I found a large number of old maps in a History Department storage closet today. (I was happy to discover that the History Department has kept their old stuff in very nice order.) These are the kind of maps that are kept folded inside heavy covers so they look like bound manuscripts when you see them sitting on a shelf. There are a lot of them–just eyeballing it I’d say about a hundred. It makes me wonder if some endowment for the purchase of maps once existed. Here’s one unfolded back in the Woodson with several others sitting on top. Note the perfect white lines where the folds are.
Faculty members used them in the classroom, usually hung on a hook attached to the top rail of the chalkboard. As soon as I realized what I was looking at I remembered this photo of Rice History Professor Floyd Lear standing in front of one:
If you zoom in on this you can see that the folds on the map are very similar to the ones above. (If I can go a bit off topic for a moment (and really, who’s going to stop me?), as I look at this photo again I recall that one of the other things I saw in that storage room was a small wooden podium like the one he’s lecturing from. I wonder if it’s the same one. I’ll check.)
In all honesty, I don’t really think these maps are obsolete. The worst you could fairly say about them is that they’re kind of clunky, but it seems to me that they are actually superior in some ways to the powerpoint slides that have replaced them. For one thing, many of them are simply beautiful.
I mentioned a little while ago that I’d found a bunch of interesting band photos. Those rascals have been up to mischief of one sort or another since the band was formed and it seems that there was often a camera around.
This beauty is labeled “1975.” (Not Rice’s best season, by the way.) I didn’t realize until I scanned it and blew it up that there’s a pig in the shot. Based on this and the lack of shoes on the band members (subtle!), I can only conclude that this was the Arkansas game.
Bonus: While looking for a picture of Hamman Hall’s front door I was reminded of how many new views were created by putting Brockman (the new physics building) in between Hamman and George R. Brown.
Now this is really interesting. It was one of the many events organized for Rice’s Semicentennial–two full days of speakers and panel discussions about the place of women in modern society.
And here’s the Sallyport article about the event. Look at the participants! Quoted in this piece are (among others) Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby, Bruno Bettleheim, Professor Mary Ellen Goodman and Corinne Tsanoff, the politically active wife of Rice professor Radoslav Tsanoff who arrived at Rice in 1916. Zoom in and read it–it’s just great.
I find the language here deeply interesting and well worth exploring further. My sense is that there’s more information about this event in the archives and since it’s directly related to the research I’m doing right now I’m going to start digging next week when I’m back in Houston. I’ll let you know if I find anything good.
Bonus: I’ve been thinking recently about buildings that had signs on them before the recent decision to make them all identifiable. There weren’t many, but there were a few. We’ve already established that the Bonner Lab was marked. I also noticed this the other day:
Update: Marty says in the comments that this must be new and so it is. Here’s a picture I took on May 24, 2011:
I’m not sure yet whether I think the new sign is an improvement or not (I’m leaning towards “not”) but at least now I know why I never noticed it before. This is by far my favorite campus building, by the way.
Well, after a bit of weather anxiety Rice pulled off another successful graduation. Here’s a great shot of the 100th Commencement taken by Campus Photographer Jeff Fitlow. He told me how he did this but I confess I didn’t really understand.
Just for fun let’s have a quick look at an earlier graduation. This batch of images came out of a folder in the the Campus Photographer collection. They’re all undated but I believe they were taken at the same time.
This last one, I admit, gave me a small shiver of pleasure. It’s very nearly perfect. Looks like the ’70s, no?
Summer Hours: I have a lot of catching up to do on my own research which means I won’t be in the Woodson as frequently as usual, so I’m declaring summer hours. I’ll be posting at least every Monday, Wednesday and Friday but maybe more often than that if I happen to feel like it. Who knows? I’m a complete maniac.
I thought last fall’s Centennial Celebration was absolutely magnificent. The hard work of so many able Rice faculty, staff and administrators made it very nearly perfect. But nobody’s perfect. A faculty member brought in something I’ve never seen before–an umbrella with a typo:
Special Message to the staff of the Woodson Research Center: Thank you!!!
My eighteen-month old granddaughter is visiting and so we’ve descended at my house into the kind of chaos that only a toddler can create. Unable to form any coherent thoughts, I present instead two pictures that left me speechless in wonderment. They were in the same folder but they may or may not have been taken at the same time. As usual, it’s not the ostensible subject that fascinates but rather what’s in the background.
Let me just say, wow. Look at that shack! Was that art department space? It looks like the house that the Clampetts left behind.
Obviously there’s no awesome shack in this one, but there are those arches just beyond the tree line. I’m not sure what those are.
Bonus: Part of preparing for commencement is herding the cats so they march out in the proper order. That’s what these are for.
I had a nice laugh yesterday afternoon while I was cleaning up my office at home. I’ve got a lot of research materials that I walked away from a couple years ago when I began working almost full time on Centennial stuff and it’s time to get back to it. So I was digging in one of those boxes and came upon a pile of CDs. One was labeled “Digital Photos Abercrombie.” I couldn’t recall exactly what these were so I stuck them in my laptop and had a look. Obviously I was expecting pictures of a building so I was quite surprised to find pictures of people. I was so surprised that it took a couple minutes to really register that it was actually the Abercrombies. Here’s Jim (on the left):
And here’s his wife, Lillie, posing with the same guy who’s in the picture with Jim:
The other guy, of course, is Herb Allen ’29, who spent over 55 years at Cameron Iron Works, the company Abercrombie founded. Allen retired from Cameron as President and Chairman of the Board. I’ve talked about him before here and here. I can’t say for sure but I’m fairly certain that these images came from his papers.
The story behind the family who made Abercrombie Lab possible is one of those almost mythic Texas rags-to-riches sagas. Here is the entry for James Smither Abercrombie in the Handbook of Texas Online and it’s well worth a look. You’ll note that there isn’t any mention in the article of a connection with the Rice Institute. There was one, though, and it came through the Abercrombie’s daughter, Josephine, who was a member of the class of 1946. Josephine served for many years as a member of Rice’s board, which is probably one of the least interesting things about her. Here’s just a small taste of her story, an interview done for the Kentucky Oral History Project. Trust me, there’s a lot more.
Bonus: Here’s another reader snapshot. We can all relax. They straightened it up.