“Dr. Edgar O. Lovett Warns Against Overconfidence,” 1935

Or as we say at my house, keep expectations low, as usual, and no one will be too disappointed.

It wasn’t until this morning that I read the article that accompanied the picture of Dr. Lovett in a football helmet. There’s quite a bit of interest in there, beginning with ten thousand fans showing up on a Friday night for a booster event. This marked the beginning of Coach Jimmie Kitts’s second year, following on a SWC championship championship season. We’ve talked about that 1934 season before, or more accurately we’ve talked about a silver trophy that the young women of the Elizabeth Baldwin Literary Society presented to the team ten years after they expected to.

Note also the mention of new and improved facilities for the games, including increased seating capacity. I wrestled with the birth and demise of those bleachers a couple of years ago, here, here and here.

Finally, Dr. Lovett was sort of right. The Owls went a respectable 8-3 for the 1935 season but wound up in the middle of the pack in the Southwest Conference with a disappointing 3-3 record.

Bonus: Another wet, drippy day.

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“Dyer started work on his degree eighteen years ago,” 1936

I was charmed by this picture of Rice baseball (and football and track) star Eddie Dyer finally receiving a diploma almost two decades after he entered the Institute. I’ve written about Dyer before (nearly nine years ago, much to my surprise) and have formed quite a good impression of him, which this story reinforces.

The short article taped to the back is equally charming, what with all the excitement of the dash to the waiting airplane. After perusing the files I gleaned the further detail that it was his wife, a Rice alumna, who insisted that he go back and finish his degree.

Bonus: I can’t remember who sent me this but it’s a beauty from an angle I don’t think I’ve seen before. Whoever you are, unknown benefactor, thanks a million!

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Friday Follies: “He makes a striking looking fullback, don’t you think?” 1935

Yet another reminder (as if we needed one!) that you have to be really careful about wearing other people’s headgear in public:

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HMRC Thursday: Pitzer’s Inauguration, 1962

Y’all, I’m having a week. I didn’t manage to make it into the HMRC today but I found these images from President Pitzer’s inauguration in October, 1962 a few weeks ago in their Houston Post Collection and when I looked closely at them last night I felt, as Marie Kondo might say, a spark of joy. In the first, the outgoing President, William Houston, is bringing Pitzer and Board Chairman George Brown to the podium:

In the second, Brown and Pitzer looking suitably sober as the ceremony goes forward:

But in the last one the photographer caught something special–genuine human emotion, in this case something like happiness. Pitzer’s smile is obvious, but look at GRB’s:

(The citation for these is Houston Post Photo Archives, RDG0006N-6083.)

It turned out to be a great partnership.


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The Tsanoff Family Papers

So what happened was this: I drove to Austin yesterday and successfully negotiated the acquisition of the Tsanoff family papers. I’m not going to get into the whole story but I would like to make just one point, but make it forcefully. If you have anything you want to give to someone, whether the Woodson, another institution, or some person you should make the arrangements sooner rather than later. You don’t know what might happen. These papers  survived by the skin of their teeth and I am grateful and relieved to have them. My thanks to the thoughtful, warm-hearted, and entrepreneurial women who tracked me down when they realized what they had.

In any event, the collection is a major one, encompassing the academic and personal papers of Radoslav Tsanoff and his wife, Corinne, and their daughters Katherine Tsanoff Brown and Nevenna Tsanoff Travis. In the first couple of boxes I dug through I saw things dated 1871 and 1971. There are hundreds of photographs, most of them dated and organized by location. By way of example, here’s Katherine’s high school graduation picture:

There’s also a bunch of stuff, including the Semicentennial medal of honor from yesterday and an ARA Gold Medal. There’s a Rice Institute trash can featuring Lovett Hall. And I was happy to find that both Nevenna and Katherine kept journals during their years as Rice students:

But the heart of the collection is really the correspondence. There are thousands of letters, beginning in 1910 when Radoslav and Corinne met at Cornell. As their daughters grew up, traveled, went off to school, and married the letters circulated between and among them all on a nearly daily basis. I will be busy for a long time.


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Another One

I’ve had quite a long day. I’m exhausted so I’ll explain it all later but there is one thing that can’t wait. I flatter myself that I’ve seen so much I can’t be surprised anymore but it isn’t true at all. Less than twenty-four hours after I wrote that I’d only ever seen one Semicentennial medal I have another one in my hand. This surprised me, greatly:



Lots more to come.

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Sir George Paget Thomson, 1962

The Woodson recently received a wonderful gift from Professor Ben Thomson of Edinburgh. It came in this little box embossed with the name of his grandfather, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937:

Inside was something I’d never seen before, a Rice Semicentennial Medal of Honor. It was awarded in an evening ceremony in October, 1962 and it’s a real beauty:

I’m reasonably sure that Professor Thomson is second from the right (next to Riki Kobayashi ’44) in this photograph of the ceremony where the medals were presented. Someone carefully coded each picture of this event–this one is 15-4–but the key was lost long ago. That’s life in the archives.

Professor Thomson also delivered a short address during the week of festivities entitled “Fifty Years of Physics and Their Consequences.” I read it this afternoon and can attest that it is worth your time. Here’s a link to a pdf of that talk: Thomson talk


Bonus: The always helpful Tommy Lavergne cleaned up the picture of RMC construction from last Thursday. It’s a major improvement.

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