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Happy Mother’s Day!

Department News

Have you seen the tents in front of the grocery stores, bursting at the seams with blossoms and blooms?  You had not forgotten, had you?  She raised you better than that.

Mother’s Day is this weekend, April showers have brought on May flowers, and, as I cannot move about our fair city without the sweet waft of offerings for Mom in my nose, there seems no better time to highlight the work of some of Houston’s green thumbs.  Their toiling ready to bear fruit, May is typically the time of year that garden and flower clubs in Houston begin to wind down their activities and meetings and take some time to bask in their handiwork.

In Houston, we are fortunate to be home to a number of garden and flower clubs that assist in the obvious, the beautification of the city, but also benefit the community in more subtle ways, through various service projects.  In addition, historically these types of organizations have allowed for an arena of subtle political action for women.   Having secured a right to vote early in the 20th century, equality remained elusive.  Prior to the Women’s Liberation struggles of the 1960s, it was not uncommon to think a woman “unladylike” for vociferously proclaiming her political opinions or for simply asserting herself in the public sphere.  These clubs and organizations, dominated by women and out of sight to about half the population, provided almost a parallel system of local political maneuvering.  Members were able to negotiate and channel their politics through the selection of service projects and causes championed, thereby impacting public life.

The Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive & Research Collection is proud to hold the archives of such organizations, with an eye towards beauty and enhancing society via service.  For example, the Houston Council of Texas Garden Clubs worked on projects benefiting the U.S.V.A. Hospital and sponsored the Lighthouse for the Blind Garden Club.  Meanwhile, the River Oaks Blossom Club members have donated their time and efforts to area hospitals, nursing homes, and even received recognition for their volunteer efforts during World War II.

The Houston Council of Texas Garden Clubs Records collects a number of scrapbooks and documents detailing the history and work of the chapter, including documents related to shows and service projects.  The River Oaks Blossom Club Records date back to 1939 and include scrapbooks, yearbooks, photographs, and administrative files.

also available through our Digital Library as part of the Park People Annual Award Dinner Invitations

also available through our Digital Library as part of the Park People Annual Award Dinner Invitations

Of course, if all of this beauty has you reassessing your stewardship of the environment, and you want to make sure you’re taking care of that other Mother of yours, our Houston History Archives hold a number of resources documenting the environmental history and activism of the Houston and Gulf Coast region.  Collection highlights there include the Park People Records, the Bayou Preservation Association, and, of course, the Terry Tarlton Hershey Papers.

Don’t forget to take care of your Mother on Sunday and be sure to come examine these wonderful resources and collections during the week.  Caps and gowns are fluttering across campus, but we remain open and at your service Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.

To mine, to yours, to all, a Happy Mother’s Day!

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