“Poor drainage, bag worms, and wind damage”

This picture is undated but it captures a very specific moment in Academic Quad history:

What you instantly see is the short (maybe recently replanted?) hedges but also note two other things: the hedges still close off part of the east and west sides and the trees aren’t Italian cypresses but instead yews of some kind.

It’s the yews that give me the latest possible date for the shot. Here’s a Thresher article from December 1983 about their removal and relocation:

It’s hard not to feel some small stirrings of pity for the Building and Grounds Committee.


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Girls Sports, 1930: “a gala day in Huntsville”

It’s too hard to explain how I happened upon this today. I just don’t have the strength. But it’s awfully interesting to see how women playing sports were viewed in this era. I was especially taken with the notion that they needed to avoid rivalry and maintain “good feeling.” It’s not at all clear to me whether the girls were supposed to be afraid of rivalrous feelings or especially susceptible to them, so that the organizers had to arrange things to keep them on friendly terms.


Here’s the program. I had never before heard of tennekoits, which turns out to be an odd sort of ring tennis:

This opens up to become a name tag:

We ruled in tennis, by the way:

Bonus: It’s that time of year again.


Shake your lulav!


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Shepherd School, Round Two

It looks like they’re getting very close to starting work on the new building for the Shepherd School. (This building is called by a long acronym that I can’t recall right now, but it’s something that sounds like one of those Cold War treaty alliances.) The lot where I used to park is now completely fenced off (and I’m now back parking in the exact same place as I did when I first arrived as a graduate student 26 years ago):

And a temporary sidewalk that runs along the front of Alice Pratt Brown Hall has been installed:

As usual all this reminded me of something else. Standing in roughly the spot where the new building will go are (left to right) John Miner ’88, the late, lamented Shepherd School Dean Michael Hammond, George Miner ’50, a man I don’t recognize, and frequent commenter on this blog Marty Merritt ’85:

I believe this picture was taken at the groundbreaking of Alice Pratt Brown which would make it 1990, I think.

Bonus: A corner of the Miner Lounge in the RMC.

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Friday Follies: Torches, c1970

I’m pretty sure we aren’t allowed to do this anymore.

Bonus: It took every wisp of discipline I possess to leave it alone.

I did buy a day-old bagel, though.

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Helicopter Landing + Liftoff

This caught my eye when I pulled into the parking lot this morning:

It’s nice to have some warning, I suppose, as opposed to the day in 1968 when President Johnson arrived by helicopter in the same parking lot unannounced:

(You can read the original post about that entertaining incident here.)

But this seems to be my week for helicopters. In the large collection of contact sheets from about 1969 to 1973 I found these two images:

I have absolutely no idea what is going on here. If you do, please chime in.

Bonus: One of my exceptionally alert colleagues noticed another one removing construction equipment a few weeks ago.

Extra bonus: I had a meeting in the Moody Center today and lo and behold they’ve moved this sculpture over there. I think it will be much happier in this spot.

If you remember, it had been behind the old Physics Building, where it seemed kind of boxed in:


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Time Passes, 1969 and 2017

Sometimes the small changes have the biggest impact. From my perspective the most important change to the Rice campus in the last twenty years has been the addition of a back door to Fondren Library. Here’s another big one–finally, a sidewalk running along the intramural fields out to the stadium lot where I park:

Yes, I realize that there’s a sidewalk on the other side of the road but I’d rather walk near the open spaces. Now I’ll be able to do it without getting my shoes dirty.

And speaking of those open spaces here are a couple pictures of those fields circa 1969. These only exist as tiny images on contact sheets so I can’t make them any clearer but it’s not hard to get the gist. It was empty out there. Very, very empty. It looks like they didn’t even bother to cut the grass regularly:

This next one was taken from the corner across from where the Shepherd School is now. Note the little saplings:

And this was the same spot yesterday:

I’m thankful for those trees every day on the long walk in to the library.

Bonus: This is routine maintenance, straightening out the ones that have gotten cattywampus and resetting the wires that keep things generally upright. They look much neater.

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The 1964 Rice Owlets

There was something else amazing in those boxes of football materials that came in the other day–a freshman football program from 1964. These things are incredibly rare. Unlike the regular programs, which were designed to be collectible, the freshman versions were almost the epitome of ephemeral. If I remember right I’ve seen maybe one or two in an early student scrapbook but it’s also possible that this is the only one I’ve ever laid eyes on:

It wasn’t a great game, apparently:

The name Hugo Hollas did ring a bell. A couple years ago I wrote a post about some football cards I found in the vault and his was one of them:


If you have a freshman football program squirreled away somewhere, give me a call.

Bonus: I spend a lot of time looking around this campus and most of the time things are pretty predictable. But here’s something unusual:

Typically when an Italian cypress keels over it’s replaced within a day or two at most. Here it is five weeks after Harvey and there’s nothing but dirt. I don’t know if it means anything but it’s certainly . . . odd.

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