So this got started when I ran across a little snippet in the Houston Post about the 1918 Rice Institute garden party. I paid attention mostly because although I’ve seen many images of the annual garden parties given in honor of the graduating seniors I’d never before seen a detailed description of one. It’s quite interesting:
This prompted me to go look for anything else I could find about the party. My first stop was the folder holding materials on the 1918 commencement. There wasn’t anything helpful in there. I was genuinely startled, though, when this fell out from in between two programs:
Well, now. Although I am dubious about the sentiment I don’t hate this poem and have read many worse ones. There isn’t a hint of who wrote it and I don’t recognize the handwriting. My best guess is that it was someone from the class of 1918. These commencement files sometimes became repositories for odd bits and pieces, often acquired at reunions, and that might explain the 1930 date. So I think the author must have been one of these rascals–and if you’ve been paying attention you should recognize quite a few of the names. (I’ve got my eye on Camille Waggaman, for a couple of reasons. Go check the link and you’ll get an idea why I’m suspicious.)
By the way, I did find this photo that purports to have been taken at the 1918 garden party. That can’t be right, though, as the main subject, physicist Arthur Hughes, would have been doing anti-submarine work in England in June of that year. He returned to Rice in January, 1919 so it must have been taken that spring:
Hughes went on to a long, successful career at Washington University in St. Louis. Here’s a link to his biography at their Physics Department site but even better is this personal essay:Hughes2
I’d say I wish we could have kept him but we probably didn’t have the resources to use him as effectively as Washington University did.
Bonus: They’re always cheerful over in Chemical Engineering.