I’ve been cleaning some stuff out of my office at home and I came across this photocopy that I made some time in the late 1990s. I vividly remember why I did this. I had come across a file copy of a letter that was significant for the research I was doing at the time. There was just one problem: I knew who wrote the letter (it was in his files) but there was nothing to indicate who he wrote it to. The only clue came at the sign off. The writer sent Christmas greetings to the recipient and his wife, who he referred to by her first name. After a bit it dawned on me that we have the records of the Faculty Wives Club and I could probably figure it out by going to their membership lists.
This was a great idea with one small flaw. Zoom in and take a look:
The reason I copied it was to take it around to some older Rice folks (now mostly dead) who helped me begin filling in some of the first names. After roughly 25 years I know most of these women in varying degrees of intimacy and can say all their names myself. I’m not sure if anyone else will be able to after I’m gone.
The funny thing is that what strikes me looking at this today is something I didn’t even notice the first time around. Why did they need a gallon of kerosene? What the heck were they doing? Probably not Molotov cocktails but who knows.
Bonus: This is what a tea party is supposed to look like. That’s Miss Sarah Lane ’19 at right and I think this may have been around the time of her retirement in 1962. No kerosene in sight.