In the comments to last week’s post about President Eisenhower’s 1960 visit to Rice, someone asked about the route that his motorcade took. I was able to turn up a Houston Post piece that describes it and I was frankly astounded at the description of the reception that he received from Houstonians:
As I looked through the files about this visit I ran across something else wonderful. We have a couple copies of the 24-page protocol memo that I mentioned in the first post and one of them, I noticed, is annotated. I instantly recognized the handwriting–it belonged to Alan Chapman (whose handwriting, oddly enough, was also discussed last week in the comments to this post). I instantly realized that his comments were jokes, in the time-honored academic tradition of mocking the administration:
There was a note attached to the memo, instructing the recipient–Chapman’s close friend and colleague in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Franz Brotzen, who was overseas in 1960 on a Guggenheim Fellowship–to destroy it along with the snarky commentary. Obviously he did not do that and the reason he didn’t was that he was a pack rat. (So was Chapman, by the way.) They wrote each other regularly that year and I found both halves of this correspondence buried deep in file cabinets when I cleaned out their offices after their deaths.