UH Libraries News

Dean’s Fall Luncheon

University of Houston Libraries hosted the Dean’s Fall Luncheon this month at the MD Anderson Library Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, celebrating the philanthropy of UH Libraries’ friends and supporters.

Dean of Libraries Lisa German with Joe Duff of TPC Group

Dean of Libraries Lisa German with Joe Duff of TPC Group

Archivists from UH Special Collections displayed selected materials from various collecting areas.

View photos from the luncheon.

TPC Group Donates Historical Archives to UH Special Collections

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.

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Panel Truck, 1957

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Panel Truck, 1957

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.”

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Librarian Leona Drouet, 1955

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Librarian Leona Drouet, 1955

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.”

J.W. Morris, 1957

J.W. Morris, 1957

“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.

AMST Donates Hood-Velasco Maidana Papers to UH Special Collections

Dorothy Hood

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.”

Dorothy Hood, Subterranean Illuminations (1982)

Dorothy Hood, Subterranean Illuminations (1982)

“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.”

Related: Public Art of University of Houston System Celebrates Art of Dorothy Hood, Trendsetting Texas Artist

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.

Related: ­­­McClain Gallery Announces Representation of Dorothy Hood

The collection is currently being processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Christian Kelleher.

Banner Project Returns to UH Libraries

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.

The Banner Project at UH Libraries

The Banner Project at UH Libraries

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.

Into the Archives: GCAM

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections hosted a class conversation with Judy Reeves from the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History (GCAM) this week. Reeves is a founding member and current curator of GCAM. She is a longtime activist in the community, having devoted many hours to organizations such as Pride Houston, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, and the Houston GLBT Caucus.

From left: Judy Reeves, Vince Lee, Leandra Zarnow

From left: Judy Reeves, Vince Lee, Leandra Zarnow

Assistant professor Leandra Zarnow of the UH department of History led her class, “Issues in Feminist Research: Into the Archives,” in a lively talk with Reeves and Vince Lee, archivist of the LGBT History Research Collection at UH Special Collections.

The GCAM Digital Archive is available online at the UH Digital Library. More than 30 years of Houston LGBTQ history is preserved and presented in this digital collection which contains over 100 LGBT newspaper issues from central Texas, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and other Texas regions, from the 1970s through the early 2000s.