A Change of Mind, 1955

I was looking at a file of old RMC stuff earlier this week in preparation for a meeting when I came across this fund-raising brochure for the building. Here’s the cover:

RMC fund raiser 1955

As you can see, there’s only a resemblance, and a rather loose one at that, to what was built. What was really startling, however, was something else altogether — they meant to put it on the opposite end of campus, where Allen Center and it’s parking lot are now:

RMC fund raiser 1955 3

And here’s the text:

RMC fund raiser 1955 2

As some of you might know, the building was meant to house some of the (rudimentary by today’s standards) student life functions that had been located in either Autry House  or the basement of Fondren. There was quite a bit of grumbling when it opened about how far away the new RMC was from both the dorms and from Autry House and I wonder why the powers-that-be changed their minds.

Just for fun, here are some RMC construction photos that I found among Joseph Davies’s slides. First, the uncharacteristically blurry groundbreaking:

JI Davies blurry groundbreaking RMC

There are also a couple that he took from the new Biology Building across the street, which seems to have still been under construction also:

JI Davies construction through bars 60s

JI Davies RMC construction

Note: I’m taking the day off tomorrow for Good Friday. I’ll be back next week.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Two Presidents

There are many, many photographs in the archives that I’ve never seen because they’re difficult to look at. Some are oddly shaped or sized and therefore awkwardly stored, so it’s a hassle to get them out. Others are tiny slides and you have to get out the lightbox to get a decent look at them. Most of these unseen images, though, are negatives. There are a lot of them, mostly kept wrapped in envelopes made of some sort of thin paper. Yesterday I already had the lightbox out for another reason and in a spare moment I grabbed one of those envelopes for a quick peek.

It turned out to contain some very charming (and undated) pictures of Presidents Lovett and Houston standing outside on what looks like a nice day. Lovett kept an office on campus after he retired, on the third floor of the Admin Building if I recall correctly, so I suppose it wouldn’t have been unusual for them to run into each other.

So what year is it? There’s not much to go on here. The only thing I notice is that the walkway they’re standing on looks like it might still be gravel. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly when that spot was paved.

Houston photo file negative with Lovett nd

This next shot, though, is more helpful. In the background beyond the Physics amphitheater there’s the Bonner Lab, which was finished in 1952. Dr. Lovett died in 1957, so we have a five-year window when this could have been taken. I can live with that.

Houston photo files with Lovett outside nd

Bonus: In the same batch I discovered this image of Houston in his office. My attention was riveted by what I could see out of the window.

Houston photo file negative window screen

Extra Bonus: Alex Dessler, the founding chairman of the Space Science Department, came by the Woodson for a visit yesterday. We had a fun and very productive afternoon. We covered a lot of topics and he helped me identify some slides he left with me, some of which I’ll post later. Watching me struggle with the slides, he gave me a fantastic gift, one I’ll use frequently.




Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


I had a crazy day today and can’t summon any productive remarks. So here are some pretty flowers, along with a few pretty weeds:

Thresher files flowers flipped

Thresher files flowers 2

I found these pictures in the Thresher photo files and I don’t think they’re especially old — maybe late ’90s — but I was instantly struck by how wild they look. People often remark to me about how built up the campus has become but it’s also remarkable how manicured it is now.

Bonus:O'Connor Field April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dell Butcher Hall(s)

Exhibit A, from the Thresher photo files. I should be able to date this from the scaffolding but I’m at home hiding from the rain and cold:

Thresher files Dell Butcher Hall nd

Exhibit B, which I took myself last Friday:

Dell Butcher Part 2 April 2014

I can think of buildings on campus that have changed names, but not any other names that have changed buildings. Am I forgetting something?

Bonus: I had to think about this one for a long time.

Window Chem Lec nd

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Friday Afternoon Follies: Determination

This is undated, but maybe late ’60s?

Tricycle race nd



Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The First Band (or part of it, anyway), circa 1915

This is a very early photo, I’d guess 1914 or 1915. I found it in the scrapbook of a 1916 grad and the band, which had been started on the initiative of my old friend W.T. Betts, had uniforms by 1916. There’s a certain Mob-like vibe, isn’t there?

First band c1915


Shack with graffitti april 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

My Favorite Parking Lot

Here’s another one from the Thresher photo files, a very unusual and undated image taken from inside the doors of what must have been a fairly new Baker Institute building. It’s a great view of my late, lamented favorite parking lot, right across from the entrance to the Ley Student Center:

Thresher files out door of Baker institute ndSigh.

Bonus: It was a beautiful day today and I managed nearly a complete circuit of campus. There’s lots of activity right now, much of it involving guys working off the ground.

Window washer April 2014

Dismantling the shack April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments