Zoom in and check out the banner on the young woman in the tree. Votes for Women! (I’m still not totally convinced this was a good idea.)
They are all members of Rice’s first graduating class, I believe. The one in the tree is in fact the first woman to graduate from Rice, Hattie Lel Red. Her diploma hangs on a wall in the back room of the Woodson. On the left is Ruth Robinson, who would marry Rice faculty member Joseph Pound of the Mechanical Engineering Department after graduation. I’m not sure of the name of the young lady on the right, but the one in the middle, who’s sort of yucking it up, is one of the famous Waggaman sisters. I think it’s Adele. (I’ll talk more about the Waggamans later. They were really something.) I wonder if they had been at a demonstration–they certainly seem to be having a good time.
I forwarded the link to this article and a modified version of the image of the ladies in the tree to one of Hattie’s grandchildren (one that didn’t go to Rice).
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Well, here I go with part of the family version of Rice history. Alice Dean, my great-aunt, maintained that SHE was the first woman graduate of Rice Institute (she and Lel Red were in the same 1916 class) because the graduates went up to the lectern in alphabetical order, and “D” comes before “R” in the alphabet. “Aunt Allie” thought Rice gave her good friend Lel that honor b/c her brother George was the first graduate of UT Law School (or some similar distinction) and Rice wanted to tie the two together. Incidentally, Lel Red taught math at Lamar High School while I was there and was damn good at it.
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