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100 Years of Progress: The Fight Marches On

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

As we unveil our new digital exhibit, 100 Years of Progress: The Fight Marches On, celebrating the centennial of the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment in these times of COVID-19 and amidst a national call for social justice and equality all across the nation, let’s not forget that the women that brought about much needed change for the right to vote, faced equally great challenges during their own time. For historical context, they were dealing with the aftermath of World War I in which the world was weary of a prolonged conflict as well as the global spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic which would kill an estimated 50 million people all around the world. Texas Suffragist, Minnie Fisher Cunningham, was afflicted from the “Spanish Flu” and would recover as documented in a letter she wrote as President of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association to Mrs. Maud Wood Park in November of 1918.

If we learn anything from history and the work from Suffragettes all across the nation, it is that with grit, determination, and their eyes on the end goal of having the 19th Amendment ratified by Congress, neither a global pandemic nor a World War would derail their efforts. Through their grassroots activism in their communities, to lobbying local, state, and national representatives, to bending the ear of a US President, they would not be denied in their efforts as they would find a way. They would become united in voice and action as an immovable force in which once their momentum has started, nothing would be able to stop nor stand in their way.

The creation of this exhibit has been a unique experience to say the least. Working with public history student, Jennifer Southerland, since this past fall and early spring, we had mapped out and selected many of the materials. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in late March, putting a stop to our physical process and planning as we could no longer go into the office. Rather than stop all the work and planning that had gone before, Jennifer and I continued to meet weekly via phone, and working collaboratively with online tools such as Zoom, Google Docs, and Google Sheets to arrange the digital materials (including the Minnie Fisher Cunningham Papers and Mary Ellen Ewing vs the Houston School Board) that were available, requesting scans of other materials that had not been digitized, drafting descriptive text for the materials, and brainstorming on potential themes that would emerge from the exhibit.

Flier distributed to inform women on how to register to vote

“Women Voters Attention – When, Where and How to Register,” 1918 flier distributed to inform women on how to register to vote, featured in the current exhibition

With so many face to face gatherings, events, and programs being cancelled due to COVID-19 the thought process in the creation of this digital exhibit has focused on how we could organize the digital materials we already have into a virtual exhibit which is openly accessible to the public whether it be in their homes or home offices. Just as the early suffragists found a way to overcome despite all the odds, we wanted to use the technology at our disposal to still make this happen despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and social distancing.

In a more normal setting a physical exhibit would be created first with physical materials selected, matted, backed, and captions created before they are arranged and installed into exhibit cases within the library. We’ve had to take the opposite approach of working backwards, creating a digital exhibit first, which we know will be remotely available to the public, and then later this fall install the physical materials into the cases based on the digital exhibit. What we’ve learned is that although the pandemic has changed the logistics and dynamics of how an exhibit may ultimately be put together, we’ve still found a way to virtually document and celebrate the work of Suffragists all across the nation. This exhibit is dedicated in honor of their grit, determination, and spirit of fighting on.

Remembering Nicholas John Tsacrios

Performing & Visual Arts

Nicholas John Tsacrios

Nicholas John Tsacrios passed away in Sarasota, Florida on May 4, 2020 at the age of 92 from natural causes. Nick was the long-time companion of José Quintero, legendary Tony Award winning Broadway Director and Founder of Circle in the Square in Manhattan.

Nick was born on November 5, 1927 in Clearwater, Florida to Greek parents. His loving mother Sevasti Tsacrios passed away when Nick was only two years old. Nick was raised by his loving father John M. Tsacrios, Sr. who was a prominent pioneer merchant and civic leader in Clearwater, Florida.

Nick is survived by one brother Manuel “Buster” Tsacrios and a half-sister Maria John Tsacrios Molett and half-brothers John M. Tsacrios, Jr. and Frank John Tsacrios.

Nick was the eighth of nine children and the first to graduate from college due to the encouragement and support of his stepmother Xanthippi Tsacrios who he and José loved very much. Nick studied at the University of Florida and at the University of Madrid in Spain where he learned Spanish and became a bullfighter.

Nick was a creative adventurous person who loved cooking, entertaining, gardening, the arts, and caring for animals especially his loving cat Gato. He was renowned for his wonderful sense of humor that he got from his father.

José Quintero and Nicholas John Tsacrios

Nick met José Quintero in the 1950’s in New York City when Nick was at the height of his career as an advertising executive in Manhattan. Nick and José had endearing friendships throughout their lives with renowned artists Liv Ullmann, Gloria Vanderbilt, Vanessa Redgrave, Tennessee Williams, Mexican star Dolores del Rio, Jason Robards, Roddy McDowall, Charles Nelson Reilly, dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, Greek film actor and artist Vassili Lambrinos, and Angelina Fiordellisi of the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City.

Nick was a significant source of support for José Quintero’s work as a lecturer and professor at the University of Houston, Florida State University, the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre in Palm Beach, Florida, and during Quintero’s theater workshops in Los Angeles, California, and directing plays at Houston’s Alley Theater. Nick and José worked closely for many years with their beloved friend Sydney Berger, the revered former Director, Producer, and Mentor of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance.

Nick was instrumental in establishing the José Quintero Archives at the University of Houston which also houses the José Quintero Theater. Nick maintained a supportive relationship with the José Quintero Theater in New York City.

During Nick’s later years in Sarasota he was blessed to be surrounded by many loving, caring friends especially George Karabatsos from Saint Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church where Nick loved to volunteer.

Memorial services were held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, Texas, Saint Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church in Sarasota, Florida, and Nick’s beloved Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

John M. Tsacrios, Jr. brother of Nicholas John Tsacrios, provided this memorial.

Special Collections closed until further notice, available remotely

Department News

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), on-site access to Special Collections is unavailable. However, staff remain available to support teaching, learning, and research activities. We ask that researchers contact a collection curator or inquire here for assistance.

A Tribute to Michael Galbreth

In the News, Performing & Visual Arts

We at UH Special Collections pay tribute to Michael Galbreth (1956 – 2019), whom we have had the enormous pleasure of working with and getting to know. Galbreth and the other half of the Art Guys, Jack Massing, donated their archives to Special Collections in 2013. And just over a year ago, Galbreth donated the New Music America Collection. Galbreth organized the 1986 NMA festival in Houston and served as president of its governing board, the New Music Alliance, from 1986 to 1989. A finding aid is available for this collection.

Through photographs of materials that Galbreth has donated to UH Special Collections–particularly from the recently acquired New Music America Collection–we aim to highlight the stories that they tell. A number of institutions and individuals have also commemorated the importance of Galbreth’s life to Houston and the art community, including:

Michael Galbreth (1956 – 2019)

Among the approximately 84 boxes (and over a terabyte of electronic files) that make up The Art Guys Records are materials documenting the creation of The Statue of Four Lies, part of the UH Public Art collection. This selection of items shows an early mockup of the plaza where the statue is installed in Lynn Eusan Park. Other items include the proposal for the statue and a flyer and invitation to its unveiling.

These items from the New Music America Collection document a parade with the Irreversible Marching Band led by musician Tom Cora during the 1986 NMA Festival held in Houston in 1986. Included are a flyer advertising the parade, which happened on April 5, 1986, and a two-page letter to Galbreth (one page on the back of a tour schedule for Cora’s band Skeleton Crew). In the letter, Cora writes: “Did you see the parade? The marching band was somewhat of a rag-tag unit, to be sure; but I couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience. What my Houston musicians lacked in musical skills and experience, they certainly made up for in enthusiasm and hard work.”

The 1986 New Music America parade culminated at the grand opening of the Cullen Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, where John Cage performed. Included in this image are a program of the NMA event for Cage’s “Ryoanji” and two photographs, one of Cage and the musicians who performed with him that day and another of soprano Isabelle Ganz in front of Cage’s score.

Among the Houston NMA events was Astrosounds, an experimental music concert inside the Astrodome that included a performance in which Russell Frehling launched a blimp equipped with a microphone, monitoring radio waves and feedback patterns in the space. Pictured here are a program, news clippings, and a photograph of Galbreth in the Astrodome on the day of the performance.

Newly Digitized KUHT Films Now Online

Digitization, KUHT Collection, University Archives

Dr. H. Burr Roney teaches telecourse in Biology, 1953.

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections is pleased to announce the recent addition of 112 digitized films from the KUHT Film and Video Collection to the Audio/Video Repository. The films, dating between 1953 and the 1970s were digitized with the generous support of the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant. These films represent some of KUHT-TV’s earliest productions and include examples of the United State’s nascent educational and public television system.

After twelve years experience in Hollywood Arnold Bergene joined KUHT as an editor.

KUHT’s first aircheck took place on May 25, 1953. The station began broadcasting the following month, making it the United States’ first educational, non-profit television station to go on air. KUHT was a pioneering influence in the field of “tele-education,” creating for-credit college courses. Included in these recently digitized materials are several of Dr. H. Burr Roney’s biology courses, which went on the air in the station’s first year. By 1958, the freshman biology telecourse “had the greatest enrollment of any standard college course given by television at any school in the nation.” ¹

In the 1960s, KUHT moved away from the production of for-credit college courses but continued to produce elementary education programs in partnership with the Houston Independent School District, as well as content for the enrichment of all viewers. Many KUHT productions documented the activities of the University of Houston and the Gulf Coast region.

Highlights include from the recently digitized materials include:

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