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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4 Responses to Two Presidents

  1. Is that some kind of optical slide pre-viewer?

  2. Pingback: Why I Love My Job: Reason Number One | Rice History Corner

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