Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

From the Bentley’s Standard Novels series published in 1832 comes the fourth printed edition of Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Our version has been marred by stickers and binding tape. Despite these shortcomings, there are two great engravings by W. Chevalier based on the drawings of T. Holst.

Engraving 1

Engraving 2

Expect more Halloween-themed books this month.

KTRU Tuesdays: Hello Hamlet rehearsal

Video image:  George Greanias publicity photo for Hello Hamlet!, 1967 from the Harry Carothers Wiess College Records, 1950-2012, UA 079, Box 14, Folder 11

While I’m not convinced that this rehearsal is from 1973, the reel-to-reel claims that it is. There isn’t a Thresher review of the play to support that. If these people sound like you or someone you know, please let us know in the comments.

University President Malcolm Gillis, 1940-2015

Dr. Milton Boniuk with Malcolm Gillis and Carol Quillen at announcement of Boniuk Institute, 2004

Dr. Milton Boniuk with Malcolm Gillis and Carol Quillen at announcement of Boniuk Institute, 2004

To read more about Dr. Gillis’s life and career at Rice University, please see our Rice Presidents and Provosts exhibit. There are also photographs and more online.

Tech Thursday: Rice Embosser and Perforating Machine


Here are a few examples of simple machines once in service to the library. Just levers and wedges with a few springs and hinges for good measure.





The perforator punches tiny holes into a book page to permanently mark it as Rice Library property. The embosser does not punch through the paper, but rather compresses and warps it to make particular shape, the Rice seal in this case. Neither is especially good for a book and they can quickly bring down the value of rare books. Thankfully, the practice has been discontinued. Nobody I spoke to in Cataloging could remember ever seeing either machine used, although evidence of them can be found in many of the older books all over the library. Here are some examples of the perforation, the embossed seal, and a First Edition First Issue of Newton’s Principia with a perforated title page D:








Henry Fielding’s Tragedy of Tragedies

first edition

first edition

In the Stockton Axson Collection of 18th Century British Drama are several versions of The Tragedy of Tragedies; or, the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great, with the annotations of H. Scriblerus Secundus by Henry Fielding.

We are lucky to enough to have the first edition, as well as many others. Axson seemed to be a completist, which we appreciate. The first edition lacks a decorative frontispiece, but the fourth edition published in 1751 and a later edition published in 1805 do.

Hogarth frontispiece

The fourth edition has a lovely frontispiece by William Hogarth.

Miss Tyrer frontispiece

The 1805 edition showcases the actress Miss Tyrer (Sarah Liston) playing Queen Dollalolla. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has digitized a page about Miss Tyrer from their University of Illinois Theatrical Print Collection. It includes handwritten notes about the actress.

In case you want to see the esteemed collector of all that British drama, here is Dr. Stockton Axson.

Dr. Stockton Axson, Rice Institute, 1921


KTRU Tuesdays: Warhol at Rice

In this week’s selection, Pat Baum (Robert Patrick Baum ’70) less reviews and more reports on the opening of Andy Warhol’s “Raid the Icebox” exhibit in the fall of 1969. In the spring, the de Menils took Warhol’s exhibit on the road to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, which has a wonderful blog post about it.

One of the best items in Baum’s report is the juxtaposition between acting President Vandiver and Warhol in the same room. It would have been great to see.

Dr. Frank E. Vandiver, 1969

Dr. Frank E. Vandiver, 1969

Image by Hickey-Robertson Courte via the Houston Chronicle

Dominique de Menil far left and Warhol far right at “Raid the Icebox.” Image by Hickey-Robertson Courte via the Houston Chronicle

Memorabilia Monday: The Key to Rice



That title might be selling this piece of memorabilia a little too hard. It’s actually the key to the original front gate at what is now entrance 1.

Main entrance gates, Rice Institute, as seen from interior of campus, 1912

Main entrance gates, Rice Institute, as seen from interior of campus, 1912

KTRU Tuesdays: Station IDs

The program masters are a great listen, but regrettably they are filled to the brim with copy written music. Despite this, there are some great station IDs from notable people. The following IDs come from a master from 1969/1970.

Houston’s own Lightnin’ Hopkins who performed at Rice a number of times.

George Roy Hill – It’s rather unclear how KTRU got him to do an ID. According to the Thresher, he never visited the campus. Perhaps, there was a phone interview.

Memorabilia Monday: Perfume Bottle Pendant



Sometimes, Memorabilia Monday topics happen by chance rather than by plan. In our vault, we have a box labeled “Misc. Memorabilia.” How could you not want to open that one up?

back of pendant


In the box was a smaller one labeled “perfume bottle necklace c. 1920s.” That’s the only description we have. The piece itself is a working perfume bottle made of hammered silver with a Rice Institute seal on the front. The pendant is rather lovely. If it had a silver chain instead of braided nylon rope–a later addition, it would be a pretty stylish piece by today’s standards.

Dipping stick

Dipping stick

Tech Thursday: Weber Iron

Drawing of logo for Weber Iron & Wire Works

Fondren is currently exhibiting materials from the Woodson’s Weber-Staub-Briscoe Architectural Collection. You can find the displays near the front entrance to the library.

Founded by Carl Herman Weber in the 1920s, the Weber Iron and Wire Company, Inc. manufactured quality architectural metal ornaments until it’s closing in 2006. The collection comprises a wonderful assortment of metalworking tools and artifacts, many of them designed by architects John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe. The scale of many of the ornaments is impressive. Some of are delicate and small, no bigger than the palm of your hand, while others are taller than I am. Weber Iron produced a rich variety of styles as well.

Here is Woodson Archivist Dara Flinn describing the fabrication process:

Fabrication of metalwork began with the design stage. A scale drawing of a design was executed in collaboration with the architect and client, and later a full-size drawing of the object was created. An artisan then sculpted the pattern with full ornamental details in clay. The clay replica was cast in aluminum and the aluminum ornament attached to a pattern board.

The pattern board was placed into a molding or casting box filled with packed sand. When removed, the pattern board left a void in the shape of the ornament. Molten metal (aluminum, brass, bronze, or iron) was then poured into the void to make the casting. When the metal cooled the ornament was removed from the casting box, finished by hand, and painted, making it ready for installation.


Hand Drill

Scale Drawing


Pattern Board




Mold. Notice the grooves at the bottom in which molten metal could be poured.





To see more, come to the exhibit or explore the collection at the Woodson. You can also find more images at Digital Scholarship Archive.



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