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.
KTRK has not always been known as a conservative talk radio site. Decades ago, in the 1950’s, I remember that Rice Players were invited to present on air a reading of something that we were presenting at Rice. It would have been one of the following: Milton’s “Samson Agonistes,” T.S. Eliot’s “Murder In the Cathedral,” or W.H. Auden’s “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio.” At that time the station’s studio had moved from the Rice Hotel to a location close to where Hwy 59 now crosses Main Street. I recall presenting something live at that location back in the late 1970’s.
As for Thucydides, he remains as current today as he was 2500 years ago. We humans have not changed much.
Speaking of Dr. Lear: I recall a drawing of him in one of the Campaniles from 1952-56. As I remember it, it showed Dr. Lear standing on a step ladder in the stacks of Fondren Library, dropping heavy texts on the head of some undergraduate student.
That’s great! I’ll see if I can find it.
You may recall I warned you once before about Sandy and all those other old guys of The Institute ’56.
But you can rest easily this time because I think I also remember that picture of Lear, but I don’t recall whether he was dropping the book or shamming a head slam with the book.
It’s in the 1956 Campanile on page 38. He’s dropping the books. I’ll make you acopy if you can’t find it.
That looks like David Bybee with Dr Lear.
John, you can’t see any better than you could hit.
Good thing you were an Ace pitcher.
That is NOT Bybee; click on the pic. for an enlargement.
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