Friday Follies: Beer Bike Bunny, 1984

Look at their faces:

New beer bike bunny 1984

I wish we could see this from their perspective.

I think.

Bonus: No bunnies here but nothing says “spring” like baby animals.


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” A ‘Magic Moment’ in Track History,” 1973

Rummaging around in a box full of old sports media guides, I noticed this photo on the back cover of the 1974 Spring Sports booklet:

New 1974 spring media guide 2

(It’s not at all clear to me why they decided to put “magic moment” and “historic’ in quotes here. It really was historic and arguably magical as well.)

And by the way, here’s what Dave Roberts looked like from the other direction:


I actually posted about him once before without knowing who he was. (I was just taken with an image.) You have to read the comments to get the basic information.

Bonus: I was also interested in the guide itself, which is very small–just a little bigger than a checkbook–and covered all spring sports in one tiny package:

New 1974 spring media guide 1

I found the section on facilities especially noteworthy:

New 1974 spring media guide 3

I’m not really going to venture into a discussion of athletic facilities except to cock a little bit of an eyebrow at the notion of the “modern track and field facility.” There had been a track and field facility in that spot since 1912 and those stands had been there since the ’20s. I wonder if they had recently gotten a new track surface or some such?

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Double Vision


Architecture professors Anderson Todd and Will Cannady pose with their likenesses in Cohen House. I’ve talked before about their 1976 renovations of the building but I may have failed to mention that part of their reward was to have this made and installed. This nice spot near the administrative wing, however, wasn’t it’s original location. For a long time it was actually outside, right next to the loading dock. See the blank square in shadow at the far right of the image?


The story I was told was that Hackerman put it in this unpleasant little spot because he was irritated with cost overruns on the project. If this story isn’t true, it should be.

Bonus: James Chillman with his own image. More on this later.


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“a rather rigorous salt free diet,” 1962


Just for the record, the actual work I’m doing right now is about the tremendous changes the 1960s brought to Rice (and also about the surprisingly sharp limits of those changes). This means that I’m looking more carefully at the collections that shed light on this, of which there are many. A while ago I was going through some boxes that held material about the 1962 Semi-centennial celebration, including President Pitzer’s inauguration, and up turned this little gem:


Griffith Evans was a member of Rice’s first faculty and stayed until 1934 when he was lured away to chair the Math Department at Berkeley.

Two things: First, I hadn’t thought about it until recently but of course Evans knew Ken Pitzer at Berkeley and seems in fact to have been quite friendly with him. Second, the estimable Mrs. Evans was Isabel Mary Johns, daughter of an old Texas family and a descendant of San Houston, who graduated from Rice in 1917 and immediately married her teacher. Third, I’m fairly certain he didn’t make the trip after all but I’m in my office at home right now and don’t have any way to check on that.

I also, oddly enough, happen to have a photograph of Evans taken at almost the precise time this letter was written. I found it maybe a year ago in Julian Huxley’s papers. Huxley is in the middle, Evans at left and I have no idea who the guy on the right is–the picture is only labeled “Berkeley, 1962″:

Evans and Huxley Berkeley 1962



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A Rough and Ready History of the Early Library, c1950s

I was only in the Woodson for a little while today but it was long enough to run across this, which I found in the circa early ’50s Freshman Guide that I picked off the shelf at random. I thought this small document was well written as these things go, both informative and amusing:

Library from early 1950s Student Handbook

What I’m interested in here (besides the gambling on the first floor of Lovett Hall, which is a bit shocking–I think they gamble up on 2 these days) is the crazy quilt of library space that developed in the days before Fondren was built. Whatever that building’s demerits it surely answered a real need.

As far as I know I’ve only ever seen two images of library space not in either Fondren or the Administration Building, both somewhere in the Chemistry Building. This one was taken in 1947 in the Architecture Library somewhere on the second floor and the people in it are wearing the glazed looked of seminar participants. That’s William Ward Watkin at right, Art professor James Chillman in the middle and (I believe) Rice architecture alumnus Burke McGinty on the left:

Architecture library 2nd floor Chem Burke McGinty c1947

This next one is from substantially earlier. I found it with a stack of pictures taken when the building opened in 1926 and I’m almost positive the books we see here were the bulk of the library’s chemistry holdings:


What’s really eye catching is the window at the back left: you can see out of it. And what you see when you blow it up are the dorms. In theory I should be able to figure out where this room was. If I have a minute tomorrow I’ll go look.

Bonus: Lovett Hall with dog, 2015.


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Friday Follies: Commencement Prep

I’m sure it’s harder than it looks:

New microphone commencement

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Martel College Construction, 2001

Until this afternoon I’d never seen a photo of Martel College construction. Now I’ve seen one, but it’s a real beauty, an aerial taken in January 2001:

New Martel construction 2000 DC Papers

So much has changed since then but what I’m stuck on is the parking lot behind Abercrombie. What was that lot called?

Here’s a nice piece about Mr. Martel and his generosity to Rice, written in the wake of the Martel Foundation’s gift that made the construction possible:

New Martel gift

Bonus: And here are some real rascals. That’s Speros Martel shaking hands with Hackerman and Ralph O’Connor and Karen George are at left. Based on Karen’s outfit I feel safe calling this the middle of the 1980s.

Speros Martel et al

Love the William Marsh Rice photo bomb!

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