Friday, September 10, 2010

Sig and the City: From The Houston Library's Microfilm Reader to Your Computer

Lately, I've benefited from moderate bouts of unemployment and our daughter's happy introduction to day care.  This has given me some predicable and productive free time.  Productive mainly for the fans of Sig Byrd, Houston's mid-century chronicler of the the local underclass.  If he had never strolled the streets, there would be no huge void in the city's history.  But his writing tells parallels tales to the popular take on the city and its developement.  Civic boosters must have had a daily conniption, reading about drunken barflys, grifters, the private eye, hitchhikers and many others who are the real-life characters in Byrd's noir-esque writing.

The Houston Press is archived on microfilm and the I've been scanning the 1952 columns for their eventual posting on the Sig Byrd set on Flickr.  June through December is on my computer, awaiting titles and other amending before they are internet-ready.  1953 is, to the best of my knowledge, is all there for the reading.  I never intended to be be an archivist, but making Sig a subject of research has reduced my sloth slightly and compelled me to visit locales that I wouldn't have otherwise (Morgan's Point, TX and Morales Cemetery in North Houston.)

I have hopes these efforts wil evolve into a more formal archive, but until then, Sig's writings will simply be more accessible to those few who are interested.  And that is a good thing.

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