Well Dressed, 1930

I recently scanned a couple of images that were taken at the annual commencement garden party in 1930 and when I got a really good look at them I was just dazzled. Look at those glorious dresses! I’m especially taken with that long, sort of diaphanous one right in the middle but every one of them looks absolutely beautiful. It was really a different world.

Otherwise I have no real idea what’s going on here. It seems to be a receiving line but I don’t know who’s doing the receiving and who’s being received.


Garden party 1930 commencement 2

Garden party 1930 commencement 3

The commencement speaker that year, by the way, was Ralph Adams Cram, the architect who conceived our early buildings. Here he is at the podium:

1930 Commencement Cram at podium

I have a story about the speakers which I’ll eventually get around to telling.


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16 Responses to Well Dressed, 1930

  1. almadenmike says:

    The 1931 and 1932 pre-commencement Threshers mention that senior class officers would be in the receiving line of the annual garden party in the Academic Court … but the photos above show many more apparent honorees in the line.

    A photo of the garden party after the 11th commencement (http://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/72145) shows the it being held in front of the old Physics Building. I wonder, then, if the top photo above has been flopped … as the 5th lady from the left in that photo appears to shaking hands with her left hand … and the arch details appear to be reversed of what they’d be if Lovett Hall was on the right and the Physics building on the left.

  2. Richard Schafer says:

    I’m struck by the complete absence of men’s hats in that picture. Hats were still in fashion for men, so why are none of them visible? No man is even holding a hat. This is outside, so it shouldn’t be the “take your hat off inside” rule. Also, did someone try to colorize that top picture? There’s a distinct blueish tint to the grass and the man’s suit on the left of the picture that seems out of place in the B/W photo.

  3. mjthannisch says:

    I noticed that about the men’s hats too. There are two in the third picture, on on a head and the other being held. I also noticed on set of pince nez, and one lady who is carrying a decorated wooden box as a purse. I love all the women’s hats and the white linen suites for summer.

  4. mjthannisch says:

    I’m a bit surprised how few women are wearing white shoes.

  5. I found several mentions of gentlemen removing hats not only indoors, as you might expect, but also “when greeting a lady.” It seems that a receiving line would be a good place to just leave it off altogether, especially if it was in the shade. I too love the white and tan linen suits and the white pants on the gentleman with the dark blazer.

  6. MM Pack (Brown, '74) says:

    I’m wondering if you have other photos of this event and/or any IDs of the subjects. In the top photo, I’m pretty sure that the woman on the left in the long-sleeved flowered frock and white shoes is my grandmother, Margaret Blackwell, ’22, and the woman to her right in the short-sleeved flowered dress is her sister Ruth Blackwell, ’28 (although you can’t see much of her face). I’m not sure why they’d be at the 1930 commencement garden party, but I sure wish those dresses had survived!

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I went and had a quick look and sure enough, there are several other images of this event. It turns out to be quite interesting, so I’ll write another post about it. I confess I didn’t look for your grandmother and great aunt, but I will do so.

  7. Richard A. Schafer says:

    I really love the bored expression on the gentleman holding the hat on the left side of the third picture. Any idea who he is? His stance suggests some sort of security/crowd control person.

  8. marmer01 says:

    Yes, and he’s holding his hat. Outdoors. And almost all of the faculty and platform guests have removed their mortarboards. And the guy at the very far right appears to be facepalming. I wonder if hats were removed during ceremonies. I thought it might have been the invocation but you say it’s the address by Cram.

  9. I LOVE the Rock Room at Geology. I’ve taken so many pictures of that very sign. 🙂

  10. mjthannisch says:

    @Marty, thanks for the reminder of removing hats to greet a lady. That had slipped my mind in looking at the picture.

    • mjthannisch says:

      BTW, my mother taught me to remove a hat when greeting a lady, indoors, and when praying, England being somewhat more conservative in those things.

  11. marmer01 says:

    Was this before Memorial Day? Some very traditional ladies don’t wear white shoes before Memorial Day. Obviously, most of the summer clothing was in evidence, though.

  12. mjthannisch says:

    Fascinating, Almadenmike: Both the hymns (Veni Creator Spiritus, usually associate with ordinations) and the topics of the Sunday Sermon and Monday address. Funny, I don’t remember Veni Creator Spiritus or Lord of all Being at my graduation. I guess we were too exited, or maybe my memory is fading.

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