I Was Told There Would Be No Math, June 27, 1969

I’m taking advantage of the current NASA mania to ask for some help. Can anyone tell us what’s going on with all the equating in this picture from the Bert Brandt photo collection in the HMRC (MSS0087-2488 for those of you keeping score at home)?

Bonus: Grand Coulee Dam. Un-freaking-believable. (I’ll be home and back on duty sometime next week.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

“the principle involved is vital,” 1940

This kind of thing was not uncharacteristic. Back in the day the powers that be (or were, I guess) enforced regulations with what looks today like unseemly vigor. In particular there was a mania about keys. I’ve seen people fired for having unauthorized keys and even a couple of students expelled for the offense. Still, I’m boggled by the thought of the bursar bawling out Mr. Ryon and sympathize whole-heartedly with his offense. The principle is, indeed, vital.

Bonus: Some timely advice from St. Paul.

I was astonished to meet a Rice alum after the service. We managed to find each other despite the fact that neither of us wore any owl gear to church yesterday.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

View from Inside the Stadium, circa 1970

Regarding the picture of the press box the other day my friend Chuck Pool, Assistant AD for Media Relations at Rice, correctly noted in the comments that it must have been taken in the ’60s as there was no R Room yet. Look out the window at left and you can see that’s right:

So I went and checked out the other images I had scanned from the same file and lo and behold found this:

The bare lightbulb looks so sad.

Sure thing, there’s no R Room. But from this angle you can see something else that dates the pictures–the Rice Museum and Media Center, which was built in 1969 (and partially demolished in 2014). This puts these images in a window between 1969 and 1972, when the R Room and coaches offices were built.

There was, by the way, some controversy about the R Room. It was billed as costing $300,000 and (confidentially, of course) I can tell you it cost more than that. This was a lot of money at the time and not everyone thought it was a wise use of our resources. I found this argument quite interesting:

Just by happenstance I have a picture with me of the newly completed addition. I’ve parked up there many times, usually in order to load things destined for the Woodson into my car:




Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Full House, no date

I made it a week and a half without posting, which is better than I expected.

I am very far from home and the internet situation is not ideal. But I’ve had lots of quiet time to browse around my laptop and see what I’ve forgotten in the press of daily business. I love this picture with it’s full parking lot and view of downtown. It’s not dated but my first guess is it might be the early 1960s.

I’m also curious about where it was taken from. Here maybe?

Bonus: There are compensations for the lousy internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Forwarding Address, 1942

Anyone who could leave Houston in the summer, did leave Houston in the summer:

I’m leaving too, for the month of July. As I have a longstanding preference for non-compliance I refuse to say where I’m headed.

I’ll likely write at least a few posts while I’m gone as the spirit moves me but for all your other history needs please see the efficient and friendly staff of the Woodson Research Center. They love to help!

Bonus: Here are the Tsanoffs, summering in Colorado sometime in the 1930s.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

HMRC Thursday: The Whole Southwest Side of Campus, Wide Open, 1959

This afternoon I came across these gorgeous shots in the Harper Leiper Collection at the HMRC, taken across the top of the Tidelands Motel and over the entire southwest side of campus in January, 1959. I’ve never seen images from this angle, or anything close to it, before:

MSS 0287 11012

This is a great view of the University and Main area–note Bill Williams’ Chicken House at bottom left. The Tidelands itself, I have to admit, looks pretty sweet.

Here’s another taken probably less than a minute later:

It gives a clearer view of some sort of trenching taking place along the end of the old stadium. I don’t know what that was all about but if I had to guess I’d say it had something to do with a drainage problem. There’s a reasonable chance the answer is still somewhere in the archives.

Bonus: There are stacks of customs declarations in the Tsanoff papers, all of them for books.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Officers of Administration, 1918

This is a minute from a meeting of the Rice trustees held in December, 1918. What they’ve done here is authorize the creation of three administrative positions: a bursar, a dean, and a registrar. This describes their duties, which are considerable:

By February, as we can see in the second point of this next letter, the men who would fill the positions had been chosen. All three of them would serve well and two of them, Samuel McCann and John McCants, would serve for many decades:

My immediate reaction was real surprise at the late date–how did campus business get done between 1912 and 1918? I don’t know for sure but I expect it was already being done by these same people. My next reaction was bemusement as I pondered the fact that with a few tweaks this was essentially the shape of the Rice administration until the 1960s.

Bonus: I enjoyed reading of Governor Hobby’s generosity in the first paragraph above. He’s standing near the center in this photo of the British Educational Mission’s visit to Rice, left of Captain Baker.

British Educational Mission visit to Rice Institute

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments