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Morton and Jean Levy papers

Identifier: MS 0845
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

One box of newsclippings, bulletins, photographs, and a scrapbook documents some of the work and activities Morton and Jean Levy have been involved in within the Houston Jewish community between 1948 and 1997. Of particular interest to researchers are the architectural drawings created by Morton Levy while renovating the Congregation Brith Shalom synagogue in Houston during the 1980's.


  • Creation: 1948 - 1997


Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Morton and Jean Levy Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Morton Levy, a native Houstonian, graduated from high school in 1951. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice Institute in 1955 and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture, with distinction, from Rice in 1956. He founded his own architectural practice in 1963 and was licensed to practice architecture in Texas from 1960 through 2014. He was certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards in 1972. His leadership in his profession was recognized by advancement to lifetime Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1983. He has served as president of the American Institute of Architects - Houston and is the only Jewish president of the Texas Society of Architects in its history. He served National AIA as Chair of the Continuing Education Committee. Included in his record of public service was Chairmanship, by mayoral appointment, of the Houston Commission on Disabilities.

His award-winning practice résumé included service as architectural consultant to the U.S. Postal Service for thirteen years, eighteen projects for the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services, four projects for the Houston Independent School District, seven Houston area synagogues, and eight renovation/expansion projects for the Houston Jewish Community Center.

In addition to typical coverage in local newspapers, Levy's writings and buildings appeared in Architectural Record, Texas Architect, Architecture at Rice, The Jews in America, Building Stone magazine, NOMDA Spokesman magazine, Engineering News-Record, HomeCare magazine, AIA Perspective, and Sacred Places magazine. In recent years, he has been an active speaker and author on the subject of religious architecture. He retired from his practice in 2015.

Jean Merle Kanowitz Levy is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved with her family to Houston at the age of nine. A graduate of San Jacinto High School in Houston, Jean went on to receive a degree in Liberal Arts Studies from the University of Houston.

Morton and Jean married in 1960 and have three children: Nanette (1961), Jay (1965), and Lisa (1966).


.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of one box containing a scrapbook of, primarily, Morton Levy's architectural drawings of the proposed renovation to Congregation Brith Shalom's interior, correspondence, newsclippings, and photographs of the congregation's interior from 1986-1996. In addition to the drawings in the scrapbook there are ten prints from Levy's portfolio (1997) of a number of synagogues that he worked on. The rest of the material -- two Congregation Beth Israel bulletins, newsclippings, and two group photographs of Barnston B.B.G. members -- is from 1948 to 1954.


The materials in this collection have been arranged chronologically in one series as follows:

Series I: General

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated by Morton and Jean Levy in November of 2018 and March of 2019.

Guide to the Morton and Jean Levy papers, 1948-1997
Traci Patterson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA