Thanksgiving Follies: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow, 1959

It might just be me but I don’t see any sign of sorrow in this crowd:

I need a break from the grind too. I’ll be off campus next week but still posting so keep reading but don’t ask me to do anything until after Thanksgiving. I do promise to try to catch up with my email.

Note: Tommy Lavergne is neither dead nor fired. He just finally had to clean up his stuff.


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Two Views of Dr. Bill Wilson, no date

This lovely portrait of Dr. Bill was among the things that emerged when campus photographer Tommy Lavergne had to clean out his office:

When I went to put it in the proper file I found another photo of him, this one quite different but possibly taken at the same time. He’s practically swimming in obsolete technology while casually reading a copy of Semiconductor International:

Bonus: The lawns have been over seeded with rye grass this year. I don’t recall seeing this before but I could well be wrong about that. I’m not wrong that you can still see the weeds, though.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments


Boy, did I ever have a rough day. I’ll start over tomorrow though and honestly I’m feeling pretty confident about it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Rice of the Future, 1938

When I’m looking for things in old Campaniles I’m usually all business. I find what I need and move on. But the other day I go tangled up in the 1938 edition and what turned out to be its interesting theme of “The Rice of the Future.” Specifically, I was captivated by something I’d never noticed in this volume before: the artwork. (I don’t know whether it’s odd or throughly predictable that when an old Campanile turns out to be interesting it’s almost always because of the art.)

In 1938 each section was prefaced with a drawing of a proposed new building. They were drawn by Architecture Fellow James Dunaway under the supervision of William Ward Watkin. I have  no idea whether these buildings were ever under serious consideration but the thing that caught my attention was that they look like legitimate Rice buildings. It’s hard not to conclude that we could have done a lot worse and in some cases we did.

There are a lot of these drawings but I’ll show you them all because they’re neat. This first one, a new football stadium, was the only one that was actually built:

Next, the dramatic Commencement Hall, “to be located on the main axis of the Institute approximately 800 feet southwest of the Founder’s statue and facing the Administration Building.” Off the top of my head I’d say that’s just in front of the Shepherd School:

Here’s a look at a completed engineering quad:

A building for the School of Architecture, to be located on the south side of the main entrance, I think on or just in front of the Cohen House parking lot but facing north:

A student union, facing Main Street roughly on the site of today’s Lovett College:

A women’s residential hall, to be located near where Huff House is now but, I think, facing south towards the Architecture Building:

And finally a new gymnasium to replace the original that was already becoming problematic, to be located farther east along Main Street:

Bonus: As I thought about all this, I knew there was something else. I eventually recalled that there was a “Rice of the Future” exhibit in the 1938 Engineering Show, a plaster of paris model of this vision.

Bonus: Oh, those students. Always thinking. (Many thanks to an alert reader!)

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

“Regulations Concerning Grades,” 1956

I had a chaotic day so I’ll just post this without comment, except to note that although I found this sheet with a student’s notes for Physics 100 these regulations actually apply to the faculty.  Also they seem, as indicated in the opening paragraph, desirable. This was a very different place back then.

Bonus: Consistent internal temperatures . . . I’m a big fan!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Friday Follies: Songbirds, circa early 1920s

I look at this and all I can think about is what were they singing:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Captain Baker’s Scrapbook

A few weeks ago my colleagues in the Woodson were doing real librarian work–reorganizing some collections–as I stood around and watched. (It looked hard!) At various points I got interested and asked to see things, probably making a nuisance of myself. But I did find some completely new material. One example is, remarkably, Captain James A. Baker’s scrapbook.

Here’s the 1976 High Emprise article about the donation of the scrapbook by James A. Baker III:

 There are quite a few things in the book that I’ve never seen before. Here’s one of them, a clipping about the big shots in attendance at Rice’s 1940 football victory over Texas–that’s Baker in the middle of the bottom photo. (These old scrapbooks are not easy to deal with, by the way. Those rows of spots are some kind of mucilage type adhesive, supplemented here with tape. They make the pages wavy besides holding the clippings in with an iron grip.)

You can see in these two images above of Captain Baker that he had a very particular look, which I think could fairly be described as “stern.” I had always assumed that this look grew on him as he came to carry so many heavy responsibilities as an adult. But I was delighted to find in the scrapbook a much earlier picture of him as a military cadet, a handsome lad . . . with the exact same stern look on his face. I wish we had a baby picture so we could see if he was born with it.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment