Organizing an archive based on any sizable collection representing many members of a community is not without some trials along the way. Wild Dog Archives seeks to be transparent in our process toward achieving our vision and mission. We have received inquiries from the community to which these memories belong and, to dispel any myths or alternative retellings about how Wild Dog Archives came to be, you can read our frequently asked questions to learn more about the acquisition.
How did you “acquire” this collection? What does that mean and who did it belong to?
The contents you see in this digital archive belonged to Henry Wild Dog (1955-2008).
After Henry’s unexpected passing January 21, 2008, some of his estate was sold off in lots (namely his legendary record collection). However, a number of boxes containing
collectible ephemera (comprising zines, magazines, letters, flyers, posters and other audio/video related media) remained unclaimed in his home for four years until the home was purchased by a developer. Note that the home was not climate controlled, so the collection was exposed to the Houston humidity and heat, as well as rodents and pests, during this time. Once a developer purchased the home from Henry’s relative with the intent to renovate and resell the property, he was tasked with cleaning out the remaining contents of the home, including throwing out some of the previously unclaimed boxes. Tayvis Dunnahoe was contacted by a friend of the developer with the information that there may be vintage media available in a lot being cleared out to add to his inventory for Video Sanctum, a virtual video store and separate local archival effort. Tayvis and the developer met on site and negotiated an acquisition value for the remainder of the collection that had not been thrown out; these are the materials we refer to as Wild Dog Archives.
Can we have our band’s flyers, recordings and zines?
Wild Dog Archives is a preservation effort. The artifacts were purchased and we, the curators and owners, pay for storage to house the collection. That is a financial responsibility we have willingly taken on without assistance or donations. This special collection remains intact with no intention of breaking it into pieces to sell for profit. That would go against our vision and mission to create a narrative around WILD DOG zine and the other countercultural archives found within this expansive collection.
We are honored to have worked with members of this community to understand certain artifacts and stories related to these materials. Our vision and mission is based on preserving the legacies found in Wild Dog Archives, so we welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we can work together to document your story or confirm what may or may not be found in this collection.
Why do you watermark the scans with a Wild Dog Archives logo or URL?
It is true that while we own the physical materials being scanned for the digital archive, Wild Dog Archives did not create all of these materials. We also acknowledge the zines that were created in the DIY spirit of the times, and which often lifted content from many sources, also had legitimate mastheads crediting editors, contributing writers, artists and photographers for their work. Our goal is to source the content owners of these works in our courtesy lines when there are names associated with an artifact(s). The watermark is not used to claim possession of the artifact itself but rather is used as a promotional tool for crediting our archival effort because this, in and of itself, is a major undertaking.
Please consider that some of these materials have been lost to time or are incredibly scarce, and since we consider this a digital humanities effort to further the narrative of Houston’s underground music history, we are also acknowledging our Curators’ efforts and time spent storytelling around the collection. The ultimate goal is to share stories and histories unseen by the public since 1979 through the 1980s. We do not profit from this time nor the expense/overhead to store the collection, and we also do not write to promote ourselves with a “byline;” therefore we believe that acknowledging Wild Dog Archives as a source for this information is the least we can do for ourselves given the enormous time and dedication we give to preserving the collection. We hope the community understands.
Want to know more? Want to collaborate? We appreciate your interest! Please send all inquiries to Nancy Agin D.