The University of Houston was established in 1927 as the Houston Junior College. It grew and prospered to become the University of Houston in 1934. In 1939, the institution acquired land for a permanent campus and opened its first building. The university became a state institution in 1963 and joined the newly created University of Houston System in 1977. The Board of Regents Records include the minutes from the meetings of the Board of Trustees between 1939 and 1944, and later, the Board of Regents, the governing body of the University of Houston system. The meeting minutes provide insights into the evolution and governance of the University. Digitization of these records is ongoing, and subsequent volumes will be added here as they become available.
Several decades’ worth of Cougar Pride is in evidence in this comprehensive digital collection. Spanning the history of the University of Houston, the collection includes every cover and every page of every Houstonian yearbook beginning in 1934, arranged in chronological order.
Each year’s digital installment is divided into sections according to that yearbook’s actual table of contents, with titles such as Sports, Organizations, People, and Campus Life. Viewers can find individual photos of students and faculty from years gone by, as well as photographs and information highlighting sports teams, student groups, fraternities and sororities, campus events, classroom activities, musical performances, university growth, and memorable moments in school history.
The collection also provides a rich portrait of changes in fashion and graphic design through the decades, from the apparent formality of the 1930s to mid-century Mod to the more relaxed styles of the 1970s, up through current times.
The Houstonian was first published in 1934 and continued to be published by the University of Houston student yearbook staff until 2011.
The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections and the general collection.
Through images and video, this digital collection sheds light on the groundbreaking creation and dedicated running of the first public television station in the country. Hundreds of black and white photographs illustrate the work that went on both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes at KUHT-TV, while approximately 35 films provide a rich sample of the station’s diverse offerings. In all, the collection contains 336 items.
Most of the photographs date from the station’s early days in the 1950s, but later decades are also represented. The snapshots capture production staff, cameramen, set designers, and engineers, as well as on-air personalities and sets from Channel 8 News and other shows. Items of note include photos of the figures who were instrumental in getting KUHT up and running, such as University President Dr. Walter W. Kemmerer, faculty member and choral director Dr. John Schwarzwalder, and producer/director George Arms. The collection also includes images of celebrities appearing on PBS programs through the years: Mister Rogers, Julia Child, Phyllis Diller, Dustin Hoffman – and even Sesame Street’s Big Bird.
The films in this collection explore a wide array of topics of both local and national interest, including the evolution of African-American music; the blowout of an offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979; the controversy surrounding the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in 1977; integration in two area school districts in the 1960s; and documentaries on boxer Jack Johnson and Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza. Of particular note is a series of programs from the 1960s called “Education for Survival – Civil Defense,” which covers Cold War-era subjects such as “Weapons in the Nuclear Age,” “Propaganda and You,” and “Radiation and Effects.” Another highlight is a press conference held by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the White House in 1960. Available for viewing in their entirety, the broadcasts generally run about 30-60 minutes each.
Located on the University of Houston campus, KUHT-TV was America's first public television station when it debuted in 1953, and became one of the founding stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1969. Today, KUHT-TV/HoustonPBS continues to produce innovative programming while serving not only the students and faculty at UH, but the greater Houston community as a whole.
Beginning in 2008, the University of Houston Libraries hosted an annual juried exhibit of student artwork, open to all students of all classifications and majors. A jury of professionals from the Houston arts community as well as UH School of Art faculty members selected work which was mounted each spring semester at the M.D. Anderson Library. After spring 2014, based on the positive response of student artists and audiences, this annual exhibition was discontinued in favor of a year-round rotation of student work. The location was also moved to a more complementary location in the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library. This digital collection contains all student artwork exhibited in UH Libraries since 2010.
This collection of recordings documents the University of Houston Barbara Karkabi Living Archives series. The collection provides access to the videos of the Living Archives panel discussions, which cover such diverse topics as women in sports, female politicians, women and religion, motherhood, and breast cancer survival. Individual interviews with notable Houston women, including former mayor Kathy Whitmire, women’s activist Nikki Van Hightower, and former city councilwoman Eleanor Tinsley, are also a part of the collection.
The Living Archives events are panel discussions and interviews with topics covering diverse aspects of women’s lives in Houston and the issues that affect them, and the public events are held multiple times a year. They are sponsored by the University of Houston Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Friends of Women’s Studies. The University of Houston Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Recordings contain recordings of events beginning in 1995, and additional recordings will be added to the collection on a regularly basis.
This digital collection documents the built environment of the University of Houston campus from the ground up, featuring maps, aerial views, architectural drawings and models, and photographs of buildings both under construction and upon completion. In all, the collection contains 272 photographs and drawings in both color and black and white, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s.
A comparison of campus maps from 1948-1950 and 1965-1969 highlights the rapid, mid-century growth of the university, while several aerial photographs taken from 1937-1980 provide a dramatic overview of the development of the campus and the surrounding city – from acres of untouched fields to miles of urban sprawl.
Dozens of architectural drawings and models illustrate the finely detailed planning process involved in creating the university’s physical appearance. These architectural works comprise both interiors and exteriors of individual buildings, as well as the campus as a whole.
Most of the university’s signature buildings are represented with photographs showing their progress from construction to completion, including Moody Towers, the Ezekiel Cullen and Roy G. Cullen Buildings, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, the M.D. Anderson Library, and many others. Of particular interest are photographs of Veterans Village, which is no longer standing, and the University of Houston at San Jacinto High School, which predated the university’s own campus in the 1930s.
This collection of photographs from the larger UH Photographs Collection highlights campus scenes from throughout the history of the university. The photos of people, events, organizations and campus departments show a diverse range of activities and events, including athletic competitions, classroom gatherings, distinguished guests, and special events and exhibits.
The UH Photographs Collection in the University Archives contains photographs all aspects of the university’s history. Other digital collections from the UH Photographs include University of Houston Buildings and University of Houston People.
Featuring images from the heyday of the University of Houston’s annual Frontier Fiesta event, the digital collection captures all the Western-themed revelry surrounding “Fiesta City” in the 1950s. The collection contains more than 50 black and white photographs, 13 programs (1941, 1947, 1949-1959), the contents of a 35-page scrapbook, and one short silent film.
The photographs highlight all aspects of the festivities, from stage performances and students posing in Western costume to parade floats and the wooden structures making up the Wild West town of Fiesta City each year. Programs from the 50s and 60s present the calendar of events and maps of the grounds as well as name event organizers and friends, board of directors, and contest winners. Especially noteworthy are two items: the scrapbook and the silent film. The beautifully crafted cowhide scrapbook was compiled in 1954 and includes 35 pages of colorful illustrations, descriptive narrative, and dozens of photographs of the event. Titled The Great Bank Heist, the black and white silent film depicts an Old West-style bank robbery perpetrated by gunslingers who ride into town on horseback. Complete with title cards in place of dialogue, the two-minute film was recently produced from 1953 Frontier Fiesta footage.
A combination of musical and theatrical performances, cook-offs, carnival booths, and concessions set in a Western frontier-style town, Frontier Fiesta began in 1940 but was almost immediately interrupted by World War II and suspended from 1942-1945. Frontier Fiesta’s second run (from 1946-1959) saw the event grow to its greatest popularity and achieve national acclaim; Life Magazine proclaimed it the “Greatest College Show on Earth.”
The student-run, community-minded festival was revived in 1992. Every year the Frontier Fiesta Association awards 10 scholarships to deserving incoming freshman and current UH students; these scholarships reward both academic achievement and outstanding efforts in community service.
Through correspondence, applications, pamphlets, and other materials, this collection documents the integration of black students into the University of Houston. The bulk of the 214 items are from the late 1950s and early 1960s, with some dated as early as 1945 and as late as 1969. The collection includes selections from the UH President’s Office Records and highlights correspondence from Presidents Clanton C. Williams, A.D. Bruce, and Phillip G. Hoffman.
