We have a nice collection of commencement materials for each graduating class–programs, invitations, awards, and so forth. For the earliest classes, though, these folders also became sort of a catch-all that hold other, sometimes quite odder things. One of the most unexpected finds I’ve ever run across turned up in the 1917 commencement file.
It’s this, a signed photograph of movie star Theda Bara, otherwise known as The Vamp:
The person who sent this in was Frank Jungman ’20. (I very much enjoy, by the way, imagining Miss Dean opening the envelope and being just as surprised as I was.) As long as there were enough of them alive, the members of the first five classes held their reunions together, calling themselves the Frontier Five. Jungman, who stayed actively involved with Rice his entire life, was in charge of the proceedings in 1967, the 50th anniversary for the class of 1917, which I’m guessing is how these things wound up in the 1917 file.
Fun fact: Jungman, a peppy, gregarious guy, was referred to by his classmates as “Uncle Frank,” a certain sign of a rascal.
“These reunions,” he claimed in this flyer, “are always a happy occasion!” I’m dubious about that but this one does seem to have been well attended:
If you’ve been paying attention at all you’ll see quite a few familiar names on the committee list:
And last but certainly not least, here’s a photo of the reunion from the newspaper. It’s blurry but we get the idea–Rice ’17 still swings:
Bonus: It’s hard to believe but this was only the second most interesting thing I saw on campus yesterday.