Casual Friday

Lady Godiva appears at matriculation, 1995:

Lady Godiva 1995

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Hyman!

I found out on Facebook that today is Harold Hyman’s 90th birthday. Dr. Hyman came to Rice in the fall of 1968, just in time to experience the Masterson crisis, and he was instrumental in ensuring that the history of that episode was preserved for people like me to use later. He was a prolific writer and editor in the fields of legal and constitutional history as well as the Civil War and Reconstruction and he ran an infamous, never-ending graduate seminar that proved brilliantly effective at getting his students to complete their doctorates in a timely fashion. He was devoted to those students and worked tirelessly on their behalf. He and his beloved wife, Ferne, treated them as family.

Because he was both accomplished and photogenic he got his picture taken a lot–we have dozens of pictures of him. This first one, dated 1972, is very sweet:

Harold Hyman 1972 better

But I can’t resist adding a second, because it made me smile. He could stop you in your tracks with that look:

Thresher files Harold Hyman nd

A Marine in World War II, Dr. Hyman spoke movingly at Rice’s Veteran’s Day celebration in 2012.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Hyman!

And thanks to Rachel Dvoretzky for pointing me to the Facebook post.





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Homecoming, 1950

From a box of old slides, the Rice Homecoming Parade, September 30, 1950. This would have been before the first game (against Santa Clara) in the new stadium. It was a very big production:

Parade Homecoming 1950 1


The Homecoming Queen:

Parade 3

Definitely not the Homecoming Queen:

Parade 4

That’s President Houston in the back seat at right. I don’t know who the others are.

And the Rally Club proposed an alternate Homecoming Queen:

Parade 5

Parade 6


Bonus: A small act of kindness really brightened my day. Phil Brooks in the Chemistry Department brought me a little rolling stool so I wouldn’t have to kneel on the floor to go through several boxes of old papers. I’m so very grateful.


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Boom!: The Coolest Thing I’ve Seen in Quite Some Time

I hd intended to write about something else today but looking through some old Public Affairs files I came across the coolest thing I’ve seen in quite some time.  The first image in the packet was this intriguingly rigged up vehicle:

Mobile recording lab exterior

Hmmm . . . that certainly looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? But what is it for? A bit more digging turned up an interior shot of the truck along with—a miracle–an explanatory caption:

Mobile recording lab nd

Wow! It’s an early, less insane version of Storm Chasers. The project belonged to Arthur Few, who started studying thunder as a grad student in the Space Science department, working with my old friend, Alex Dessler. Here’s young Dr. Few explaining the benefits of his research, I would guess for some sort of article (although if there was one I couldn’t find it):

Mobile recording lab research

Oddly enough, given all those nice captions, the only way I could come up with an approximate date for the photos was from a Houston Post piece about the project, which kind of gives you the gist of what he was up to:

Mobile recording lab Post March 23 1969


If you want to know more, just ask. There’s lots more–this folder was full of dry, technical matter that I could not understand. There was even a picture of what I imagine was how the machine read thunder:

Mobile recording lab thunder





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Summertime Blues

It’s really hot. And lonely too. Everybody who could get out of town is now out of town. Walking out to my steaming car this afternoon I gazed longingly at the fancy palm-shaded outdoor pool at the Rec Center:

Palm trees by pool 2014

Happily, it gave me a chance to revisit the berserk charm of the old Grad House on Main and University with it’s earlier incarnation of palm and pool glamour:

Grad House pool c1993

Thresher files, c1993

One more just because I like it:

Grad House back gate c1993

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Friday Morning Follies: Lathered Up

I’m calling this circa 1990s but it’s hard to tell under all that shaving cream.

Pub wall c90s shaving cream

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Always Look On The Back

Things have calmed down substantially this afternoon and I am relishing the opportunity to write with a bit more calm. In fact, I’d like to just meander around a little this time. Let’s start with this very old photograph of Edgar Odell Lovett that I found in the Lovett Family Papers. I don’t know what process produced images like this but there are several in our collections, all very moody:

EOL at his desk Scanlan Building Byron

Happily, this picture is labeled on the back: “EOL in his office at the Scanlan Building, 1909.” The Scanlan Building was Rice’s headquarters until the campus was built, the site of all the meeting and planning for what was to come. It remained the home of the Institute’s business office for quite some time even after Dr. Lovett moved into the Administration Building–there was precious little space for non-academic offices on the campus for many years.

One day at lunch in the Woodson I mentioned that I was longing to have an image of the Scanlan Building and my colleague Rebecca almost immediately produced one. It’s a postcard and it’s dated 1909, the same year as the photo:

Scanlan Building 1909 Autrey Collection postcard

If you turn it over, on the back you’ll find a charming note to a little girl named Allie May Autry from her friend Max, who sounds bored and lonely with all his pals gone for the summer. Allie May would have been in Corsicana visiting her mother’s family:

Scanlan Building postcard verso

Allie May eventually enrolled at Rice, graduating in 1925 after having been very active in student government and social life–she was Queen of the May Fete her senior year, which was a very big deal indeed. Here’s her Campanile picture:

Allie May Autry 25 Campanile

But here’s a picture of her I like a lot better:

Allie May Autrey class of 24 c 1922 Mrs Edward Kelley

Allie May Autry Kelley remained a loyal supporter of her alma mater her entire life. Her gift made possible the construction of the Gymnasium in 1950 and she named Autry Court in honor of her mother, a passionately devoted fan of Rice athletics. We have her college scrapbook in the Woodson and I use it often. We also have a magnificent collection of Autry Family papers, which I believe is the source of the Scanlan Building postcard.



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