In yesterday’s comments section, someone asked about the story of the dastardly kidnapping of Sammy by some sorry A&M cadets after a basketball game in 1917 and his subsequent rescue by a group of Rice students. By today’s standards this is an utterly incredible story, the kind of thing that now gives rise to visions of lawsuits and serious jail time. This is the basic narrative as reported at the time by the Thresher:
I seem to have had problems scanning the second page, but you can see it here. It’s completely crazy. Completely.
Happily enough, a good deal of material surrounding this episode has survived and is scattered across several collections. Here is a galling photo from the A&M archives of Sammy decked out as a cadet. I believe the entire A&M senior administration is here, gloating:
But all was not lost. Here’s a photograph I found during all the digging I did in the gym before it was renovated—Rice students enjoying their quasi-victory. Note that they hired a professional photographer to take the picture:
And finally, a young coed’s heart rending poem titled “The Martyr Sammy:”
Bonus: I can’t resist one more. This comes, of all places, from the papers of Rice’s first professor of Biology, Julian Huxley. Huxley was already in Europe, serving England in World War I when he received from Rice math professor Griffith Evans a handwritten copy of the Thresher story above. It was copied word for word from the Thresher’s account of the incident, in five examination booklets (they weren’t blue yet, by the way, but white). I don’t know why he did this instead of just clipping out a copy—it’s just lost to history, I guess. Here’s the first page of this very long document:
But what makes me include it here (and what makes me laugh) comes at the very end of the last page. Evans, writing to the ornithologist Huxley, adds a note of his own:
“You will probably see that the sex of the bird changes during the reading.” I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.