“initiative, courage, character, and independence”

One morning last week I stopped to chat with a patron who was walking in to the Woodson at the same time I was. Her errand had to do with family history, not anything I knew about. But in the course of the brief conversation she mentioned that her math teacher at Lamar High School had been a Rice graduate, Hattie Lel Red, ’16. She must have thought I was nuts when I excitedly asked her to hold still for a minute while I ran to the back room to fetch something.

A couple of days before I was peering intently at a contact sheet of photos that were taken at an alumni reception in the spring of 1983. It was mostly the usual stuff–small groups milling around and laughing with drinks in their hands–except for the last few images. These showed a young woman on a bench, listening to a very old woman. This was extremely interesting to me but I could find no way to learn who either was:

New Hattie Lel Red spring 83045

On a hunch I showed it to the kind lady who had come in for a very different purpose and she confirmed that the older woman was Miss Red. I’ve written about her before but always focused on her as a very young woman, the first to enroll at the new Rice Institute. This time I went to find her obituary, a record of a full and rich life.

New Hattie Lel Red obit050

I also came across this note that she received from Dr. Lovett, apparently in response to something she wrote him at the time of his retirement in 1946. It’s a lovely note, one written in a tone rather unusual for him:

New Hattie Lel Red EOL letter 1946047

Here’s Miss Red in 1914, with one of my favorite pots:

Hattie Lel Red with pot 1914 Knapp

Bonus: New railings at the library!


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11 Responses to “initiative, courage, character, and independence”

  1. Ann Pound Hopkins says:

    She was one of my grandmothers best friends. Thanks for posting. Ann Pound Hopkins

  2. Deborah Gronke Bennett BSEE Hanszen 1982 says:

    During the late 1970’s, the manager of the RMC was named Bill Red. I wonder if he was a relative?

  3. George Webb '88, '91 says:

    I see that she received the Distinguished Alumna Award in 1986, four years before she died. Very nice.

  4. Dick gregg says:

    She was my great aunt, sister to my grandmother
    Dick Gregg

  5. Jeff Ross says:

    Her brother, David, taught architecture at UH and he and his wife Ellen were Southampton residents for many years.

  6. marmer01 says:

    Yes, the David Red house on Sunset was a modern landmark, unfortunately now demolished. David also designed the Kelvin Design Studios. (and, if the AIA Historical Directory of American Architects is to be believed, the sanctuary of Lake Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church.) I have a good friend whose father studied with David Red at UH.

  7. Pingback: Student Spirit that Never Died | Rice History Corner

  8. Pingback: The Golden Anniversary of the Class of 1916 | Rice History Corner

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