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Research Projects

The Center for Public History conducts research of benefit to the larger Houston community and drawing on its faculty’s strength in energy, environmental policy and urban history.

Current Projects

Houston History


Houston History, a triannual magazine produced by the CPH, is the voice of history and culture throughout the Houston area.

Debbie Harwell, Managing Editor
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 The Oral History of Houston

Interview with Yates Tennis Alumni

The Oral History of Houston is a comprehensive effort to identify important Houstonians and capture their histories for future generations.


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Houston History Archives


The Houston History Archives, housed at the MD Anderson Library at the University of Houston, collects materials related to the region’s growth and development since the nineteenth century.

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UH Memories Project

3 students in front of E-Cullen bldg - archive image from UH Digital Library

Finn, Alfred C. [architect];.
"Three students in front of
the Ezekiel Cullen Building."
1950-2000. Online Image.
University of Houston
Digital Library. 16 April 2013.

The UH Memories Project is a joint effort by the Center for Public History and the MD Anderson utilizing new digital media to capture and share the history of the University of Houston, told in part through the oral histories of our alumni. Watch our latest effort of the University of Houston in sight and sound, University of Houston, War and Growth, 1939-1950, on Vimeo. A truly University-produced product, this 30 minute documentary tells the compelling story of the University and the city during World War II.


The Gulf Coast Food Project

Gulf Coast Food Project - Logo

The Gulf Coast Food Project promotes the study of food and encourages cross-disciplinary dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration through the examination of the food that sustains the cultural, economic, and physical lives of our diverse communities. The project includes oral histories, documentary films, and the Food for Thought speaker series.

Temple Northup, Co-Director
Monica Perales, Co-Director
Todd Romero, Co-Director

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To Bear Fruit for Our Race

Dr. Bernard Harris in Space, 1995 - Courtesy of Dr. Harris


Completed by graduate students and in partnership with the Houston Medical Forum, the moving and innovative online exhibit, To Bear Fruit for Our Race, tells the history of Houston’s African-American physicians.

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Wednesdays in Mississippi: Civil Rights as Women’s Work

Polly Cown and Dorothy I Height

Wednesdays in Mississippi: Civil Rights as Women’s Work chronicles a little-know civil rights project sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women during Freedom Summer that united women across racial, regional, and religious differences by opening lines of communication between them.

Debbie Z. Harwell, Editor

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Selected Recent Projects

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  • Energy Capitals (2010) and Energy Resources (2012): The Center for Public History collaborated with the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximillians University in Munich, Germany to sponsor “Energy Resources: Europe and Its Former Colonies,” October 3-4, 2012. The workshop convened at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which is regarded as the premier museum of technology in the world. The meeting followed the successful workshop, “Energy Capitals: Local Impact, Global Influence,” held in May, 2010, at the University of Houston, and funded by CPH and the National Science Foundation.

  • The June 2012 special issue of the Journal of American History, Oil in American History,” addresses one of the most central and controversial topics of contemporary political and social debates and prominently features the work of several UH Center for Public History faculty, affiliates, and students.  Co-edited by CPH affiliate Tyler Priest (University of Iowa), the special issue includes articles by Priest, CPH faculty Joseph Pratt and Kairn Klieman, and Jason Theriot, who completed his PhD at UH in 2011 and is now an energy policy fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

  • In 2013, Joseph A. Pratt published Exxon: Transforming Energy, 1973–2005. Dr. Pratt employed various UH graduate students as researchers on the project.

Selected Past Projects

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  • Association of International Petroleum Negotiators History Project: The AIPN has recruited a history of its organization to be completed in 2006-2007.
  • Bibliography of Houston Area Archival Resources
  • Brown & Root Marine History Project: Joseph A. Pratt, Tyler Priest, Christopher J. Castaneda, Offshore Pioneers: Brown & Root and the History of Offshore Oil and Gas (1997).
  • Coins: Heads and Tales of History, an exhibit on ancient coins designed and curated by students from Dr. Frank Holt’s graduate course, ran during summer 2007 at MD Anderson Library.
  • Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan (Facts on File, 2010), covered some 800 topics, reflected UH faculty’s leadership in this field, and offered UH public history students unique opportunities to learn about historical editing. 
  • “Fresno Sanitary Landfill,” National Historic Landmark Nomination, National Parks Service
  • Galveston Bay: Institute for Public History, Survey of Historical Sources on Galveston Bay (1998).
  • History of the Amoco Corporation
  • History of the Baker & Botts law firm
  • History of the Houston-Galveston Research Council
  • History of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic: William H. Kellar and Vaishali J. Patel, Kelesy-Seybold Clinic: A Legacy of Excellence in Health Care (1999).
  • History of the National Petroleum Council: Joseph A. Pratt, William H. Becker, and William M. McClenahan Jr., Voice of the Marketplace: A History of the National Petroleum Council (2002).
  • History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry and Its Effects on Louisiana: A Study for the Minerals Management Service, U.S. Department of Interior
  • History of the Texas Eastern Corporation: Christopher J. Castaneda and Joseph A. Pratt, From Texas to the East: A Strategic History of Texas Eastern Corporation (1993).
  • “Historical Significance of Buffalo Bayou, Houston, Texas,” National Heritage Area Nomination, National Park Service
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Consultation on and lectures for exhibit, The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950 (10/06-01/07).
  • NAFTA Study, “Comparative Environmental Management in the Americas: Social, Cultural, and Legal Perspectives,”
  • Shell Oil History Project
  • Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial Special Resource Study: Working through the National Park Service and with the Organization of American Historians, CPH traced the history of the NASA space shuttle program from its inception in 1972, through the search and recovery activities in East Texas following the disintegration of Columbia in 2003, and ending with the retirement of the shuttle program in 2011.
  • Survey of Historical Sources on Galveston Bay
  • Texas Commerce Banks History Project: Walter L. Buenger and Joseph A. Pratt, But Also Good Business: Texas Commerce Banks and the Financing of Houston and Texas, 1886-1986 (1986).
  • Texas Department of Transportation Cultural Resources Study
  • Texas Medical Center History