A couple of days ago the Woodson received a box from the family of William Masterson (’35). Masterson of course taught history at Rice for many years, was the first master of Hanszen College and served in several administrative capacities here before leaving to assume the presidency of the University of Chattanooga in 1966. The announcement of his selection as Rice president in February 1969 set off the five-day rebellion that we call “The Masterson Crisis.” This crisis ended in his resignation and I believe the story lays bare an important internal conflict that to some extent still exists. (There’s a video of me giving a talk about this a couple of years ago here, for any of you who find yourselves trapped with relatives over the long holiday weekend.)
In any event, the box contains some interesting correspondence about the events of that week–nothing especially surprising, but some things to think about. More important, though, it turned out to be a treasure trove of other historically significant materials: letters, newspaper clippings, administrative memos and photographs going all the way back to Masterson’s hiring in the late 1940s. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Masterson’s family for sending these things.
There’s also, I’m very happy to report, a scrapbook. It seems to have been put together by Hanszenites as a parting gift for Professor Masterson when he and his family left for Tennessee. It’s gorgeous and full of fun images that I’ll post later, maybe next week. There’s one picture, though, that caught me completely by surprise:
I have heard stories about this incident–wherein the beanie was retrieved from the top of a greased pole by novel means–and people have even sent in newspaper clippings, but this is the only actual photo of it I have ever laid eyes on. It’s a good picture too.
Bonus: I just came from Costco and I have a tip for you. Don’t go to Costco the day before the Fourth of July. That is all.