This picture was taken at the Rice Alumni Dinner in April of 1946. It’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, it’s very, very early in William Houston’s Rice career–he must have been on campus for about fifteen minutes when this event took place. It’s also one of a very few photos I’ve seen of Harry Hanszen (he’s on the left) and the only image I’ve come across so far of Houston’s wife, Mildred (she’s on the right). Mrs. Houston was, it’s fair to say, a formidable woman, which certainly comes across here. (I have one great story about her that I found in a 1960 letter Alan Chapman wrote to Franz Brotzen (both long time professors in Mechanical Engineering). I’m not going to tell it here.) The young lady to the left is the Houston’s daughter, Anne, and the fellow in the middle is our old friend Carl Knapp (’16).
Just to give you some sense of the lay of the land at this moment, here’s an aerial shot of campus in 1946:
Things were about to start happening fast.
Bonus: Not bad, really, just misunderstood.