Thursday Update: William F. Buckley, Porte Cocheres And Some Obsolete Technology

I’m posting early today simply because I happen to have a free block of time right now.  There is no such thing as a “normal day” in my line of work so you have to seize these opportunities when they arise.

As is so often the case, the porte cochere story turns out to be even more complicated and confusing than I thought. Grungy pointed out in the comments last night that the second picture actually shows Buckley entering the RMC, which you can tell from the lights of the Biology Building in the background. This makes sense given what else I can see on the contact sheets. Again, there are several of these sheets from two different years and they all have images taken at multiple locations. So let’s start from the start and go through them carefully, starting with the 1969 visit. Here’s my tentative conclusion: I think that Buckley first came to a reception in Cohen House, which is what we see yesterday’s first photo. Then I think that later that evening or afternoon he spoke elsewhere on campus, where the picture with Vandiver was taken. There are a couple of images that should clear this up. First, here’s a fantastic crowd shot (look at those faces!) taken during the talk:

Buckley lecture 1969 reactionsAnd here’s  another view, which includes a good look at the era’s recording technology:
Obsolete technology Buckley lecture 1969

So what was he talking about? I don’t know. The only reference I can find to this event in the Thresher comes the following year, here, and if that tape is still in existence it’s whereabouts are unknown.

Bonus: Just for fun here are some people in the audience that I know. Here’s Hank (’40) and Demaris (’42) Hudspeth. I was just in a meeting with Hank on Monday. He never seems to get tired of Rice.

Buckley reception 3 Hudspeths

And this, I believe, is Gus Schill (’55). Both Gus and Hank served on the Rice board.

Buckley lecture 1969

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5 Responses to Thursday Update: William F. Buckley, Porte Cocheres And Some Obsolete Technology

  1. Grungy says:

    Definitely the Grand Hall in the RMC, and it appears that the space in Sammy’s was also used, which would be typical.

  2. marmer01 says:

    Grungy beat me to it. I vaguely remember the WFB visit in the 80s, but it’s safe to assume that any major speaker is going to be in the Grand Hall, at least up until the former Autry Court was air conditioned and the Baker Institute and Alice Pratt Brown Hall were built.

  3. Pat Campbell says:

    Melissa – I think Buckley was included in the President’s lecture series in the 1968/1969 academic year. I believe he was one of the guest speakers and either that year or the year prior, Buckminster Fuller lectured as well.

  4. The clear covers on the tape recorders make me think they are Nagra. I don’t remember any other brand with that kind of cover and news organizations like Nagra. From the fuzzy photo and the date, probably Nagra III recorders.

  5. Ron Ladd says:

    Confirming Pat’s comment, it was indeed the President’s lecture series in 68/69 and in the RMC. I was a freshman at Wiess that year. I happened into Dr. John Parish, the long time resident associate at Wiess and English professor, on his way from his apartment in Wiess to the commons to find somebody interested in going to the lecture. He had 2 tickets. I convinced him to take me. I had previously heard a lecture by Mr. Buckley in the Vanderbilt University field house when I was in high school in middle Tennessee. In reference to the faces in the front row, it was always hard to keep up with Mr. Buckley’s vocabulary.

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