sinking, was taken prisoner by the Japanese. Fulton spent most of the duration of the war in Zentsuji POW Camp in Japan before being liberated from Rokuroshi POW Camp on Sept. 7, 1945.
The heart of this collection is Fulton’s letters home. These provide insight into the experience of a naval officer on the USS Houston during the build up to war in the Pacific and during the conflict’s early months. Fulton describes daily activities on the ship, excursions and picnics, and the mounting tension in the area. Censorship prevents him from relaying the whereabouts or engagements of the ship.
Equally interesting are the colorful greeting cards Fulton received in POW camp, which contain handwritten messages and drawings.
Special Collections is dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of the Houston and her crew through archival and digital collections, as well as a permanent exhibit in M.D. Anderson Library. Additional digital library collections include the William Slough USS Houston Letters and the USS Houston Blue Bonnet Newsletters. While not related to the Houston, the Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB-613) Photos also contain World War II-related materials.
The original material for all these collections are available in Special Collections, which is open to the public. Be sure to take a look at these digital collections or come view the originals in our Reading Room.
The newest digital collection of Special Collections materials features a binder’s collection of sheet music dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Sheet Music of Flute and Violin Duets, 1790s-1850s features a binder’s collection containing 27 duets for flute and violin.
Binder’s collections of sheet music were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, providing the means to social entertainment in homes and other informal settings beyond concert venues. While often unorganized, some collections are ordered according to genre, instrumentation, composer or chronology.
The works of a number of composers are included in the collection, including composer and flautist François Devienne. Other composers include Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, Franz Alexander Pössinger, and Eugène Walckiers.
While the printed music is bound in two separate volumes, one for each instrument, the pieces have been combined in the digital collection so that both parts can be seen together.
Many of these newly-added items were featured in the library exhibition DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop and have now been made available online. These include several tape lists and a variety of lyrics, along with photographs of DJ Screw as a child and an adult.
The collection includes photographs, handwritten rap lyrics and song lists for “screw tapes,” along with flyers related to DJ Screw and his rap collective the Screwed Up Click. It also includes memorial service programs for DJ Screw, who died in 2000, and rappers Fat Pat and HAWK.
The DJ Screw Papers are currently being processed in Special Collections and will be available to the public once that process is complete. In the meantime, be sure to visit the digital collection to take a look at these items and others related to Houston’s hip hop history, and take a look at previous blog coverage of this digital collection, DJ Screw, and the related exhibit and conference.
Created in Northern France, this book of hours contains beautifully illustrated and handwritten pages. The text, written on parchment, is in both Latin and Old French, and the scribe is identifed as Paulinus de Sorcy.
While many medieval manuscripts feature images that are closely related to their text, this one is primarily illustrated with marginalia. These whimsical images enliven the borders of various pages and contain both humans and animals. In one illustration, a man plays a harp. In another, a monkey or ape inspects a vial of urine in a satire of medieval medicine.
The digital collection is organized into three objects — one contains the complete manuscript of almost 200 leaves, one highlights the illuminated pages, and the third shows the binding and edges. This beautiful manuscript is an exciting addition to our digital collections, so be sure to check it out soon!
Materials from the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive & Research Collection are featured in the latest digital collection from Special Collections. Blanche Espy Chenoweth, Her Life, Her Times, contains photographs documenting the life of Blanche Espy Chenoweth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The collection contains 67 individual photographs and a 48-page scrapbook. The photographs include formal portraits and snapshots, which provide examples both of formal dress and photographic customs from the time period and shots of life unscripted.
Chenoweth was a a lecturer, writer, and voice on the radio who covered topics related to women’s social customs, homemaking, and general well-being. She was born in Iowa in 1875 and spent the last 25 years of her life in Houston, prior to her death in 1960.
Throughout her adult life she lived and travelled in various cities giving lectures on women’s dress and grooming and their importance in a happy life. In the 1920s, she lectured and wrote on the problems of women at the Chautauqua Institute in New York, and in the 1930s she had a radio program in Chicago which gave advice on women’s personal problems.