Mrs. Lovett cordially invites . . .

I ran across this charming invitation in an unexpected place. Ordinarily I’ll find things like this in student scrapbooks but this one turned up in the Information Files. Even as an object it’s quite lovely–very heavy stock, embossed seals and beautiful engraving–but I also find the notion of inviting the entire student body to tea quite a happy one. What an event that must have been, how exciting for the students. (I do wonder who Mrs. Lovett’s friends were. If I had to guess I’d bet faculty wives.)

MRs Lovett tea invitation teens Edith Leeseman file

The only thing I don’t know is what year it was held but it had to have been very early. The file I found it in was labeled “Edith Leeseman” and she graduated in 1916 with the first class.

Bonus: L1000639

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Friday Afternoon Follies: Girls Talk

I know they can’t possibly be talking about me yet I still feel a small chill when I look at this.

Girls Huddled c1960

It’s a party held by one of the literary societies, circa 1960.

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Before there was ktru . . .

there was KOWL. Student radio at Rice seems to have begun in 1967 with a two-watt station, KHCR, broadcasting from the basement of Hanszen College. In 1968 it moved into the RMC and changed it’s name to KOWL. It was short lived–by the end of 1969 Rice had an fm station with the familiar call letters KTRU.

KOWL radio unknown origin


KOWL’s greatest moment probably came during the campus crisis that surrounded the appointment of William Masterson as Rice’s president in February of 1969. They did their best to cover the rapidly changing situation and stayed on the air throughout most of those tense five days. Reporters for the Houston news outlets, hungry for information about the dramatic events, were forced to sit in their cars in the Rice parking lot, the only place they could reliably pick up the station’s weak am signal.

The station was not well known even on campus so they stuck up flyers all over advertising their coverage of the crisis. Here’s one:

Masterson KOWL

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Wiess College Luminaries

In my email the other day came this photograph, sent by loyal reader George Webb ’88 after it was discovered (where?? what else is there??) by PJ Abrams, ’92. In it we see PJ, the first woman president of Wiess, Dr. Bill Wilson, long time RA at Wiess, and Dr. Stan Dodds, stalwart Wiess associate, at the dedication of the new Wiess  building in 2002:

PJ Abrams B Wilson S Dodds 2006It reminded me of another photo of Wiess personages, undated and unlabeled:

Wiess personages nd maybe early 80sI recognize a few of them but there are more I don’t know. Any help is appreciated. And many thanks to both George and PJ.

Bonus: Stairs.


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Basketball Season Arrives, 1929

Almost against my better judgement, I love college basketball. I know that most people look forward to March and the NCAA tournament but I prefer November with it’s unsullied hopefulness. Here we have the Rice Owls early in the 1929-30 season, when home games were still played in the city auditorium:

Glass basketball team c1930


Game action:

Glass basketball in auditorium c1930


And before the game they posed outside with apparent good humor in their startlingly short shorts:

Glass street basketball c1930


Glass basketball c1930

Update: Contrary to the label on the envelope where I found these pictures, they must have been taken late in the season. If you zoom in on the action shot you can see the score, which was kept on a chalk board (!): Rice 14, Baylor 18. That game was played on March 1, 1930. I don’t know who won but if I were betting I’d put my money on Baylor.



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Mr. Dennis

Time for the next–and probably the most exciting–installment of my series on Alan Chapman’s notes about the early power plant:

Power plant notes

I’ve already talked about McCants and about Walworth, English and Flett. Up today is the real breakthrough, the thing that made me exclaim out loud when I saw it: Edward “Cap” J. Dennis.

I’d seen references to “Mr. Dennis” all over the place but I couldn’t tell exactly what his job was. In fact, I was never entirely certain whether Dennis was his last name or his first. Once I had his whole name, though, things began to fall into place very quickly. Here’s an article about him that appeared in the Engineering Section of the Thresher in January 1930:

Power plant Mr Dennis Thresher January 10 1930

There’s a lot of great information here but there were a couple of things that really stood out to me. First, a marmoset?? Second, he essentially lived here. I’m going to try and see if I can figure out exactly where “the small white bungalow just back of the Institute grounds” was located.

Here’s Mr. Dennis in his domain, the man in the white shirt with his hand on the ladder:

Power plant Mr Dennis

Bonus: When we were in New York this weekend I saw this  mechanical owl in the window of Barney’s. It’s quite large and it moves back and forth and speaks in a deep voice. The effect, I must say, was more disturbing than festive.



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Friday Follies: Parking Patrol

No date. I do not like the look of this at all.

Parking Patrol nd but c90s

Bonus: I’m in New York this weekend. Good cleaning crew at the Four Seasons.



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