After all these years there are still so many surprises. I mentioned last fall that I had recently come across a real shocker: a scrapbook kept by the first Rice business manager, Arthur Cohn, dated from 1907 to 1926. One of the small wonders contained therein is this note from Louise Raphael, the widow of Emmanuel Raphael, to his colleagues on the Rice Institute board after her husband died in April, 1913:
Emmanuel Raphael was a close friend and advisor of William Marsh Rice and was, in fact, the first person Rice asked to become a trustee of the new school he proposed to found in Houston. He was born in Birmingham, England, in 1847 and came with his family to Galveston when he was about twelve, moving soon to Houston where his father Samuel served as rabbi for Congregation Beth Israel. He quickly rose to both business and social prominence as head cashier at the Houston Savings Bank and President of Houston Light and Power among other business ventures.
In accordance with Rice’s wish, Raphael became the secretary of the Rice Board of Trustees and was an influential presence in the years immediately following Mr. Rice’s death, traveling around the country and touring a wide variety of educational enterprises, gathering ideas as the board tried to decide how best to proceed. Raphael also served as the head of what today would be called a search committee for the first president of the Institute.
So why was this sad and touching note tucked away in Mr. Cohn’s scrapbook? I think because Louise Raphael was his sister.
Bonus: Yet another rainy day.