I opened a file folder labeled “Rice Land” and was astounded to discover this correspondence from a man whose ancestors had owned a piece of what became our campus. It begins rather oddly, inspired as it was by an article about cutting cedar trees in Texas. Honestly, it occurs to me that the entire letter might be considered odd. There are some assumptions buried in there that seem a bit dubious. But still, it’s awesome. Stick with it!
The sketches that the author describes were also in the folder, with detailed captions firmly glued thereto. I folded them back a bit and scanned them separately so everyone can see the full drawings:
I did some digging and discovered that the gentleman who produced this missive, Edwin Bonewitz, is a compelling story himself. Here is the biographical note that accompanies the finding aid for his collection which is housed downtown at the Houston Metropolitan Research Collection:
Edwin Bonewitz was a lay historian interested in the history of Texas and especially Houston during the Republic and early statehood periods. Ed Bonewitz spent countless hours in the Harris County Court Records and in the Houston Public Library researching various topics with all the intensity of a perfectionist. Although he was an antiquarian concerned with esoteric subjects and completely caught up in detail, the results of his research are impressive.
It’s hard to argue with that.
Bonus: As I read the letter and the captions I worried that no one at Rice would have cared much about this. I was wrong, though. I’ve always liked Hardin Craig and this makes me like him even more.