I wasn’t completely surprised to receive a number of emails today with a common theme: Herbert Allen was really good looking. I’d have to agree. So just for fun here are a couple of more pictures.
And here he is at work in the Mech Lab:
Finally, I also found this extremely interesting picture of Allen among a crew out in an East Texas oilfield. He’s the one at the far right, with a pipe in his mouth:
I love these pictures very much. One of the pitfalls of studying the history of Rice (or the history of anything, I suppose) is a lazy tendency to forget that the actors in our controversies were actual human beings, with complex lives and motivations. But I can never think of Herbert Allen’s actions during the Masterson crisis without also thinking of the young man in these photographs. It certainly muddies up the narrative, all to the good in my opinion.
Herbert Allen announcing the appointment of William Masterson to the Rice faculty, February 21, 1969:
Bonus: Out of all the pictures of Allen that I’ve seen (which is a LOT), this is one of my favorites. It was taken in 1981, after he had retired from Cameron Ironworks. In the meantime he had invented the Screwpull and started a company to commercialize it, which he later gave to Rice. Still handsome.