The first Rice Homecoming was held on Thanksgiving day in 1919. I’d been assuming that the scheduling was a one time affair, revolving as it did around a very sober commemoration of the end of the Great War. I was curious to see if Rice continued to hold any kind of Thanksgiving program in the following years and I was a little surprised to find out that in fact Homecoming was celebrated on Thanksgiving for quite some time.
The 1926 Homecoming was much larger—they were expecting over 500 graduates—and much less elaborate. The centerpieces of the event this time were the general meeting, held in the Physics Amphitheater in the morning, and the afternoon football game against Baylor. This was the dreary Heisman Era in Rice football and the Owls, who had no conference wins up to this point, lost this game as well.
Still, the alumni seemed to enjoy themselves and they had a successful meeting. There were a couple of interesting stories about the reunion in the Thresher, including Dr. Lovett’s remarks to the returning students. Here’s half of the front page—this was one of those years when the paper was physically enormous. It’s too hard to scan the whole thing! Note the story at the bottom of the page about the wooden rifles. The Great War was now a distant memory on campus.
And here’s the relevant part of page two:
Here’s an unrelated shot from about 1920. I’m not completely sure what’s going on here. The people inside the car seem to be adults and they’re right in the middle of Main Street. I’m pretty certain, though, that those are wooden rifles.