Working in Ken Pitzer’s papers this afternoon I chanced upon something that made me laugh out loud. Here’s a letter he wrote in 1964 to Eugenia Rayzor, wife of Rice trustee Newton Rayzor ’17 (and a great woman in her own right, I might add):
This refers of course to the correspondence that arrived at the Woodson through Malcolm Lovett, Jr. only this year, the saga of which arrival I wrote about at this link. It took 53 years but it did wind up, as intended, in the Rice archives.
What I hadn’t realized was that Mrs. Rayzor was the daughter of Professor Milton B. Porter, who left Yale in 1903 along with his wife and his baby daughter in order to take up the chairmanship of the Math Department at the University of Texas. He taught there until his retirement in 1945.
I felt compelled at this point to go back and look at the letters again, just to make sure they really were the same ones Pitzer was talking about and, sure enough, here’s “Porter who goes to Texas”:
Fun Fact: There is a Milton B. Porter Chair of Mathematics at Rice. I know two of the holders have been John Hempel and Bill Veech, but I don’t know who has it now.
Bonus: Let’s do a little welding, shall we?