October 30, 2014

The Cullen Legacy

Everywhere on campus the name "Cullen" is plastered everywhere, whether it's a street, building, or college.  Who was Cullen and why can it be seen everywhere at the University of Houston?  Cullen is the last name of Hugh Roy who was one of the main oilman during the Texas Oil Boom era of the early 20th century.  He lent a major hand in industrializing Houston and contributed to making the Houston area home to the greatest concentration of refineries and petrochemical plants in the U.S.

After his first big gusher in the Pierce Junction oil field, he encountered several failed attempts.  So he decided to drill deeper into the ground in order to capture the oil-rich sands, known as the Frio sands.  As a result of this endeavor, oil gushed out and cemented Cullen as a respectable oilman.  Later on he ran West's Western Production Company with his partner, Jim West, a highly successful Texas lumberman.  Through this company he was able to add to his fortune by successfully extracting oil in the Blue Ridge dome and Humble Field.

In 1938, Hugh and his wife, Lillie Cranz Cullen, made a contribution to build the Roy Gustav Cullen Building.  It was named after their son who had died in an oil field accident.  He later served as a Chairman of the Board of Regents for the university and donated over $11 million to UH through The Cullen Foundation.

To check out more images of Mr. Cullen, look through our University of Houston People Collection provided by the UH Digital Library.

September 4, 2014

USS Houston (CA-30) Photographs Now Available in UHDL

We are pleased to announce USS Houston (CA-30) Photographs is now available in the UH Digital Library!

The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) traveled the world during peacetime, served as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet during World War II, and was tragically sunk by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Battle of Sunda Strait. More than 350 black and white photographs from the 1920s to the 1940s tell the incredible story of the Houston and her crew.

Named for the city of Houston, the USS Houston (CA-30) was launched in 1929 in Newport News, Virginia, a celebratory occasion well-represented in the collection. Many photographs depict the new Northampton class cruiser in various ports or at sea during early cruises, including visits to the Houston Ship Channel. Other photographs capture individual officers and crew members and depict life aboard the ship.

The ship’s most famous passenger was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took four cruises on the Houston during his presidency to relax and enjoy deep sea fishing. Photographs in the collection show Roosevelt fishing from a smaller vessel, even catching a shark. In 1942, following the United States’ entry into World War II, the Houston became part of the multi-national American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) force in the Pacific. Led by the able Captain Albert H. Rooks, Houston participated in the Battle of Makassar Strait and the Battle of the Java Sea before being sunk. Due to the wartime need for secrecy, only a few photographs exist from this period.

Of the 1068 crew members on the Houston when it was sunk, 368 survived and became prisoners of the Japanese. Many were forced to work building the Burma-Thai Railway, 79 more dying in the process. Photographs document the POW camps, the deplorable conditions endured by the POWs, and the evacuation of POWs at the end of the war in August 1945.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries Special Collections in the Cruiser Houston Collection. Many thanks to all those who helped make this digital collection possible. You can find this and our many other collections here at the UH Digital Library!

August 7, 2014

Early Texas Documents Now Available in UHDL

We are pleased to announce Early Texas Documents is now available in the UH Digital Library!

This digital collection chronicles the history of Texas from the Spanish Colonial Era through the turn of the 20th century. The bulk of the collection is from the Colonial, Republic, and Early Statehood eras, and in addition to materials broadly documenting the history of Texas, the activities of several prominent Texans and Americans are also documented. The digital collection contains nearly 1300 items.

Included in the collection are papers pertaining to the establishment of Austin’s Colony, including land and legal documents signed by Stephen F. Austin. Sam Houston’s role as President of Texas is extensively documented through correspondence and legal, financial, and land papers. The roles of Anson Jones and Mirabeau Lamar as President of Texas are seen in legal and land paper, and James Morgan’s role as Colonel in the Texas Army is documented through correspondence, legal, and military papers. Finally, Andrew Jackson’s role as President of the United States of America is documented in a letter detailing his decision to not send troops to Texas during the state’s revolution.

Also of interest are slave documents within the collection documenting the sale of slaves as property as well as financial and scrip documents that detail a listing of goods and services purchased by individuals. Other items include illustrations of currency and warrants paid to soldiers for their service.


The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Early Texas Documents CollectionMany thanks to all those who helped make this digital collection possible. You can find more of our fascinating collections here at the UH Digital Library!

August 6, 2014

Check Out Our New Map View Feature!

We here at the UH Digital Library would like to show you the new and exciting Map View feature in both our Civil War Letters and Lucian Hood Architectural Drawings collections!

Both Civil War Letters and Lucian Hood Architectural Drawings are rooted in geography. Civil War Letters is a collection of more than 150 Civil War-era letters contains correspondence from  M.L. Calk, W.D. Lowther, and William W. Edgerton letters. Calk and Lowther were Confederate soldiers from Alabama and Texas, respectively, while Edgerton was a Union soldier from New York. 

 Utilizing Google Maps, Map View locates the origin of these Civil War letters, tracking Calk, Lowther, And Edgerton through their journeys across America. By zooming in, you will find that each letter has a pinpoint on the map which you can click to direct you to that very letter in our collection!

Utilize Google Maps Street View to see the 150-year change in time!

You can enjoy the same experience with Lucian Hood as well! Lucian Hood Architectural Drawings is a collection of 116 hand-drawn architectural sketches by architect Lucian Hood which include floor plans, interior and exterior elevations, foundations, and plots for various buildings throughout Houston.

Here's a sketch of Memorial Creole Apartments from 1966...

...and using Google Street View you can see that Memorial Creole Apartments are still here!

We are very proud of our latest addition to the UHDL experience, and we hope you enjoy. Make sure to check out our other wonderful collections here at the UH Digital Library!