Remember in the first picture I put up there was a guy standing alone, directly athwart a manhole cover:
His name was Thomas Frank Gailor, and he was quite an interesting fellow. In 1912 he was both the Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee and the Chancellor of the University of the South in Sewanee, positions he held until his death in 1935. Here’s a brief bio that only hints at the deeply interesting life he must have led. I was especially intrigued that a Mississippi boy would have attended Racine College in Wisconsin in the 1870s. It was, of course, an Episcopalian school–here’s a fascinating short history, written by one of its early faculty members. Have a look at the course listings. On the one hand, the classical curriculum is exactly what an educated man would have been expected to know in this era, but the existence of a separate science curriculum alongside it is unusual at this early date. I have no idea how Lovett knew Gailor, but I will find out.
His talk at the Opening was on the topic of “The Church and Education,” and it was published as part of the first volume of the Rice Institute Pamphlet. (Link was broken before–it’s fixed now.) It’s well worth a read and it’s a good place to start thinking about what it actually meant in 1912 to say that the Rice Institute was secular. It sure didn’t mean then what it does now.
Bonus: Campus manhole construction in the spring of 1912!
And just for fun, think about going over and checking out my friend Patrick Kurp’s blog, Anecdotal Evidence. I can’t recommend it enough–it’s the first place I go every morning and it’s where I have finally begun to learn the things about books that I was too callow to grasp when I was in school. Here’s a nice post (I’m in it!) with a lovely poem about manhole covers.