In that weird, almost but not quite aimless way of things on the internet, last night I ran across a wonderful web site I’d never heard of before, the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. I was originally sucked in by a Facebook post that linked to a very short, silent and spooky clip of a man walking in Galveston in the aftermath of the Great Storm. But once I was there I was hooked. Within five minutes I found this riveting half-hour long home movie, shot in 1972 as silent, but now accompanied by a 2012 audio interview with Dr. Freeman about his time at Rice. Freeman, the legendary debate coach at TSU, was one of the earliest black teachers here. He himself isn’t sure if he was the first or second and, frankly, neither am I. (It might not even be possible to figure that out.) I am sure that he is an accomplished, interesting and admirable man.
The video itself is a wonder. There’s not much of a plot and it gets a little wobbly in spots but it takes us on a pretty thorough tour of the entire campus as well as the streets immediately adjacent. For whatever reason I wasn’t able to embed it here, but here’s the link. I spent a couple of hours pouring over it and I learned a lot.
I can’t resist noting that at 8:44 we see the same lamp post I was talking about yesterday and it now has proper headgear. (Also, it does seem to have the wrong, rounded bottom that I originally talked about here.) BUT when he gets over to the gym, you can see lamp posts with globe tops like the one in the 1962 picture from yesterday.
Bonus: Here’s a screen shot to induce you to click on the link to the video. It’s too good to miss and the site also has a couple of shorter clips of Dr. Freeman teaching at Rice that are well worth your time if this is the kind of thing you’re interested in .
TAMI is a fantastic endeavor. I’ve got 100+ cans of 16 and 8 mm film I want them to digitize. It’s all local (Fort Bend County) footage, which qualifies for free digitization. The only qualification is they want unedited copies to save in their archive and post on their Web site. I encourage anyone with Texas-oriented film (which they are inclined to share in a public archive) to contribute to this cause.
Just my $.02.
I completely agree. This stuff is fantastic. I won’t sleep regular hours for at least a week.
Cool site and film. This was the time when I was a freshman. It is interesting to think that Dr. Freeman and I were getting to know the campus at about the same time, coming to the same place from very different backgrounds and points of view.
Oh, in case you missed it, your favorite lamppost appears again at 13:28
Weren’t the original “German high-hats” gas lamps? I vaguely remember that some of the lamps in the older parts of campus, like to quad, were gas in the late ’60s/early ’70s. Perhaps the Anderson “turban” was an early test of electricity?
…like THE quad… (sorry, typo)
Dr. Freeman brought up the name of Dr. Niels Nielsen, chair of the Religious Studies department in the early 1970’s. Anyone know how his career ended? Was it at Rice? The two semesters of intro religious studies taught by Nielsen made a most profound and lasting impact on my life.
He’s listed in many web references as being Professor Emeritus at Rice. Last March he was interviewed by phone for a Santa Cruz, Calif., radio talk show on his reactions to the election of Pope Francis. You can listen to him on 2:42 – 27:10 of this mp3 download: http://ksco.com/dead-doctors-dont-lie/60-podcasts/lieberman-live/33214-lieberman-live-hr1-march-13th-2103-guest-professor-niels-nielsen-rice-university-a-big-day-for-catholics-pope-fracis-is-elected (Like many talk show hosts, this Rich Lieberman interrupts his guest too often.)
On the lamps, … FEG is correct; the German High Hats were gas lamps. At some point, late 70’s or early 80’s, they were converted to electricity.
While the streetlamps were, almost exclusively German High Hats, the lamps on walkways were not standardized. I have the impression that the current standard was adopted under the leadership of VPFA Curry and Mr. Bill Mack (then head of Facilities & Engineering), sometime prior to 1995. I served on some committee that looked at illumination on campus in the 1995 to 1997 time frame; at that point, the current standard was in place and accepted.
I’m struck by how little the campus changed between this video and when I arrived in 88.
You’re right. This was the era of consolidation (to the point, frankly, of stagnation) that followed the massive growth and change of the 1960s.
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