UH Libraries News

The New Music America Records

Michael Galbreth presents the New Music America Records to UH Special Collections.

Michael Galbreth presents the New Music America Records to UH Special Collections.

A new acquisition at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections features correspondence, posters, programs, photos, and artwork documenting New Music America (NMA), a peripatetic festival of experimental music. The festival was, at that time, the largest new music celebration in the world. Its origin was New York City, and in subsequent years, the festival traveled to major cities across the US, landing in Houston in 1986.

The New Music America Records, 1979-1990 was donated by Michael Galbreth, part of the duo known as The Art Guys whose records already reside at UH Special Collections. Galbreth organized the 1986 NMA festival, and served as president of its governing board, the New Music Alliance, from 1986 – 89. He was inspired to donate the records to UH Special Collections through a conversation with Mary Manning, university archivist and curator of the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection. “Mary immediately recognized the value of these materials,” said Galbreth. “More importantly, and by coincidence, Mary was there! Mary attended many of the events of New Music America 1986 so she knew firsthand what the festival was and the impact it had on Houston at the time.”

Learn more about the history and impact of New Music America

The scope of the NMA Collection documents the production and performances of the Houston festival, and reveals ideas and culture of the day. “Therein lies much of the value of this collection, as with any historical collection,” said Galbreth. “By studying the New Music America Collection, I think students and scholars (or anyone) will discover a spirit of invention and innovation that was peculiar and special to Houston at that moment. Artists are unafraid of discovery and “the new” and Houston was a wonderful place to work, create, and perform in the 1980s.”

The collection is currently being processed at UH Special Collections. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Mary Manning.

By on October 18th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

New Digital Collection: Peter Beste “Houston Rap” Photographs

The Peter Beste “Houston Rap” Photographs collection is now available in the UH Digital Library.

Devin the Dude posing outside of a laundromat

Devin the Dude posing outside of a laundromat

The collection comprises digital versions of 105 photographic prints created by documentary photographer Peter Beste as part of the nine-year project that became the book Houston Rap. Hip hop artists depicted include Scarface and Willie D of Geto Boys, Choice, Bun B and Pimp C of UGK, Devin the Dude, Paul Wall, Lil’ Flip, Z-Ro, HAWK, Trae, K-Rino, and others.

Published in 2013 by Sinecure Press, Houston Rap was the joint creation of Beste and writer Lance Scott Walker. It documented Houston’s hip hop community, particularly rappers, DJs, and others from the Third Ward, Fifth Ward, and South Park neighborhoods. Its subjects are often shown in unguarded moments unlike those typically staged for hip hop videos or publicity photos. It also captures the landscape of Houston’s changing neighborhoods at a particular point in time.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries Special Collections in the Peter Beste and Lance Scott Walker Houston Rap Collection, as part of the Houston Hip Hop Research Collection which documents the unique music and culture of Houston hip hop. Among its riches are approximately 1500 vinyl records owned by DJ Screw, originator of the “chopped and screwed” genre. The personal and business papers of other musical and visual artists are also represented. This collection captures the creativity and drive of the musicians, producers, visual artists, and entrepreneurs who built an independent music scene in this city which has influenced others around the world.

By on October 17th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Open Access Week 2018

Next week marks Open Access Week 2018 with the theme “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), open access is the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open access ensures that anyone can access and use these results – to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.”

Open Access Week 2018

Open Access Week 2018

University of Houston Libraries will host three events to promote open access and to highlight University initiatives related to open access.

  • October 23: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Reception
    University of Houston faculty are invited to the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP) reception in the Digital Research Commons to celebrate the first winner cohort of the program and to learn more about open educational resources (OER).
  • October 24: #TextbookBroke
    How much did you spend on textbooks this semester? What was your most expensive textbook? Are you #textbookbroke? Stop by to share your answers to these questions and learn about UH’s textbook affordability initiatives: the SGA Textbook Exchange and the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program.
  • October 25: Digital Research Commons Lecture
    UH Honors College faculty member Dan Price will give a lecture, “SAM (Houston on a First Name Basis) Achieving Granularity With Open Access Data,” open to students, faculty, and staff.

