A Big Night Sometime in the 1960s, Plus A Bonus You Really Want to See

We’ve gotten quite a bit of new material in the archives this summer and one of the collections kind of unexpectedly contains some great photographs. I don’t typically find a lot of glamor in Rice records but here’s a real doozy:

Browns and Pitzers black tie nd

Wow–these folks look sharp. It’s got the feel of a big night. It’s not dated and it identifies (left to right) President Pitzer, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Pitzer and George R. Brown. Which, of course, I already knew. What it doesn’t tell me is who the couple further up the staircase might be–anybody have an idea? Also, where is this? I don’t think it’s the president’s house because the curving staircase there goes the other way, doesn’t it? Or does it?

Bonus: Campus Photographer Tommy Lavergne sent me this stunning image today. I can’t wait to see what else he shot from up there.

130518_Rice_Aerials 0667

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17 Responses to A Big Night Sometime in the 1960s, Plus A Bonus You Really Want to See

  1. Grungy says:

    Great aerial shot.
    Helicopter or ROV?

  2. marmer01 says:

    Or construction crane for art? Or roof of Herring (don’t think it’s high enough to look down on the RMC Campanile.) Interesting. Mr. and Mrs. Brown didn’t get the message about formal wear. Or, sometimes back then men would wear black suits and black bow ties without really intending to be formal. That may be this, as Mrs. Brown is clearly wearing a suit. As to where, I’m betting O’Connor House, but could be the Brown’s house over on Inwood as well. The young couple are clearly John and Jackie Kennedy! 😉

    • mattnoall says:

      A more serious guess is that the couple “X” are William P Hobby and his wife, Oveta Culp Hobby. At the time he should have been the Houston Post publisher, and his wife was certainly very well known and influential all by herself. It has been a long time since I thought about the Hobbys, but I believe that is who we are looking at. If so, the photo could be almost anywhere in town.

      • marmer01 says:

        But aren’t both of those people too young to be Bill and Oveta in the ’60s? After all, Oveta had commanded the WAC in WWII, rising to the rank of colonel. She was born in 1905. Did the Browns have any children?

    • Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen 1982) says:

      The mix of clothes is interesting. The Pitzers and the unidentified couple are in formal clothes (tuxedo jackets and bow ties on the men, long dresses on the women). The Browns appear to be in daytime clothes (suit and long tie on him, suit and short gloves on her). I wonder if the picture could be at the Brown’s house, as they send the formal couples out for the evening?

      • marmer01 says:

        Yes, it’s not definite but I think President Pitzer’s trousers do have a satin stripe and his shirt may have one onyx stud barely visible. Interesting that the younger woman is wearing a sleeveless dress and Mrs. Pitzer is wearing long sleeves. We can’t really draw any seasonal information from that; maybe Mrs. Brown (my dear Alice Pratt Brown), with her lighter three-quarter-sleeve suit is telling us that it’s spring or early fall.

  3. mjthannisch says:

    What are the objects on the roof?

    • Grungy says:

      They redirect light to/from the skylights.
      I’ve spent more time looking down on them from outside than looking up at them from inside.
      My guess would be to shield the skylights from direct rays in the early hours and to increase the light in the afternoon and evening.

  4. Gloria Tarpley '81 says:

    I don’t know whether or not the photo by the staircase is in Huff House — formerly O’Connor House, and the President’s House before that. But, its general shape and size could be, if the photograph was printed from a negative which was reversed. Just a thought.

  5. Karl Benson says:

    The image is not reversed because the men’s breast pocket handkerchiefs are on the correct side and Mrs. Pitzer’s wedding ring is visible on her left hand.

    • Gloria Tarpley '81 says:

      Very good catch! Then this is not in Huff House, unless at some point in the remodel they totally re-directed the stairs, and I wouldn’t imagine there would have been any reason for that. Thanks!

  6. Tommy LaVergne says:


  7. Karl, I actually thought of exactly that with the pocket handkerchiefs. Excellent eye!

  8. marmer01 says:

    I’m pretty sure this is the Brown’s house on Inwood and the stair could certainly be consistent with this entry. I haven’t found an interior shot of that house, don’t know if any exist. It’s by Staub and Rather but I don’t think it’s in Stephen Fox’s book. http://goo.gl/maps/m14pH

  9. marmer01 says:

    The couple looks young enough, it’s not out of the question that they might be students or recent alumni. SA officers, maybe, or some kind of academic honors, or an alumni celebration of some kind?

  10. marmer01 says:

    Could be I’m overthinking this whole thing. But the younger couple are coming from upstairs, clearly the private area of the house. A Brown relative? I think the Brown daughters, born in the ’30s, might be too young to be this woman although maybe not if it’s real early ’60s. And the grandkids would probably be too young. Nephews, maybe? Or maybe the party is not at the Browns at all, but they dropped in, not wearing formal attire, just to say hello briefly, and the younger couple came down to greet them.

  11. marmer01 says:

    I meant to say that the younger woman is probably too young to be Maconda, Isabel, or Nancy Brown. However, if this is early 60’s, might the younger couple be Mike and Anita Stude?

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