The Boss

Every once in a while I come across a photograph that stands on its own. Here’s one I found yesterday while a patron was using the Oveta Culp Hobby Papers:


It’s hard to add anything except context. This was taken in April of 1953 at her first press conference as President Eisenhower’s new Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

Mrs. Hobby was a Rice trustee from 1967 to 1975. Here’s a link to the guide to her collection at the Woodson. Have a look at the biographical section. It’s pretty much what you would expect from someone who could project command like that.



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2 Responses to The Boss

  1. grungy1973 says:

    16mm and 35mm

  2. sumowl says:

    Very cool. I just stumbled on Oveta Culp Hobby, through an online discussion with someone mentioning Eisenhower had a woman in his cabinet; when I saw her last name I figured there must be a Houston connection.

    Reading about her, just fascinating. Then when I saw she was a Rice trustee, I figured Dr. Kean must’ve posted about her at some point, and sure enough I found this posting I’m commenting on (and just a month old, no less).

    I also read this tribute to her by Kay Bailey Hutchison:

    Col Hobby’s life ought to be a movie. And Kay Bailey Hutchison’s story even provides a good framing device: Sen Hutchison graduates from UT Law in 1967, then is unable to get a job because Texas firms don’t hire women on partner track, and on a whim walks into KPRC to try for a reporter job… and gets hired because the chairman of the board (who unbeknownst to her was Oveta Culp Hobby) loved the idea of a young woman with a law degree working for the station — the first woman on broadcast news. Then back to Oveta Culp Hobby’s life and how she got there, and then maybe forward (with Hutchison eventually becoming US Senator from TX).

    And thanks for the link to her biographical info in the Woodson collection. Included this interesting excerpt mostly on both her and her husband, the then-former governor, and the wise counsel they had given Houston (that I hope we can remember today):

    “The war years strengthened her conviction that all Americans deserve equal opportunity. Not long after the war, when she was co-chairman of the celebration of Armed Forces Day, the other chairman came to her office with plans for a big military dinner. “Fine,” she agreed, “if we understand each other. No celebration of Armed Forces Day will be held in Houston which is not open to every one who has served in our armed forces-regardless of race.” The man was upset and said so in terms that drew a rebuke from Governor, who had strolled in and overheard. During the war, Governor Hobby had been a member of the Houston board for the registration of aliens, and his voice of moderation saved Houstonians of Japanese ancestry from some of the injustices that later embarrassed other communities. Later, the Hobby team offered the Houston Post as a platform to Houston’s religious leaders when the Supreme Court decision on desegregation of public schools was nearing public announcement. Distinguished men of every faith were invited to state their opinions on the decision, and the consensus, published on page one of the Post, was unanimously in favor of the decision. Given such wise leadership from men of God, Houston shaped a course of courtesy and sanity.”

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