Vinson Selected as Recipient of Rooks Fellowship

Emily Vinson

Emily Vinson

Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist and curator of the KUHT Collection at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, is the recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship. 

The three-year fellowship supports a UH librarian in activities related to career development, such as professional memberships, conference fees, travel costs, research assistance, specialized equipment, and technology. “I am so honored to have been awarded the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship and grateful to Dean Rooks and Dr. Rooks for creating this unique opportunity at UH Libraries,” said Vinson.

Vinson holds a Master of Science in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin, with a certificate of advanced study in preservation administration, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in history and art history from Tulane University. Prior to joining UH Libraries, Vinson was an archivist at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, New York Public Radio Archives, and New York Public Library.

The fellowship endowment was established by Dana Rooks and Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD. Dana Rooks served as dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair from 1997 to 2015. Charles Rooks joined the UH Cullen College of Engineering in January 2001 and served as director of the chemical engineering undergraduate lab. He also founded the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center.

By on October 15th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

New Coordinator of Archival Processing

Joe Lueck

Joe Lueck

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Joe Lueck as the new coordinator of archival processing.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.

I lead archival processing operations in UH Special Collections. In addition to managing and performing processing of records in all formats, I develop and implement policies and procedures for the preparation of archives and manuscript collections for research use and preservation storage. As coordinator, I hope to implement industry-standard processing procedures while developing innovative solutions for processing and providing access to physical and born-digital collections. I also hope to tap into the wealth of resources and personnel across the Libraries’ departments to promote online discovery of resources, research access, and physical and digital preservation of collections.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as an archivist?

Prior to my arrival at the University of Houston, I completed my Master of Arts in history from Bowling Green State University and my Master of Science in information with a focus in archives and records management at the University of Michigan. At Michigan, in addition to conducting archival processing at the Bentley Historical Library and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, I participated on a research team dedicated to teaching with primary sources and advancing collaboration between archivists and educators. This experience sparked an interest in user-oriented archival practice that I hope to build on and apply in archival processing at the University of Houston.

Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.

As a newcomer to the University of Houston and University Libraries, I have been impressed by the notably collaborative nature of the departments and the staff. I am continually excited to encounter cross-departmental relationships, from committee service to simply eating lunch together, and look forward to collaborating with more of the staff professionally and socially. I am also impressed by the university’s clear commitment to growth and recent progress in institutional growth and development. I am thrilled to be joining the staff in a time of such notable growth and change.

What is your favorite hobby?

I am an avid cyclist. I have enjoyed riding along the Bayou Greenways in my time thus far in Houston and look forward to exploring more of the city and surrounding area by bike!

By on October 8th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

Hispanic Theater Collection

A new acquisition in University of Houston Special Collections features posters, photographs, and playbills documenting the origins and renaissance of contemporary Latino community theater.

Hispanic Theater Collection at UH Special Collections

Hispanic Theater Collection at UH Special Collections

Approximately 150 items in the Hispanic Theater Collection were donated by Nicolás Kanellos, PhD, Brown Foundation professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston and director of Arte Público Press and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, in what is the largest known Latino theater collection. The primary sources created across the United States representing Latino literature, poetry, and theater were collected over a seminal period in history by Kanellos through personal and scholarly involvement.

The collection will be on exhibit twice in 2019; a pop-up exhibition at MD Anderson Library on April 1 – 15 coinciding with Latino Art Now! 2019 Conference and again through the summer.

Visitors can view the collection in the Special Collections Reading Room. For more information, contact Elizabeth Cruces, Hispanic Collections archivist.

View photos of the Hispanic Theater Collection

UH Libraries Awarded CLIR Grant

University of Houston Libraries is one of 18 institutions that have been awarded a highly competitive Recordings at Risk grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Entrance to KUHT studios at night, 1950s-1970s

Entrance to KUHT studios at night, 1950s-1970s

Recordings at Risk is a national regranting program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by CLIR, supporting the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. The program will award a total of $2.3 million between January 2017 and April 2019.

