I was startled this afternoon to discover a picture of Dr. Floyd Lear, who arrived at Rice to teach history in 1925 and stayed until his death in 1975. Lear was a medievalist, although he taught a wide range of courses across several continents and time periods as required. He was department chair from 1933 until 1960. He was also a fine teacher, unusually devoted to his students, many of whom remained his friends for life.
There is exactly one picture of him in his file, although there may be more in his papers, which he left to the Woodson. So it was a real pleasure to come across this nice image:
The reason it wasn’t in the file with his name on it is that it was filed in the “Events” section of the photo files. So what’s the event? It was January, 1961 and Professor Lear, on the left, was appearing with Donald Mackenzie, the head of the new Classics Department, on the KTRK “Rice University Presents” television series. The program aired on Sunday afternoons and was hosted by English professor Thad Marsh. They were introducing two new departments to the community–Classics and Anthropology–with a rousing discussion on “Thucydides and Current Events.” I wish I could hear what they said. I also wish I could hear what they’d say today.