The Tipmost Top of the Morning from President Lovett, Thanksgiving 1925

From back in the day when the annual Homecoming Reunion was still held on Thanksgiving:

New Thanksgiving 1925 Baylor program Stancliff R room

(I’m sure everyone remembers Heavy Underwood from my struggles with a scrapbook that involved two guys with the same name. The one here is Wash “Little Heavy” Underwood.)

We played Baylor that day and it ended in a 7-7 tie, which was probably a fitting end to a season where the Heisman led Owls were otherwise 4 and 4:

New Thanksgiving 1925 Baylor game cover

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday. As we often say around Rice History Manor, please pass the beans!

And I’m taking the day off tomorrow, just for fun.

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Memorial Service in the Chapel, November 25, 1963

It was, of course, for President Kennedy:

JFK Service program

Here is Paul Pfeiffer’s (’38) Prayer of Commemoration:

JFK Service Pfeiffer

I can’t add anything to that.


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Up on the Roof

I was up on the roof of the architecture building earlier this week and it got me thinking about the large number of pictures we’ve seen that were taken by people up on the roof of one campus building or another.

But what you don’t see quite so often is photos of people actually up there on the roof. There are some, though, and they fall into several categories. First–and I can’t recall too many of these–there are people fooling around. I suspect that most people who are up there fooling around don’t want to be seen.


Second, there are people working. I fall into this category, at least most of the time, although I have been known to fool around just a little bit.


Residence Halls(Commons and South) July 1912 Construction

And finally (and most interesting) there are security guys for big events. This image is from Putin’s visit in 2001 :


And this one is from the Economic summit in 1990:


Economic summit roof 049

Bonus: An early arriving reader sends a photo from this glorious morning.


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Harper Leiper Aerials, 1950

I was looking through a box from the Campus Photographer Collection, one near the end that was full of relatively recent material. Then I noticed a folder labeled “Harper Leiper Order Book.” I was surprised because Harper Leiper was a fairly prolific commercial photographer in Houston in an earlier era: most of the things that I’ve seen have been roughly from the ’50s to the ’70s.

When I opened the folder and saw this binder my heart skipped a beat:

Harper Leiper 1   052

Well,unfortunately there wasn’t a lot in there. The three aerials it did contain, though, are just beautiful. They were taken in late 1950 and they are sharp and clear and very, very interesting. Zoom in and take a close look–all of them are worth some time. In particular, the first two have really nice views of the old stadium, which would soon be demolished. The second one also features my favorite Rice geographical feature, the gaping maw of the unenclosed gully in the stadium parking lot.

Harper Leiper 3 aerial 1950   054

Harper Leiper 2 aerial 1950   053


Harper Leiper 4 aerial 1950   055

But the most surprising thing in the folder wasn’t one of these images. Rather, it was a list–a very short one, perhaps (or perhaps not) the first page of a longer inventory–of photos held in the archives in the summer of 1954:

Harper Leiper Rice photo inventory 1954   056

I’m sure everyone remembers this discussion of the efforts to start the archives in 1950, but this painful memo from a dozen years later suggests that things hadn’t progressed in a wholly satisfactory manner:

Archives 1962 Croneis memo

So it may well be that by 1954 the library held a pretty paltry collection of photographs. But they were out there, hiding in drawers and file cabinets and attics and people kept bringing them in until there are now more than I can ever give due attention to.

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Friday Follies: Low Bid BBQ

This undated picture looks to be a team from Rice F&E at a sandcastle building competition down in Galveston:

New FandE sandcastle nd

This caught me by surprise, though:

New Fand E sandcastle 2

A&E must be an earlier iteration of F&E (now called FE&P) but I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t recall what it stood for.




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“Konnie would have none of it.”

I have so much to do and so many questions coming all the time from all different directions that I generally just keep plowing forward no matter what. It’s a rare day when I go back to something I’ve  already dealt with. For the last week, though, I’ve been unable to shake something I read when I was gathering the materials to write about Konnie Kolenda.

I’d been happy to find among his things a transcript of the memorial service that was held in the Rice chapel after his death. In particular, I wanted to include these remarks by his wife, which flesh out some very interesting biographical details:

Kolenda memorial service 1991 1 054

But over the last few days it’s been something else from that service that keeps coming back to me, just a small thing that Dr. Kolenda’s colleague from the Philosophy Department, Steve Crowell, opened his remarks with. I had to go back to the box and dig out the transcript to be sure I’d read it correctly.

Steve Crowell remarks Kolenda memorial service045

I can’t decide what I think about this.

Bonus: Pauline Kolenda describes above how her husband pursued his philosophy studies at Rice with “his beloved professors Radoslav Tsanoff and James Street Fulton.” I found this picture tucked into an envelope–Tsanoff and Fulton are in the middle.

Kolenda papers tsanoff fulton nd 045

Extra Bonus: That looks like a Phi Beta Kappa key on Tsanoff’s vest.


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Inside the Navy ROTC Building

I’ve written about this building a couple of times before but mostly to bemoan the lack of information about it. We do know that it was built in a big hurry in the spring and summer of 1941 and designed by William Ward Watkin in a style described as “modernistic.”

Hidden behind the power plant, it was rarely photographed but here’s the outside, which I agree you’d have to call modernistic:

Naval ROTC building 1941

NROTC Building 1942

So imagine my surprise when I came across photos of the inside of the building that show it to be not just traditional but absolutely cozy. This first one was taken in the fall of 1941, just after it opened–note the wood paneling:

Inside Navy Building September 1941 004

The second one, taken in 1943 and showing the Rice Naval ROTC staff, is even more surprising. It almost looks like faux colonial. Very unexpected.

Rice Naval ROTC staff Inside Navy Building October 1943005

Bonus: We had a firetruck today!


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