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This Is Our Home, It Is Not For Sale

Houston History Archives

this is our homeWith one major gift from Julius Settegast and Ben Taub, the University of Houston found its permanent home in 1936.  The gift, 110 acres of overgrown and largely inaccessible land, set the stage for something big in Houston.  Ten years later a gift from Hugh Roy Cullen saw new neighbors move in and together, throughout the twentieth century, these twin universities would bear witness to the unique evolution of neighborhoods in and around Houston’s Third Ward.

One neighborhood in particular, Riverside Terrace, presented an unusual case study in how race, resistance, and real estate help shape the soul of a city, block by block and street by street.

flyerIn 1987 Jon Schwartz took on the task of telling the decades-long narrative of Riverside Terrace and its residents in his 190 minute documentary, This Is Our Home, It Is Not For Sale.  Flush with home movies and photographs serving to complement interviews with residents, the film gives a direct, unembellished voice to those who have called Riverside Terrace home.  The result allows for an honest and unflinching look at race, religion, and socioeconomics in Houston and the difficulty of reconciling these weighty constructs with a concept of home over the years.

Scenes from the film may be sampled here, but we are pleased to offer the entire documentary for your viewing pleasure (minus the refreshments, unfortunately) in our Reading Room.  In addition to the film itself, we also have available for study Jon Schwarz’s papers relating to the progression of the film from fundraising, to research and production, as well as press coverage and information regarding film festivals and awards recognizing the film.  Be sure to take a look at the detailed finding aid for more information prior to visiting.ticket

Even today Riverside Terrace has much to say about us, and Houston will certainly cast a furtive glance in our direction to see what the years have wrought as well as what is next as Riverside continues to tell its story.

Bill Moffit and Patterns of Motion

Events, University Archives

On Saturday, April 20th, the Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band will be performing a very experimental, very groundbreaking “site specific performance,” a four-hour “deconstructed parade” at Discovery Green Houston.  Beginning at 4pm, the ambitious work from Daniel Bernard Roumain, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Troy Bennefield, En Masse, will last until 8pm.

This is not your father’s marching band.

While a deconstructed parade is a far cry from the military marching or corps style many associate historically with marching bands, this is not the first time the Spirit of Houston has pushed the boundaries of what a marching band is or what it can do.  For over two decades Bill Moffit wowed audiences with his revolutionary Patterns of Motion as he served as Director of the University of Houston Marching Band.  The latter half of the twentieth century saw his ideas and unique style permeate show bands of every affiliation across the country.

A prolific arranger as well, Moffit directed the Fanfare Trumpets at the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.  His hundreds of arrangements published as the immensely popular Soundpower Series, as well as patrons continuing to visit our reading room to pore over his Patterns of Motion, ensure that the unique Moffit sound and style can still be heard in stadiums across the country.

In addition to Patterns of Motion, the University of Houston Special Collections is also pleased to offer the Professor William C. Moffit Papers for study as part of our University Archives.  This collection is impressive in its size and scope, offering a look into the teaching, writing, and arrangement of Professor Moffit both at the University of Houston and also his time spent working with the Spartan Marching Band of Michigan State University and the Purdue All-American Marching Band.


“Texas Fite,” Oct. 31, 1976, from the Professor William C. Moffit Papers

Of particular note, Professor Moffit’s papers also include his personal arrangements of school fight songs from the University of Houston’s days in the old Southwest Conference.  So if you bleed maroon, green and gold, or your burnt orange gets boiling when you hear “Texas Fite” (pictured here), you are sure to find something to make your visit a memorable one.

ARL Director Visits Special Collections, M.D. Anderson Library

Department News
Materials on display for ARL Executive Director Elliott Shore's visit to Special Collections

Materials on display for ARL Executive Director Elliott Shore’s visit to Special Collections

On April 3, the UH Libraries hosted Elliott Shore, Association of Research Libraries Executive Director, on his “listening tour” of ARL libraries. While at the library, Dr. Shore visited Special Collections to hear about the department’s work and view some of the items in the archive.

Dr. Shore spoke with department librarians and archivists about a number of topics, including the Special Collections fellows program, department outreach activities, and ideas for ARL-sponsored educational opportunities. Curators told Dr. Shore about the materials in the collections, and he got a first hand-look at a number of great items. These included a copy of the Daily Cougar from the university’s first day as a full-fledged university in 1934, telegrams dating to 1918 regarding the organization of women’s suffrage in Texas, a letter from President Andrew Jackson regarding sending troops to Texas, a Book of Hours, a map of a 1937 Harris County Flood Control plan, and a notebook from Houston rap artist HAWK.

Special Collections was delighted to have the opportunity to share our collections with Dr. Shore!

Congratulations to Coach Guy V. Lewis

In the News, University Archives

ath004-ccOn the 30th anniversary of a historic Final Four run by Phi Slama Jama, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that Guy V. Lewis would be inducted as part of its class of 2013.


All it takes is a stroll through a darkened Hofheinz Pavilion to see the five Final Four banners hanging from the rafters there in the shadows, hear the ghostly squeak of sneakers belonging to Hall of Famers “Big E,” “Clyde the Glide,” and “Akeem the Dream,” and one begins to understand the indelible mark Lewis has left on the University of Houston basketball program.

For all of his accomplishments on the hardwood though, his legacy and imprint extend beyond Houston Cougars basketball, shaping the sport and collegiate athletics as a whole.  Lewis mentored countless student-athletes over his 30 years as head coach, propelled the sport forward with his role in the Game of the Century, and while the more highly-regarded programs of the old Southwest Conference held the line on racial segregation, Coach Lewis helped tear down those racial divides for major collegiate athletics in Texas and the South.

As we in Special Collections offer hearty congratulations to Coach Lewis, his family, and his teams, we also take this time to highlight some resources in our collection relating to his rich and storied career.gotc001

As a starting point, our collection of Athletics Department Records offers a look at the role of sport in the history of the University of Houston (including historic programs like the one featured here), while our stacks also hold a number of media guides covering the history of the Houston Cougar basketball teams.  In addition, Katherine Lopez does an excellent job of documenting the process of racial integration in the world of collegiate athletics at the University of Houston in her dissertation The Cougar Revolution:  Black or White They All Bled Red.  Her book, Cougars of Any Color:  The Integration of University of Houston Athletics, 1964-1968, is available in Special Collections thanks to a gift of the Frell Albright Endowment.

If you find yourself already missing March Madness, there is no need to fret.  Come on down and celebrate the legacy of one of UH’s own.

Special Collections Assistant Wins Library Scholarship

Department News

libraryStudent library assistant Thuan Vu from Special Collections has been awarded a prestigious Hamill Library Scholarship! This merit-based scholarship is awarded to library student assistants in good standing, who exhibit leadership qualities, and who are full time students with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Thuan, a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering at UH, has worked in Special Collections for almost three years. In addition to being the “face” of the department by working at the reception desk and greeting patrons, Thuan also retrieves and shelves rare books and archival materials; assists in processing collections; makes archival book covers; enters metadata; performs general office duties such as filing and copying; and handles anything else thrown his way.

Thuan is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and also volunteers for Project C.U.R.E., troubleshooting and repairing medical equipment that will be donated to developing countries around the world.

Congratulations, Thuan!


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