Back of Their Heads, no date

Not bragging but I can identify all those guys just by looking at the back of their heads. Left to right are Robert Ray ’25 , Newton Rayzor ’17, George Brown, and Malcolm Lovett Sr. ’21. It’s not dated but I’d put it circa mid to late 1960s, when all of them were serving on the Rice board.

I have absolutely no idea who the woman is.

Bonus: A two part quiz!

First: who knows what this is?

And second: if you do know what it is, what does the C stand for?

I wish I knew myself.

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23 Responses to Back of Their Heads, no date

  1. Marc Hairston says:

    Those are the elevator buttons for Fondren Library, but I don’t know what the C was for and don’t remember seeing it. Was Rice some part of the Marvel Universe and there was a secret sub-basement at the Fondren with a hidden lab? ^_^

    • Marc Hairston says:

      Now I see the button panel next to the dumbwaiter. At least I got the Fondren part right.

  2. Galloway H Hudson, Wiess '60 says:

    Uneducated guess: Josephine Abercrombie?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      No, not Josephine. It’s funny to me that the only person looking directly at the camera is the one I can’t identify.

      • James P. McAdams, Hanszen '73 says:

        Dad used to fly Josephine and Tony Bryan around and I heard lots of stories. So hearing her name launched a small cascade of memories. I never met her, but I looked at her picture in her Wiki article and I can readily see how Galloway guessed Josephine. But I assume you must know better.

  3. Clark Trantham says:

    It looks like a dumb waiter (an elevator for things but not people), and according to reddit the c on old elevators stood for close.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Dumbwaiter is correct, and “close” seems like it must be right. Thank you! I stared at that for a long time.

      • Melissa Kean says:

        It’s on the third floor of Fondren, by the way.

      • francis PRATT says:

        It’s been a looong time, but I THINK we tested that button: it was a call button and it would ring a bell in some unknown place in the building. In my day one could hear the bell ring often and wonder what it was, until one day one happened upon it and gave the button a try.

  4. Jeff Ross says:

    Agree with Clark-it like oks like a dumb waiter. Is there a cellar level below the basement. Unless the building has been renovated, this space may still be accessible.

  5. Tom Hix says:


  6. Gloria Meckel Tarpley says:

    It’s the dumbwaiter in the library! No idea what the C is….

  7. Bill W. Bremer says:


  8. James P. McAdams says:

    Lots of you beat me to the punch… It sure felt to my decades-old tummy like a dumbwaiter and felt like something I had seen in Fondren, but I had no clue about the C. “Call” makes perfect sense. I had no idea there was a 5th floor. I guess I was not nosy enough when I was at Rice 🙁

  9. Bob Toone says:


  10. Grungy1973 says:

    Now I have to go to Fondren to see if a matching panel of buttons is at each floor.

  11. Grungy1973 says:

    Did you get a close-up of the “don’t turn off the lights” sign?
    Can’t quite read the small print shown here, even at maximum enlargement.

  12. Ali Whittemore says:

    Now I am worried about why there is no 3rd floor….

  13. Galloway H Hudson, Wiess '60 says:

    melissa explained that. The panel is on the third floor.

  14. Guy says:

    In Fondren you might call it a “book lift,” since dumb waiters are usually for food.

  15. John says:

    Looks like a dumbwaiter. C… catatombs? 🙂

  16. marmer01 says:

    Probably a relic of the bad old days of closed stacks, when the staff would pull your books for you and send them to the circulation desk. Pre-1980 for sure.

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