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Bebe Gow Scrapbooks

Highlights
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    Scrapbook 1, 1927-1946

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    Scrapbook 5, 1950-1953

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    Scrapbook 6, 1953-1956

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    Scrapbook 7, 1956-1958

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    Scrapbook 8, 1959-1961

This digital collections represents six volumes from Bebe Gow's scrapbook collection spanning the years 1927 to 1961. Bebe Lord Gow was born Barbara Jane Lord to Andrew James Lord and Evelyn Wiggins Lord in New Vernon, New Jersey, on May 21, 1927. The scrapbooks were started by Bebe as a family keepsake to her four sons -- Andrew Lord Johnston, Henry Rust Johnston, Peter Wright Johnston, and Douglas Earl Johnston Jr. -- in order to chronicle her and her family's history in both New Vernon and Houston.

Bebe and her first husband, Douglas E. Johnston, were married on October 12, 1946. They would relocate to Houston in 1948 in order for her husband to pursue his career as a stockbroker specializing in oil & gas and natural resources. Settling in Houston, Bebe and her husband would raise their four sons at #5 West Oaks Drive in west Houston, and they became active in Houston's social, civic, and Republican Party political circles during the 1960s and 70s. Bebe and her husband lived near and were longtime friends to President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. She and Barbara Bush both attended Smith College together during the 1940s. With her father's encouragement Bebe was interested in politics and was an early campaigner and fundraiser for the former President as he ran for political office, as well as for John Tower when he ran for the US Senate.

In addition to her involvement in politics, Bebe has also been an entrepreneur with her second husband, Robert Gow, whom she married in 1972. She has a lifelong belief in healthy eating and promoting healthy eating. As a result, she and her husband started a honey business, maintaining beehives in the backyard of their home and harvesting the honey to be used in food products such as honey mustard, honey chutney, and Asian food sauces. At one point during the early 70s she was approached by Procter and Gamble for her honey mustard sauce at the Fancy Food Show in New York, and they ended up taking over the honey mustard business. She was also an accomplished tennis player, winning the singles and doubles championship with George H.W. Bush and James Baker at the Houston Country Club, and teaching tennis to boys and girls in the community through her tennis camp.

Within the Houston community, Bebe has been actively involved in the Junior League of Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and the Contemporary Arts Museum. She's the author of two books, "Seeking Hakka Baka" and "A Bright Yellow Yoyo."

Before the advent of smartphones, social media, and Instagram, Bebe would snap photos of her four sons with a simple Kodak camera, capturing various moments in their lives, along with photos of family gatherings, vacations, and outings. An all-around accomplished athlete, Bebe is pictured on horseback, boating, golfing, and playing tennis. There are also many photos of the family together during the holidays. Her scrapbooks provide researchers an intimate view of family life, leisure, and activities both in New Vernon, New Jersey, and Houston during the early and mid-part of the 20th century.

The original materials were loaned by Bebe Gow to UH Special Collections for digitization.

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Items 1-6 of 6
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