Memorabilia Monday: Senior Canes


An original walking stick from 1916

The first graduating class walked with canes, drawing from Ivy League school tradition. While the practice died out around 1924, Tom Karsten revived the tradition in 1993. Walking Cane Company, owned by Paul Sellers, made the walking sticks and sold them wholesale to the students at $59. Karsten organized a senior cane ceremony that coincided with a student picnic celebrating William Marsh Rice.


This bares the initial of Ervin Frederick Kalb.


With the graduation of Karsten, the walking stick revival came to an end. Based on some cursory research, senior societies at Dartmouth University still use ceremonial canes at commencement. Does anyone know of other universities that still adhere to this tradition?




To read more on the original canes and the 1993 revival, you can peruse these Rice Thresher articles.

Memorabilia Monday: Basketball Trophy


In 1935, the Rice Owls basketball team turned their season around to tie for the Southwest Athletic Conference title. Above is the team’s large, but surprisingly light trophy.


One thing that made this trophy stand out was the stitching. Because a stitched ball did not dribble well and would not keep its shape, the molded basketball appeared in 1942. Here is a video of basketball play in the 1930s. There seems to be much more passing than dribbling.

Sources used: and

Memorabilia Monday: Embroidered Bell Bottoms


Donated by Bruce Bryant, Satsiri Yodi Sumler embroidered these jeans in the 1970s. They are one of the few items of hippie clothing that we have in our collection.


Bryant moved to Houston in the 1960s and worked for KPRC, directing The Larry Kane Show in 1971. In the 1970s, he created The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python, as well as co-owned The Sweetheart of Texas Concert Hall and Saloon. He went on to direct various music specials, telethons, the documentary, For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair, and now opera simulcasts.

Below are some close-up shots of Sumler’s handiwork.




Underside of embroidery

Sunrise Is Coming After While


Our Limited Editions Club copy of Sunrise Is Coming After While consists of poems by Langston Hughes selected by Maya Angelou with silkscreens by collage artist Phoebe Beasley. It is an excellent example of the beautiful rare books created by that company.




With Hughes’ famous “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Beasley’s silkscreens both comment and add to the poem.




This amazing copy is 82/300 and signed by Beasley and Angelou.

Memorabilia Monday: The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu El Cookbook


The Cook Book For All Seasons

Last week, we announced our new Houston Jewish History Archive, which we are building in conjunction with Joshua Furman, the Stanford and Joan Alexander and Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies, and Melissa Kean.

We’d like to show off an interesting piece of memorabilia from one of the collections. Produced by The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu El in 1977, The Cook Book For All Seasons, Recipes, Rituals, and Reasons is a very organized cookbook explaining not only what to make and but how to present it based on the holiday or ritual.



The former owner made a few corrections throughout this book.


Each section divider has a lovely line drawing.


It seems like this cookbook would have been a wonderful gift for a new family.

Houston Folk Music Archive: New Collections

Over the past few months, we have been adding to existing collections and finished processing new collections. Here’s a run down of some of our new materials.

Jack Saunders collection


Playing at Rockefeller’s as part of The Shake Russell Band, ca. 1982

Jack Saunders grew up in a military family that lived all across the U.S. After an eye-opening trip to Dallas, he relocated there to join its music community in 1971. Disapointed that the scene had moved on, he quickly relocated to Austin.

In 1976, at the behest of Rick Gordon, he moved to Houston. There he joined a wide range of bands from Taxi Dancer to The Revolvers to The Senders. In 1982, he joined The Shake Russell Band. That partnership with Russell continued for a more than a decade. After The Shake Russell Band broke-up in 1989, Saunders and Russell became a duo until 1996.

After they parted ways, Saunders embarked on a solo career. He followed that up with opening White Cat Studios in 1999.

Saunders currently plays at venues around Houston, most notably McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, works on recording projects for local and regional musicians,  and does side man work with a variety of regional and touring artists.

His collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, fliers, posters, and a wealth of live music from various stages of his career.

Lynn Langham collection


Playing at Anderson Fair, ca. 1976

Lynn Langham grew up in Texas and spent her teen years in Freeport, Texas. At an early age, she gravitated to music learning first the piano and then the guitar. When she began college at the University of Texas, she started playing clubs in Austin and moved on to playing in Houston, Dallas, and Denton.

While in Houston, she became a part of the music community at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. On a daily basis, songwriters shared their work and motivated and challenged each other to improve as writers, players, and performers. She appears on the 12″ LP “Through the Dark Nightly,” which featured players from the venue.

At the request of a friend, she spent time in New York. She played at the famed Bitter End and other clubs in the area. Before ultimately relocating to Los Angeles, she briefly returned to Houston to continue her career.

After a long break from the music business and performing, she began recording again in Los Angeles. Moving to Nashville in 1989, she received a recording contract with Capital Nashville and began writing songs for a publishing company, Hayes Street Music. Although the album deal eventually fell through, she continued working for Hayes Street. While the writing scene has changed in Nashville, she continues to write and tours with her partner Doug Gill.

Her work has been recorded by Wynona Judd, Trisha Yearwood, and Carolyn Hester. The song “Old Yellow Moon,” which she co-wrote with Hank DeVito, is the title cut of the Grammy winning 2014 Americana Album of the Year by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.

Langham’s collection has a large amount of lyrics and photographs.

Sara Hickman collection



Performing at her Necessary Angels party, 1994

Sara Hickman grew up in Houston, Texas and attended the famed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts [HSPVA] in the late 1970s. For college, she moved away from Houston to attend North Texas State University (University of North Texas) and graduated with a BA in painting in 1986. After graduation, she relocated to Dallas and embarked on her musical career, playing at venues like Uncle Calvin’s, Club Dada, and Poor David’s Pub.

After recording and promoting her first album “Equal Scary People,” Hickman signed with Elektra. While with the major label, she re-released that album and put out a new one, “Shortstop.” Due to a variety of factors, she parted ways with the company in 1993.

Since her third album masters were Elektra property, she raised money from family, friends, and fans to buy back her masters and went on to release her fourth album, “Necessary Angels.” Around the same time, she formed the trio Domestic Science Club with Robin Macy, formerly of the Dixie Chicks, and Patty Lege, which ended up putting out two albums.

In 1995, she left Dallas for Austin and has lived there ever since. She released 15 more albums over the next 20 years, including four children’s albums. In 2010, the Texas State Commission on the Arts named her the Official Texas State Musician.

Since her days at HSPVA, Sara has devoted her time to a myriad of charitable activities including Habitat for Humanity, House the Homeless, Race for the Cure, and the Uganda Fistula Foundation. While she retired from music in 2017, she still continues her charity work and does vocal work for national commercials.

Hickman’s collection spans the breadth of her career and documents her life through photographs, lyrics, charity work, music, and even fan mail.

Memorabilia Monday: RMC Roundels


These roundels served as a divider in the front entrance area of the Rice Memorial Center to the right of the entrance to the Grand Hall. Handmade in Italy, they must have looked amazing when the light shown through the front windows. We have been told that the RMC’s architect, Harvin C. Moore, was instrumental in the design.


This black and white photocopy is the only image that we have of them hanging. If you know of any others, please let us know.

National Take the Stairs Day

Today boasts many silly “holidays” including Bittersweet Chocolate Day and Peculiar People Day. The one that stood out was National Take the Stairs Day, which isn’t annual but a monthly holiday falling on the second Wednesday of the month.

We have a few pictures of people “taking the stairs” around the campus or at least posing on them. Hopefully, it can provide you some motivation.

Malcolm Gillis, ca. 2010

University President, Dr. Malcolm Gillis, ca. 2010

Randall Furlong with friend on steps, 1979

Randall Furlong with friend on steps, 1979