U.S.S. John Adams and the Slave Trade

In honor of Black History Month, the Woodson Research Center has posted online a collection of original letters from the U.S.S. John Adams in 1849, describing its travels and orders, including the suppression of the slave trade. The deplorable conditions of slave ships and the practice of separating families was recognized by many as inhumane in the early 19th century, even if that belief did not yet go so far as to object to treating people as property. The United States and other countries such as Britain, many years before the U.S. Civil War, had banned human trafficking as piracy.  However, enforcement in a complex international maritime trading environment was very difficult.


The letters in this collection show the U.S.S. John Adams as having clear orders to “suppress the slave trade,” and reporting in one example of being present at the Brazilian port near Campos, where a slave trading ship had passed through a month earlier, taking on slaves, and moving off probably north to the area of Espiritu Santo.


These letters include transcriptions which greatly enhance access, created in 2011 by Rice University graduate student, John  Marks.

Images from: “Powell to Storer, acknowledgement of instructions to suppress the slave trade.” (1849) Rice University: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/93944.; “Powell to Storer, report of ship’s cruise to Campos, Brazil.” (1849) Rice University: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/93945.

Memorabilia Monday: Blessed Scarves


Another unusual entry in the Rice University Memorabilia Collection are a few scarves blessed by the Dalai Lama.

On September 22, 2005, the Dalai Lama was scheduled to come to Rice University and give two speeches: one on “Tolerance and University Responsibility” and the other “The Meaning of Compassion in Everyday Life.” Then, Hurricane Rita happened. Almost two years later, on May 1, 2007, the Dalai Lama made it to Houston spoke on the topics above.


As part of his visit sponsored by the Boniuk Institute, he blessed traditional Tibetan scarves called Khata. According to a labeling tag, they symbolize affection, greetings, honor, love, gratitude, and respect.

Image from: Rice University Campus Photographer Files, UA 188, Box 37, Folder 7, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University


KTRU Tuesdays: Super Bowl Logistics

On News Master 3 from 1974, there is an interview with an unnamed man talking about the upcoming Super Bowl. He lays out the logistics concerning the big game at Rice Stadium and even how much the NFL paid to use the space.

If you can identify the mystery voice, please let us know.

Image from: “Super Bowl 1974 football game at Rice University, aerial view.” (1974) Rice University: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/75401.

KTRU Tuesday: Food for the Occupiers

On April 11, 1970, the students occupying Allen Center were hungry. Thankfully, KTRU News reporter, Paul Hlavinka, helped bring them food and drinks from Jack In The Box and Weingarten’s.

To read more about the Abbie Hoffman incident and the following occupation of Allen Center, you can consult the April 16, 1970 issue of the Thresher.

Image from: The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 57, No. 24, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 16, 1970