My email has been filling up with notes from people burdened with overwhelming curiosity about who wrote the note that I posted on Monday:
It was Andre Bourgeois, who taught French language and literature at Rice for 44 years beginning in 1928. Here’s a couple of nice images of him teaching during the mid-1950s:
(I’d love to know what room this is, by the way. My instinct says it’s in the old Physics Building but I’m not confident of that at all.)
Bourgeois had a wonderful career here, one interrupted by military service during World War II for which he was decorated by four countries. After his retirement the 1973 summer edition of Rice University Studies was dedicated in his honor:
Coincidentally I also have this picture from a Chronicle magazine story about academic regalia from commencement in 1947. It’s unavoidably fuzzy but you can see that Bourgeois (second from left) is wearing those medals:
Bourgeois died in 1994 at the age of 92. Gifts in his memory were used to create the annual Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society) award which is named in his honor.
Bonus: This picture is a particular favorite of mine. (You know how I love candids!) It was taken at the October 1962 Semi-Centennial celebration, just after the ceremony concluded by the look of it. They seem happy to be done. Bourgeois is at left with only a couple of those medals on, in the middle is our friend, the oft-discussed Floyd Lear of History (follow those links if you’ve never read about Lear and Queenie before), and on the right is James Chillman, who taught Art for decades. Behind them is the parking lot where Duncan Hall is today.
I assume the Sam Carrington in the note was the French professor I knew in the late 1970’s? He also held some administrative office concerned with student discipline back then.
Yes, he was a professor in the French Department as well as Librarian and for some time in the late 70s he was also Proctor.
His medals were a result of his service as a Major in Intelligence in the European Theatre of Operations.