I ran across a wonderful picture today. It was taken in 1970 at what seems to have been some kind of alumni reception in the RMC. I was, as always, first interested in the people–I’m pretty well acquainted with a couple of them and it’s always fun to see photos of people from before I knew them.
Then I began to notice the surroundings. This spot is right inside the main entrance to the building–the entrance to the Grand Hall is visible off to the left. I love the furniture, but it’s the art work behind the subjects that’s really eye-catching. I ran into Rice’s architectural historian, Stephen Fox, on my way home tonight and I asked him about it. It turns out to be a pretty remarkable creation, discs of heavy, fused colored glass held together with fasteners and suspended from the ceiling like a curtain. It was made by a husband and wife team, Mary Stewart and Michael Higgins, who were working with the Dearborn Glass Company in Chicago at the time the RMC was built. A successor company, Higgins Glass, still exists and is within walking distance of the house my grandparents lived in. If you’re interested in glass, here’s a short history of their work.
There were apparently two of these curtains, one on either side of the entrance, and it seems they disappeared in a remodeling somewhere along the way, I’m sorry to report.
Bonus: Yesterday afternoon in the RMC Grand Hall, before the chaos of the Friends of Fondren Book Sale.