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New Digital Collection: Early Texas Documents

Digitization, Houston & Texas History
$200 pay certificate for Alexander Wray Ewing (June 7, 1836), for "my pay in the Army of Texas." Ewing served as surgeon general of the Texas army and, two months prior, had treated Sam Houston at the battle of San Jacinto.

$200 pay certificate for Alexander Wray Ewing (June 7, 1836), for “my pay in the Army of Texas.” Ewing served as surgeon general of the Texas army and, two months prior, had treated Sam Houston at the battle of San Jacinto. — (available for high-resolution download through our Digital Library or for further study via our Early Texas Documents Collection)

The digitization of the Early Texas Documents Collection which has recently been published has been a monumental task several years in the making. With nearly 1,300 items, the documents trace not only the activities of prominent Texans and founders, such as Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, but give researchers  a glimpse into what life was like for Texans in the early 19th through  transactions involving land, finances,  legal matters, and in some cases chattel and slaves. In addition, military documents chronicle the Battle of San Jacinto between General Sam Houston and Santa Anna’s forces. There are also military scrips that document the pay soldiers received for their time of service within the Texas Army and Navy.

Genealogists may also find the documents of interest as the subjects of their research may have written letters, or their names may appear on financial or legal documents contained within the collection. The collection also contains early examples of currency utilized during the Republic era.  Selections of these currencies have been featured in the exhibit On the Run: Currency, Credit and Capitals of the Republic of Texas this past June at the Texas Capital Visitors Center in Austin. In short, the collection contains something for everyone.

Paddock Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council Records

Finding Aids, Houston & Texas History
"Houston is a Great Place to Make Films"

“Houston is a Great Place to Make Films” / from the production of Adam, pictured left to right, Steve Moore of GHCVC, Jo Beth Williams, Daniel J. Travanti, and Melvia Tennant of GHCVC (1983) / photo by Marianita Paddock, Paddock Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council Records

The University of Houston Special Collections is proud to announce the recent publication of the Paddock Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council Records finding aid.

These papers of Mildred and Harold Paddock show research potential in relation to their documentation of work conducted by the the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council, with most materials coming from the time their daughter, Marianita Paddock, worked with the GHCVC.  The first series in this collection deals specifically with these types of materials, containing correspondence, speeches, press releases, and other promotional publications.  Particularly interesting is a look into Houston’s late twentieth century development as a  destination for large and small screen productions via the sub-series “Film in Houston,” containing press releases, industry journals, production schedules, and photographs capturing behind-the-scenes glimpses of productions, the city, and the iconic locales used in filming (predominantly from the 1980s).  Among the films documented in the records are Middle Age Crazy (starring Bruce Dern), Adam (based on the true story of Adam Walsh’s kidnapping), and Murder at the World Series (which counted the Astrodome among its filming locations).

Filming Murder at the World Series (1976) / photo by George Wilkins, Paddock Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council Records

Filming Murder at the World Series (1976) / photo by George Wilkins, Paddock Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Council Records

The second series in this collection contains memorabilia related to the city of Houston and the state of Texas at-large, including bulletins, mailers, programs, and tickets collected by the Paddocks predominantly from the mid to late twentieth century.  Of particular interest, and included among these materials, is a recording of the moon landing from 1969.

These materials, further expanding our larger Houston & Texas History Collection, are available for study in the Special Collections Reading Room during our normal summer hours.  We look forward to seeing you and assisting you in your research!

Favorite Things: Flaxman Loving Cup

Favorite Things, Houston & Texas History
Thomas Flaxman's loving cup, from the Alvin Romansky Papers (1914)

Thomas Flaxman’s loving cup, from the Alvin Romansky Papers (1914)

Whether it’s a rare book printing found at long last or piece of ephemera found in an archival collection by chance, those who visit the University of Houston Special Collections almost always find something they cannot wait to share with others.  Here we celebrate what makes the University of Houston Special Collections so special–our Favorite Things.

Today Julie Grob, Coordinator for Instruction, offers us one of her favorites.

I nominate the silver loving cup from the Alvin Romansky Papers, which currently sits in the reading room. It was donated to his uncle Thomas Flaxman, who was the general manager of No-Tsu-Oh (Houston’s version of Mardi Gras). The inscription on the loving cup also mentions Deep Water and the year 1914, which is a reference to the development of Houston’s port.

