I’ve mentioned before that I routinely troll eBay for Rice materials. In the course of this business a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon something unexpected. There are always a lot of archival photos from various newspapers–mostly sports related–but only rarely do you find personal photographs. These ones are pretty standard fare for snapshots at Rice–Lovett Hall with the thriving hedges and a family gathered in front of the statue of William Marsh Rice:
But this is the one that made me buy them:
I knew right away, of course, that the building behind them was the brand new Abercrombie Lab, but I’d never before seen a picture taken in the parking lot that later became the site of Bonner Lab, then Duncan Hall. Here’s a shot of it from above about a decade later:
So, not spectacular but it fills in a gap in my mental image of campus.
Then I got a note from the person who sold me the pictures that made me think harder:
If it matters to you, in the photo with the car, the young man on the far left is James Hackney. He graduated from Rice in 1944 and served immediately in the Navy. He was aboard the USS Halford. After the war, he returned to Rice and earned his masters in Chemical Engineering. He worked for Humble Oil.
Well, yes it matters to me. James Hackney came to Rice from Temple, Texas. He was Chem. E., a member of the Rally Club, the Engineering Society, and the Naval Club. He played in the band but I don’t know what instrument. He married but had no children, which is how his pictures wound up in an estate sale. A bit more thought and I realized that I have another picture of him. This is the Rice Naval ROTC in 1942. Hackney is twelfth front the right in the back row, probably a bit too short to belong up there:
Bonus: Speaking of Abercrombie, when I was over in the new O’Connor Hall that will replace it I was so happy to see them beginning to re-assemble “Uncle Jupe.”