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Collaborative Homecoming Exhibit Up Now

Events, Exhibits, University Archives
"Win For The Cullens" (1951, UH Photographs Collection)

Homecoming Parade Float, “Win For The Cullens” (1951, UH Photographs Collection)

Homecoming Week is upon the University of Houston, and the University Archives and Special Collections are joining in the celebration. Last year, you may recall, the archives worked with other library partners to launch a virtual exhibit, UH Homecoming through the Years. This year, the Homecoming Board, Council of Ethnic Organizations, and University Archives have partnered to produce a collaborative Homecoming exhibit entitled “A Look Back at UH Homecoming.” Representatives from these groups have been meeting for months, brainstorming ideas, coordinating research in the archives, and planning for the exhibit and related events. University Archives staff have provided guidance on using the archives and shared resources on the history of homecoming and the University. Meanwhile, the students brought their energy and vision of a Varsity Red Homecoming and selected the materials and stories they wanted to highlight in the exhibit. Homecoming marked a perfect opportunity for this sort of collaboration, and the new exhibit looks great!

The exhibit focuses on the early days of homecoming at UH, and covers events ranging from the first Homecoming in 1946 to the crowning of UH’s first African-American homecoming queen in 1968. In keeping with the Homecoming Board’s theme for the year, the exhibit seeks to inform students about the origins of homecoming at UH, instill Cougar pride, and highlight some of the traditions that have been a part of this campus celebration over the years.

DIGITAL SCREENS!The exhibit is currently on display in front of Special Collections on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library. It will be there throughout Homecoming Week, with one very special exception. As a part of the week’s festivities, the exhibit will be hitting the road! Making a rare trip outside of Special Collections, these University Archives materials included in the exhibit will be featured during the Homecoming Board’s Mum-Making 101 event, which takes place Legacy Lounge in the Student Center on Thursday, November 5. The artifacts will be on display there from 7-8pm, while the event goes on till 10pm. The next day, the exhibit will pop back up in front of Special Collections, where it will remain on display through November 13th.

Betty C. Jukes, Claudia Kolker, and Marcella Perry Among the Shuart Women’s Archive

Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Finding Aids
Betty Jukes, President of the Houston Junior Woman's Club (1968, Betty C. Jukes Papers)

Betty Jukes, President of the Houston Junior Woman’s Club (1968, Betty C. Jukes Papers)

The following comes to us courtesy of Julia Taylor, Graduate Fellow for the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive & Research Collection.

This week marks the opening of three new collections from the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection, highlighting the lives and accomplishments of three Houston women—Betty C. Jukes, Claudia Kolker, and Marcella Perry. The University of Houston is proud to feature these diverse collections surrounding these very different, historically significant women.

The first finding aid belongs to the Betty C. Jukes Papers. Jukes worked for more than fifty years as an event planner, philanthropic fundraiser, and patron of the arts in Houston and beyond. She founded the Houston Junior Woman’s Club in 1968, and is a lifelong member of The Woman’s Club of Houston. Betty served as president of both organizations, and was also involved in the West Point Cadet Glee Club’s Houston performances. Betty even coordinated a World Wildlife Event where Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the guest of honor!

Marcella Perry and others enjoy a breakfast with Mayor Louie Welch (1965, Marcella Perry Papers)

Marcella Perry and others enjoy a breakfast with Mayor Louie Welch (1965, Marcella Perry Papers)

The Claudia Kolker Papers, the second collection to be released to the public this week, catalogues the journalism and authorship of a Claudia Kolker, a journalist who has served as bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, on the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle, and more. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, O: The Oprah Magazine, Slate, and Salon. She has reported from El Salvador, Mexico, India, and the Caribbean on politics, religion, and more. In 2011, she published her first book, titled The Immigrant Advantage: What We Can Learn from Newcomers to America about Health, Happiness and Hope. The collection contains Kolker’s research material and drafts of her book and an extensive catalogue of her published articles.

