Thanks to a Texas State Library and Archives Commission TexTreasures grant funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), over 100 reels of microfilmed archives documenting women and underrepresented communities in Texas visual arts will be digitized and made accessible online.
The Texas Art Project is an extensive collection of visual arts history preserved at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) library. Between 1978 and 1985, MFAH contacted artists, galleries, and arts organizations across Texas to document unique manuscript papers and research materials on microfilm, as part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art (AAA). The project yielded nearly 700 reels, a subset of which featured materials from women artists, artists of color, and galleries that hosted them. This subset is the focus of the TexTreasures grant which allowed University of Houston Libraries Special Collections and MFAH to collaborate on the digitization of approximately 150,000 images, previously available only in a limited, localized capacity in microfilm at MFAH. Digitized images of materials such as correspondence, exhibition catalogs, reviews, and publications will become openly available online with multiple points of access, thereby facilitating scholarship and research using unique primary sources.
“When these materials were gathered on microfilm at the MFAH as part of the AAA, it was a tremendous gift as far as preservation,” said Marie Wise, managing archivist at MFAH. “We are so fortunate that these rich materials were preserved as they were. In digitizing them and creating searchable metadata, we are now making them accessible to a far broader audience. In this way, scholars and students can uncover this amazing history.”
Contributions from women artists and artists of color are underrepresented in scholarship and public awareness, making this project particularly relevant in today’s social climate. “The goal of the digitization project is to provide a resource for scholars, students, and teachers to be able to engage with the lives and work of these artists,” said Christian Kelleher, head of UH Special Collections. “We want to boost awareness and appreciation for that work. We want to see that students are educated on archival research and critical inquiry, and that scholars are able to produce new knowledge based on unique primary sources preserved here.”
Wise noted that the project is about expanding accessibility through institutional partnerships. “By working together, we can make the collective art history resources in Houston and in Texas more discoverable,” Wise said. “The stories that are held in our respective archives are interwoven, and we all want the fullest historical picture possible preserved and studied. The MFAH is very glad to be a partner in this project.”
An important part of the project involves the support of student success. Two graduate students in arts-related fields were hired to assist in indexing and cataloging the collection, research each artist, and contact each artist.
Lysette Portano, a professional contemporary dancer and one of the project’s graduate assistants, is enrolled in the MA in Arts Leadership program in the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at UH. “As an interpreter, I have always been curious about artists’ creative processes,” Portano said. “This drive has led me to research and experience different art forms. I became interested in this project because it uncovers artists that reshaped the Texas art scene and preserves the legacies of their contributions to the arts.”
Carolann Madden, a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at UH, was drawn to the project for similar research interests in folklore and ethnography. “It’s important for us to understand “archives” as places, both physical and digital, where we can find a wide array of material,” Madden said. “The material on the reels is incredibly valuable and exciting, and should be shared. While this project was proposed and started before the pandemic, watching our archives and libraries close around the world served as a meaningful reminder that digitization not only helps preserve material in our archives, but also offers access to it wherever we are.”
TexTreasures is a yearly competitive grant program of TexShare, a consortium of Texas libraries joining together to share print and electronic materials, purchase online resources, and combine staff expertise. TexShare is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC).
The TexTreasures awards are made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to TSLAC under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. The mission of IMLS is to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development.
University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce the receipt of historical archives from TPC Group. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, TPC Group is a leading producer of value-added petrochemical products for chemical, plastics, refining, synthetic rubber and other major industries. It has manufacturing facilities in Houston and Port Neches, Texas, and operates a product terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The archives, which include publications, photographs, administrative and business records, architectural and technical drawings, films, and press materials, will be preserved and made accessible to the public, as part of the UH Special Collections Energy & Sustainability Research Collection. The Energy & Sustainability Research Collection at the University of Houston Libraries documents Houston’s place as the global capital of the energy industry that continues to shape the city’s and the world’s technologies, economies, politics, environments, and cultures. Collections support a core university priority for research, teaching, and learning, and uniquely preserve the documentary history of exploration, innovation, development, and growth in oil and gas, alternative energies, and the environment.