In addition to being significant to the history of the city, the loving cup is elegant and silver.

closeup, showing the detail on the loving cup, inscription reads:  Presented By / Directors of No-tsu-oh Ass'n / To / Thomas Flaxman / V.P. & Genl. Mgr. / Deep Water Jubilee / Nineteen Fourteen

closeup, showing the detail on the loving cup, a faint inscription reads: Presented By / Directors of No-tsu-oh Ass’n / To / Thomas Flaxman / V.P. & Genl. Mgr. / Deep Water Jubilee / Nineteen Fourteen

This loving cup is on display alongside a number of other photographs and artifacts from our collections, and available for viewing during our normal reading room hours.  Or, those interested in learning more about Alvin Romansky and the critical role he played alongside others to grow and support the contemporary arts in Houston, should be sure to spend some time with the Alvin Romansky Papers.

Thanks for letting us share and, of course, if you have your own “favorite thing” about the University of Houston Special Collections, we’d love to hear about it!

From Our Collections…

Contemporary Literature, Exhibits, Houston & Texas History, University Archives
a new rotating, mini-exhibition of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from the University of Houston Special Collections is now on display

a new rotating, mini-exhibition of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from the University of Houston Special Collections is now on display

The University of Houston Special Collections has begun a rotating exhibition showcasing highlights of publications and projects produced in conjunction with research from our collections.  Located in the exhibit space adjacent to the Special Collections front door, in the Aristotle J. Economon, Hanneke Faber & Andrew J. Economon Elevator Lobby, “From Our Collections… Publications & Projects Featuring Research from the UH Libraries’ Special Collections,” shines a light on the fruits of research gathered from the rare books and archival collections preserved, safeguarded, and made available for study at the University of Houston.

With more than 7,000 linear feet of archival collections and over 100,000 rare books, the UH Special Collections provides daily research assistance to authors, filmmakers, artists, and patrons of all varieties.  What they produce and share with us, enlightens, often breaks new ground, and rarely fails to astound.

Works and research currently featured include:

In the Governor’s Shadow: The True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson, Carol O’Keefe Wilson (2014); featuring research from the Claude Elliott Texana Collection.

Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961, Mike Vance, editor (2014); featuring research from the George Fuermann “Texas and Houston” Collection and Houstonian Yearbooks.

‘For the Relief of the Texians’: A Theatrical Benefit to Aid the Texas Revolution,” Pat Bozeman (2012); from Southwestern Historical Quarterly, featuring research from the Governor James V. Allred Papers.

The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, The New Yorker Magazine (2012); featuring the short story “Chablis” by Donald Barthelme and research from the Donald Barthelme Literary Papers.

In addition to this new mini-exhibit, we pass along a gentle reminder to catch “LGBTQI Literature: Celebrated Classics and Contemporary Works,” currently viewing on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Library.  We hope you enjoy both of these exhibitions and look forward to sharing more in the future.

Welcome Back Students and Welcome Our Newest Fellow

Department News, Houston & Texas History, Houston Hip Hop, Performing & Visual Arts

This week not only marks the arrival of the fall semester and the return of students to the University of Houston campus but, as mentioned earlier in the week, it also marks the arrival of our newest fellow, Stacey Lavender.

As the Houston Arts and History Archives Fellow, Stacey will assist with the processing of archival collections and other tasks associated with the Performing Arts, Houston & Texas History, and Houston Hip Hop collecting areas.

In regards to what drew her to this fellowship, Stacey writes:

I was definitely excited that the position was specifically directed at recent graduates and that I would have the opportunity to work with several different types of collections. I also have just always had the eventual goal of working in a university library and I hadn’t had the opportunity to do that during graduate school. So I thought this would be a really great way to take the skills and knowledge I had from my previous work and educational experiences and learn to use them in a university library setting.

A native of the greater Houston area, Stacey joins us from Michigan where she earned her MS in Information from the University of Michigan.  While in Ann Arbor she also worked at the U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, as a Science Records Intern, and as a Student Archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor.  Earning her BA in History at Rice, she also has experience as a Records Specialist at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

We are very excited to welcome Stacey and have her lending her expertise to the UH Special Collections.

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