The View from Inside the Old Stadium

This game ended in a 6-6 tie.

When I first looked at these photos from Maxwell Reade’s scrapbook, I assumed they were taken after the 1938 stadium upgrade. On closer inspection, though, I see that he took them before the renovation, during the 1937 football season. Luckily, in my line of work this doesn’t actually qualify as a mistake. It’s just an answer to a question I hadn’t thought to ask. And again, I just love the way this guy took pictures–not photos of people standing in front of landmarks, but just looking around and letting us see what there was to see in that place on that day. The first one, above, was taken looking from north to south–it shows what was replaced by the new gate with the big arches.

Here’s the opposite view, towards downtown. That’s Hermann Hospital in the distance:

LSU won, 13-0.

While Reade is fascinated by the spectacle of the LSU cadets and pep squad, I’m much more interested in his notes about who else is in the picture. A lot of the heavy lifting of teaching was done in these years by young scholars on short-term appointments called “fellows,” “assistants” and “instructors.” Reade himself was a fellow in mathematics and the others named here were fellows too. Many of them were bachelors who lived in the faculty tower, part of Baker College today. “Nash” is John Purcell Nash, who received his Ph.D. from Rice in 1940, taught at Notre Dame and did a stint at the MIT Radiation Laboratory before joining the Digital Computing Lab at the University of Illinois in 1949. There he oversaw the development of the university’s first two computers, the ORDVAC and the ILIAC. Nash left Illinois for Lockheed in 1957, where he became assistant general manager of Research and Development. He died in 1972.

“Mr. and Mrs. Rogers” are an even more interesting story. Both of them were Rice grads, and both were fellows in the Physics Department. This is more than a little unusual. It turns out that we have his papers–really their papers–in our collection at the Woodson, which I had not known before. Here is the link to the finding aid and biographical entry. It’s quite a big collection and I’m intrigued as to how it wound up here at Rice. I’m not in Houston right now, but if I ask really politely one of my colleagues might be persuaded to look in the control file and see how this came to be in our collection.

Here’s one more for the band geeks:

Bonus: Someone mentioned in the comments the other day how thick the tree canopy around campus has become compared to the barrenness of the early years. Here’s a picture I took recently from the top of the stadium looking a bit northwest: 


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4 Responses to The View from Inside the Old Stadium

  1. Mike Ross says:

    Melissa — Regarding the Fred & Marguerite Rogers papers, the link you provided includes the following: “Acquisition Information: The Fred Terry Rogers Papers came to Rice University in November of 1969 via the American Institute of Physics. Marguerite Rogers sent the papers to the American Institute of Physics in 1968 for examination and recommendation concerning a permanent repository.”

  2. Grungy says:

    There are over 125 members in the band that is spelling “RICE”.
    That’s a lot of people for back then – maybe it’s not the Rice Band.

  3. Melissa Kean says:

    That’s a really good question. I don’t know how to look it up, but I’ll keep my eyes open.

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