Fresh Air, 1921

There are so many people walking around my neighborhood these days that sometimes it almost looks like a parade. We’re all desperate for some exercise and fresh air, the feeling of sun on your back, but yesterday when I stood up and opened the bedroom curtains I saw a man and woman in front of the house looking right back at me. Things may have gone too far.

Today we have some happy fellows, actually Fellows–the young men who served as instructors at Rice while they finished their doctorates or took their first steps as new faculty members. Most of them lived in the faculty tower, today part of Baker College, and they ate together, worked together, socialized together, and played together. I recently noticed some pictures of them amusing themselves over on the men’s tennis courts, which were then on the edge of the inhabited part of campus. The first man up is Norman Hurd Ricker ’16 ’17 ’20, who went on to revolutionize the audio speaker:

This looks like Ricker too, imparting some savage spin on the ball:

And below, this seems to be a victorious Henry Ernest Conklin, who taught English for a short while at Rice. The only trace I’ve found of him so far is his contribution to the Rice Institute Pamphlet issue devoted to the Dante sexcentenary, which is actually quite an interesting volume.

This next one is the picture I was actually interested in. That’s Arthur Hughes, whose scrapbook these came from, but it’s the sheds in the background that caught my attention. I’ve been looking out for them for years, trying to figure out when they came and went but with little luck:

Bonus: On a long enough timeline.

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6 Responses to Fresh Air, 1921

  1. Galloway Hudson. Wiess '60 says:

    I clicked on the link you provided for Ricker. In the photo in that quite interesting post, he appears to be writing with his right hand, but he is holding the tennis racket in his left hand. Curious. Perhaps one of those photos is reversed.

  2. Robert Brazile says:

    Actually, they’re all holding the racquets in their left hand, which I noticed as well. My first guess was reversal in the printing process, but maybe the young faculty was unusually sinister in those days.

  3. Grungy says:

    Perhaps Marty can answer this – those would be women’s shirts today, in the first and fourth pics.
    Has the side with buttons changed, or are these prints reversed, as has previously been suggested? The sleeveless buttoned shirt is also something we do not see today.

  4. Marty Merritt (Hanszen '84/85) says:

    I agree the photos are reversed. If my replica Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1897 catalog is to be believed, the side with the buttons for men’s shirts has not changed from what it is now. The traditional explanation is that men dressed themselves and were usually right-handed, and women were dressed by maids, who buttoned their shirts for them

  5. Marty Merritt (Hanszen '84/85) says:

    Also, I looked through a bunch of historical tennis pictures. Right-handed exclusively, except for the occasional picture of Rafael Nadal that snuck into the search results.

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