A Couple More Thoughts About That Inexplicable Photo

I’ve gotten my hands on some microfilm rolls that might yield up clues about this image but circumstances probably will keep me from looking at them until at least Thursday. I do, however, have a couple other thoughts about it. The first thing that occurred to me is that given what we know about Knute Rockne’s Texas travel schedule in March 1929 it might be a good idea to check to make sure that it was really taken at Rice. Let’s look again:

Glass unknown guys at fieldhouse c1929


And here’s one to compare it to, taken at a track meet at Rice in 1929, obviously later in the year by the spectators’ clothing. (I think it’s worth noting that I found these pictures in the same envelope.)

Track 1929 or 30 with window

You can quite clearly see the spot where the first photo was taken at the left side of the building–the same drain pipe, the same window and bushes all appear in both images. The tall arched doorway would be just to the right of the man in uniform.

Bonus: Here’s another thing. As I was looking through this set of glass plate negatives trying to figure it all out, I noticed something else interesting. I said in the original post that Dr. Lovett had given up his bowler hat by this time. I based that on pictures of him from the late ’20s wearing more modern head gear:

Glass EOL in Sallypost c1930


But sure enough, I ran across a photo dated 1930 where he’s still got the old-fashioned bowler:

Lovett with strangers 1930 bowler

I don’t have any idea who the other fellows are.


It’s extremely hard to imagine this, but it’s not impossible that it’s Lovett’s hat on that guy’s head.

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8 Responses to A Couple More Thoughts About That Inexplicable Photo

  1. Richard A. Schafer says:

    Are you sure that’s a bowler Lovett is holding in the 1930 picture? He appears to be holding it at the front brim (see the inside label, usually at the back). At that angle and in those shadows, his Homburg hat of the late 20s would look just like a bowler.

  2. Interesting. I’m not sure about the hat Dr. Lovett is holding, but the curve of the crown does seem to imply a bowler. Also, the brim seems flatter than the homburg he is wearing in the “Owls for Owls” picture. It might be a fedora. What I see is that Dr. Lovett and the person at the far left are dressed like undertakers and the middle two guys are quite sporty. Especially the one who looks like James Joyce. And the two guys on the left must have been given their hats by Knute Rockne.

  3. marmer01 says:

    Also interesting — the picture location is really close to the track. Might be suggestive of Rockne’s relay-reffing visit. The bushes were trimmed between winter and summer.

  4. marmer01 says:

    And another thing: what little I’ve found about Rockne in 1929 says that he was plagued by phlebitis in both legs. He might well have asked for a chair.

  5. mjthannisch says:

    I note that Dr. Lovett and the other out board guy are not obviously wearing watches, while the two centre guys are. I’ll have to look at some more pictures, but the watches appear to either be in an upper pocket in the waist coat, or an inner coat pocket. I am more accustomed to see watches worn lower with the chain going through the lowest waist coat button hole, (actually the way I still wear it if wearing a watch like that.

    Is this something new for the time, or did professors maybe wear their watches high so as to remove them easily when sitting?

  6. Melissa Kean says:

    Wow. What an interesting question. I didn’t even see this.
    I can’t answer it right now, of course, but I will keep my eyes open. Many thanks.

  7. mjthannisch says:

    Isn’t it odd that even though pocket watches have disappeared for the most part (except for oddballs like me ((I wore pince nez too, what can I say), that blue jeans still have a watch pocket.

  8. Karl Benson '62 says:

    The two guys on the left are holding Homburgs.I don’t think anyone wore a bowler by the 1930s except for Charlie Chaplin or a barber shop quartet. Edward VII and his cousin Kaiser Bill pretty much put the bowler out of business.

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