Memorabilia Monday: Monthly Expenses

Brothers Otta Lee Cain ’17 and Edgar Allen Cain ’20 of Yoakum, TX attended Rice Institute before joining the service. Later on, their brother or relative Arthur Benton Cain graduated from Rice in 1922.


Otta Lee Cain


Edgar Allen Cain

Below is a letter from Otta to his father detailing the month’s expenses, along with a daily list.





In his letter, Otta mentions the possibility of entering military service, but admits that he is unsure if he wants to join. Sadly, less than a year after enlisting, he died of pneumonia/influenza in Massachusetts.


Sources: Rice University Memorabilia collectionThe Campanile and the Rice Institute Pamphlets.

Memorabilia Monday: Thanksgiving Reunion program 1919

The first Rice reunion was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1919.

Members of the 1916 class returned to Rice for a full day’s events including an academic procession, football game, and Thanksgiving feast.


Class of 1916 Reunion program



Rice vs. University of Arkansas Thanksgiving game

Rice vs. University of Arkansas Thanksgiving game. Rice wins 40-7.

Held after the end of World War I, the day retained a tone of remembrance for the Rice students and graduates who fought and died in the war. Dr. Peter Grey Sears, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, delivered the Thanksgiving sermon: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” A Thanksgiving feast in the evening was hosted by Captain James A. Baker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Speeches were given from members of the 1916 class, undergraduates, as well as President Lovett. The day ended with a bonfire celebration.



World War I Christmas Cards

While little is known about the person who made it, the Sheelah Green-Wilkinson scrapbook album, 1916-1918 is a wonderful collection of mainly Christmas cards, as well as a few photographs from World War I. Many of the cards are quite formal, but others show a bit of whimsy.

Holiday card with explanation on right, 1916

Holiday card with explanation on right, 1916

Outside of card, 1918

Formal outside of card, 1918

Inside of card with greeting and drawing, 1918

Less formal inside of card with drawing that depicts the solders’ history during the war, 1918

The Christmas dreams of a soldier, 1918

The Christmas dreams of a soldier, 1918

The Woodson Research Center will close at 12:00 PM today and will reopen on January 5th. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Otto Eisenlohr Letters describe Rice, 1915-1921

The letters of Otto Eisenlohr, a student at the Rice Institute during its early years, can now be found online from the collection’s finding aid at:

Almost entirely addressed to his high school sweetheart, Gainor Roberts, the letters are a window into student life, academics, and athletics at Rice from 1915-1921. Topics include Rice during the First World War, science at Rice Institute, hazing of freshmen by upperclassmen, secret societies on campus, popular movies, dances, Rice football, basketball, and baseball, and ROTC activities during the First World War.

WWI hero & Rice faculty member’s papers available

A finding aid for the Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers, which chronicles the life of one of Rice’s first faculty members, is now available on-line. The 23-box collection includes family genealogy, photographs, personal and professional correspondence, collections of poetry, published and unpublished manuscripts, and newspaper clippings.

Blayney is a World War I hero, and the memorabilia collection includes a number of items pertinent to that era. Uniform jackets and hats, the Croix de Guerre medal awarded to Blayney, and a trunk of cavalry horse tack are part of the collection.

See the finding aid for the collection as well as selected photos on-line.