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 includes photographs, handwritten rap lyrics and song lists for “screw tapes,” and flyers related to the late DJ Screw and his rap collective the Screwed Up Click. These materials document how DJ Screw developed the production technique known as “chopped and screwed,” which is closely associated with Houston hip hop.
Of special note is a book of rap lyrics by Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.) member HAWK. In metallic ink on its black pages, he worked out the sixteen bars that make up a typical rap verse. Some pages of the notebook show sets of rhyming words that he was considering for a verse. Others capture the activities of HAWK’s everyday life, from phone numbers to scores for dominoes games.
The collection also includes obituaries (memorial service programs) for DJ Screw and rappers Fat Pat and HAWK.
DJ Screw was born Robert Earl Davis, Jr. in 1971. As a teenager on the South side of Houston, he began DJ-ing and making mixtapes of his favorite rap songs for friends. By the early nineties, he had begun slowing down the music on his tapes to a hypnotic crawl and emphasizing certain words and phrases by repeating them manually. Screw sold these “chopped and screwed” mixtapes directly to eager fans.
Friends and local rappers began ordering personal tapes from Screw, and he invited the rappers to freestyle, or improvise, over beats at the beginning and end of the tapes. Over time, the rappers themselves developed followings and many released successful independent solo albums. Prominent members of the Screwed Up Click included the Botany Boys, Fat Pat, HAWK, Lil’ Keke, E.S.G., Big Pokey, Big Moe, Lil’ O, Al-D, Yungstar, and Lil’ Flip.
It is estimated that DJ Screw sold hundreds of thousands of mixtapes throughout Houston and the South. He also released four studio albums on Bigtyme Recordz: All Screwed Up, 3 'N The Mornin' (Part One), 3 'N The Mornin' (Part Two), and I Wanna Get High with Da Blanksta. As a member of Dead End Alliance (D.E.A.) with Fat Pat, HAWK and Kay-K, he appeared on the album “Screwed for Life.” In 1998, he opened Screwed Up Records and Tapes, a shop that sold only his mixtapes.
On November 16, 2000, DJ Screw was found dead in his recording studio at the age of 29, his death ruled an overdose of codeine and other drugs. His legacy continues to be honored by Houston rappers and fans from around the world.
These materials were part of a larger exhibition, DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop, on view at the M.D. Anderson Library from March 19 through September 21, 2012.
Significant to the architectural history of Houston was the work of architect Kenneth Franzheim (1890–1959). The Kenneth Franzheim Collection is comprised of photographs and architectural drawings and models of Franzheim’s work. In addition to Houston landmarks such as the Foley’s Building and the Gulf Building, the collection surveys a broad range of works; included are corporate offices, high-rise apartments, theaters, private residences, airport facilities and others. Beyond Houston, the works contained herein were built and/or proposed for a variety of locales within and outside Texas. Represented are Franzheim’s contributions to the architectural landscapes of New York, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere. The collection’s images comprise the collected works of Franzheim as they appear in three self-published volumes: Kenneth Franzheim, Architect, New York City (1940), Drawings and Models of Some of the Recent Work of Kenneth Franzheim, Architect, Together with Sketches of a Few Proposed Buildings (1952ca) and Drawings and Models of Some of the Recent Work of Kenneth Franzheim, Architect, Together with Sketches of a Few Proposed Buildings (1960).
From the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room at the University of Houston’s William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library comes Moderner Volkskunst Zierat (Modern Folk Art Ornaments). This undated German volume features 18 vivid color plates. Designed for use as templates in the decoration of household items (furniture, ceramic ware, and the like), these bold, ornamental motifs offer a unique glimpse of the vernacular aesthetic found in early twentieth-century German home décor.
Stylishly dressed rappers, diamond encrusted jewelry, piles of cash, and champagne bottles epitomized the bling aesthetic associated with many 1990s hip hop artists. During this time, Houston-based firm Pen & Pixel Graphics, Inc. began using these visual elements to create album covers that portrayed the high life. This collection comprises 91 images related to the firm, including digital files of album cover artwork, a catalog, and photographs of offices and staff.
Pen & Pixel was innovative in its use of early Adobe Photoshop; their designers used as many as 200 layers to build up a single images. The company typically photographed a client in the studio, then used Photoshop to surround the portrait with a collage of cars, models, and luxury items. Pen & Pixel also developed highly stylized title lettering that suggested diamonds or precious metals.
Pen & Pixel Graphics, Inc. was founded in September 1992 by brothers Shawn and Aaron Brauch. The Brauch brothers got their start by working for Houston’s Rap-A-Lot Records before recognizing that demand for their graphic design work was high enough to enable them to start their own company. Shawn became the firm’s creative director and vice president, and Aaron served as its general manager. They worked primarily with rap musicians, including renowned artists such as Lil Wayne and Master P and record labels Cash Money Records and No Limit Records.
In addition to album covers, Pen & Pixel produced artwork for posters, logos, and videos. The firm closed in the early 2000s.
SEM (1863–1934), né Georges Goursat, was a French illustrator and caricaturist who rose to fame during the Belle Époque. The Digital Library’s SEM Collection is comprised of four volumes from the UH Architecture and Art Library’s Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room. Le Vrai & le Faux Chic (1914), White Bottoms (ca. 1920), the self-titled SEM (ca. 1920) and Le Nouveau Monde (1925) affectionately and mercilessly document the Parisian high society of a bygone era, and showcase the wild and whimsical work of SEM.
This binder’s collection of sheet music contains twenty-seven duets bound in two separate volumes, the first for flute and the second for violin. The first thirteen compositions were written for flute and violin, and although undated, they were most likely published in the first two decades of the 19th century. The remaining fourteen pieces consist of operatic transcriptions arranged by Charles de Bériot (1802-1870).
Composers of the first thirteen compositions include Friedrich Ludwig Dulon (1769-1826), François Devienne (1759-1803), Jérôme Duval (fl. 1810-1830), J. Martin (no dates found), Franz Alexander Pössinger (1767-1827), Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841), F. de Salin (no dates found), Heinrich Simrock (1754-1839), Louis Vogel (fl. 1781-1798), and Eugène Walckiers (1793-1866). Among these composers (excepting Duval and de Salin, for whom no biographical information has been found), four were flautists: Louis Vogel, Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, Eugène Walckiers, and François Devienne, who is perhaps the best known.
The Bériot arrangements feature six selections from the operas of Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), two from the operas of Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), one from Don Juan by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), three from the operas of Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868), and two from the operas of Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), as well as one composition by Charles de Bériot himself. A violinist by training, Bériot enjoyed a successful solo career and later, in his 40s, accepted an appointment as head of the violin faculty at the Brussels Conservatory. Failing eyesight forced his retirement by age 55, though he continued to be active as a composer for the remainder of his life.
Binder’s collections of sheet music were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, providing the means to social entertainment in homes and other informal settings beyond concert venues. While often unorganized, some collections are ordered according to genre, instrumentation, composer or chronology.
The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections.