Friday Follies: “The boys denied that they were trying to steal a monkey,” 1965

My first reaction to this was to look and see if the date were April 1. It was not.

Still not quite believing it, my second reaction was to go check whether the story appeared in the generally much duller Chronicle. It did.

As the kids say, I can’t even.

Bonus: As a solid midwesterner, I’d prefer we not express ourselves in the coffee pavilion.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Three Aerials, 1985

I found these new aerials in a box of unsorted slides that were inherited from a previous archivist. They’re just beautiful shots, crisp and clean, and the campus looks so immaculate that I suspect they must have been taken near commencement time. If you look closely around the edges you can see where things have changed–the middle tends to stay more or less the same for longer periods. They’re dated 1985. I’m not confident about that but I do think it’s pretty close:


Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The Student Life at Rice, 1915

It’s been a long day but somewhere in the middle of it I found a wonderful article that ran in the Houston Post on May 16, 1915. It’s genuinely interesting, a lively and detailed commentary on the daily routine of an “Instituter” in 1915. Note that my old friend W.T. Betts (here, here, and here) is mentioned, as is Elizabeth Kalb’s oratorical victory.I have no idea what long-ago librarian did the copying, but (not to point fingers) it was she rather than me who cut off part of some sentences.

Bonus: Scary sign on Valhalla today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“the pickets were clearly farceurs,” 1965

The detonated groundbreaking for the Space Science building also included a band of student picketers. There are quite a few photos of them, all carefully “X”ed out on the contact sheet, I suppose so no one would accidentally use them in some public relations material. Here’s an example:

I think the Thresher’s recounting of the incident is pitch perfect, with every participant maintaining character from beginning to end. Farces always work best when one party doesn’t quite appreciate the gag. I laughed hard. I can’t help myself.

I also agree that it would have been a lot cooler if there had been a bigger explosion. Probably too risky, though.


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Space Science Groundbreaking, 1965

Last week Rice broke ground on the new, badly needed, and long awaited Social Science building, to be named in honor of the lead donors Patricia Lipoma Kraft ’87 and Jonathan A. Kraft. It made me think of an earlier groundbreaking, one of the coolest ever held here:

Note the last line above. There weren’t any shovels involved, but instead a signal from a satellite set off a small explosive buried under the lawn. It was a cold day but a crowd will always turn out for an explosion:

Alex Dessler, in the middle, wearing a big overcoat, was the founding chairman of the Space Science Department and got to push the button.

Bonus: They’re replacing a bunch of light posts over on the north side of campus. The new ones are just generic looking, but inoffensive may be the best we can hope for.

More to come:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friday Follies: When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

you should juggle them. Obviously.

UT basketball coach Abe Lemons, who was actually funny, seems unimpressed with Rice student wit. This has to be circa late 1970s.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

“We want to be big, but we also want to be good.” 1953

The author of the charming response to Edwin Bonewitz in yesterday’s post was Hardin Craig, Jr., a faculty member in the history department from 1946 until 1970 and Librarian from 1953 until 1968. I see that I’ve mentioned him several times without ever explaining his role, most recently in connection with the Gertrude Stein caper and a surprising visit to Prairie View A&M. Craig oversaw the expansion and maturation of the library into a true research facility, but I’d like to go back now to the very beginning of his tenure. I think this 1953 Thresher article about his taking charge of Fondren well reflects what I’ve come to see was a gentle and respectful spirit:

Bonus: Here are Miss Lane and Miss Turnbull at Hardin Craig’s 1968 retirement reception in Cohen House.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments