You Know What’s Always Fun?

A three-legged race.

Today another significant group of slides I’d never seen before quite unexpectedly fell into my lap. As I looked through them I was surprised to discover a clear link back to the glass plate negatives from the 1929-30 school year that turned up a few weeks ago. Here are some freshman hijinks in the fall of 1929:

Glass slime three legged race 1929

And here are two undated shots from today’s batch:



Three legged race ndThree legged race Lovett ndI’m not sure how to even begin to go about dating these. Maybe ’80s or early ’90s? Same event or different ones? They’re all pretty dorky one way or the other.




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Rice Fight Never Dies: Kyle Field, 1930

I heard we have a baseball game against Texas A&M this afternoon. It reminded me of this bit of youthful high spirits:

Kyle Field c1931 Rice Fight

I’m pretty sure it was taken in 1930 and the note on the back says we had to send students back up to College Station to clean it up.

Rice won, by the way, 7-0.

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Nixon Resigns, 1974

This dunking booth at the Baker Shakespeare Festival in the spring of that year may have been the last straw:Shakespeare festival 1974 dunking booth Steve Jackson as Nixon

Bonus: P1080652

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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.


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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.




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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

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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

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