The Last Exam, 1916

Today, thank heavens, was the last day of finals. Summer is nearly upon us. When the summer of 1916 rolled around, this routine was enacted at Rice for the first time. Here’s a photo of the last exam taken by members of the first graduating class. It’s dated June 6, 1916 and it looks hot:

The Last Exam June 6 1916 Knapp Dupree

I’m not sure what the class was but I can tell you that the young man on the right is Carl Knapp, ’16, the one on the left is his friend Ed Dupree, ’16, and both of them graduated with degrees in engineering. There are a couple of things here that interest me. First, Ed Dupree was the very first student to enroll at the Rice Institute. Here’s an image of him taken about that time:


The other and more deeply interesting thing is the relationship between Dupree and Knapp, a friendship that seems to have endured throughout their lives and intertwined with the history of the Rice Institute over several decades. It’s going to take a few posts to describe it all so I’ll just start with a couple pictures of their student days. This first one is very early, an electrical engineering class in 1913. Left to right are Elmer Shutts, Dupree, Knapp, Professor Francis Johnson (who came to Rice from the British Columbia Electric Railway Company, of all places) good old W.T. Betts, and a guy named McDonald whose first name I can’t recall at this moment:

Knapp31ShuttsDupreeKnappProfJohnsonBettsMacDonald1913Next, one of my favorite images of the early years, Knapp and Dupree in the mech lab, probably 1914 or 1915:

CarlKnappEdDupree(Kalb)It just looks like so much fun.



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5 Responses to The Last Exam, 1916

  1. Ellen Stutts says:

    I love you! When can you come to Tomball to visit the Knapp Sisters! You have to meet my nephew – uncanny resemblance to his Great Great Carl Knapp.

  2. almadenmike says:

    The “List of Graduates 1916” document includes: “Tom McDonald – Dallas (pictured in 1916 Campanile as senior, not listed in Commencement booklet nor Houston Chronicle list of 59)” (

  3. mjthannisch says:

    Neat stuff. Love the cellulose collars.

  4. Pingback: Star Electric | Rice History Corner

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