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Oral Histories - Houston History Project

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

African American Studies

Arts

Business

Culture

Disaster Response and Recovery

Education

Energy Development

Environmental Issues

Galveston (Tex.) History

Houston (Tex.) History

Immigration

Law

Medicine

Mexican American Studies

Native American Studies

Philanthropy

Politics

Religion

LGBTQ People

Sports

University Of Houston

Women's History



Contact us about this collection

Oral Histories - Houston History Project, 1996- | University of Houston Libraries

By Reddy Guntaka, Tanmay Wagh, Madhuri Keshavarao, Tai Luong

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Collection Overview

Title: Oral Histories - Houston History Project, 1996-View associated digital content.

ID: 07/2006-005

Primary Creator: Houston History Project

Extent: 25.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

Oral histories are arranged numerically. Identifers include the Houston History Archives (HHA) number, interviewee's name, and subject module. Interviews consist of typewritten transcripts and audio interviews, presently available for reading and listening in the Special Collections Department of M.D. Anderson Library.

All formats for an interview are shelved by number in appropriate storage boxes.  Transcripts (typed pages) are housed in record cartons, audiotapes and CDs are housed in specialty boxes.  Each format includes sequential numbers appropirate  boxes. Because boxes and formats are configured differently, Box 1 in one format does not hold the same set of interview numbers as Box 1 in another format. However, searching for a specific interview number across formats will  produce all available interivew materials for that interviewee.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2005

Subjects: African-American studies, Arts, Business, Culture, Disaster response and recovery, Emigration and immigration, Energy development, Environmental issues, Medicine, Mexican Americans - Study and teaching, Native American studies, Religion, Sports, Women’s history

Forms of Material: Audiocassettes, Compact discs, Interviews, Sound recordings, Transcripts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

When UH’s Center for Public History and the University Libraries collaborated to create the Houston History Archives (UH-HHA), part of their mission included a repository for oral histories that tell stories of the growth and development of the Gulf Coast region from multiple points of view.  To that end, the Houston Oral History Project in the Center for Public History trains history graduate students to research and interview Houstonians with recollections of the city’s civil rights, women’s, cultural, political, or medical past.  In furtherance of the mission, the UH Oral History Project entered into a collaboration with the City of Houston that will bring to the UH repository interviews of one hundred of Houston’s leaders from all walks of life.  Another large collection headed for the repository is the Offshore Energy Oral History Project, a collaboration among several UH professors and other universities to document  the growth of the oil refining industry along the Gulf Coast before and after World War II.  Topics available include interviews with Katrina emergency responders in Houston, a series of interviews with African American (black) generals, interviews with members of Houston's Indo-Asian population, and interviews from the Afro-American Physicians project, as well as a number of other topics.

Related Materials:

Oral Histories from the Houston History Project digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory)

Biographical Note

Joseph Pratt, Ph.D., in the UH Center for Public History, established the Houston History Project to expand and improve the research done on Houston and to serve as a learning laboratory for public history students.  Professor Pratt recognized the appropriateness of a publication supported by both  a research component and a repository for archival collections and oral histories to accomplish these goals.  All three elements – Houston History magazine, the UH Oral History Program, and the Houston History Archives -- reinforce one another and add to our understanding of Houston’s history by recording, reporting, and preserving the narrative of Houston’s past.  Together, the Houston History Project’s three components contribute to the University of Houston’s mission and realize the university’s strategic initiatives.

Subject/Index Terms

African-American studies
Arts
Business
Culture
Disaster response and recovery
Emigration and immigration
Energy development
Environmental issues
Medicine
Mexican Americans - Study and teaching
Native American studies
Religion
Sports
Women’s history

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electric form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collection staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyrights holders.

Related Materials: Oral Histories from the Houston History Project digital collection For more information please see http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory.

Preferred Citation: Oral Histories-Houston History Project. Courtesy of Special Collection, University of Houston Libraries.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: African American Studies],
[Series 2: Arts],
[Series 3: Business],
[Series 4: Culture],
[Series 5: Disaster Response and Recovery],
[Series 6: Education],
[Series 7: Energy Development],
[Series 8: Environmental Issues],
[Series 9: Galveston (Tex.) History],
[Series 10: Houston (Tex.) History],
[Series 11: Immigration],
[Series 12: Law],
[Series 13: Medicine],
[Series 14: Mexican American Studies],
[Series 15: Native American Studies],
[Series 16: Philanthropy],
[Series 17: Politics],
[Series 18: Religion],
[Series 19: LGBTQ People],
[Series 20: Sports],
[Series 21: University Of Houston],
[Series 22: Women's History],
[All]

Series 2: Arts
Box 9
Item 546: 00546_Adickes, David_Painting / Sculpture(2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Leigh Cutler

Project: University of Houston

David Adickes is a Houston artist who was born in Huntsville, Texas on January 19, 1927. In World War II, he was in the Army Air Corps (Air Force), flying back and forth between the U.S and France. After the war, in 1948, he received a bachelor's degree in math and physics from Sam Houston State Teacher's College (now called Sam Houston State University). From his trips to Paris during the war, he became interested in art as a profession. After college, he returned to that city for two years to study art with Fernand Leger, one of the masters of modern French painting. This experience launched his career as a professional artist. He started out as a painter and eventually added small bronze statuettes to his repertoire. Today he is best known for his large scale outdoor concrete sculptures.

