Today was even weirder than usual. I was sitting on the front porch at our ranch this morning, having a cup of coffee and reading one of the oral history interviews that were done in the wake of the Masterson Crisis in 1969. Near the end of the interview, the subject made reference to a letter that I had never heard of before. From his description of the contents I knew that if it still existed, it would shed pretty strong light on some important matters.
Well, I just could not sit still. I had a decent idea of where to look for the letter so I threw my stuff into a bag, got in the car and took off for Houston. I had to talk myself out of a richly deserved speeding ticket in Wallis and I got a nail in my back right tire somewhere along the way. But I eventually straggled in to the Woodson, a little disheveled in ranch clothes and a ball cap. (No one blinked, by the way.)
And I found it! It was buried among some not-especially-interesting mimeographed flyers and college newsletters that were put out by students during the crisis. Now I have to sit and think about it for a while.
So, what am I telling you here? I’m telling you that I’m exhausted and I don’t have anything intelligent to say this evening. So I’m just going to put up an interesting picture that I don’t quite understand. Here it is:
This has to have been taken from East Hall, right? Or Baker Commons? 1915ish.
This would have been taken from the cloisters that ran between Baker Commons and East Hall before Baker Commons was lengthened so that it abutted East Hall at one corner. Early photos of the two buildings show a gap between them, with the cloisters providing a covered walkway between them. I don’t know when Baker Commons was lengthened, but you’ve posted at least one photo from 1950 that shows it had occured by then.
What and when was “Baker’s Commons”?
I lived in West Hall (Baker, I believe), in 1953-55. We had NO commons, except see below, for anything, at that time.
We dined at Mrs. Hardy’s exquisite East Hall then.
By the way, Brad Thompson ’55, and I were the resident ‘docs’ in training at the Health Service (? proper name) that existed in West Hall during those years. There was a nurse in attendance week days, and 2 M.D.s alternating sick call some mornings, but I can’t remember how frequently; one was Hugh Welsh, father of my classmate Hugh Welsh of ’56.
The Health Service occupied the bottom floor of the south end of West Hall. There was even a sick ward (about 4 beds as I recall). I don’t remember ever having any females in the sick ward, and don’t know where they might have been treated. Brad and I lived in a room on the second floor above the Health Service, using the Common Bathroom for the entire floor. [Now, that was common!]
Well, now that I wrote my above reply, I can see and read James Medford’s material about Baker Commons.
James, now you have me wondering about whether I lived in Baker Hall, at all.
“And I hope you’re satisfied, you rascal you.”
West Hall became part of Hanszen College in 1957. The Health Service continued to occupy that same location for a few more decades. East Hall became part of Baker College in 1957, and the Commons (the old dining hall) became Baker Commons.
I was at Berkeley polishing on my dissertation in ’69; so I don’t know what the “Masterson Crisis in 1969” was about. Can someone expand a bit on that topic?
The board rather abruptly appointed William Masterson president without having consulted with faculty and students, even though they had asked the faculty to form an advisory committee. Masterson was a Rice alum, the first master of Hanszen, and had taught and served here for many years before he left in ’66 to be president of the University of Chattanooga. For many reasons this was an extremely unpopular choice. The combination of that unpopularity and the total lack of consultation led to a revolt. Masterson resigned four days after his appointment was announced.
Actually, one of my favorite posts of yours. It shows the determination and passion (and exhaustion) when searching for a deeper understanding of events. (It also shows how an offhand reference can point someone to an item that was right under their nose).
Thanks very much, David. I appreciate your kind words more than I can tell you.