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.
Exciting news from Special Collections: The DJ Screw Papers are now available for research! This small but important collection is a cornerstone in our Houston Hip Hop Collections and documents the influential late hip hop artist DJ Screw’s activities as a DJ and mixtape creator. Some of the materials in this collection are available for online viewing in our DJ Screw Photographs and Memorabilia Digital Collection.
DJ Screw began DJing and making mixtapes as a teenager while living on the Southside of Houston. By the early 1990s, he began to develop his innovative “chopped and screwed” technique of using recording technology to repeat phrases (a process known as chopping) and slow a song’s tempo (known as screwing). DJ Screw began to receive requests to make tapes tailored for friends and local rappers. He began selling copies of these “screw tapes” from his home. The screw tapes helped to develop the careers of numerous major rappers in the Houston scene, who would subsequently become known as the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.).
DJ Screw achieved broader popularity in the mid-1990s, and he continued to sell tapes while releasing four studio albums on Bigtyme Recordz: “All Screwed Up,” “3 ‘N The Mornin’ (Part One),” “3 ‘N The Mornin’ (Part Two),” and “I Wanna Get High with Da Blanksta.” In 1998, DJ Screw opened the store Screwed Up Records and Tapes in order to meet demand for his mixtapes.
Especially interesting items in the collection include song lists for the screw tapes, music production equipment, business documents, and photographs. If you’d like to take a look, come visit us in Special Collections!
Captain O.C. McDavid was a journalist, an artist, and, like so many of the young men of his time and age, a soldier. Special Collections holds a collection of his personal correspondence covering the breadth of his service during World War II and a finding aid is now available online.
Captain McDavid served much of World War II stationed in the South Pacific, supporting the Allied cause by helping to establish village governments with local populations and building infrastructure to support sanitation, security, and healthcare. As with most correspondence from the war, censorship of operations and engagements with Axis forces provide scant details for those interested in the minutiae of South Pacific strategy. Instead, what emerges in these letters has as much to do with McDavid’s observations of foreign cultures as it has to do with the struggle for the South Pacific. Of particular note, given Captain McDavid’s later career and work as an artist, are the comic and compelling illustrations and sketches he uses to embellish so many of the letters back home.
As Allied troops sought out and clashed with Axis forces, McDavid’s words and pictures show us American G.I.s and their Australian allies working, living, and sharing with native New Guineans. All of this is set against the backdrop of the realities of war, evenings peppered with what McDavid describes as “The sharp staccato spitting of a machine gun. The throaty hacking of a BAR,” as he and his fellow soldiers wonder at what lurks beyond the palms in the darkness.
McDavid’s letters also reflect a resolve and pleasure towards his service and appreciation of the experience in spite of the perils. He writes home to his children:
“Many times, for sure, I’ve wished I had gotten to an overseas theatre where there’s at least some civilization. But, if I had gone over [to Europe] I probably never would, in all my life, have seen the places that lie behind the Pacific. Only read about them in the pages of the National Geographic. I would have missed the kampong poontooan and I would not have danced with an Indonesian maiden.”
Those interested in McDavid’s career as an artist and journalist will no doubt enjoy these glimpses into his formative years, while those with interest in the Pacific Theatre of World War II may be interested to look into the particulars of his work and time spent in New Guinea. We encourage you to explore the finding aid for more information and visit us if you are interested in studying this collection.
The finding aid for the Andrew Brown Texas Music Collection is now available online.
The collection consists of the research files of the Texas music historian Andrew Brown, who writes biographies and histories of music artists and record labels for books, magazines, and album liner notes.
The files are particularly strong in documenting the lives and legacies of Houston-affiliated musicians and record labels. Music scholars will be especially interested to learn that the collection includes administrative and financial files of Duke/Peacock Records. The collection also contains especially strong material pertaining to biographical information for various recording artists, publicity photographs, and songbooks.
The finding aid for the Barbara Karkabi Papers is now available online. This collection includes articles written by Karkabi, correspondence, notes, and research materials.
Barbara Karkabi was a journalist for the Houston Chronicle. In 1979 she began her career with the Chronicle generating feature stories on a variety of topics ranging from health to women and religious issues to trends in the city’s minority communities. An article she wrote in 1990 about river blindness garnered the attention of local philanthropist John Moores. In response to the story, Moores donated $25 million to an effort by a University of Houston optometry professor, William Baldwin, to distribute a highly effective drug to those in need.
Besides her work with the Chronicle, Karkabi also spent time engaged in women’s organizations. She was a long time board member of Friends of Women’s Studies, a nonprofit that supports the University of Houston’s Women’s Studies program and wrote the first story about the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection at the UH Library. Karkabi also helped found the Association for Women Journalists Houston chapter in the 1990s.
A selection of her materials was also on display at the 16th Annual Table Talk hosted by the Friends of Women’s Studies.