Adickes settled permanently in Houston in mid- 1960s. It wasn't until the early 1980s, when banker and businessman Joe Russo asked him to create a piece of sculpture for the outdoor plaza of his downtown building, that  Adickes turned to larger than life artwork. From his Houston studio, "SculpturWorx", he has been focused on this medium ever since that commission.

Item 558: 00558_LeGrange, Ulisses_Musician(2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Kelly Ray

Project: University of Houston

In contribution to the topic of "The Arts in Houston", this project would focus on selecting and interviewing former and current Houston Symphony Orchestra musicians. the desired time frame most likely would encompass the 1950s to present.

One goal of the interviews would be to focus upon the historical issues occurring in Houston that may have affected the musicians. A possible issue would be the Civil Rights Movement and the transition from segregation to integration. Another topic would be labor unions and contract disputes. The Houston Symphony's website notes that it signed its first 52-week contract with the musicians in 1971. Finally, gender discrimination might be another possible topic to consider.

Item 563: 00563_Sapp, Walter_Non Profit Management [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Tiffany Schreiber

Project: University of Houston

This enjoyable and engaging itnerview with Mr. Sapp centers, among other things, on his experience with and insight into the Houston Symphony as a member of the Board. The interview took place at Mr. Sapp's Houston residence and ran approximately one-and-one-half-hours.

This interview is for an Oral History Class project, University of Houston History Department. It is one of four interviews of people associated with the Houston Symphony, two itnerviews aeach by graduate student Kelly Ray and Tiffany Schreiber.

Item 564: 00564_Stanton, Phillip_Musician(2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Kelly Ray

Project: University of Houston

Item 565: 00565_Waters, David_Musician(2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Tiffany Schreiber

Project: University of Houston

Native Houstonian David Waters is a Houston Symphony Orchestra musician who plays the trombone and bass trombone. He attended Austin High School and performed in the All-City Orchestra while growing up. His pursuit of a career in music led him to the University of Houston for his Bachelor's degree in Music Education and then to the University of Texas at Austin for his Master's degree in Music.

Mr. Waters joined the Houston Symphony in 1966. He also holds a teaching position as Associate Professor of Trombone at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Box 12
Item 682: 00682 - Patton, Maureen_Arts and Culture [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

This interview delves into the life of Maureen Patton who at the time of interview had been Executive Director of the Galveston Opera House for 25 years. The interview describes the history of the theater and how concerned citizens of Galveston mobilized to preserve it so that today it has attained national recognition as a historical site. Also included are several interesting anecdotes that most historical accounts have not previously recorded.

The tone of familiarity between the interviewer and the Mrs. Patton is based upon the fact that her husband, Larry Patton, and the interviewer were friends in college at Trinity University.

Item 683: 00683 - Pye, Malcolm J_Arts and Culture [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Mr. Pye is the patriarch of a family that has been a part of the opera house from its inception in 1894 when his grandfather was part of the first stage crew. From that date to the present at least one Pye family member has been a part of the theater’s stage crew.

This interview describes not only how stage crews remain the foundation of the shows’ presentations but also describes the uniqueness of the Galveston opera house. There are interesting stories about well-known performers and some of their experiences in the theater.

Item 690: 00690_Bryant, Monica_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 691: 00691_Gummelt, Delores and Barbara White_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 692: 00692_Kahn, Tammie_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 693: 00693_Keeney, Genevieve_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 694: 00694_Russel, Linda and Jerry Moore_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 695: 00695_Stansbury, Judy., Laura Hund and Lindsey Staudt_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Box 13
Item 755: 00755_Mott, Manning_Hobby Center [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Ernesto Valdes

Project: University of Houston

Manning Mpinduzi-Mott is the Assistant Technical Director of Zilkha Hall at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts where his primary function is as the house electrician.  He grew up in Houston, raised in the 5th ward, graduated from Jack Yates, and has been involved in theater for much of his life.  In this interview, Mr. Mpinduzi-Mott discusses the reasoning for replacing The Music Hall with a new theater, the needs of local theater companies, the variety of performances he works with at Zilkha Hall, the politics of union labor in the theater, and makes mention of the difficulties of minority representations in theater.

Box 14
Item 767: 00767_Couch, Rosalyn & Lower, Susie_Museums [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Ernesto Valdes

Project: University of Houston

Item 794: 00794_Berlin, Paul_Houston Radio[available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Debbie Harwell

Project: University Of Houston

Radio personality Paul Berlin discusses his broadcasting career from his high school days in Memphis to his sixty-three-year (and counting) career in Houston. He discusses the changes in musical trends from the big bands and vocalists of the 1940s through rap and popular music today. The particularly emphasizes the 1950s and early 1960s as an era that produced the best popular music of all time with the greatest diversity until the drug culture of the mid- to late-1960s ushered in a change. Berlin talks about the openness of the radio studio at KNUZ, which invited high school students to come in and watch the show, make requests, and contribute the occasional school cheer. He mentions the many artists that he brought to Houston‟s music venues such as the Plantation Ballroom, the City Auditorium, Music Hall, and Coliseum. He explains how he selected records to play and how his choices impacted the careers of people like Mickey Gilley and the Big Bopper, J P. Richardson. Additionally he explains how the independent record shops were hurt by the larger department stores selling records as lost-leaders to get people in their stores. Lastly, the conversation takes up the absence of oldies stations on the radio, even in diverse, big-market cities like Houston and Los Angeles. Berlin explains that this was a product of advertisers targeting young, impressionable consumers.

Item 795: 00795_Brown, Jewel_African-American Blues[available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Hadley Hollingsworth

Project: University of Houston

In this interview Brown discusses what it was like growing up in the Third Ward, going to Jack Yates High School, and becoming a successful singer. She began singing at the age of 9 and was told that she was no longer an amateur at the age of 14. Jewel sang in Houston at the local venues until she moved to California to work for her brother-in-law and sing at the club where he worked. She knew all of the prominent Houston musicians of the era and performed with many of them. Later she moved to Dallas where she worked for Hack Rudy and received an opportunity to sing back-up with Louis Armstrong later in his career. Eventually she moved back to Houston to care for her parents and their house. She tells of a time when the Third Ward was a more unified community and she talks about the ways that the Third Ward has changed since she was a young girl. Still performing, Brown discusses how her career trajectory has changed.

Item 800: 00800_Fox, Stephen_Architecture[available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Josh Levine

Project: University Of Houston

Stephen Fox is an architectural historian at Rice University; he discusses prominent Jewish architect Joseph Finger and his legacy to Houston architecture in the early twentieth century. Stephen Fox says Joseph Finger was an Austro-Hungarian Empire émigré. Fox suspects Finger came to Houston due to the city’s commercial prosperity, where Fox says Finger established himself as a trustworthy architect. Finger brought with him European architectural influences: Sezession, Art Deco, and Modernist. Finger incorporated these styles into buildings he designed in Houston such as: the Turn-Verein, Houston Temple of Congregation of Israel, and A.C. Burton Chrysler Company Sales and Service Building. Fox speaks of Alfred C. Finn, a contemporary architect of Finger, who was both a competitor and collaborator to Finger. The two architects worked on the Jefferson Davis Hospital. The architects were among a few city architects that pushed for modern architectural styles at the time that led away from the dominant styles of the 1920s such as the Georgian, Tudor, and Spanish. Fox talks about Finger designing the many buildings for the Houston Independent School District, one of the largest houses in Houston for James M. West, a wealthy Houston businessman; and the Houston City Hall building, his most prominent public building. Finger ran into controversy for his design of City Hall after a change in mayors. The new mayor publicly questioned Finger’s qualifications; however, Finger maintained support from city council and outlasted the term of the critical mayor. Fox says that the city hall building is conservative in design, yet its internal design use of modernistic techniques is a representation of Houston embracing the new. Fox also cites Finger’s work on the Houston Municipal airport as another public building exemplifying Finger’s modernistic design. Fox says Finger’s firm was closed in 1970 following his death by his business partner George Rustay. However, the firm Rustay, Martin, and Vale continued for some time the architectural style that Finger's firm had pioneered before gradually shifting to the modern architectural styles of the time. Many of Finger’s surviving buildings are now endangered, such as his home on Portland Place, or have been demolished, such as the Houston Turn-Verein. Fox believes that friendlier attitudes towards preservation in Houston that started in 1990s have helped protect Finger’s buildings and encouraged their repurposing, such as Texas State Hotel in downtown Houston or the Levy Store on Main Street, which became the Commerce Building.

Item 812: 00812_Obi, Anthony_Hip Hop[available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Narmi Mena

Project: University Of Houston

Anthony Obi is a Houston native Nigerian-American rap artist that goes by the name “Fat Tony.” Having an interest in music since a very young age, Fat Tony began making music with a group of friends during his high school years. After the group‟s disbandment Fat Tony released his first song called “Love Life” while collaborating with local artist Hollywood Floss. Fat Tony cites his earliest influences to an early 2000s single called “Oh Boy” by Cam‟Ron and Juelz, two Roc-a-fella Records artists. Tony also pays tribute to 80s DIY punk bands by working outside of the mainstream music industry. Houston is well known for a style of music called chopped and screwed, a subgenre of remixed rap music that has become characteristic of southern hip hop. Fat Tony raves on about DJ Screw‟s original sound and how it rose to popularity right before Screw‟s death in the late 1990s. Also discussed is the genre‟s association with “purple drank,” a cough syrup mixture, and how Houston rap has become synonymous with drugs. The distinction between rap and hip-hop is also defined by Fat Tony, who elaborates on his thoughts on hip hop culture, the state of modern music and currently popular artists including Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar.

Item 815: 00815_Reis, Kelyne_Grafitti[available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Nimra Haroon

Prroject: University of Houston

In part 1 of the recordings, contemporary artist Kelyne Reis discusses her artistic career in Houston from 2009 onward. While Reis touches on her days in Germany, she primarily discusses her career in Houston and how graffiti has affected her life. She first explains that her initial impressions of graffiti and graffiti artists were incorrect after she met Gonzo. Reis explains how she learned the transience of graffiti. Reis recalled her days at the Wall of Fame in Houston, where she first practiced her spray-painting skills, and was exposed to the brevity of claiming a piece of wall, until someone took over it. Reis recalled her first assignment from Gonzo as having to create an alphabet that would be incorporated into her style. After recommending going to see the parking garage at the Houston Public Library, Reis speaks about Banksy as the most prominent graffiti artist, and the transition of graffiti’s acceptance. In part 2 of the recordings, Reis explains the incorporation of her figure into her paintings, and the opposition of words and illustrations she utilizes. Reis shows the Petite Embrace series she painted, and then spends time discussing the importance of color brightness. Reis explains how she paints her colors and the time it takes in painting. Reis tells about her piece hanging in the Houston Independent School District office and then touches on her requests for private lessons from Gonzo when she first arrived to Houston. In part 3 of the recordings, Reis discusses the difference between art and tagging. After speaking about a German subway station that showcased graffiti, Reis concludes by telling her ultimate goals.

Item 825: 00825_Diaz, Ricky and Belen_Music

Interviewer: Natalie Garza

Project: University Of Houston

At the age of eight, Ricky Diaz learned from his musician father how to play the piano. He recalls practicing twice a day and performing live with a fifteen-piece band by the age of ten in Piedras Negras, Mexico. In 1950 Ricky moved to the United States and soon found a job touring with Tejano musician Beto Villa and was briefly in the US Army band after being drafted during the Korean War. Upon returning to Houston, Ricky found work with Sheffield’s Orchestra, the Houston Club, and Roberto Compean. In 1963 after marrying Belen, Ricky formed his own band. In the latter part of the interview, Belen Diaz discusses her work with the Latin American Student Organization, LASO, at UH Downtown. Belen helped her son, Armando, plan a formal, large-scale fundraiser and scholarship program that resulted in the first Red Rose Ball. Belen, LASO, and the Mexican community raised $20,000 in their first year, and since then have raised up to $500,000. Ricky and Belen were honored at the 25th Red Rose Ball and since then the scholarship has been opened to all students.

Box 15
Item 00837: 00837_Ferguson, Rick [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

interviewer : Daniel Alt

Project : University of Houston

Daniel Alt interviews Rick Ferguson who discusses the Houston Film Commission, the film industry in Houston, and some of the films that have been shot in the city. Ferguson explains the economics of the film industry in Texas, including the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, which currently offers filmmakers an incentive rate of 5-20% plus a grant for filming within the state. This includes a mention of the hotel-motel tax, or Hotel Occupancy Tax, which funds this program. Ferguson also discusses how flexible the city of Houston’s appearance is, describing how it has “stood-in” for various cities during productions such as St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and even Switzerland. He also details the manner in which cities currently pitch their locales to prospective filmmakers. The history of soundstages in Houston is also briefly discussed. Ferguson also gives a comprehensive history of films shot in the city, dating back to Wings which was released in 1927.


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: African American Studies],
[Series 2: Arts],
[Series 3: Business],
[Series 4: Culture],
[Series 5: Disaster Response and Recovery],
[Series 6: Education],
[Series 7: Energy Development],
[Series 8: Environmental Issues],
[Series 9: Galveston (Tex.) History],
[Series 10: Houston (Tex.) History],
[Series 11: Immigration],
[Series 12: Law],
[Series 13: Medicine],
[Series 14: Mexican American Studies],
[Series 15: Native American Studies],
[Series 16: Philanthropy],
[Series 17: Politics],
[Series 18: Religion],
[Series 19: LGBTQ People],
[Series 20: Sports],
[Series 21: University Of Houston],
[Series 22: Women's History],
[All]

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