I’d Know That Dog Anywhere

I may have been doing this for too long. I ran across this Christmas card in the Tsanoff papers and my first thought was “I know that dog.”

We’ve seen her here before.

Her name was Kathy.


Bonus: I didn’t know there was such a thing as the Housekeeping Olympics but I’m not surprised that we apparently field a strong team.

By the way: Between Labor Day and moving back into our renovated house things might be a bit spotty around here for a few days.

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Ad Hoc Committee on New Housing Arrangements, 1954

Although I’ve had occasion in the past to look for things in our collection of Ad Hoc Committee files only recently have I had a chance to go through this material systematically. Nearly all of it is important–ad hoc committees tend to be where the rubber meets the road. They get formed either when something is at long last undeniably wrong or when something is about to happen. This usually requires (or at least should require) the cooperation of faculty and students. And voila, an ad hoc committee is born.

This letter was the first sign of something big that was about to happen. President Houston is asking Miss Sarah Lane, who has expertise in female problems (!), to serve on a committee to examine the future of student housing at Rice:

The file of this committee’s records is quite large–two full folders worth–and it ends with the report that recommends the adoption of the college system. Most interesting are the minutes of the meetings, which reveal more and more intense debate than one might expect.

Bonus: They seem pretty serious about this.

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The Unveiling of Captain Baker’s Portrait, 1958

As I prepared last week to write about the fact that Baker College was the last of the original colleges to open rather than the first, I discovered a folder full of information from that first formal Baker dinner held in December of 1958. Included in it was this copy of the remarks made upon the unveiling of the painting. I could quibble with a couple of things here if I felt like it but it’s really a rather good summary of the events surrounding William Marsh Rice’s death and Captain Baker’s role in its aftermath:

What I haven’t been able to figure out is who on earth gave these remarks. It doesn’t seem to have been recorded anywhere even though they wrote down and saved almost everything else about this dinner, including how many extra pots of coffee they had on hand (just in case). What I do have that might conceivably help is a seating chart. It was a pretty fancy group assembled that evening. Here are the dignitaries at each of the long tables in the old section:

And those at the round tables:

There are several plausible candidates for the speaker here and I can’t find a way to pick among them. If by chance you were there (and can remember that far back) let me know.

Bonus: I swear his eyes follow you.

Orientation week

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Friday Follies: “I could give the last one over and no one would know the difference”, 1932

I got quite a hearty laugh out of this one:

We’ve got them all in the Woodson so I can go see if he actually had more than one speech.

Bonus: They’ve put that new grass over here too. It changes the look of the space for the better. I really do hope it works. Honest.

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Move In Across the Decades

In 1946 you walked in with your suitcase:

HMRC, Wood Allen Collection, MSS 1459, CM49

Pictures of the inside of dorm rooms during this era confirm that nobody owned very much or if they did they sure didn’t bring it with them.

By the mid-1980s you wouldn’t dream of showing up without your stuffed moose:



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Freshman Orientation, Baker College, 1962

Whenever I despair over O Week I try to remind myself that things used to be much worse. Pictures from an old Baker scrapbook:

The Slime Parade was goofy but the Polar Bear Races were straight up hazing. It took a long time to get rid of this kind of stuff as bits of it, such as dousing freshmen with water, survived into very recent times. I believe it’s gone now but I can’t really be sure.

Bonus: Story of my life.

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Election Central, 1978: Help Wanted!

From the October 5, 1978 Thresher, a temporary job offer that includes a free po’ boy as inducement:

I’m sure you all remember this six-year-old post about a set of images that I had trouble deciphering, including this beauty:

They turned out, of course, to be the only pictures I’ve seen of Election Central, the project which is succinctly described in the want ad above. We’re now working on a short film about it and if you participated in it in any way I’d love to talk with you. Think of it as one more chance to be part of the behind the scenes action! If you’re willing either leave a comment here or email me at kean@rice.edu. It will be fun, I promise.

Bonus: Ten extra credit points to the first Election Central veteran who can identify what this was used for. Hint: that’s not a date on there.

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