I ran across these two images on a single piece of photo paper in a box of Elizabeth Baldwin Literary Society things. They were pretty clearly taken on the same night, as I think I recognize some of the dresses in both shots. They’re lovely and nearly unimaginable on campus today:
Note that rascal Dr. Joseph I. Davies in the top image, chaperoning yet another dance.
Unfortunately, the date on the back is smudged enough that I can’t be sure what it says. My best guess is 1961. Anyone have thoughts?
Bonus: Thanks to loyal reader Marty Merritt for this haunting image of the old Bostonian lamps being removed from the sidewalks near the Shepherd School. They look decapitated.
I think they had to go because they interfered with the Turrell light shows. Remember this?
The top image is reversed. The piano curve is backwards. Also, love, love, love the ubiquity of the white dinner jackets. I wonder if this is after Memorial Day, or did the white-jacket rule take effect at Easter? Where is this, by the way? President’s House ballroom? The lights are being replaced with the new campus standard flat LED fixture, both to minimize light spill on the Skyspace and to light the sidewalk better. The sidewalks really were pretty dark out there at night.
Also, in my neck of the woods, it’s very bad form to put a drink on a piano (although people occasionally do.)
That was the first thing I saw. Don’t put your drink on the piano!
Are the EBLS officers pictured in any Campaniles of the period? If so, that might be a way of identifying the date. I can’t see any reason to disagree with 1960-ish.
1961 is a great guess. That was the peak of the crew cut craze in America. The mid century furniture shows that it was no earlier than the late fifties. And the total absence of any hipness shows that it had to be very early in the 60s.
As it happened, I have a ’59 Campanile close at hand. The EBLS officers don’t match, although one might be the same person (her hair is worn differently). There was a mention that the EBLS spring formal was held at Braeburn Country Club in ’59.
In the early 1980s, those dresses (or ones like them) reappeared on campus when many of us who went to Esperanza or Rondelet either raided our mothers’ closets, or bought 1950s/60s formal dresses at the Purple Heart thrift store or the vintage-clothing stores in the Montrose.
You better believe I would have worn a white dinner jacket given the opportunity. The women’s hair was a little different in the 80s, though.
Also not ’57 or ’58. But, wow, how many women’s literary societies there were! The term “Rush” was openly used. They look to have been sororities in all but name. We 80s Owls knew only the Owen Wister Literary Society and Elizabeth Baldwin Literary Society. In ’57 there were Chaille Rice, Sarah Lane, Olga Keith, Mary Ellen Lovett, Pallas Athene, and Virginia Cleveland Literary Societies in addition to Owen Wister and Elizabeth Baldwin. Melissa, what was the story with those?
Karen Rogers wrote an interesting and entertaining article on the rise and fall of the lits in the Summer 2000 edition of the Rice Historical Society’s Cornerstone newsletter: http://ricehistoricalsociety.org/images/cornerstones/RiceCornerstoneSummer2000.pdf
This was definitely 1958-59. The girls whose faces show in the top photo are Barbara Long, dancing with Tom McKeown, and Mary Lacey dancing with Richard Bloom. I also see Bill Murray’s smiling face toward the camera. I really believe that I am the girl dancing with Dr. Davies; I fondly remember dancing with him many times and that looks my hair, my dress, and my back. In the second photo, the girl standing is Darden Lloyd; seated are Ann Schudy, Sue Hebert, and Betsy Miller. Some of these mentioned people would not have been at Rice after 1959 or before 1958. Thanks for the great memories!!! Wanda Phears Waters, ’61
Please check my previous post; I should have said Bob Murray, not Bill Murray. Thanks for making the correction.