The papers of Marcella Perry are now also available to the public. Perry, a Houston Heights resident, was appointed to the board of directors of Reagan State Bank in 1950, making her one of the first female bank executives in Houston. In 1973, Marcella was appointed by Houston City Council to serve as the city’s first female commissioner of the Port of Houston Authority. She also served on the board of regents for Texas Woman’s University and was politically active for much of her life. Perry’s collection includes photographs, correspondence, and press clippings related to her work as a bank executive and Port of Houston commissioner.

Come by the reading room (located on the second floor of MD Anderson Library) to view these exciting new additions to the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archives and Research Collection! For any inquiries about these collections, please contact archivist Vince Lee.

New Accession: The Tatcho Mindiola Papers

Hispanic Collections

The recent retirement of Tatcho Mindiola from the University of Houston is accompanied by the exciting announcement of the newest accession to our Hispanic Collections, the Tatcho Mindiola Papers.

As we were reminded by those who spoke in tribute of Mindiola, his legacy has been forged at the University of Houston through hard work and relationships built through mentoring and collaboration.  Born and raised in Houston, Mindiola grew up in Sunset Heights where he graduated from John H. Reagan High School in 1957 and was witness to both the overt and subtle racism of the day.  After graduation a meandering path through the 1960s and early 70s included a false start in higher education, enlistment in the army, and an eventual degree in business from the University of Houston, before giving way to a study of sociology, graduate school, an MA from UH, and a PhD from Brown.  In 1974 he would accept a dual appointment at his alma mater in sociology and Mexican American Studies.

Mindiola’s return to Houston and appointment as director of the UH Center for Mexican American Studies in 1980 mark the beginning of three and a half decades of service and scholarship that gave rise to the educator and mentor so many revere.  Under his leadership, CMAS has attracted top researchers via their Visiting Scholars Program, assisted rising scholars through their Graduate Fellowship Program, supported undergraduate academic success through the Academic Achievers Program, and published scholarly works on Latinos in Houston, Texas and the Southwest.

Not only does our campus community bear the imprint of Mindiola’s impact, the City of Houston has benefited from his exchanges with local organizations and mentoring of area high school students.  The Austin High School Academic Achievers Program he helped pioneer through CMAS mentors at-risk high school students as they seek to become first-generation college graduates in their families.  Extremely approachable and a consummate diplomat, Mindiola’s influence also extends to national organizations, like the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, that have benefited from his insight and counsel.

Work is now underway as Lisa Cruces, assisted by PhD candidate Carlos L. Cantú from the UH History Department, oversees the organization and arrangement of the Tatcho Mindiola Papers for future scholarship.  This undertaking will no doubt provide more insight into their research potential and we look forward to sharing updates as processing of this new collection moves forward.

Until then, researchers interested in more information regarding the Tatcho Mindiola Papers may contact our Hispanic Collections Archivist, Lisa Cruces.

Remembering Poet Cynthia Macdonald

Contemporary Literature, Department News
Portrait of Cynthia Macdonald.

Portrait of Cynthia Macdonald

Cynthia Macdonald, acclaimed poet and co-founder of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, died last month at the age of 87.

Macdonald began her career intending to be an opera singer, then switched to writing poetry. She published seven books of poetry, including Amputations (1972), Transplants (1976), W(holes) (1980), and I Can’t Remember (1997). Her work revealed an interest in the artistic, the freakish, and the domestic, a preference for pithy language, a dark wit, and delight in playing with form. She was honored with a 1983 Guggenheim Fellowship among other writing awards.

Macdonald came to the University of Houston after previously teaching at Sarah Lawrence College and Johns Hopkins University. In 1979, she founded the renowned Creative Writing Program along with fellow poet Stanley Plumly. Macdonald was considered an extremely knowledgeable and supportive instructor and mentor. In 1989 she received the Esther Farfel Award, the University of Houston’s highest faculty award.


Early draft of poem “No Time for Suicide”

In addition to writing and teaching, Macdonald was a practicing psychotherapist who specialized in helping people with writer’s block.

Also a mother, she leaves behind two children, Jennifer Macdonald and Scott Macdonald.

