“It Can’t Happen Here”

Just a quickie tonight, as I am utterly exhausted from unloading boxes of books (under the close eye of the indefatigable Mary Bixby) for the Friends of Fondren Book Sale that begins tomorrow evening. I saw a lot of good stuff, by the way, so if you like books you should go over and have a look.

I have something really good tonight, though. We have in the Woodson a large collection of political materials and ephemera that came from a Rice alumnus, Doug Harlan, Hanszen ’64. We recently received a couple of additional boxes for this collection. I wasn’t in the Woodson when they arrived and so I can’t testify as to who exactly brought them in (Harlan died in 2008.) They turned out to contain, among other things, hundreds of political campaign buttons for candidates of both parties in elections small and large.

My colleagues Lee Pecht and Dara Flinn spent the afternoon sorting these out, and then Lee came over and showed me the best find of the day, the week and probably the month. Pinned to a piece of paper and carefully labeled was this:

An actual Masterson Crisis “It Can’t Happen Here” button! Zoom in on the picture, though, and it becomes truly sublime. The line on the bottom reads “Off Grob’s lapel after WHM’s resignation.” My friends, it just doesn’t get much better than this. Alan Grob of the English Department, of course, was one of the faculty firebrands of this revolt and I enjoyed his stories of the great confrontation for many years. I probably should do some posts about it at some point, but if you’re interested in the meantime the video of my talk about the Crisis is available here.

 

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7 Responses to “It Can’t Happen Here”

  1. Gale Stokes says:

    Wow! Great Grob button!! Gale Stokes

  2. Julie Grob says:

    I agree with Gale. Wonderful find!

  3. Kathy says:

    Fantastic! Dr. Grob was one of my favorite professors, a very entertaining lecturer, as I’m sure you can imagine. I also remember feeling that if he thought something was worth protesting, then I did, too. It made me feel more secure participating in the Masterson protests.

    I have one of those buttons somewhere myself but I agree that yours is archives-worthy!

  4. Excellent provenance on that button.

  5. Pingback: It Can’t Happen Here, Part II | Rice History Corner

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