“questioning the ethics of Rice Institute,” 1931

I’m stepping away from the Math Department for a moment (but only for a moment–I’ll be back there next week) because I came across something unusual in the Business Manager’s Papers, not typically the most entertaining collection. You just generally don’t see a lot of emotion in there but these two letters are pretty hot, some might even say a tad overwrought. There’s at least one clear lesson, though: don’t piss off the baking industry.

The first one, addressed to the trustees, came from the Better Business Bureau:

And next,  from Weingarten’s to Dr. Lovett:

There was nothing to do after reading these but to go look for the ad itself, a surprisingly easy task if you have access to the Houston newspaper databases:

A.J. “Pappy” Hartsook was really a chemical engineer, working in what Rice then called Industrial Chemistry. He came to Rice from MIT in 1921, became head of the Chemical Engineering department in 1927 and held that job until 1956 so apparently he got a stern talking to and was sent back to work.

Here he is at the time of his retirement in 1970:

And here’s his lab, where he performed his illicit bread tests:

Bonus: Pretty.

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5 Responses to “questioning the ethics of Rice Institute,” 1931

  1. almadenmike says:

    Can you share to formula for Weingarten’s bread, which was “inclosed” in Mr. Gould’s letter?

  2. marmer01 says:

    Yeah, I can’t imagine that went over any too well on the upper floors of the Administration Building.

  3. almadenmike says:

    Prof. Hartsook’s bread content analysis was mentioned in passing some months later in a short article in the Nov. 6, 1931, Thresher (p. 5 –https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/65330/thr19311106.pdf) :

    A. J, Hartsook, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rice, will make a talk on “Chemical Analysis of Water” on the program of the Texas Public Health association, which will be held here from November 9 to 14,

    City Health Officer Hutcheson announced this on Friday morning.

    As part of some special research work, Mr. Hartsook this summer made an analysis of food value of a number of breads sold in Houston.

  4. Galloway H Hudson, Wiess '60 says:

    One of the hobbies of the late Dr. Joe Hightower (ChE) was baking bread. He and Ann gave me a loaf once, and it was very good. Better, I’d wager than any tested by Pappy Hartsook.

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