Dorothy Hood in Fondren, 1997

It’s really summer at Rice now. That is, it’s very hot and quiet. It was twenty summers ago that two large Dorothy Hood paintings were quietly installed in the Brown Fine Arts Library in Fondren. Wisely, they decided to wait and hold the celebration in October:

I recognize Hood, of course, along with Rice Art Professor Bill Camfield, Librarian Chuck Henry, and to the right the estimable Sally Reynolds. I don’t know the gentleman on the right, however, so if you do please let me know.

These paintings are no longer up on the third floor but are (along with another Hood) featured prominently near the entries to the building. To find out more about them and about the rest of the art in the building, you need to go here — it’s a brand new Fondren Library Arts and Cultural Objects Tour, researched and written by Sheila Mayfield as her capstone project for the MLS program in the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. You can either read the text or listen to the audio version, which is charmingly narrated by Molly Crownover, wife of Jim ’65.

Bonus: I’d read the text of this tour before it was published but it wasn’t until I saw the pictures that I realized that something is missing. Ten extra credit points to whoever can name it. It’s pretty well hidden and not easy at all.

Extra Bonus: The athletic marketing people had Sammy out working despite the 99 degree heat. His task was to execute some sort of dance that has gone viral on the interwebs. That is one tough bird!


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Subterranean Homesick Blues

I made it back from vacation in one piece, and although I did have a mild head cold there were no dramatic ER visits this year. I really didn’t look at my email very much so it’s going to take a while to get caught up. If I owe you a reply, well, let’s hope for the best.

I return to campus only to find Bill Peebles ’70 at it again, this time on an unauthorized trip through the steam tunnels.

I just adore this:

The first time I ever went down in the old sections of the tunnels I spent ten full minutes considering whether I ought to panic. (I think I have video of that somewhere, by the way, but I’ll have to ponder where it might be.) It’s pretty tight down there, also dirty, dark, and hot:

Misspelled by accident or design? I’d guess simple indifference. All colleges are the same under ground:

Bonus: The new sections are much swankier.

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Out of Service, 2018

I’m on vacation as of . . . right . . . now!

Unlike last summer, I’m not going off to do archival work somewhere else. I’m going to sit on the porch, stare into the distance, and drink iced tea. I’ll be back sometime in the front half of the week of July 16th. If you need historical assistance in the meantime just call or email the Woodson. Whatever you do, don’t save it up and wait for me to get back! They can surely help you and if they do need me they’ll get in touch with me on the Archivist Bat Phone.

Try to be good while I’m gone.

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A Trip through the Storm Sewers, 1967

Let’s journey with known mischief-maker Bill Peebles ’70 and several compatriots who for unclear reasons decided to climb down into the Rice storm sewer one evening in the late ’60s. Maybe, like climbing Everest, they did it just because it was there.

They descend here after removing the grate in the stadium parking lot. Uninviting, but I’d give it a try:

The occasion must be commemorated. Is this still there? I can probably find out.

Taking a break:

Finally they ascend to a warm welcome in the same place they started. Everyone seems to  be smiling:

I’m not sure what would happen to you if you tried this today, although I think it’s much harder to get down there now.

Bonus: There’s a lot going on underneath us.

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I’d Be Headed Straight to the Copacabana, 1956

The back cover of the 1956 Rice Directory offers options for your nights out on the town:

Color TV and spaghetti by the yard?? Count me in!

Bonus: My second typewriter this week and this one looks ready for action.

Extra Bonus: I feel a little bad about it but this made me laugh. That’s what you call maximum security.


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What Is This Thing?

I’m not even going to try to explain how I wound up with this. But I am deeply curious about how it came to be:

It’s pretty obvious what the outer piece is and also precisely what vintage it is. Below is one that’s still hanging on the wall in Lovett Hall–note the cobwebs–but how did the one I have get off the wall? And which wall did it come from? Baker?

Here’s the back of the one I have on my desk:

Someone went to a lot of trouble to put the two things together, but I have no idea why anyone would do this. Is it just for the weirdness of an object that says both “Rice Institute” and “Rice University” on it? Is it supposed to have a use? Maybe . . . an ashtray?

Any thoughts are welcome.

Bonus: Painted over in the basement of Physics, which was completed in late 1914. Note that it’s slightly different.

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Vanished, circa late ’90s

I’ve had an unusual day and that’s saying a lot if you’re me. I’m too tired to write but I do have a great and highly unusual photograph that was given to the Woodson last week. I think I’ve only seen one other that shows these now vanished courts:

As I look at it now I realize that I don’t know when those courts were put in.


Extra Bonus: All sorts of things churn to the surface during summer clean out. Haven’t seen one of these in quite a while.



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