The UH Libraries’ Architecture Retail Pamphlet Collection is comprised of a diverse array of historic retail brochures, pamphlets and catalogs from the William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library’s Rare Books Room. The collection spans 45 years, from a Jap-A-Lac Varnish pamphlet published by Glidden in 1890, to a 1935 Homestead Fires catalog of “truly appropriate fireplace heaters.” In addition to these, the collection also features various other paint and varnish pamphlets as well as brochures from companies dealing in plumbing fixtures, fireplace heaters, lace curtains, cedar shingles, furniture and more. Beyond product illustration, the images herein capture descriptive text, specifications and price lists. The collection includes: Jap-A-Lac, The Home Beautifier (1890), A.W. Faber's Price-List of Superior Lead and Colored Pencils: Writing and Copying Inks, Slate Manufactures, Rulers, Penholders and Erasive Rubber (1897), three volumes from Red Cedar Shingles (1910-1912), How to Paint, from Sears, Roebuck & Co. (unknown), Slumber Davenports (1911), Sectional Come-Pakt Furniture (1912), Modern Plumbing #10 from J. L. Mott Iron Works (1921), Scranton Laces’ New Outlooks for Every Home (1923), Peerless Built-In Furniture (1926), Architectural Varnish List from C. Schrack & Co. (ca1930) and Homestead Fires “Truly Appropriate Fireplace Heaters” (1935).
This collection consists of images taken from an early 20th century promotional pamphlet encouraging Americans to visit Havana, Cuba. The color illustrations depict palaces, beaches, parks, boulevards, harbors, and other tourist attractions. All 23 pages of the booklet are represented, including the colorful front and back covers.
Titled Havana, Cuba: The Summer Land of the World, the booklet itself was published sometime in the years 1921-1939, capturing the allure of the island in the pre-Cuban Revolution era. The introduction page extols the many activities that might entice American travelers to visit Havana – especially to escape the “icy gales” of winter – such as sailing, sun bathing, deep sea fishing, golf, tennis, polo, and dancing. While trumpeting the city as a top tourist destination, the introduction also adds historical and contextual information about Havana’s harbor, architecture, commerce, and culture. Americans are assured that passports are not required and that their “personal liberty is unrestricted.” A full transcription of the page is provided beneath the image.
Highlights of the collection include colorful images of the Country Club of Havana, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, La Fuerza Fortress, the Senate Building, and the Malecon, a broad avenue and esplanade curving along the coast. Other images showcase parks, monuments, a tobacco field, and views of the water as both background scenery and a center of recreation and transportation. Titles of the images are taken directly from the booklet.
The Houston Chamber of Commerce and other business entities presented the city of Houston as a center of growth, industry, opportunity, and scenic beauty in the early 20th century, and this digital collection includes several publications detailing these efforts. Complete with the covers and every page of each item, the collection comprises eight individual books and one that spans 12 volumes.
The collection’s titular item, Houston: The Magnolia City, is a 13-page pamphlet published in 1912 that features illustrations of prominent downtown buildings. The 12-volume set titled Art Work of Houston, Texas was intended to provide a pictorial, artistic perspective of the city. Published in 1904, the set contains photographs, illustrations, and textual descriptions of the neighborhoods, residences, and buildings that made up the city of Houston at the time.
Dating from 1891, Souvenir Album of Houston Texas is the oldest book in the collection, and it features more than two dozen black and white illustrations of pre-1900 buildings, including City Hall, the Opera House, the Cotton Exchange, hotels, churches, and private residences. Houston: Where Seventeen Railroads Meet the Sea, published in 1923, was one of the earliest books to contain color photographs of the area.
The longest book in the collection at 101 pages, The City of Houston aims to attract new residents and capital investors by stating a vigorous case for Houston as a bustling center of commerce; the author describes Houston as not only “the Chicago of the Southwest,” but also as “the foremost city of the grandest state of the greatest country on the face of the globe.”
Other titles in the collection include Greater Houston, Texas and the Southwest, Industrial Advantages of Houston, Niels Esperson Building, and The Gulf Building: Thirty-five Floors, One Thousand Offices.
The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections.