Head For The Hills

Back in the day before widespread air-conditioning, most of the Rice faculty would flee Houston every summer for more temperate climates. From today’s vantage point these long trips, which mixed work and pleasure, look almost impossibly relaxing and pleasant. Here is long serving mathematics professor Hubert Bray, ’16, the first recipient of a Rice Ph.D., with his family at their cabin in Colorado. I think the picture would have been taken in the early to mid-1930s, right around the time Bray became head of the math department:

Bray family Eldora Col c1935

One of those young ladies, I think the one on the far left, married Alan Chapman, who taught Mechanical Engineering here for 62 years. Here they are at their wedding reception at Cohen House.

Bonus: This is all by way of telling you that I’m on vacation myself, although in Wyoming rather than Colorado, and posting may be spotty for a few days. Yesterday we saw a moose and a baby moose.


Baby moose




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9 Responses to Head For The Hills

  1. james lang says:

    am in the hills

  2. Wayne Collins says:

    Dr. Bray looked the same as in this picture when I entered my first day in his math class as a freshman in the fall of 1941

  3. Waving Hi from Colorado, enjoy your time in the hills!

  4. All across the south, people left the lowlands in the summer to avoid malaria and yellow fever. Until the yellow fever vaccine was created in 1937, the only way to keep safe was to get away from the swamps during the summer. Some of that relaxed feeling might have been because they were away from the mosquitos.

    “1493” by Charles Mann talks about this. He points out that even though Tara Plantation in “Gone with the Wind” is a stage set, it is set on a hill with no trees around, a good way to avoid mosquito-carried diseases.

  5. effegee says:

    From the late 1950’s until I started Rice in 1969, we packed 3 generations in the car and headed for the hills in August, returning just a few days before school started. About half the time, we headed east to the Appalachians. The other half were spent in Colorado and Wyoming, usually with a week or so spent in a lovely two-story aspen cabin owned by Al and Ethel Herzstein on the edge of the national forest 30 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, CO.

    Coming home to Houston was often disquieting because we began hearing about the hospitalizations ( and — yike! — deaths) due to an annual St. Louis encephalitis outbreak when we reached Clovis, NM. Mosquito spraying programs began to control the problem by the late ’60s — along with eliminating lightning bugs.

  6. mjthannisch says:

    I remember deaths from SLEas well in the 60s

    • As I recall, the main vector for SLE was the Culex Mosquito, recognizable for its long curving rear legs.

      I remember the Harris County mosquito fogging trucks would come down the street towing a machine that used a combination of diesel oil and insecticide (DDT?) to create a heavy fog. We would deliberately ride our bicycles right behind the machine in the fog and get covered. We would smell bad, and my mother would not let me back in the house for hours, but the mosquitoes left us alone! How kids survive growing up is a minor miracle.

      • effegee says:

        I think they switched to malathion after DDT was banned. We still get HCMCD spraying in SW Houston and it appears to use a similar cocktail that produces the nasty smelling fog, although I RLH to get inside when they come around if I’m out walking!

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