“A Glimpse into Clown Alley,” 1959

People can be very surprising.  Florence Stancliff ’27, for example, is well known to me as half of the Florence and Fred Stancliff Track Scholarship. I never had any reason to suspect that she was also a circus fanatic. In fact, this still seems inexplicable to me. I came across this information while curled up with a volume of old Sallyports and a glass of wine last weekend. Take a look at the article and I think you’ll agree with me that the Stancliffs really knew how to throw a party. The idea of all the circus folk pulling up to their house on North Boulevard for the evening is boggling. But how great would it be to hang out with the man who gets shot out of the cannon?! I bet he had some wild stories.

Florence was the head of planning for the 1960 Rice Day, which inevitably (I guess) became a circus:

Coincidentally I happen to have a couple of pictures of her and her colleagues that are labeled “planning for 1960 Rice Day.” That’s her on the right, smiling gleefully with her slip showing:

And this might even be Fred Stancliff ’26 with her here:

Bonus: It was a glorious day on campus. Windows and doors flung open everywhere.

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7 Responses to “A Glimpse into Clown Alley,” 1959

  1. Melissa Keane says:

    Fun! In the second photo (with Fred and the car), she is wearing what a 1950s Tucsonan would term a “Squaw Dress,” complete with rows of rick-rack. Interesting to see one worn in Houston — I always thought it was a strictly AZ phenomenon. Also, I would assume that the term is now verboten because it’s considered to be insulting to Native American women (Phoenix updated the name of “Squaw Peak” more than 20 years ago).

    That was more than you needed to know, I suspect!



  2. Galloway Hudson '60 says:

    The story mentions an :Annual Rice Day:. I do not remember the 1960 Rice Day, or any other Rice Day back then. Guess I was too busy trying not to flunk out.

  3. grungy1973 says:

    Have to wonder if she had any involvement or participation in the halftime show that included the Shrine Circus. There were three rings formed on the field, with acts going on in each.
    Bert Roth was a Shriner, and as I understood it, he arranged for the circus to perform.
    Perhaps it wasn’t just his effort.
    Late ’60s for the show – I’ll have to dig a bit to find out exactly when (or wait a bit for Mike Ross to tell us).

  4. Pingback: Friday Follies: “It’s fun . . . It’s relaxing . . . and so . . . EASY! | Rice History Corner

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