In 2010, the University of Houston Libraries acquired the Cynthia Macdonald Papers, a sprawling collection of manuscripts, correspondence, and materials from the writer’s teaching and psychoanalytical careers. Special Collections also holds the Library of Cynthia Macdonald, a collection of over 3000 books, primarily contemporary American poetry, many of which were inscribed to Macdonald by her literary friends.

See also, “The Writer’s Life.”

Our Summer Vacation 2015 – Research Never Sleeps

Department News
Uribe assists with a project to consolidate space, shifting books in our secure stacks area

Uribe assists with a project to consolidate space, shifting books in our secure stacks area

With Labor Day behind us, we must begrudgingly say goodbye to summer.  And while some students, enthusiastically or not, are just now settling down and getting comfortable with our grand academic pursuits regarding the diffusion of knowledge, other University of Houston students have been working all summer long towards that end.

In the past on this blog we have featured some of the great work undertaken by student workers specializing in instructional support and assisting with our University Archives.  However, under the supervision of our Library Supervisor, Nelda Cervantes, a team of student workers tackles the the lion’s share of grunt work necessary to allow UH Special Collections to carry out its mission of making our rare and varied materials available to current and future researchers.  The summer of 2015 was no exception as the team of Gabrielle Davila, Huong Hyunh, Tammy Le, and Ricardo Uribe not only carried out the day-to-day tasks they have come to expect, but also took on a number of priority projects, directly impacting the campus and research communities here at UH.

With access to our archival finding aids, maps of the library, and everything in-between, Davila is a welcome sight for researchers, students, or even the sheepishly lost

Davila is a welcome sight for researchers, students, or even the sheepishly lost, thanks to her detailed maps of the M.D. Anderson Library

Student workers serve as the face of Special Collections, staffing our front desk and welcoming researchers to our reading room or students attending classes in our Evans Room.  Visiting scholars will see them pulling requested materials, assisting with reproduction requests, and shelving materials when research is complete.  Behind the scenes, they can be found assisting with the accessioning of books and archival material coming into Special Collections, doing the heavy lifting (quite literally) at the loading dock, labeling archival boxes and folders, manufacturing preservation housings for new acquisitions, and even taking out the recycling and trash.  Simply put, if it needs to be done, they can do it.

Le constructs preservation housings for newly cataloged items in the Charles & Betti Saunders Materials & Exhibition Preparation Room

Le constructs preservation housings for newly cataloged items in the Charles & Betti Saunders Materials & Exhibition Preparation Room

This summer, however, a number of additional projects also benefited from their  talents and attention.  Uribe and Hyunh assisted with the production of Dr. Terry Tomkins-Walsh’s exhibition, “Houston History: Archives, Magazine, and Oral History,” and Le even provided some last minute assistance with hors d’oeuvres prior to Houston History Magazine’s Summer Launch Party.  When not mired in the minutiae of assessment and use data, Davila assisted Hispanic Collections Archivist Lisa Cruces with the inventory and organization of 18 boxes of books donated by Carlos Gonzales-Peña as well as material from the Kanellos Latino Literary Movement Book Collection.  As new archival collections were donated and new acquisitions eagerly awaited a permanent place on our shelves, all of our students helped make space for the new arrivals throughout the summer, shifting and consolidating materials.  Finally, Cougars through and through, they all eagerly assisted with the work of our Libraries’ Campus Engagement Committee as they produced and readied materials for our volunteers during the Weeks of Welcome.

Hyunh staffs the front desk of our foyer reception area, ready to greet visitors to Special Collections

Hyunh staffs the front desk of our foyer reception area, ready to greet visitors to Special Collections

The commendations could continue, but it would appear the point is evident.  The UH Special Collections would not function fully if not for the tireless efforts of Nelda Cervantes and her team of student workers.  Sadly (for us), Ricardo Uribe left Special Collections at the end of the summer to pursue other opportunities while completing his study of mechanical engineering here at UH.  While we will miss his contributions, the work of our students continues now into the fall semester.  We thank all of them for all of the work they have completed, and the work still left to do.

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