In 2019, TPC Group marked 75 years of operation. Sara Cronin, vice president of communications and public affairs at TPC Group, noted the company’s propitious trajectory since its inception.
“Originally built by the United States Government during World War II as part of the Synthetic Rubber Program, our manufacturing facilities played a significant role during that time in our nation’s history,” Cronin said. “In 1944, the United States Government sought alternatives to the natural rubber supply in Asia that our country could no longer access. Innovative thinkers collaborated and gained strength from one another to develop and manufacture synthetic rubber and needed raw materials, including specification 1,3 butadiene. This noteworthy beginning for what is now TPC Group not only helped the United States win the war but has had a profound impact on how we now live our daily lives.”
Christian Kelleher, head of UH Libraries Special Collections and curator of the Energy & Sustainability Research Collection, said, “The TPC Group Historical Archives make available to UH faculty, students, visiting scholars, and our local community unique, primary source documentation of Houston’s petrochemical industrial history. Researchers in the archives will be able to discover new, historical insights about our region’s significance to American engagement in World War II, how scientific and technological advancements have both motivated and responded to their industry and business contexts, and how society’s many different concepts and ideals of sustainability in our local and global communities have evolved over the company’s 75 years.”
TPC Group was inspired to donate its archives to UH Special Collections as part of its commitment to corporate citizenship, investment and engagement in the Houston and Port Neches communities. The company’s history and culture of partnership, support, and transparency comprise the themes that emerge from the archive.
“Beyond the products TPC Group makes is the commitment to do so in a manner that is protective of our environment, community and nearby neighbors,” Cronin said. “Entrusting the preservation and documentation of the Company’s history with UH Libraries Special Collections will ensure the elements of our Company’s culture underscore how TPC Group’s story will be told, highlighting its role in the petrochemical industry and the value of its products to society for many generations to come.”
“We are very pleased to receive the historical archive of the TPC Group,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “We appreciate the trust that TPC is placing in UH Libraries to preserve and make their archives accessible to scholars seeking an understanding of the history of innovation and development of the energy industry in Houston and the Port Neches community.”
The collection is currently being processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Christian Kelleher.
University of Houston Libraries provides access to more than 500 databases. O’Reilly Safari Books Online is one of them.
Safari Books Online makes ebooks and video content available on a variety of technology, business, and engineering topics. UH users can access Safari and create a free account. View Resource Centers (quick links to curated content), search topics, and create playlists.
Other newly available resources include:
University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce receipt of the personal papers of noted Houston artist Dorothy Hood and her husband, José María Velasco Maidana from the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST). Located in Corpus Christi and affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, AMST advances the awareness, knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the residents and visitors of South Texas. The archives will be cataloged, preserved, digitized, and made available to students, scholars, and the public through UH Special Collections.
Hood (1918 – 2000) was a Texas painter best known for her Modernist works. Velasco Maidana (1899-1989), was a Bolivian composer and filmmaker. Donated materials include personal papers, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, catalogs, artifacts, audio/video recordings, and ephemera documenting the lives and careers of the two artists. AMST acquired a major collection of Hood’s works in 2001, along with the personal papers of Hood and Velasco Maidana.
Christian Kelleher, head of Special Collections, noted, “UH Libraries is excited to join in the efforts of AMST and other leaders in the arts community to preserve and promote the international legacies of Dorothy Hood and Velasco Maidana. These archives are unique primary source documentation of two remarkable, creative people, and will provide new insights into their works, careers, and lives.”
Sara Morgan, interim director of AMST, reflected on the significance of Hood’s contributions to the arts. “Dorothy Hood was a Texas artist who lived an exploratory life that took her from her birth city of Bryan, Texas, to Houston, Providence, Rhode Island, New York City, Mexico City and eventually back to Texas where she resettled in Houston,” Morgan said. “Her work, much like her life, abandoned conventionality and explored big themes such as space, presence, spirituality, emotion and color. Hood was considered the sole female representative of the artist pack that commanded Houston’s art scene in the 1960s and 1970s. We feel it is fitting that her treasury of papers return to the city that embraced her art and her talent.”
