Ruth Young, ’23

We made it home from vacation last night so–fair warning–I’m rested and ready to get back at it.

I’ve had happy occasion recently to revisit the 1923 Campanile. In my judgement it’s one of the very best ever produced, mainly because of the exceptionally fine illustrations. I’ve always enjoyed this witty black and white panel, which reveals a pretty sophisticated sense of humor for an undergraduate. The first time I saw it I laughed so hard I snorted:

1923 Campanile Administration

The color pages that were placed at the beginning of each section are even richer. Here’s just one striking example:

1923 Campanile Ruth Young illustration

As I looked through these again I began to wonder about the person who drew them. A quick look was all it took to find that it was a young woman, Ruth Young. When I turned to her senior picture I became even more curious. Do you see why?

1923 Campanile Ruth Young

1923 Campanile Ruth Young bio

Ruth Young was the first woman to graduate with an architecture degree from Rice. It turns out that we have a collection of her professional drawings in the Woodson, and oddly enough I had unknowingly put my hands on them only the week before.

Here’s a link to a wonderful article about her in the Handbook of Texas Online by our own Stephen Fox. Take a look. It’s a nice story.

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7 Responses to Ruth Young, ’23

  1. These are really great! They remind me of Maxfield Parrish in a way, with a lot of whimsy added, and with nouveau-deco transition draftsmanship. Of course as far as art history I make a pretty good electrical engineer. Fascinating person!

  2. Very nice.

    I have a soft spot for both the 1969 “Yearbox” and the 1977 Yearbook (Wiley Sanders, Editor).

  3. Melissa Kean says:

    You and everybody else. We almost never find a complete one.

  4. Ann McGonigle Kifer says:

    Ruth was my grandmother and she was a very accomplished artist as well as an architect. She taught art for many years in Brownsville, TX. She loved her time at Rice.

    • George McGonigle says:

      Ruth is my mother. I joined Mom at the 50th reunion of her class in 1973. It was touching to see the affection the men of the class showed her. She met my father at Rice so thanks to Rice for its role underlying our family. Incidentally, my father-in-law, H. Frank Goss, was president of the Rice class of 1923.

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