New Images from the Masterson Crisis, 1969

We recently received a small package that held a large treasure: a dozen beautiful color slides of the the student and faculty march in February, 1969 that wound down the inner loop and across to the lawn on the front side of Lovett, where a beleaguered William Masterson spoke to the crowd about his appointment as Rice’s new president. The slides were sent by alumna Kathy Amen ’71 and taken by her husband Henry Amen ’72, who covered a lot of territory as he was shooting the pictures. (I hope she told him she was sending them!) We’re very grateful to them. No one knows better than I do that this was an extremely important event, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I focus on some very small things.

First, we’ve seen pictures before of Masterson on the quad side of Lovett with a bullhorn:

Looking at these new images I was fascinated by how much that bullhorn moved around that morning. Take a look:

I think the young Alan Grob, English professor and firebrand of the revolt, has it in the next shot:

Second, many people were taking pictures–I know there must be more floating around somewhere.

And here’s something rather odd on the other side of the sallyport– it looks like some sort of jeep or small truck on one side a some loose lumber on the other. Was there construction going on?

One more just for the heck of it, taken from a great vantage point. Note the empty coke bottles:

As always, any thoughts, identifications, or explanations are welcome. Tell me something I don’t know!

Bonus: These days this is usually a very quiet spot but a lot of stuff happened in this general vicinity over the years.

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10 Responses to New Images from the Masterson Crisis, 1969

  1. marmer01 says:

    It’s not a small truck — it’s a 1960 Ford, one-ton or bigger. No idea on the cloth over the windshield — to protect from sun, maybe? The wood was probably for some kind of display or sign would be my guess. Here’s a really pretty example of a 1960 Ford one-ton stake bed. (You can tell it’s a one-ton or bigger by the heavy-duty front wheels.) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/1960_Ford_F-500_stake_truck_black_fr.jpg/800px-1960_Ford_F-500_stake_truck_black_fr.jpg

  2. I had Dr Grob for freshman English in 1976. I had no idea he was involved in the Masterson crisis. He seemed like such a mild mannered guy.

  3. effegee says:

    That might be Bill Bartlett in the unusually colored sweater behind the car to the left of the bullhorn wielder in slide 8. (This person appears directly above in line of sight, but on the opposite of the car from, the person squatting with the camera.) He was Baker, ’70 or ’71.

    Agree that the bullhorn wielder in slide 10 looks like Alan Grob.

  4. Terry Kilpatrick says:

    I was in high school at the time of the Masterson crisis. My father, John E. Kilpatrick, was a professor of chemistry. I remember how deeply unhappy he was when Masterson’s appointment as president was announced. Kenneth Pitzer had directed my father’s doctoral dissertation, and his departure greatly saddened him. He had a low regard of Masterson’s abilities, but, like many of the older faculty, thought that challenging the Board of Trustees had no chance of succeeding in stopping the appointment of this new president. My father took no part in the demonstrations, but was surprised and pleased with their result.

  5. Michael Ross says:

    I agree with effegee’s ID of Bill Bartlett … and I think I recognize a few other fellow Baker College students in a couple of these photos.

    1) Standing behind the “FACULTY & ST” banner in the 2nd photo:

    a) Between the “Y” and “&”: Charles Maynard (white patch on his Navy blue suitcoat breast pocket) & Mike Tibbets (arms crossed). Between and behind them and behind the hidden fellow who is wearing a blue suitcoat: Charles Szalkowski (wearing a orangish shirt).

    b) Between the & and S … and between the fellows wearing the grey and brown suits: the late James Drouilhet (wearing Navy blue suitcoat).

    2) In the third photo, just behind and to the right of Dr. Grob: Mike Mullen

  6. Clark Herring says:

    I am even more impressed that the majority of the protesters are wearing jackets and ties

  7. Joe Graves says:

    It was a truly remarkable day. A Saturday morning, as I recall. We gathered mostly in coats and ties (similar dignified dress for the lady students and faculty) at Autry Court and marched northeast between Fondren and the Men’s Colleges, towards Cohen House, before turning left to the Lawn in front of the Sallyport. We made our feelings know in a very calm, peaceful, even genteel manner. There was a feeling of mild rebellion in our hearts and we were intent on making known our displeasure with the inadequate and closed process leading to Masterson’s appointment, but the mood of serenity and respectfulness almost belied our resolve. I am a little surprised by the external view expressed by Deborah that it was incongruous with the mild mannered Dr. Grob, who maintained that demeanor while expressing his heart-felt concern for our interests as well as those of the University; as did all who participated in this rally. This couldn’t have been further from the Chicago 1968 Democratic National Convention or Abbie Hoffman. We were Rice students and faculty and we had our own way of handling public dissent. It was our unique way of making our profound dissatisfaction know in a gentlemanly and ladylike (and, ultimately, effective— coupled with other peaceful, constructive efforts) fashion. To us, it was less of a “crisis” than an “event” or “affair” that took place in a responsible, respectful environment in which the depth of our feeling and the persuasiveness of our arguments, not violence or the threat thereof, carried the day.

  8. Mike Tibbets says:

    That is in fact me with my arms crossed. The guy standing between the T and Y on the front row may be Jinks Wiggins. Matt Hoffman is standing to my left and slightly behind me. I think that Rod Crowl is standing on the front row directly above the steering wheel of the car. Joe Graves has explained the backstory well.
    Both Dr. Grob and Frank Vandiver, who became acting President during 1969-70 after the Masterson nomination was withdrawn, became clients of mine after I got out of law school.

  9. Joe Graves says:

    As Charles Szalkowski has pointed out in a separate email chain, there are other photos and some very helpful chronological notes of the sequence of events over the few days surrounding the march which can be found in Campanile69.

  10. Kathy Amen says:

    I can’t believe I missed seeing this post! We had a grandchild visit earlier this month and I fell terribly behind in my reading. We’re really glad you found the slides to be of interest. Our 15 minutes of fame 😎

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