The Dorothy Hood Papers and the José María Velasco Maidana Papers will be cataloged as Collections of the Art Museum of South Texas and the University of Houston Libraries. “AMST is pleased to partner with UH Libraries on the Dorothy Hood Papers,” Morgan said. “This collaboration will provide an opportunity for Hood’s archival materials to be fully examined, leading to a greater understanding of the artist, modernist, teacher and woman over her prolific career. Accessible information will provide expanded research opportunities and will ultimately further the recognition of Hood’s art.”
“University of Houston Libraries is honored to receive the Dorothy Hood Papers and José María Velasco Maidana Papers,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “Telling Dorothy Hood’s story will be a privilege and we are very grateful to the Art Museum of South Texas, its Board and interim director, and to its former director Joe Schenk for making this possible.”
The McClain Gallery in Houston will host a solo exhibition featuring paintings, drawings and collages of Dorothy Hood from October 12 through December 21, 2019. A selection of documents from the archives will also be on display. The opening reception will be held on October 12 from 2 – 4 p.m.
The collection is currently being processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Christian Kelleher.
This week, visitors to the University of Houston MD Anderson Library will notice a suite of 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.
2019 marks the fourth year that UH Libraries has partnered with Fernandez to host the banners. Three new additions include Marvin Davis & Don Gill: Fundraising for the Aids Community (1987), Juan Palomo: Bridging Communities (1990), and Maria Gonzalez: Scholar Activist (1991), bringing the total banner count to 46.
“We are hoping that the visuals from the banners will generate discussion, reflection, and awareness across campus and in the community,” said Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist.
The Banner Project will be on display in conjunction with October 11, which is National Coming Out Day, and will remain through the end of the month. Staff from Special Collections and representatives from the Banner Project will be available with information on the LGBT History Research Collection, as well as resources from the UH LGBTQ Resource Center, on October 11 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. in the MD Anderson Library atrium.
During the week of October 7 – 11, University of Houston Libraries joins Texas Library Association (TLA) in its campaign to celebrate the numerous ways that libraries are transforming Texas.
Follow UH Libraries on Twitter @UHoustonLib to learn more.
University of Houston Libraries, in collaboration with the UH Office of the Provost, is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 recipient cohort of the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP).
UH instructors applied for an award ranging from $500 to $2500 that would go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in a summer 2019, fall 2019, or spring 2020 course. Awards were granted based on projected cost savings for students; the type of project; and feasibility of the successful implementation of the proposal.
2019 – 2020 ATIP winners are:
Education: Eulises Avellaneda
CUIN 3310: Bilingual Education
Social Work: Nicole Bromfield
SOCW 7397: Perspectives on Human Trafficking: Domestic and Global
HRM: Simone Doudna
HRMA 4354: Advanced Hospitality Operations
Business: Emese Felvegi
MIS 3300: Introduction to Computer and Management Information Systems
CLASS: Layci Harrison, Mark Knoblauch, Josh Yellen
ATP 6301/6101: Anatomical Basis of Athletic Injury Lecture & Lab
Education: Kristen Hassett
SPEC 3360: Individuals with Disabilities
NSM: Daniel Hauptvogel, Jinny Sisson
GEOL 1176: Historical Geology Lab
Technology: Mary E. Henderson
SCLT 4387: Financial Evaluation for Supply Chain
HRM: Nathan Jarvis, Chris Taylor, Scott Taylor, Kevin Simon
HRMA 3336: Beverage Management
CLASS: Melody Yunzi Li, Jingyuan Fu
CHNS 3344: Global Chinese Literature
CLASS: Melissa Markofski
KIN 4370: Exercise Testing
Engineering: David Mayerich
ECE 6397: Parallel Algorithsm for GPUs and Heterogeneous Systems
CLASS: Katherine Anne McElvaney
ANTH 2301: Introduction to Physical Anthropology
CLASS: Kelly Moore
ILAS 3350: Power Writing
CLASS: Grete Norquist
ENGL 1304: First Year Writing II
CLASS: Phillip Presswood
ENGL 1303: First Year Writing I
HRM: Arlene Ramirez, Agnes DeFranco
HRMA 3341: Hospitality Managerial Accounting
NSM: Nouhad Rizk
COSC 4335/3337: Data Science
CLASS: Maria Elena Soliño
SPAN 3386: Screen Memories: Spanish Culture Through Film
NSM: Jiajia Sun
GEOL 7330: Potential Field Methods of Geophysical Exploration
HRM: Scott Taylor Jr.
