As I sat in my little corner of the Woodson scanning the pictures of Dr. Nicholas that I posted last Thursday, I began to wonder about him a bit. Arriving in 1921 right after completing a Ph.D. and a Fellowship at Yale, he must have been fairly young. Was he young enough to have been hanging around with the Fellows at Rice? You remember, the guys who showed up in Arthur Bryan’s scrapbook in their overalls?
Well, just by coincidence that scrapbook was sitting about eight inches away from me so I picked it up and had a look. Sure enough, here are the “Promising young gentlemen of the faculty” with Nicholas at the top center as well as in a couple of the group photos:
(The fellow at bottom center, by the way, is Arthur Bryan himself.)
Even better, there was an envelope stuck between two pages and when I opened it up I found this lovely picture of three of the young bachelor faculty members several years later, with a few more pounds on them and a passel of babies at their feet:
That’s Nicholas at left, Bryan in the middle and Norman Hurd Ricker on the right. I don’t know when or where it was taken or whose baby is whose. I do know that so many pieces of this big puzzle are sitting right within reach and the trick is to recognize them and get them in the right order. It’s not easy but boy, it sure is fun.
Dr. Nicholas’s son-in-law, John Wolda ’56, was kind enough to send in yet another piece of the puzzle. It’s the award that the Association of Rice Alumni presented to Nicholas at Homecoming in 1957, the year after his retirement:
Bonus: Operations continue.