More Honored in the Breach, 1929

I ran across this neat aerial of campus in an issue of the great old magazine called the Houston Gargoyle. I’ve mentioned this publication before in conjunction with a fabulous 1932 map of Houston’s Cradle of Culture. This one is interesting to me for two reasons. First, it could not have been taken in 1929. There’s no Cohen House (1927) and no statue of Willy (1929). I’m calling it late 1925 to 1926, one of the earlier aerials of campus I’ve seen.

And second I am quite touched by the faith that whoever wrote this had in the notion that Rice would carry out “over a span of years” a plan of “harmonious building design and ground layout.” As soon as we started building again after World War II the plan flew out the window.

Bonus: Moody Center.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

EAI 680 Scientific Computing System, c1968

Last week I came across a stash of fabulous photographs in a folder labeled “Bio Medical Engr.” Only some of them are dated but they all seem to have been taken from roughly 1968-1970. Let’s start off the week with this beauty:

Is it an analog computer? Does anyone know who the guy is? Also, I’m hoping someone with better photoshop skills than I have can make out what it says on that piece of paper.

Bonus: I also heart elec.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Friday Follies: Training Aid, mid-’70s

“See, when I flip this switch it delivers a jolt directly to your helmet.”

Bonus: Gosh, I wish Dr. Lovett were here to see this.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Louis I. Kahn Talks with Students”, 1967

The last week of classes has been lovely–blue skies, lush grass, and moderate temperatures. I spent an entire morning wandering from one end of campus to the other taking pictures just so I could stay outside. As I watched more than a dozen tour guides lead groups of prospective students around the grounds I thought of some images I’d recently scanned. Here is architect Louis Kahn conducting an outdoor seminar on what must have been a similar lovely day in 1967. Note someone’s abandoned shoes in the foreground:

Most of these photos exist only on contact sheets so they aren’t especially clear. I could see this next one well enough, though, to be puzzled by it. The location just didn’t look familiar, like it was turned at an odd angle:

I smiled when I understood. That tree sure got big, didn’t it? The photographer must’ve been on the lower roof of Fondren.


Bonus: Kahn’s visit to Rice resulted in a small book.


Here are the first three pages. They’re rather on the inscrutable side although the bit on page three about being badgered by the secretary rings true. I’ll keep reading . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

“Men in Rice Science Lab,” 1969

That’s all it says on the back of this picture:

This certainly was taken at Rice–look at the door. And somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like I know the man on the right but I can’t quite pull it up. The one on the left is completely unknown to me.

What I do recognize are parts of the machine, which looks suspiciously like a mechanical model of the circulatory system. Remember this?

Artificial Heart project?


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Max Freund, 1929 and 1979

I had a very busy day with a nice surprise at the end. I opened a box that someone else was using and I found this picture of long-time German professor Max Freund taken on the occasion of his hundredth birthday in 1979:

(Side note: what do you make of that scale on his desk?)

As I’m sure you remember I wrote about Freund back in 2014 when I found a neglected box of glass plate negatives of photographs that were made in 1929. Here he is having his picture taken for the Campanile:

He died in 1980, a year after the first picture was taken. He had quite a career:

We have not one but two collections Freund’s papers in the Woodson, here and here. He actually taught classes in philology at Rice–I’m a big fan!

Bonus: They started removing the art installation between Sewall and Rayzor today. I’m kind of disappointed. I’d been looking forward to explaining it to parents who came in for commencement.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

“A Glimpse into Clown Alley,” 1959

People can be very surprising.  Florence Stancliff ’27, for example, is well known to me as half of the Florence and Fred Stancliff Track Scholarship. I never had any reason to suspect that she was also a circus fanatic. In fact, this still seems inexplicable to me. I came across this information while curled up with a volume of old Sallyports and a glass of wine last weekend. Take a look at the article and I think you’ll agree with me that the Stancliffs really knew how to throw a party. The idea of all the circus folk pulling up to their house on North Boulevard for the evening is boggling. But how great would it be to hang out with the man who gets shot out of the cannon?! I bet he had some wild stories.

Florence was the head of planning for the 1960 Rice Day, which inevitably (I guess) became a circus:

Coincidentally I happen to have a couple of pictures of her and her colleagues that are labeled “planning for 1960 Rice Day.” That’s her on the right, smiling gleefully with her slip showing:

And this might even be Fred Stancliff ’26 with her here:

Bonus: It was a glorious day on campus. Windows and doors flung open everywhere.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments