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HomeNL-2012-05 Archives

HCC Archives Project
April, 2012
by John Rich

The Houston Canoe Club has had a storage locker for many years where club items have been stored, including banners, posters and boxes of old records dating back decades.  The volume of material was not too great, and the storage room rental was costing the club $600 per year.  So, a movement was started to clean out the locker, save important items therein, and cut $600 from the club expenses, which would go back into the training and education fund.

February 18th was the first date scheduled for members to gather at the Aztec Storage locker on West 34th Street to see what was there and collectively decide what needed to be thrown out or preserved.  That date arrived with a torrential rain storm, so it was rescheduled to the following day, the 19th, when the bad weather would be in the past.

Members who showed up at the storage locker were Sophie Lopez, Ann Derby, Christy Long, John Ohrt, Paul Woodcock, Linda Gorski, Harmon Everett and Honey Leveen.  The unit was cleared out in about an hour, and some members enjoyed lunch together afterward.

The next step in the process was a get-together at Linda Gorski's home on March 7th to sift through the eight boxes of paper records and determine what could be discarded and what needs to be preserved.  Linda first provided a delicious free dinner of jalapeno chicken casserole with a tasty chocolate almond banana parfait for dessert provided by Cindy Bartos, to whet our appetite for the document review work.  Attendees were: Honey Leveen, John Rich, John Ohrt, Cindy Bartos, Ann Derby, Mary Carter, Harmon Everett, Louis Aulbach, Greg Walker, Linda & Rick Gorski, Terry Herdlicka, and former members Robert and Lolita Stricker who were visiting Houston from Abu Dhabi.

 Table 1
  Table 2
   Cindy's desserts

There was great fascination sorting through the materials, which contained amongst other things; old photos and photo negatives, stories, old newsletters, old member records, old meeting minutes, and Southwest Canoe  Rendezvous organizing papers.  Going through these documents provided many surprises, memories and mysteries.  There were photos of members who are no longer with us, as well as many people who have been members for decades.  There was paperwork on a lawsuit filed by HCC against Subaru, who it was alleged was infringing upon HCC's "Southwest Canoe Rendezvous" trade name with their own "Rendezvous" advertising campaign.  Ann Derby found forgotten old songs she had written, including a classic about a dead catfish found on the river.  There were mysteries, such as references in old meeting minutes to a "sinking fund".  An old embroidered patch was discovered, but in a blue format instead of the current red format.



 Document review
  Old patch

Linda took the materials to be discarded to a store and had them shredded.  Much of that was old member records which contained personal information such as addresses and phone numbers.  Linda donated the $26 shredding cost to the club.

Greg Walker walked away with several boxes of goodies, which he would review, and use his computer skills to scan important historic documents and post them on the web site where they would be accessible for everyone to see.  Greg also plans a series of articles titled "A View Upstream" to present these scanned documents from the past in monthly newsletter articles.

Linda has also taken a photo of every Rendezvous T-shirt from 1989 to 2001, including a close up of the logos.  She will put these on a disc for both Greg Walker and John Rich for a future newsletter article.  The T-shirts will go into the archives along with the other stuff.

Louis Aulbach, with a college degree in library science, a career in records management, and a hobby of historical research, contacted the archivist at Rice University.  Rice University confirmed that they would like to have our materials for preservation as part of Houston's cultural history.

On March 23rd, Louis and Linda took the boxes of HCC documents and T-Shirts to Rice U. for deposit in the archives there. The Rice staff will inventory the documents and materials and create a descriptive list of the contents of the collection. This inventory will essentially list each file folder and describe its contents. From this, they will create a Finding Aid for the collection and post it on their web page. The Finding Aid will also include a short history of the HCC and tell about the club and its significance to Houston's history. Special treatment will be given to the Southwestern Canoe Rendezvous since many documents of the event were in the collection as well as a compete collection of Rendezvous T-Shirts.


Amanda, Linda, Louis

Photo (right): Louis and Linda donating the Houston Canoe Club archives to the Fondren Library, Woodson Research Center at Rice University.  Amanda Focke, CA, Assistant head of Special Collections was on hand to receive the eight boxes of documents and historical items from the club.

And as a final act for this project, HCC Commodore Ken McDowell filled out some paperwork officially authorizing Rice University to take possession of the HCC archives and to provide for their future care.

The documents on deposit will be available for the public to read and view at the  Woodson Research Center at Rice University.

Club web-master Greg Walker has already started scanning some documents to load them onto the web site.  The first of these is the 30th Anniversary Newsletter which was introduced in the April issue of the newsletter.  Click that link to see the fabulous old document.

These are just the first of many such treasures which we should be revealing as a result of this Archives Project.  Stay tuned!

Update, May, 2012:

Commodore Ken McDowell has placed a scanned copy of the HCC archive "Deed of Gift" documents with Rice University into the online club archives.  They can be found in the "Documents" section of the HCC web site, under "Club History", and the document is called "Archives".  Or you can view this 20-megabyte Word file now by clicking HERE

Because of the large size of this file, it may take a few minutes to load, depending upon your computer's transmission speed.  For best viewing, I recommend you use the Word option "View", "Print Layout". 

These page images contain the Deed of Gift contract, as well as the Rice University "Guide to the Houston Canoe Club Records" and "Collection Inventory".

 The author, John Rich