These are a great find, the kind of images that I love the most. I realize that they may seem mundane to other people but photos like these, ones that show us the sides and backs and loading docks of campus buildings, are what help me understand imaginatively the day-to-day context of the university’s evolution. I know what it feels like to walk from Fondren to Duncan Hall, what I’m likely to see and who I’m likely to encounter, in 2013 but how did that walk feel for someone going from Fondren to the Bonner Lab?
These aren’t dated (it seems like everything I find lately has no date on it) and I don’t know what the fence was doing there. The lone car in the parking lot looks relatively recent, though, so it’s possible that this was fenced off in preparation for the demolition.
There was one glorious kodachrome slide in the folder and when I blew it up I found something unexpected:
The building had a sign in front of it! Zoom in and you can see it says “T.W. Bonner Nuclear Research Laboratory.” Back in the day signs were extraordinarily rare–they were not the Rice Way. I wonder why this exception was made.
Bonus: I got several very nice emails over the last few days from people reminiscing about Stephen Baker’s classes. One of them ended with this, which I reproduce here because I know it to be true: Stephen is a kind, thoughtful, and intelligent man. He is a credit to the faculty and to the institution.