Josephine Abercrombie ’46 served Rice for a very long time. Even apart from her family’s gift that made Abercrombie Lab possible she remained throughout her life generous with both money and time. Among many other things she was a member of the search committee that brought George Rupp to Rice. Equally important, she spent many years as a key contributor on the board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. I found this photo a while back, an 8×10 that must have been used in an article about the opening of Herring Hall. Here she is cutting the ribbon held by then-Dean Doug Tuggle:
But when I went to see if there might be something interesting on the contact sheet I was delighted to find this image, which filled me with happiness and which, I think, beautifully captures her spirit:
I’ve got a bunch of stories I won’t tell here but I once went to visit her at her horse farm in Kentucky and she made me laugh so hard that at one point I was actually laying on the floor struggling to breathe. She was totally herself. Her life, her story, was a big one and she owned all of it, the bad stuff and the good stuff. She was incredibly fun to be with but you had to move fast to keep up.
Josephine Abercrombie, rest in peace.
Bonus: From the March 1954 issue of Town and Country here she is atop the Shamrock Hotel.
Extraordinary life, but Rice gets scant mention in her obit.
Am I remembering right that something like the ribbon-cutting for Ab Lab is what revealed the inadvertent omission of women’s restrooms for the building, and Josephine had something to do with that discovery? Or did my subconscious create that from whole cloth?
I’ve heard that story before and checked it out here: