Marilyn Kay Patterson National Women’s Conference Collection
The following is a guest post contributed by Nine Abad (they/them/their), who is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. Abad processed the Marilyn Kay Patterson National Women’s Conference Collection as part of their capstone. Their take on students working with primary source materials: “Special Collections holds a fascinating inventory of various primary sources. I find that they are more revealing and interesting than secondary sources re-explaining and inserting their own analysis. While secondary sources can be helpful, it is uniquely valuable and important to discover your own perception and analysis of the primary source.”
At 28 years old, Marilyn Kay Patterson was among the waves of feminists fighting for equal rights and actionable policies that address issues such as abortion and reproductive freedom, sexual orientation and LGBTQ+ rights, disability, and race. In 1977, a slew of state conferences culminated into a National Women’s Conference held in Houston, where about 2,000 delegates from across the nation, in addition to 15,000 to 20,000 attendees, deliberated over a plan of action to present to Congress. Marilyn Kay Patterson was one of these delegates, representing New Hampshire and her stance on robust mental health policies. University of Houston Libraries Special Collections recently received a donation of her documents regarding the New Hampshire State Women’s Conference and the National Women’s Conference, including her speeches and proposals, newspapers covering the events of the conference, name badges, flyers, and a poster signed by members of the New Hampshire delegation to be housed in the Carey Shuart Women’s Research Collection.
The Marilyn Kay Patterson National Women’s Conference Collection includes booklets of information and plan-of-action drafts with Patterson’s notes, providing insight as to how she and other delegates may have looked at the policies proposed. In the margins of the proposals, she compares which national planks are similar to the New Hampshire proposals, jots down issues that were not addressed, and takes notes of speakers and procedures.
While there was a general sense of unity within the National Women’s Conference, there were still some internal tensions. Patterson and the New Hampshire delegation attempted to present a proposal regarding the mental health of women at the Houston National Women’s Conference, but they were unable to get to the microphone to present their proposal within the allotted time. Despite not being able to reach the stage, notes on the margins of the proposal asked delegates to pass the proposal around during the conference in hopes they would get more people to support the addition of such policies. After the conference, Patterson wrote letters to notable figures such as Gloria Steinem that important issues such as mental health were absent in conversation at the national stage.
Patterson went on to deliver speeches to local women’s organizations after the conference ended. In these speeches, she mentions critiques of the conference, including the lack of coverage of advocacies important to her. However, she notably crosses them out, instead focusing on informing women of the unity and progress that was displayed at the conference.
The Sharing Stories from 1977 project works to preserve the stories of participants like Marilyn Kay Patterson, who donated the collection materials and provided an oral history during her visit to Houston in 2022.
The Marilyn Kay Patterson collection hosts these speeches, proposals, and letters as well as photographs, flyers, a cassette tape, and newspapers covering the National Women’s Conference. Those interested in more information on the Marilyn Kay Patterson National Women’s Conference Collection and other National Women’s Conference collections are encouraged to visit Special Collections.
UH Theatre Students Design Course Reading List
Theatre students visited University of Houston Libraries Special Collections to access the archives and take part in a reimagined way of learning.
Elizabeth Coen, PhD, assistant professor and head of the MA in Theatre Studies at the UH School of Theatre and Dance, collaborated with Madelyn Washington, head of the Music Library, and Mary Manning, university archivist, to plan a co-curricular experience for 29 students that involved an assessment of playbills and marketing materials from theatre productions of the mid-to-late 20th century, with the goal of developing a list of plays that would be read collectively by the class.
Based on a recommendation by Andrew Davis, PhD, dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, Coen read The New Education (2017) by Cathy Davidson, and was inspired to craft a different kind of learning experience for the undergrads in her course, THEA 2344 American Drama, one that encourages creativity and empowerment.
“I began mulling the idea of having the students design the reading list,” Coen said. “My thought was to have them in the library researching and reading plays the first weeks of classes so that they could contemplate what constitutes the genre of American Drama – whose voices have been privileged through the stage and whose voices have been left out of the historical record. These questions address some of the most pressing issues in the theatre industry right now.”
Manning connected the students with primary source materials drawn from the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection, followed by a session with Washington to learn how to boost their research with secondary sources, such as production reviews and related scholarly articles.
“My scholarship and teaching are informed by community collaborations and I really wanted the students to see what could be accomplished when experts across disciplines work together toward a common goal,” Coen said. “Mary Manning and Madelyn Washington opened up new possibilities for inquiry and thinking, which has enriched our conversations about American drama in the traditional classroom.”
It was playwrighting/dramaturgy major Rachel Coleman’s first experience working with primary source materials, an exploration that showed the significance of document preservation on revealing culture and values of the past, and for stewarding the human perspective so often hidden in the historical record. “I think it’s easy, as a young creative, to feel like the only artist in the world, but these papers showed thousands of artists who also wanted to change, create, and evoke,” Coleman said. “These are not just records but memories, all of which took time, effort, and love. For many of these productions, the collections are the only evidence of that care.”
In examining the materials, Coleman sensed the mostly missing voices of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community in theatre of the time, not because of lack of individuals in the space, but from concerted attempts to mute them. “These identities have always existed, and as long as theater has existed alongside them, these people have been telling stories,” Coleman noted. “While several other themes stuck out in my research, such as many shows being adaptations, this silence was the most deafening.” This insight supports the need, in the study of American drama, to examine what wasn’t being produced as much as what was.
Countless discoveries of the serendipitous kind are waiting to be found in the archives. “We would have never been able to unpack this necessary work without the time spent in Special Collections,” Coleman said. “Primary documents are wonderful paths for original thought, filtered through no other narrator but time itself.”
Representation in the historical record is crucial, as Jessica García, a first-year student of stage management, found through her work with a group assigned to research the Dr. Nicolás Kanellos Hispanic Theatre Collection.
For García, the opportunity to examine the manuscripts, printed materials, photographs, and publications was impactful. Delving into the primary source materials presented a pivotal shift in her perspective on drama, denoted by a harmonizing of her identity as a creative and as a member of the Hispanic community, where there was once dissonance.
Her high school theatre program, although comprising a majority of Hispanic students, was limited in its scope. “Our only insight into theatre was through a white lens, so my ethnicity and identity as an artist were in separate boxes,” she said. Now pursuing higher education, García’s view of theatre had expanded, particularly through the research she conducted in the Kanellos collection.
New insights about Hispanic theatre materialized in the historical documents. “I had no idea the history behind Latino and Chicano theatre was so rich,” García said. She noticed that the archives presented a story of inclusion and empowerment, making theatre meaningful and engaging to Hispanic audiences. “The flyers we examined were more often than not advertising workshops or festivals, which was interesting,” García said. “These forms of presentations make theatre so much more accessible. The collection gave the impression that the goal for this Chicano theatre was to educate the community on what theatre can be, as a social platform and as a means of expressing oneself.”
Other notable observations surfaced for García in the collection, for instance, how musical presentations like corridos and boleros were produced as theatre, and the influence of Bertolt Brecht. “There was an inclination toward presenting epic theatre which at first took me off guard, but in retrospect it makes so much sense,” García said. “Hispanic artists were forcing their audience to take their message at face value. These plays were almost always about the Chicano experience. I think theatre is a great way to advocate, and these documents proved that a community can thrive with theatre used in those ways.”
One of the strengths of Special Collections is its focus on supporting the teaching and research activities of the University through preservation, organization, and description of materials representing a variety of perspectives. As a resource for the scholarly community and the general public, Special Collections offers endless potential for new knowledge that raises the visibility of these voices, both historical and contemporary.
Celebrate Open Education Week
March 6 – 10 marks the annual celebration of Open Education Week (OE Week), an opportunity for actively sharing and learning about the latest achievements in open education worldwide. OE Week was launched in 2012 by Open Education Global, a collaborative forum that exists to increase quality, accessibility, and affordability of education.
Here are some ways University of Houston faculty can learn more about open education:
- Apply for the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). This program offered by UH Libraries awards instructors who replace a commercial textbook with a no-cost or low-cost alternative textbook, which may include adopting open educational resources (OER), library resources, or other freely-available resources. Applications are due March 24.
- Attend OE Week events from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Division of Digital Learning. These sessions will highlight new services and initiatives including the OER Nursing Essentials (O.N.E.) Project in partnership with OpenStax, the Texas Student Success Program Inventory, and the Texas OER Playbook.
- Explore the UH Pressbooks catalog to view new OER titles from UH faculty and students. UH Libraries offers access to Pressbooks, an online book publishing platform for the creation of OER. Pressbooks regularly introduces new updates and features that improve the appearance and accessibility of the web books on its platform. Visit the Open Educational Resources Guide to learn more about how to publish with Pressbooks.
To learn more about how you can get involved, contact the UH Libraries department of Open Education Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was contributed by Kate McNally Carter (‘11), open educational resources librarian.
New Digital Collection: Diana Foundation Oral Histories
A new collection, the Diana Foundation Oral Histories, is now accessible online at the UH Libraries Audio/Video Repository.
Through the Diana Foundation Oral History project, UH Libraries collected interviews with key members and past presidents of The Diana Foundation, America’s oldest continuously-running LGBTQ+ organization. The Diana Foundation is focused on assisting and supporting the needs of the gay community by fundraising on behalf of worthwhile civic, charitable, and educational endeavors. The interviews in this collection record the life experiences of notable Dianas, as well as their many insights on The Diana Foundation in the context of the LGBTQ+ community, the city of Houston, and beyond.
The collection features items from The Diana Foundation Records found in UH Libraries Special Collections.
Call for Applications: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program
University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). The incentive program awards UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create open educational resources (OER), or who adopt no-cost or low-cost alternative resources, to replace a commercial textbook in their courses. This initiative aligns with the university’s strategic goal of providing a top tier, inclusive educational experience to all UH students. By removing high costs associated with traditional textbooks, this program helps UH instructors make educational programs more financially accessible for all students.
The deadline for ATIP applications is Friday, March 24, 2023. Instructors are encouraged to apply by March 3 to receive feedback and the opportunity to revise and resubmit their application if desired. Awards of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be made based on the estimated cost savings for students, projected number of students impacted, type of alternative textbook proposed, and overall feasibility of the proposal.
Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. Students at Texas post-secondary institutions spend an average of $1,247 annually on books and supplies. A 2021 report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 65% of college students skip buying textbooks due to the cost despite concerns that this will negatively impact their grades. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments. Further, according to the OER in Texas Higher Education report, OER usage has also been associated with benefits to teaching and learning by supporting open pedagogical practices and encouraging localization of materials to meet learner needs.
UH faculty are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn about the incentive program and the benefits of alternative textbooks. Faculty may also make an appointment with the department of Open Education Services to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program.
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Exhibit Highlights the Genesis of UH African American Studies
An upcoming student-curated exhibit at University of Houston Libraries features the student organization Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL) and its success in the inception of the UH African American Studies Program in 1969.
Forged by Protest: Student Organization Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL) and the Genesis of the UH African American Studies Program was curated by Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) scholar Saron Regassa as an analog component of a digital project aiming to make the history of AABL accessible as an online resource. The exhibit is a collaboration between the UH department of African American Studies and UH Libraries.
In 1967, a UH sophomore, Gene Locke, created the student organization Committee for Better Race Relations (COBRR), which soon became Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL, pronounced “able”). On February 7, 1969, AABL presented their “10 Demands” to UH president Philip G. Hoffman, and throughout the semester, AABL rallied for support on campus. Among the demands was a call for a “Department of Afro-American Studies.” AABL’s activities led to the establishment of the UH Afro-American Program (now the department of African American Studies) later that year, making UH the first state university in Texas with such a program and one of the first in the nation. The UH African American Studies Program was granted departmental status in 2021. Tara T. Green joined the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) as founding chair of the department of African American Studies in 2022.
As part of the REACH project, Regassa is researching the history of AABL using archives across UH Special Collections, from student publications to UH administration records, and using the primary sources, provided the context and description for the exhibit. REACH is a year-long introductory research experience for undergraduates in humanities disciplines, and is supported by the Cougar Initiative to Engage and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (OURMA). REACH connects students to existing UH digital humanities projects and allows them to develop research skills through mentored, first-hand scholarly inquiry and through participation in OURMA research programming. REACH participants will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2023.
The exhibit will be on display at MD Anderson Library from February 13 through March 13.
