Waiters Payroll, Capitol Hotel, 1897

It was renamed the Rice Hotel after William Marsh Rice’s death in 1900 but it was called the Capitol Hotel when he was alive and its owner. Interestingly, running this hotel became one of the main preoccupations of the Institute’s board of trustees during the long period between Mr. Rice’s murder and the end of all the legal wrangling. The collection we call the Early Rice Institute Papers is thus full of papers that document the most mundane aspects of the hotel business, from buying new carpet to hiring night clerks. (These are not riveting reading but at least they’re better than the boxes of land lease records.) We also have a nice collection of Mr. Rice’s personal correspondence files and and these too are full of hotel records. Recently, I somehow accidentally became fascinated by the pay sheets for the dining room staff, which were sent to him regularly. The idea that William Marsh Rice felt compelled to know the salary of the silver polisher is an appealing one to me:

(I’ve talked about these personal files once before. It’s worth revisiting for a bit of the flavor of Mr. Rice’s personality.)

Bonus:

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4 Responses to Waiters Payroll, Capitol Hotel, 1897

  1. grungy1973 says:

    Howard’s pay increased when he was fined.
    Donnely and Peoples were decreased.
    There are other anomalies, and the note doesn’t really explain them.

  2. Lori Malvey says:

    “Recently, I somehow accidentally became fascinated…” This keeps making me smile. Thank you.

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