We’re still in the process of moving things around in the Woodson and it’s getting to be a little disconcerting–I keep walking to the shelf where something ought to be, but it isn’t there anymore. This is startling, but it’s also a tremendous goad to learning. It means that I’m forced to see things I don’t ordinarily see.
Today one of those things was the collection from the office of Hugh Scott Cameron, a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and in the late 1940s Dean of Students. One of the files immediately caught my eye: “Houston Inauguration, 1947.” There’s no way of telling what such a file might hold, but I certainly was not expecting what I found.
Here’s the first thing, a simple and straightforward information sheet for the delegates who would be coming to Rice for the inaugural ceremonies:
Note this, though–at the bottom it says “Delegates will be met at the train and taken to accommodations reserved for them.” There’s a whole world in that short sentence. It was Cameron who was responsible for getting about 80 out-of-town visitors from the train station to their hotels, and a tangled mess it was. First Cameron had to secure enough cars. These were rounded up on loan from Houston businesses. Some of the cars came with chauffeurs; others seem to have been driven by graduate students. And then there were the visitors, more than one prima donna among them, all with complicated travel schedules and special needs. Here’s one version of the schedule just for picking up the cars from their owners–not the last but close to it:
In the end it all seems to have gone off without a hitch. There’s no record of any complaint and President Houston sent a gracious note of appreciation:
Otherwise this all went completely unnoticed, just as it should have. I only wonder who was left in charge of getting the hotel rooms.
I looked for a photo of Dean Cameron and could not find one anywhere. I find this quite sad. Here’s the best one I could come up with from the Campanile:
Bonus: Here’s a map he drew of the route from the Rice Hotel to the Rice campus. Notice the “sunken garden”!