New Digital Collection: Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents
A new collection, the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents, is now accessible online at UH Digital Collections.
Featuring 119 items from the Gov. James V. Allred Papers, found in UH Libraries Special Collections, the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents collection describes labor activism of Hispanic women. As described by the Handbook of Texas, “On January 31, 1938, nearly 12,000 San Antonio pecan shellers, mostly Hispanic women, walked off their jobs.” The strike, led initially by Emma B. Tenayuca, lasted for three months and was marked by hundreds of arrests. “At Governor James Allred’s urging, the Texas Industrial Commission investigated possible violations of civil rights in San Antonio and found the police interference with the right of peaceful assembly to be unjustified.”
The materials in this collection have frequently been used for teaching in English department courses. The digital collection facilitates use of the materials in face-to-face, hybrid, or asynchronous instruction sessions.
Explore the collection with these notable items:
Digitized UH Theses and Dissertations Accessible in Cougar ROAR
A digitized collection of theses and dissertations from University of Houston researchers is now available in the UH Libraries Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (ROAR).
The Digitized Theses and Dissertations Project is an ongoing, multi-year initiative to make a wide range of theses and dissertations produced by UH students accessible online. With funding provided by the John P. McGovern Foundation to initiate the project, UH Libraries is digitizing and making accessible nearly 20,000 volumes dating from 1940 through 2009.
The project supports the University’s mission by boosting the reach and impact of UH research and scholarship through enhanced online access and by providing long-term, safe and sustainable online storage and preservation. The project offers additional benefits including enhanced discoverability by Google’s strong indexing capabilities and increased usage of UH theses and dissertations.
Alumni, faculty, and other users will be able to view the theses and dissertations as they are processed and made available in Cougar ROAR, with the pre-1978 volumes prioritized for online access. Theses and dissertations that are presumed to be under copyright will be restricted to users who have an active university ID. There is no cost to the UH theses and dissertation authors for this service. Authors who prefer to opt out of this digitization project may submit a Takedown Request Form. For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EZproxy Moving to Azure Active Directory Authentication
University of Houston Libraries Technology Services is planning to change how users log into EZproxy on January 9, 2023, at 7 am. CougarNet Active Directory Domain authentication will change to the University’s Office 365-based Azure Active Directory authentication.
These changes will serve to:
- Simplify our authentication infrastructure
- Create documented authentication configurations and procedures
- Provide uniform user experience across library web applications
- Align our authentication services with those used by University Information Technology (UIT) and other colleges
- Take advantage of the high availability of Azure AD’s cloud-based service
- Take advantage of DUO two-factor authentication services (2FA) to improve account security
- Future-proof our services as more UIT infrastructure and services and move to the Cloud
- Allow single sign-on (SSO) to other Azure AD configured web services
After the change is made, users will be prompted to enter their CougarNet ID (Cougarnetid@cougarnet.uh.edu) into the same authentication window (see below) that they currently see when they log into web services like Access UH, Primo My Account, and Office 365.
TLCUA – Elsevier Agreement Results in Cost Savings, Greater Access
Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) announced that negotiations with Elsevier have concluded. University of Houston (UH), UH Clear Lake, and UH Downtown (all coalition members) have signed agreements renewing Elsevier subscription journal access through December 31, 2024.
This deal represents significant cost savings for the UH system over the three-year term of our agreements and more effective stewardship of the collections budget across the system.
- UH maintains existing high level of access to journal content with a 10% cost reduction
- UH Clear Lake and UH Downtown each gain significant access to content partnered with 30% cost reductions
Continued and greater access to Elsevier journal content directly supports scholarship and strengthens the UH system research and learning enterprise.
As a result of the collaboratively negotiated agreement, UH authors who publish work under open access license will have access to discounted author publication charges (APCs) of 10-15% in eligible gold and hybrid journal titles, excluding Cell Press, The Lancet, and certain society titles. Publishing open access enables authors to retain rights and have greater control over how published research is used. APC discounts help defray the cost to the author.
The TLCUA collaboration has strengthened UH system relationships with Texas university libraries. The coalition will continue working together to make strategic, informed decisions through the lens of higher education needs in Texas.
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