Quad Lake

Flooded Academic Quad, 1941

Flooded Academic Quad, 1941

There has been a lot of rain in Houston lately. Not only is Houston above average for monthly rainfall, but it’s high for the year, 20.65 inches compared to the average 16.26.

Thankfully, Rice now has good drainage. The campus could look like the image above, which was taken by James Casten ’42. He took it from his room, 302 South Hall (old Wiess College), while looking toward the quad. At least that is what is written on the back of the photograph. From the angle, it looks like Casten might have been a bit closer to the ground.

Here is Casten again reading the newspaper in a dorm room, probably 302 South Hall.

 John Stock and Jim Casten in dorm room, 1941

John Stock and Jim Casten in dorm room, 1941

Rainfall stats courtesy of Weather Underground.

Memorabilia Monday: Wedgwood China

Wedgewood depictions of Rice University buildings, Lovett Hall, Fondren Library, Campanile, and Chemistry Building

Wedgwood depictions of Rice University buildings, Lovett Hall, Fondren Library, Campanile, and Chemistry Building

Created for the Semicentennial Celebration in 1962, these Wedgwood plates sit in the Woodson’s reading room at the top of the reference bookcases. They’re nice to look at and safely out of reach.

October 10, 1962

October 10, 1962

Along with guest speakers like Margaret Mead, the festivities included the inauguration of Rice’s 3rd president, Kenneth Pitzer.

Tech Thursday: Engineering Manuals

Assorted manuals

Along with a large amount of science and engineering equipment, we also have manuals that come from our Science & Engineering Equipment Technical Manuals collection. While it might seem that mid to late 20th century manuals would not be very exciting, I remember one patron who got quite excited about one of them.

Items pictured:

Airborne Instruments Laboratory instruction manual for Type 125 Power Signal Source

Hewlett Packard X-Y Recorder 7035B

Houston Instrument OmniScribe

The Owen Laboratories Type 160 Time Calibrator

The Ins and Outs of Frogs

It’s Jumping Frog Day and in honor of this holiday, I found a few frogs in our collection.

Frog illustration, no. 11

From the beautiful book with plates, Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Books Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library edited by Tom Baione, there is a section that focuses on August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof and his book on frogs, Historia naturalis ranarum nostratium. The scientific artist loved to collect eggs and larvae of insects and amphibians and watch the creatures in nature. He later used his observations to write and illustrate two volumes: one on insects and the other on frogs.

Frog dissection

Rosenhof’s plate on frog dissection reminded me of an image of a Rice student doing her own frog dissection. Here is freshman Sharon Palmer from California (It’s written on her beanie.) working on a frog during her biology lab.

Sharon Palmer dissecting in biology lab, Rice Institute

Memorabilia Monday: 1924 Commencement

1924 graduating class

1924 graduating class

This week is notable for Rice’s Seniors, because they have a week to hang out and get to graduate. In that spirit, let’s look at how 1924’s Senior class celebrated their last few days.

First, there was a Senior American Breakfast that occurred on the top of the Rice Hotel Roof on Saturday, June 7th. Demi french fried potatoes sound somewhat fancy, but probably weren’t.

Senior American Breakfast cover

Breakfast menu, 1924

Second, there was the two part commencement with a Baccalaureate Sermon on Sunday the 8th and the Commencement Address on Monday the 9th.

Commencement program

Commencement program. Click on the image to see the complete program.

Finally, the seniors attended The Final Ball on Monday night at 10:00 PM. They must have been exhausted.

The Final Ball dance card

The Final Ball dance card. Click on the image to see complete program/card.

Oscar Wilde’s Signature

Cover

Cover

One of our rare book collections, the Woodring Collection of Ricketts and Shannon books, contains not only works published by the aforementioned artists, but also books they illustrated for other publishers.

Endpages, which are quite fragile

Endpages, which are quite fragile

Title page

Title page

In 1892, Charles Ricketts designed the title page, half-title, endpapers and binding of Oscar Wilde’s Poems for The Bodley Head.  They published 220 usable copies of the book of which 200 were for sale. Beyond the beautiful art by Ricketts, there is a unique addition to the limited run, Oscar Wilde’s signature.

Signature, with a distinctive "e"

Signature, with a distinctive “e”

If you would like to know more about the book’s creation, The Complete Poems of Oscar Wilde includes transcribed letters about its making, which is available via Google Books. Moreover, there’s an interesting article about the groundbreaking nature of the signature and Rickett’s designs, entitled “Book decoration and the poetic text: Charles Ricketts’s designs for Wilde’s Poems (1892)” by Nick Frankel.

Memorabilia Monday: Han SolO-Week

Han Solo-Week, 1996 and 2010

Han Solo-Week, 1996 and 2010

Which college did it better, Duncan College with their Star Wars-themed 2010 O-Week T-shirt or Will Rice’s O-Week book from 1996?

May the fourth be with you.

Tech Thursday: Shark Model

Shark

A favorite of many in the Woodson is our shark model. Based on the plaque, it was sold by The General Biological Supply House in Chicago. It’s part of the series Jewell Models for Biology, which were made by Turtox Products. For those more interested in Turtox, the company did have a newsletter, entitled Turtox News in the 1950s.

Jewell Models for Biology, The General Biological Supply House, Chicago, U.S.A.

Jewell Models for Biology, The General Biological Supply House, Chicago, U.S.A.

Here are some more images of the vicious shark in all its glory.

Shark

Shark

Shark

I would like to think it originally lived in one of the cabinets below with the other impressive models and skulls. If you ever used him for research, please tell us your story.

Biology lab seminar meeting, 1954

Biology lab seminar meeting, 1954

Susanna Centlivre’s The Busie Body, A Comedy

Among our Stockton Axson Collection of 18th Century Drama, are many editions of Susanna Centlivre‘s The Busie Body, A Comedy. Her most successful play was performed for King George I and II and had 40 different editions by 1884.

That fact brings us back to Axson’s collection. The Rice English professor was unable to collect all 40 editions, but he did find 19. While not all of the editions have frontispieces, many do and some even showcase the actors who played the main character, Marplot.

3rd Edition, 1714

3rd edition, 1714

6th edition, 1737

6th edition, 1737

1765, Theatres Royal

T. Lowndes, etc. edition, 1765

Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, 1776

T. Lowndes, etc., edition, 1776

J. Wenman edition, 1777

J. Wenman edition, 1777

W. Oxlade edition, 1777

W. Oxlade edition, 1777

Bell's Characteristical edition, 1782

Bell’s Characteristical edition, 1782

John Bell, British Library, Strand edition, 1791

John Bell, British Library, Strand edition, 1791

John Cumberland edition, 1824

John Cumberland edition, 1824, with an illustration by Robert Cruikshank

Sources used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_Centlivre

Memorabilia Monday: Baseball Buddy

Last year, the Woodson acquired the wonderful J.P. Miller papers. This Rice grad wrote the teleplays for Days of Wine and Roses and Playhouse 90, as well as received three Emmy nominations for his work. His collection had been housed for many years in a storage unit. When the family packed his papers, they used various items to fill the boxes. Among his papers were pillows, a few stuffed animals, and this guy.

Constructed by Favorite Things, Inc. in 1977

Constructed by Favorite Things, Inc. in 1977

One of the archivists, Amanda Focke, decided that our little baseball buddy needed some tender loving care. She mended one of his hands, which was falling off. Since his colors are Rice-ish, she decided that she would make him into a piece of Rice memorabilia by adding the “R” to his chest. Now, our buddy sits in the vault.

I hope Coach Wayne Graham approves.

Coach Graham, 1998

Coach Graham, 1998


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