A little while ago we were looking for a photograph of Mrs. Lovett to use in a display that was part of a recent program on the history of women at Rice. (It’s still up in the cases by the Kyle Morrow room, by the way, if you’d like to see it.) Poking around in the Lovett Papers I found some unusual photographs of the 1920 commencement ceremony. They start with this almost unspeakably weird image:
I hardly know where to start. The first thing I noticed is that there seems to be a car going the wrong way on the loop. The second thing I noticed is the clear view of the Community House, predecessor of Autry House, across Main Street. It wasn’t until after all that that I realized the whole thing was taken from an unauthorized angle.
For the first couple of decades commencement pictures are highly predictable, taken from the same spots at the same point in the ceremony each year. One of the places the photographer always stood was on top of the arcade that connects the Administration Building to Physics, like so:
And lo and behold, there’s the guy who took the first photo, up on the balcony looking down at his camera in the classic picture-taking pose of that era.
Here another interesting shot, again taken from an oddball angle:
What we’re seeing here is lovely: these are family photographs of a special commencement. 1920 was the year that the Lovetts’ daughter Adelaide graduated and, just like the rest of us, they made sure that one of their number came armed with a camera. Here’s a delighted daughter receiving her diploma:
And a proud father: