A Moment of Glory, or The 1962 Houston Phone Book

A while back I came across a file that held the front cover of the 1962 Houston phone book. It’s a nice image taken on the Rice campus, a young man and a young woman standing by the RMC in the evening, framed by an arch with the new science buildings visible behind them.

A little research turned up this fun fact: The students, seniors Mary Kay Manning and Charles Giraud, were the first identifiable human beings ever depicted on the cover of the Houston phone book. The idea was to honor Rice on its 50th anniversary, suggesting the passage of time by showing both traditional and modern campus architectural features.

It wasn’t all glory, though, for the subjects. They complained of being nearly sucked dry by mosquitos as they endured 17 separate photo shoots over the course of the summer. The photographer had in mind capturing a particular rosy sunset, which he finally gave up on. The book was distributed to almost three quarters of a million houses that year, but Miss Manning did not let it go to her head, admirably noting: “We’ll be the most doodled-on people in Houston.”

Bonus: Here are the long distance rates from the inside of the cover.

Extra Bonus:

True Confession: I forgot to make a note of where I found the phone book cover, and frankly the chances of me ever finding it again are vanishingly small. If I ever scold you for not labeling something, you’re entitled to remind me of this.

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7 Responses to A Moment of Glory, or The 1962 Houston Phone Book

  1. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    Hey, Mary Kay Manning and Charles Giraud,
    What’s with those colors?
    Didn’t y’all know Rice is Blue and Gray?

  2. Matt Noall says:

    Thanks for the find. We had moved to Houston not long before this shot was taken, I believe since I must have started first grade that fall. I do not remember seeing this cover–at that age Rice held no interest for me.

  3. I am surprised I don’t remember it. Of course I was in First Grade too. I do remember many of the yellow page covers though. We would examine the new ones each year they came out for the interesting things that were worked into the design. During the 60s the front cover of the Yellow Pages had an up to date map of Houston with interesting asides worked in, e.g. one year a duck and her ducklings crossing the SW Freeway, or robbers on horseback holding up a train.

  4. Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

    It took me a while to decide where exactly the yellow pages cover picture was taken. Is the photographer looking from the RMC courtyard through the arch? And the wall of the Rice Chapel is immediately to the right, with the architect’s name on the wall? It confused me because I rarely went through that archway. I usually went through the RMC and exited through the glass doors, and then through the middle of the Bio, Geo, Spac buildings.

  5. charles giraud says:

    For your research, I wll be sending you a special gift. Mailing address please. Charles

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Oh, my! This sounds exciting.

      You can mail it to me at: Melissa Kean, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library–MS 44, Rice University,P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892.

      I can hardly wait!

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