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Rare Books at UH Special Collections

Rare Books

In addition to the archival collections often highlighted on this blog often, University of Houston Special Collections holds a robust collection of books, both rare and contemporary. The book collections total more than 66,000 volumes.

Among the library’s holdings in Special Collections are:

Plates from some of our rare books can be seen in the UH Digital Library, including woodcuts from The Ship of Fools, published in 1494, woodcuts from Edward Topsell’s The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents (1658), and the volume India Illustrated, containing photographs of early 2oth century India under British rule.
As with the archival collections, these volumes can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room during our regular hours. For additional information, visit the Rare Books page.


QR Codes Enhance Perales Exhibit; Conference Coming Tomorrow

Digitization, Events, Exhibits, Hispanic Collections

Perales ExhibitThe Alonso S. Perales exhibit, currently on view in the M.D. Anderson Library, now comes complete with QR codes! These codes provide quick access to interviews with scholars and family members, as well as English translations of the Spanish-language documents contained in the exhibit. You can also access the videos and translations at the online exhibit page.

Tomorrow, January 13, In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals, a conference highlighting the life and works of the civil rights leader, will be held in the library’s Rockwell Pavilion. The conference will feature scholarly papers on Perales’ work in civil rights, influence, and more.Perales exhibit

Special Collections holds the Alonso S. Perales Papers, which document the life, work, and related interests of the civil rights leader from his birth in 1898 until well after his death in 1960. A digital collection of photographs from the papers can be seen in the UH Digital Library, and his papers can be seen in the Special Collections Reading Room.

New Digital Collection Documents Early Years of the Houston Negro Hospital

Department News, Digitization, Houston History Archives

Dedication Ceremony, June 19, 1926

Take a look at our latest collection in the UH Digital Library, featuring items documenting the early years of the Houston Negro Hospital, the first nonprofit hospital for African Americans in Houston. This online collection is a fantastic historic resource, and it incorporates a new Digital Library feature. When you visit the main Houston Negro Hospital collection page, you’ll see an interactive timeline highlighting some of the most important and interesting items in the collection.

Houston Defender article about the dedication of the Nurses Home, March 14, 1931

In the early 1920s, the need for a new African American hospital became clear to the community and its physicians. Though a group of physicians had established the Union-Jeremiah Hospital to serve the community, they quickly realized the need for something larger. Joseph S. Cullinan, a successful oilman who had founded Texas Company (later Texaco), was impressed with the group’s work and donated $80,000 to the group in 1923. On June 19, 1926, the building’s cornerstone was dedicated to Cullinan’s deceased son, an Army officer who led African American soldiers during World War I. Cullinan, who made additional donations to the hospital, was consulted and kept informed about hospital business.

The hospital, located in Houston’s Third Ward, opened to patients on May 14, 1927, and provided a place for African American physicians, who were not allowed to admit patients to the African American wards in Houston’s other hospitals, to practice medicine and train students and nurses. It initially operated on an “insurance” system in which individuals and families paid a yearly subscription which entitled them to treatment. The hospital’s early years were difficult, with problems that included a lack of patients and dissension among and between the hospital’s two boards, one African American and one white.

J.S. Botley photo

J.S. Botley, the first baby born in the hospital. Botley was born on May 21, 1927.

This digital collection, containing nearly one thousand items, includes a copy of the African American board’s resignation letter, a photograph of the first baby born in the hospital, critical editorials from a local African American newspaper, business papers about the construction and care of the building, and more. The timeline features some of these documents, and clicking on any of the items in the timeline will take you directly to the item in the collection, where you can take a closer look.

The items in the Houston Negro Hospital collection come from the Joseph S. Cullinan Papers held in Special Collections. Contact Valerie Prilop, Digital Collections Librarian, for questions about the digital collection. To see the original items or more from that collection, contact the collection curator, Dr. Terry Tomkins-Walsh or visit our Reading Room.

Check out the New Image Café!

Department News, KUHT Collection

Photo from the KUHT collectionA new UH Libraries resource is now available that will help you discover interesting images for presentations, projects and publications.

Image Café is a great new service that presents some of the most interesting images from the UH Digital Library. From within the Image Café you can browse and download images, find computer wallpapers, or get batches of images organized by theme. You can also find the image in the Digital Library and easily get citation information.

Many of these images come from collections found in Special Collections, including the KUHT Collection, the Burdette Keeland Architectural Papers, and the George Fuermann “Texas and Houston” Collection. Take a look!