UH Libraries was awarded $23,500 to support the project titled “Preserving KUHT Early Educational Films.” The 6-month project includes digitization of 118 16mm films from the KUHT Collection. KUHT-TV began broadcasting from the University of Houston in 1953 under one of the country’s first educational non-profit licenses, airing both for-credit “telecourses” and enriching programs aimed at a general audience. The films proposed for digitization represent some of KUHT’s earliest productions and are examples of nascent educational and public television. Films include programs made exclusively for local audiences, those intended for distribution to other educational stations across the country, and unproduced footage of the region. The materials capture a unique moment in the history of distance education in the United States and in the history of Houston. 

See previously digitized KUHT videos on the UH Libraries AV repository.

“These KUHT films were leading edge educational media innovations in their day,”  said Christian Kelleher, head of UH Special Collections. “The CLIR grant enables us to make them a part of today’s new digital media as well, and with a global reach.”

UH Libraries Website Translation

The University of Houston Libraries website can now be translated into multiple languages.

UH Libraries website can now be translated into multiple languages.

UH Libraries website can now be translated into multiple languages.

Scroll to the footer and find the Select Language drop-down menu on the right.

‘Brothers in Rhyme’ Exhibit Talk with Lance Scott Walker

Houston Rap Tapes: An Oral History of Bayou City Hip-Hop

Houston Rap Tapes: An Oral History of Bayou City Hip-Hop

Lance Scott Walker, author of Houston Rap Tapes: An Oral History of Bayou City Hip-Hop, will give a talk at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Evans Room on Monday, October 15 at 12 noon. Walker will discuss the significance of the Libraries’ newest exhibit, Brothers in Rhyme: Fat Pat, Big Hawk, and the Screwed Up Click.

The talk is free and open to the public. Copies of Houston Rap Tapes will be available for purchase at the event.


The neighborhoods of Fifth Ward, Fourth Ward, Third Ward, and the Southside of Houston, Texas, gave birth to Houston rap, a vibrant music scene that has produced globally recognized artists such as Geto Boys, DJ Screw, Pimp C and Bun B of UGK, Fat Pat, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Lil’ Troy, and Paul Wall. Lance Scott Walker and photographer Peter Beste spent a decade documenting Houston’s scene, interviewing and photographing the people—rappers, DJs, producers, promoters, record label owners—and places that give rap music from the Bayou City its distinctive character. Their collaboration produced the books Houston Rap and Houston Rap Tapes.

This second edition of Houston Rap Tapes amplifies the city’s hip-hop history through new interviews with Scarface, Slim Thug, Lez Moné, B L A C K I E, Lil’ Keke, and Sire Jukebox of the original Ghetto Boys. Walker groups the interviews into sections that track the different eras and movements in Houston rap, with new photographs and album art that reveal the evolution of the scene from the 1970s to today’s hip-hop generation. The interviews range from the specifics of making music to the passions, regrets, memories, and hopes that give it life. While offering a view from some of Houston’s most marginalized areas, these intimate conversations lay out universal struggles and feelings. As Willie D of Geto Boys writes in the foreword, “Houston Rap Tapes flows more like a bunch of fellows who haven’t seen each other for ages, hanging out on the block reminiscing, rather than a calculated literary guide to Houston’s history.”


Lance Scott Walker has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Local Houston, and Free Press Houston. He is the host of Houston Rap Tapes Radio and the founder of the live writers series Evil Hour Evening Reading.

By on October 3rd, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, Stories

Banner Project at UH Libraries

Next week, visitors to the University of Houston MD Anderson Library will notice a suite of 40 banners displayed in the atrium. The Banner Project, created by Houston activist Sara Fernandez, is a pop-up exhibit featuring pivotal points in Houston’s LGBT history from the 1930s to present day.

The Banner Project at UH Libraries

The Banner Project at UH Libraries

2018 marks the third year that UH Libraries has partnered with Fernandez to host the banners and promote awareness of diversity and inclusion. Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist, stated that the display “encapsulates Houston’s LGBT history: individuals, events, and milestones which have been hard fought to secure recognition and rights which we all enjoy.”

The Banner Project will be on display at the MD Anderson Library by October 11, which is National Coming Out Day, and will remain through the end of the month. Staff from Special Collections will be available with information on the LGBT History Research Collection, as well as outreach from the UH LGBTQ Resource Center.