Over the years I’ve had several people tell me that they remember hearing Eleanor Roosevelt talk in the library’s Lecture Lounge (later called the Kyle Morrow Room). I always believed these people, of course, but we were never able to find any confirmation that she was on campus. There’s no story in the Thresher and her name doesn’t appear on the list of dignitaries who have visited. (This proves nothing, by the way. Academics don’t always report their activities to the archives or to anyone else for that matter. You might recall we also missed a visit from the King of Belgium.)
About a year ago, though, I ran across a very tantalizing piece of evidence in the oversized photo files. Here is Mrs. Roosevelt with the Rice librarian, Hardin Craig, but they aren’t here–they’re in a studio on the University of Houston campus. It’s unlabeled and undated:
So, close but not quite there yet.
Then yesterday I was looking for pictures of Sammy in the 1955 Campanile (don’t ask) and lo and behold, here she is, inside Fondren Library, again with Dr. Craig:
It’s kind of hard to tell from the fuzzy yearbook photo but this might have been the same day. She’s got the same hat on and probably the same dress. I can’t see if the necklace is there or not.
The lingering mystery to me is what panel discussion would have involved both Eleanor Roosevelt and Hardin Craig. Now that I have an approximate date I can try to figure it out.