HRMA 3343: Hospitality Cost Controls
Education: Laura Turchi, Jane Cooper
EDUC 3301: Introduction to Teaching
CUIN 3321: Introduction to Teaching Middle Grades
CUIN 6301: The Teaching Profession
NSM: Anna Vershynina
MATH 6397: Special Topics: Quantum Computation
Now in its second year, ATIP is part of the University’s initiative to improve students’ academic experience by mitigating the high cost of textbooks. Faculty members are incentivized to replace required traditional textbook(s) in their course with adoption, adaptation, or creation of an open textbook, or assembly of freely available or library sponsored resources. Projected savings for students in the first year of implementing alternative textbooks in these courses is $757,380.48, benefiting an estimated 5,773 students.
An exhibit at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections features selections from the New Music America Collection. Materials document New Music America (NMA) festivals, which began as “New Music New York” in 1979 and were produced annually by the New Music Alliance in cities across North America from 1980-1990. A large part of the collection focuses on the 1986 NMA in Houston, and was donated by Michael Galbreth, part of the duo known as The Art Guys whose records also reside at UH Special Collections.
Courtney Tutt, a graduate student at the University of North Texas, collaborated with Mary Manning, university archivist and curator of the Performing and Visual Arts Research Collection; Joseph Lueck, coordinator of archival processing; and Bethany Scott, coordinator of digital projects, to process the physical and digital files of the NMA Collection. Tutt is pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree with a focus on archives and imaging technology. Her work at UH Special Collections fulfilled a practicum requirement and a desire to earn experience in the field.
Among Tutt’s project tasks was the selection of items for an exhibit, now on display at the MD Anderson Library second floor near Special Collections.
“I have been fortunate to work on this compelling project which is both fascinating and relevant to the cultural identity of Houston,” Tutt said. “One of the many interesting things I learned from this collection was the festival’s opening day featured the world premiere of John Cage’s Ryoanji concurrently with the opening of MFAH’s Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. A parade was held before the performance on Montrose Boulevard with art cars and performers celebrating the kick-off of the festival. This was the very first Art Car Parade in Houston.”
The collection is open for research in the Special Collections reading room.
The Fo Guang Shan Chung Mei Temple donated copies of the Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts and the Fo Guang Dictionary of Buddhism-Revised Edition, published by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan, to University of Houston Libraries. The donation was facilitated by Mrs. Lydia Chao, Dr. Paul Chu, and Susan Butler.
After a reception held at the MD Anderson Library Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, the guests received a tour of UH Special Collections Rare Books Collections.
A new acquisition at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections features exhibition announcements, posters, photographs, 35mm slides, artist correspondence, ephemera, and video documenting exhibitions and programs presented by the Lawndale Art and Performance Center.
From its beginning as a gallery space for UH Department of Art graduate students, Lawndale Art Center’s long history of supporting national and local visual and performance artists is represented by nearly 50 linear feet of archives. The collection covers Lawndale from the 1970s to present day, revealing the dynamism of the Houston contemporary and experimental art scene.
Executive director Stephanie Mitchell and assistant director Lauren Lohman were inspired to donate the Lawndale Art Center records to UH Special Collections. “Lawndale had its beginning with the University of Houston, so there is already a special and historic connection between the organizations,” they said. “As the archive has grown we recognize that UH is in a much better position than Lawndale to assure that the archives will be properly preserved, maintained, and made accessible to researchers. We believe that this collaboration will benefit both Lawndale and the community.”
“The list of artists, exhibitions, and performances in the inventory of the Lawndale Art and Performance Center Records is a testament to the decades of impact that Lawndale has had on Houston’s arts community,” said Christian Kelleher, head of UH Special Collections and curator of visual arts collections. “We are so pleased to help make this great resource available for students, scholars, and the public.”
The collection is currently being processed at UH Special Collections. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Christian Kelleher.