UH did not admit its first black student until the early 1960s. A private college during the 1950s and ‘60s, UH was not held to the standards of Sweatt v. Painter, which forced the University of Texas to admit a black student to its law school in 1950. Documents in the collection show black students applying to UH but being referred to nearby Texas Southern University. Phillip G. Hoffman, UH President from 1961-1977, realized that transforming UH from a private to a public school would have great financial benefits for the university and would also hold them to the legal standards of state schools. A memo in the collection from the Registrar Ramon A. Vitulli to Hoffman dated January 15, 1962, states that in 1961 the office of admissions received 175 inquiries by “negroes” in person or by phone and 33 rejection letters were sent through the mail. The registrar adds, “Based on the assumption that as a fully State supported institution the University will be required to admit qualified Negroes in the fall of 1963 and thereafter, I recommend that we admit qualified Negroes in the fall of 1962 or before.” By March 1963, the University had twenty African American students and was fully desegregated.
To avoid the unrest occurring around desegregation at other schools, Hoffman drew together community businessmen and the media to integrate the university relatively quietly. UH became a state funded university in 1963, and in 1964, it became the first major university in the South to desegregate its intercollegiate sports program. Guy Lewis recruited the school's first black athletes, including Don Chaney and future Hall-of-Famer Elvin Hayes, transforming both the basketball program and the entire campus.
The items do not present themselves in the digital collection in the same order that they do in the physical collection. Newspaper clippings were not scanned because of copyright issues. Whenever possible, materials that were originally attached were scanned together. To see the collection in its entirety and in its original order, we encourage you to visit UH Special Collections.
This historical photograph collection features past UH Presidents and Chancellors, members of the Board of Regents, faculty and department chairs, accomplished athletes, famous campus visitors, and distinguished alumni. Most of the photographs date from the 1980s or earlier. Alphabetized by the subjects’ first names, the collection comprises more than 250 people, many represented by more than one image.
Each person’s photograph is accompanied by her or his UH title or a descriptive paragraph. In addition to notable University figures, the collection contains several photographs of Shasta, the live cougar mascot, in different incarnations through the years (Shasta, Shasta III, and Shasta V).
Visiting dignitaries over the decades include U.S. Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George H.W. Bush; U.S. Representatives and Senators Barbara Jordan, Sheila Jackson Lee, George McGovern, and Phil Gramm; and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. State and regional politicians include Texas Governors Price Daniel, Preston Smith, and Ann Richards; Houston Mayors Oscar Holcombe, Louie Welch, Kathy Whitmire, Bob Lanier, and Lee Brown; and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros.
Some of the people representing UH’s rich athletic tradition include football coaches Bill Yeoman and Jack Pardee; Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware; track stars Jolanda Jones and Carl Lewis; and Hall of Fame basketball players Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Other famous campus visitors highlighted in this collection include actors Olympia Dukakis, Hal Holbrook, and Lynn Redgrave; local philanthropists Carolyn Farb and Dominique de Menil; playwrights Edward Albee, Ntozake Shange, and Tennessee Williams; author John Irving; hotel magnate Conrad N. Hilton; country singer Kenny Rogers; television reporters and personalities Geraldo Rivera and Marvin Zindler; groundbreaking heart surgeon Michael DeBakey; consumer advocate Ralph Nader; and longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America (and UH alum) Jack Valenti.
This digital collection captures the excitement of some of the University of Houston’s finest moments in sports. Featuring images from the Championship Publications Series of the Athletic Department Records, the collection consists of playbooks and scorebooks related to University of Houston championship sports teams (1954-1996). Included are approximately forty programs and publications related to the University’s championship football, track and field, golf swimming, volleyball, and basketball teams.
The University of Houston is the home to one of the most storied athletics programs in the nation. The Cougars have won 62 NCAA individual championships and 17 NCAA team titles, been in 21 bowls, appeared in five NCAA Final Fours in men's basketball, and earned a berth to the College World Series.
In addition, UH can boast of more than 899 All-America award winners and 39 Olympic medal winners, including 20 Gold Medals. Cougars have reached elite status in several professional sports- a Master's champion, a NBA MVP, a Cy Young Award winner, and three of the NBA's Top 50 Greatest Players.
The playbooks, programs and scorebooks in this digital collection are excellent resources for statistics.
The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Athletic Department Records, Series 3: Championship Publications.