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Share Your Stories from 1977

Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection

A challenge from Gloria Steinem was issued to women to come forth and have their stories from the 1977 National Women’s Conference told. During the 2017 Reunion conference held at the University of Houston to mark the 40th Anniversary of the 1977 National Women’s Conference, over thirty women stepped forward to participate in having their stories of this historic occasion recorded for posterity. The recorded interviews capture stories from delegate attendees, many of which haven’t been heard for over 40 years. Women too young or unable to have attended the original conference also contributed their own personal stories, views, and insights into what the 1977 National Women’s Conference has meant to them and how the effects from the conference still resonate in their personal lives.

Among some of the stories shared from the conference were from Peggy Kokernot Kaplan, one of the original torch relay runners during the 1977 Conference, Frances Henry, coordinator for state meetings leading up the National Women’s Conference, and University of Houston Law Professor Laura Oren, an attendee of the conference and early member of the Houston Area Feminist Federal Credit Union.

The Share your Stories campaign was recorded over two days, November 6-7, 2017 as part of the 40th Anniversary conference held at the University of Houston. The Share your Stories interviews can be found on the Audio/Visual Repository of the University of Houston Libraries. Additional information and materials on the 1977 National Women’s Conference can be found in the Marjorie Randal National Women’s Conference Collection of the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection.

Unboxing Archives

Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Hispanic Collections, Instruction, LGBT History Research Collection
Letter from Agnese Carter Nelms to Jesse H. Jones, February 10, 1947, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Records.

“The editors of your paper are Catholic, and have refused… to give this campaign radio time and press notices… We do not ask the Catholics to accept our program–we merely ask them to ‘live and let live.'” Letter from Agnese Carter Nelms to Jesse H. Jones, February 10, 1947, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Records.

A new collaboration between the University of Houston Special Collections, the Department of History, and the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies provided students with a unique opportunity to discover archival collections neatly aligned with their own areas of research interest.

Students from Dr. Zarnow’s Issues in Feminist Research class worked with librarians from our Special Collections to mine a variety of archival artifacts in collections from Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection, the LGBT History Research Collection, and the Arté Publico Press Recovery Project to create an interactive timeline of primary sources discovered in their research. From materials tucked into archival folders, possibly overlooked by previous researchers, students uncovered items revealing the evolution of women’s social issues and concerns in the Houston and Gulf Coast region and the themes that connect these years of seemingly disparate work from a chain of individuals and organizations over decades.

Among the items highlighted from their research are correspondence from the 1940s, political flyers from the 1970s, and artists’ creations from the 1980s.  In the Planned Parenthood of Houston & Southeast Texas Records, a 1947 letter from Agnese Carter Nelms to Jesse H. Jones, owner of the Houston Chronicle among other things, hints at the early conflicts between Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church.  A flier from the Houston Area NOW and Other Feminist Activities Collection recalls the gains won by César Chávez and the United Farm Workers but reminds us that, even now, there’s still blood in that wine. Meanwhile, photographs, posters, and other works of art from the Houston Gorilla Girls Records demonstrate how activism for gender equality in the world of art played out against the backdrop of 1980s Houston. Students worked to curate and describe these items and more, creating an interactive timeline (seen above) to provide users with visual and historical context while browsing their findings.

photograph from the Houston Gorilla Girls Records

Photograph from the Houston Gorilla Girls Records.

If you are a faculty member, or student, interested in how the primary source materials housed in UH Special Collections can complement your teaching, learning, and research, see our website with more information on scheduling classes and utilizing our resources to learn more.

The Betty Trapp Chapman Papers

Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Finding Aids, Guest Posts
portrait of Joyce Burg, from the Betty Trapp Chapman Papers (undated)

undated portrait of Joyce Burg, from the Betty Trapp Chapman Papers

The University of Houston Special Collections is proud to announce the publication of a new finding aid for the Betty Trapp Chapman Papers. Emily Brooks, Graduate Assistant for the Carey Shuart Women’s Archive, has recently completed the processing of the papers, penned the new finding aid, and was generous enough to share some of her thoughts on the new collection.

In 2004, Ellen Elkins Grimes, Chair of the Women in the Profession Committee of the State Bar of Texas was asked to give a speech about the history of female lawyers who paved the way for today’s women in law. She quickly realized that there was very little information available, especially regarding the early female pioneers of the law in Texas. She decided that the State Bar association should sponsor a book on the history of Texas female lawyers and appointed Betty Trapp Chapman, a prominent Houston historian to complete the research and writing of what would become Rough Road to Justice: The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas (2008). Chapman is the author of several books on Houston and Texas history such as Historic Houston (2011) and Houston Women: Invisible Threads in the Tapestry (2000).

"A Woman Lawyer" (El Paso Herald Post, May 20, 1902, Betty Trapp Chapman Papers)

“A Woman Lawyer” (El Paso Herald Post, May 20, 1902, Betty Trapp Chapman Papers)

From Edith Locke, the first woman licensed to practice in El Paso in 1902, to nationally prominent Texas women like Sandra Day O’ Connor, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and Sheila Jackson Lee, Rough Road to Justice tracks the journey of these women as they overcame discrimination and harassment to succeed in the legal profession. Chapman explores broad social issues that impacted women in the legal profession as well as individual trailblazers that made it possible for women to pursue careers in law today. One such woman was Joyce M. Burg, the first woman to practice law in Houston after she graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1926 – one of only four women in her class. She went on to become the “grand dame of Houston’s family law system,” practiced law for 60 years and founded the Harris County Women Attorneys Association. When she passed away in 1997 at the age of 96, she was the oldest member of the Houston Bar Association.

This collection enriches the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collection with the often-untold stories of Texas women in the law, unique correspondence with these women and their descendants, as well as original photographs of several of the women featured in Rough Road to Justice. For more information, we invite you to visit our reading room where the Betty Trapp Chapman Papers can be explored.

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.

Flashback 1997!

Carey C. Shuart Women's Archive and Research Collection, Houston Hip Hop, In the News, University Archives

The Beloit College Mindset List, a must-read for anyone who wants to feel time quickly slipping away, was recently published for the incoming collegiate freshman class, the majority of which were born in that magical year of 1997 (?!). While it might make some of us feel just a little bit older, the list is worth a read and always provides some eye-opening perspective.

Ron Nief, Tom McBride, and Charles Westerberg (the creators of the list) provide some real marvels, reminding us that, “Among those who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, and Mother Teresa.” They came into the world around the same time as Dolly the sheep and Michael “Prince” Jackson, Jr. In addition, these young’uns have never licked a postage stamp (#3) and, frankly, it can get a little confusing when old people say, “around the turn of the century” (#17). The one that makes these old bones ache a little more this evening? “The eyes of Texas have never looked upon The Houston Oilers.” (#26)

In a salute to the University of Houston Cougars Class of 2019, we have gone digging through the archives and share with you a few highlights from the year 1997 housed here at your University of Houston Special Collections.

And, no, we’re not trying just to make you feel old.

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