I looked up one day and realized that I had collected a pretty fair amount of material on the Rice bonfire. I’ve never had either the time or a reason to piece the story together but I do have the beginnings–really the middle–of a narrative. I don’t know when it started or when it ended but I can tell that it existed intermittently from as early as 1929. Sometimes it was a homecoming event; sometimes it was held before the football game with A&M.
Here’s the first image I have, from the fall of 1929:
This piece from the fall of 1944 indicates that World War II brought a temporary end to the practice, although I must say that I’m with the Dean on this and would have shut it down forever had I the power to do so. (I believe, by the way, that this Dean was Hugh Scott Cameron.) I was especially charmed by the first sentence. The students’ notion of “always” tends to mean “as far back as the current seniors’ freshman year.”
I can pick it up again in 1954, with this photo from the scrapbook of cheerleader Carolyn Dearmond. Note it’s moved to a very different location:
More to come next week–I don’t really know how many posts this will take. As always, your input is most welcome.
Bonus: Here we go.