Girls Gym Class, Early ’50s

As you well know, I’m more than a little nosy. It paid off today when just for fun I got into the business of one of my colleagues in the Woodson. She was working with a small collection, materials gathered in the early 200os by the history committee of a group called the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice. This collection turned out to contain some fantastic stuff, including pictures of a girls gym class in progress in the early 1950s, not very long after Physical Education was made available for young women at Rice. The donor was a woman named Mary Alice Flores, who I believe graduated in 1955.

It’s clear from the pictures that they were playing softball, but on some kind of ad hoc field. Where was this?

Here’s another photo from the same class:

Those are the older dorms in the background, so I’m thinking they must be standing alongside that long hedge that went from the dorms out to the football field. But I’ve never seen that shed before!

The only thing to do in a circumstance like this is to look for an aerial shot of the same vintage. Here’s one from 1950:

You have to click twice to zoom in, but there it is on the south side of the hedge just left of that lone tree. Case closed!

Bonus: I was walking to the library today when I noticed for the first time that the trees down in the Sewall courtyard are blooming. I don’t know what they are but they’re pretty.

I went over to take a look and discovered what seem to be a couple of small panthers lounging in the shade. They looked at me but could not have cared any less. I’ve rarely felt less interesting.

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10 Responses to Girls Gym Class, Early ’50s

  1. Bill Allison says:

    Small panthers made me smile 🙂 Must keep the rabbit population near Sewall Hall down?

  2. Maybe the small panthers — and their ability to ignore folks — are there to keep down the “nosy” historian population?

  3. Melissa Kean says:

    Ahhh! Made me laugh.

  4. Kathy says:

    Love the panthers…what all cats think they are. The trees are crape myrtles. Some of the only flowers that don’t seem to mind really hot weather and can even keep blooming a little in a drought. The bit of the trunk shown in the “panther” shot clinches it. They have smooth bark that occasionally peels off (at least on the white varieties like I have in my yard) and reveals a reddish-brown layer underneath.

  5. The panther’s job is to help keep us humble. If they are like my mom’s cats they probably help keep the squirrel population at bay.

  6. Nancy Burch says:

    I have a panther like that — named Addie, short for attitude. She’s a squirrel and dove supervisor, watching them while they eat the cat food.

  7. Alan Bath says:

    Remember Ogden Nash, “…if called by a panther, Don’t anther”


  8. I thought the plants were aga-panthers! No such thing as a bad pun, just ones you didn’t think of! 😉

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Now I have to be a horticulturist (?sp – NOTSL) and/or archeologist to read these comments?

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