Some Surprises in a High School Yearbook, 1931

Just before Christmas break I spent some time down in the Woodson’s annex, a large work room where we sort out large, sometimes very disorganized new collections. The largest and most disorganized I’ve ever seen is Doc C’s stuff and a portion of it is now laid out across the work tables. I wasn’t even really working while I was there, just looking. There is so much material, so amazing and so varied, that it’s going to take some time to figure out how to approach it all. In the meantime, I was poking around without any intent. When I stumbled across an old high school yearbook my first thought was that it was so random that it was probably something we wouldn’t keep for the collection:

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I opened it and found this note tucked in the front:

(Editor’s Note: There was zero chance, by the way, that Doc would ever throw this out. That warning was meant for me, a known dimwit.)

The problem now, of course, was to figure out why it would be stupid to get rid of the book. I brought it upstairs so I could sit down and read through it carefully and it didn’t take long to discover something absolutely wonderful. The list of faculty is full of early Rice women grads! Look, there’s Adele Waggaman ’16 (of the famous Waggaman sisters), Lel Red ’16, and Helen Weinberg ’17!

Two minutes later I realized that this wasn’t what Doc was talking about. It was the debate coach he was interested in (although in all honesty I care more about the Rice grads):

Next to it I found an 1853 copy of the book of Exodus, translated into Cherokee.

Bonus:

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9 Responses to Some Surprises in a High School Yearbook, 1931

  1. almadenmike says:

    In this excerpt from a 1965 interview — https://www.humanitiestexas.org/news/articles/lbj-teacher — LBJ recalls how he got that debate-coach job (at Sam Houston High School in Houston).

    LBJ’s uncle, George Desha Johnson, the head of the high school’s history department (G.D. Johnston in the faculty listing above) advocated for Lyndon to get the job.

  2. Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

    Our Rice class (1960) contained what seemed like a cast of thousands from Lamar High school. Many of them were taught mathematics by Miss Red.

    • Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

      I once counted 18 people from Lamar ’65 in the Rice ’69 class. Over the years there must have been hundreds. I vaguely remember that Rice applications were available in the Lamar guidance counselor office. Does anyone know if that was true?

  3. Lynne (WRC '88) says:

    I love the name “Miss Bessie Buttery.”

  4. Sherry Kitchell says:

    I was Lamar class of ’60 (Rice class ’64) and had Miss Red for math. I remember seeing her again at one of the Rice re-unions post 1964 where I was helping to register “home-comers.” I think our Lamar class contingent at Rice was over 20, I seem to remember 25, but if I am mistaken, someone please feel free to correct me.

  5. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67 says:

    Johnson had just graduated from SW Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State U.) and this was probably his first job. One of his high school students was my aunt Ruth Hillyer, later sister-in-law to Susie Buford Hillyer, Rice ’35. He attended SWTSTC with my mother, two of my aunts and roomed with my uncle Ray Dixon. And all connected by Doc C, one of my very favorite people.

  6. Edward Summers says:

    1. Alice Dean once claimed that SHE was the first woman graduate of Rice Institute, but Lel Red, in the same class, got the official recognition (even though “Red” is further down in the alphabet than “Dean”) because Miss Red’s brother George was in the first class to graduate from the U.T. law school. I have not bothered to check whether this is factual. Miss Red and Miss Dean were good friends anyway.

    2. Is that jug-eared debate coach actually THE Lyndon B. Johnson, future U.S. president? If so, how did he get connected with Rice and what else do we know about that?

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