UH Libraries News

Tejas Got Soul and UH Special Collections

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections will preserve and make available stories, interviews, and other digital documentation produced through the community project Tejas Got Soul: Early Chicano Sounds in Houston’s East End.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston.

Tejas Got Soul was created by musicians and scholars Nick Gaitan and Isaac Rodriguez to recognize and celebrate 1950s-70s Tejano soul in Houston. Through the project, Gaitan and Rodriguez have conducted oral histories with musicians of the era, making an important contribution to the limited documentation of this fascinating piece of Houston’s culture and musical history.

“Houston’s place in the origins and cultivation in many genres of music is a somewhat hidden gem when it comes to very important figures and recordings,” Gaitan said. “Tejano music’s roots are no different. This tells a story of its own. Musical lines are always crossed and we hear the influences coming from all directions. Listeners and fans of Tejano music, Chicano music, or other flavors that Mexican-Americans and Latinos are listening to and influenced learn that lots of these great bands writing and performing in the late 50s and early 60s were largely influenced by soul music. It’s amazing how many of these aspects of this rich history are connected. Houston is just that type of place.”

“The late 1950s, 60s, and 70s were a great time in Houston for Chicano music,” Rodriguez said. “Bands like The Rock’n Vee’s, The Exiles, and Rocky Gil & The Bishops were playing R&B and soul music but were unknowingly planting the seeds of La Onda Chicana, the sound that we know today as Tejano music. Many of these groups were no longer playing by the time Tejano music was at its peak in the 80s and 90s and did not get the recognition they deserve as pioneers within the genre in Houston. After years of collecting records, hearing stories of the music and dances from my parents, I began to make contact with several of the musicians from the era, like Oscar Villanueva, to get their personal story of what it was like to be playing music at the time. Tejas Got Soul was formed to fill the generation gap and shine the spotlight on the artists, sound and era — which I would consider to be the golden era of Chicano music in Houston.” 

The project will culminate in an April 6 public event at Morales Radio Hall, the previous home of KLVL, the first bilingual radio station in Houston. In addition to live performances from Houston-based acts, the event will offer attendees the opportunity to help build a living archive by sharing stories related to Houston’s early Tejano soul era. Dr. Jesus Jesse Esparza of Texas Southern University will lead a storytelling booth, and Houston Public Library’s Memory Lab will host a scanning station for community documentation activities during the event.

The digital files of the oral histories conducted by Gaitan and Rodriguez through the project as well as those created at the event will be added to the archives of the Tejas Got Soul project, and will be preserved and made available to researchers, the public, and the community at UH Libraries Special Collections.

For more information, visit the Tejas Got Soul Facebook page.

Listen to KPFT Open Journal interview with UH Special Collections’ Mary Manning on the community documentation activities at the upcoming event | 16:00

New Digital Collection: GCAM Archive

The Gulf Coast Archive and Museum Digital Archive is now available in the UH Digital Library.

Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 8, May 1978

Gay Austin, Vol. 2, No. 8, May 1978

More than 30 years of Houston LGBTQ history is preserved and presented in this collection from the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History (GCAM). The collection contains over 150 LGBT newspapers from central Texas, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and other Texas regions, from the 1970s through the early 2000s.

GCAM was created to collect, preserve and provide access to historical items from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in the gulf coast area of Texas. Over the last 20 years, GCAM has collected a broad variety of published materials relating to LGBTQ issues, both at the local and national level. Titles in this collection include The Star (Austin/San Antonio), South Texas Community News, and Bar Talk San Antonio. Mid-1970s issues from Gay Austin and Community News (Fort Worth/Dallas) are some of the earliest publications found in the collection.

The original materials are owned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History.

By on January 25th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Mydolls Donates Archive to UH Special Collections

A new acquisition at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections features correspondence, fliers, posters, photographs, ephemera, magazines, news clippings, cassettes, vinyl records, and master tapes documenting the experimental post-punk band Mydolls. The archive of the women-led, Houston-based group reveals its 40-year advocacy of equality, female empowerment, and minority representation in the arts.

The official gift signing for the Mydolls archive at a Museum of Fine Arts, Houston screening of “Paris, Texas” (1984), a film in which Mydolls appeared. From left: Linda Younger, George Reyes, curator Mary Manning, Trish Herrera, Dianna Ray. Photo credit: F. Carter Smith.

The official gift signing for the Mydolls archive at a Museum of Fine Arts, Houston screening of “Paris, Texas” (1984), a film in which Mydolls appeared. From left: Linda Younger, George Reyes, curator Mary Manning, Trish Herrera, Dianna Ray. Photo credit: F. Carter Smith.

Mydolls consists of Linda Younger on guitar and vocals, Dianna Ray on bass and vocals, Trish Herrera on guitar and vocals, and George Reyes on drums and vocals. The band was inspired to preserve and share their colorful story through the collection.

“We wanted to donate the band’s archive, a DIY chronicle of our herstory, so that everyone who is interested could be exposed to Houston’s underground art and music scenes,” said Mydolls via Nancy Agin Dunnahoe, the band’s publicist. “We’ve lived out the punk rock ethos of being ourselves as original artists and staying true to our beliefs even if it meant that we would never be signed to a major label. We’re proud of the many artistic and multidisciplinary collaborations we’ve been a part of with national, international, and local artists and want to share those stories on a local level by making our records accessible to the public.”

Learn more about Mydolls | Local Houston Magazine

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 January 9th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

UH Institutional Repository

The University of Houston Institutional Repository (UHIR) collects, preserves, and distributes scholarly output and creative works produced by the UH community. UHIR provides free and open online access to the University’s research and scholarship.

The University of Houston Institutional Repository (UHIR) collects, preserves and distributes scholarly output and creative works produced by the University of Houston community.

The University of Houston Institutional Repository (UHIR) collects, preserves and distributes scholarly output and creative works produced by the University of Houston community.

Communities within the repository, Electronic Theses and Dissertations, and UH Faculty, Staff, and Student Works, are searchable. Recent submissions to the repository include video recordings from the 2018-2019 Assistant Professor Excellence (APeX) Speaker Series: “An Inside Job: Using Tiny Robot Swarms to Heal the Body” and “The Power of Musical Play.”

UH Libraries Resources for Grad and Professional Students

Irene Ke, psychology and social work librarian at University of Houston Libraries, will give a presentation on Libraries resources for graduate and professional students at the next meeting of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) on December 4. The open meeting will take place in the Student Center South – Midtown Room from 3-4pm. Refreshments will be provided.

The GPSA is a registered student organization for all masters, doctoral, and post-baccalaureate students in all colleges at the University of Houston. The GPSA hosts open meetings each month to transparently discuss organizational business, gather questions and concerns from the community, and host speakers and workshops on areas of interest for the grad/professional student community.

By on November 15th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Zine Fest Houston and Special Collections

The 2018 Zine Fest Houston is scheduled for Saturday, November 17, at Lawndale Art Center from 12 noon to 6pm. Attendees can browse zines, prints, and artwork produced by creatives across Texas and the Gulf Coast; and chat with librarians and archivists about zine, history, and more.

Zine Fest Houston | Saturday, November 17 | Lawndale Art Center | 12 noon - 6pm

Zine Fest Houston | Saturday, November 17 | Lawndale Art Center | 12 noon – 6pm

The Zine Fest Houston Records will also be on display at the event. The collection of zines (self-published, non-commercial booklets or magazines) and related ephemera documents regional and national zine culture. Preserved and made accessible by UH Special Collections, materials in the collection range from the 1980s to present, with a focus on art, feminism, LGBTQ issues, Latinx culture, and humor.

For more information on the event or the Zine Fest Houston Records, contact Lisa Cruces.

By on November 14th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Pop-Up Art Library

The William R. Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library will host a pop-up art library at the University of Houston Fine Arts Courtyard. Students are invited to browse and check out art books while enjoying free hot chocolate.

Interior view of the Architecture, Design, and Art Library, located in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Interior view of the Architecture, Design, and Art Library, located in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

The pop-up library will be open on November 26 from 10:30am – 12:00pm, and November 27 from 2:30 – 4:00pm.

By on November 14th, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

Emerging Trends: Open Educational Resources

Ariana Santiago, open educational resources (OER) coordinator at University of Houston Libraries, will present on the benefits of OER at an Emerging Trends in Educational Technology session on Friday, November 9, 10-11am in Agnes Arnold Hall Room 210. Register

OER refers to teaching and learning resources that are freely available and carry legal permission for open use. With OER, students have access to course materials from the first day of the semester and are more likely to successfully complete the course. This session will provide an introduction to OER with a focus on the Creative Commons licenses that define them so that faculty can find, identify, and provide attribution to OER for use in courses. Information will also be provided on the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program.

Emerging Trends in Educational Technology is a partnership of the Office of the Provost and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

By on November 2nd, 2018 in Announcements, Featured, New Resource

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