Wednesday, July 19, 2006

History books (part 2 of 2)

Someone started a great thread on the Houston Architecture Info. Forum on books about Houston history. Check it out when you get the chance.

Finishing up on books about local history:

"The Hospital" by Jan de Hartog: In the early 1960s, Hartog and his wife took a job volunteering at Jeff Davis Hospital. What they discovered shocked them. Hartog organized efforts to correct what he thought was the poor quality of care patients received at the hospital. Facing heavy opposition, Hartog and his wife kept on, even after Ben Taub Hospital opened in 1963.

In an editorial published in the Houston Chronicle, found on the Harris County Hospital District Web site, Hartog responded to a city council member that wanted to cut Jeff Davis' budget:

"I would like to show him the emergency room, where I have worked as volunteer orderly for eight months now: the hall with the stretchers that are never empty, the two dark wards in the back where, because of the lack of staff, the sick, the drunk, the desperate and the dying are often ditched into the cold sagging beds fully dressed..."

"The Hospital" played a major role in the formation of the Harris County Hospital District.

"Kotton, Port, Rail Center" by Christopher Varela: This self-published book describes the early days of Houston radio. Varela doesn't start with the major radio stations formed during those days. He goes back to the origins of amateur radio in Houston and how it led to commercial radio. The book also includes some unique pictures I haven't seen anywhere else. The only place I've been able to find this book is at the city's visitors' center at City Hall.

"Houston: A History and Guide": One of the best books on Houston history. Published in 1942, this book was written by the writer's program of the WPA. Nostalgia buffs and historians will especially enjoy this book. Fortunately, it can be found online at The Portal to Texas History.


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Fez1964 said...

Thanks for the mention of my book, "Kotton, Port, Rail Center: A History of Early Radio in Houston."

It was an interesting story to write about with the likes of legendary figure Howard Hughes and the inception of network broadcasting with the births of NBC and CBS. What I also realized was the direct connection of radio broadcasting to the beginnings of television. Some of these radio guys I write about in the book went on to initiate some of Texas' first television stations.

As your review states, this self-published effort is currently available in very limited areas. I am in the process of printing more copies and will give a wider distribution for it by the end of the year. When I do this, I will notify you on this site.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger J.R.G. said...

Please do! I'll make mention of it when that happens.


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