The most precious commodity on any campus is space. Because it’s so valuable and because needs and activities are constantly changing, offices and even whole departments move around with some regularity. For many decades the campus directory was produced and sold by the young women of the Owen Wister Literary Society, who didn’t usually include the location of faculty or staff offices. (Weirdly, they generally listed the office telephone numbers and home addresses of the faculty and just left staff out altogether.) We didn’t have standardized directories produced by Rice until the 1970s. This makes figuring out exactly where things happened one of the trickiest things I do. Sometimes in fact it’s impossible.
One day last week I pulled down off the shelf a box labeled “Campus Construction” and that’s sort of what it was, although really it was more like “Campus Renovation Projects.” Most of the materials seem to have come from the files of Jim Sims ’41, who served Rice for many years as a teacher and administrator, including a stretch as campus business manager. There were a lot of very detailed drawings and so forth but this is my favorite–a list of what was where inside the south wing of Lovett in 1960:
There are a couple of surprises in there but the most surprising thing is that the list of what was in the north wing of Lovett Hall in 1960 has vanished. You can see the staple at the top left hand corner but what it attached has disappeared. I find this oddly satisfying.
Bonus: Mr. Rice History Corner and I took trip to Texas A&M last weekend. I was, in all honesty, impressed.