Bling Rings

Image is of four gold rings displayed in a clear suspension box. Rings are: 
2003 NCAA World Series Championship ring
1996 Champions Forever ring
1997 WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Champions NCAA College World Series ring
1994 Football Southwest Conference Champions - (Rice were co-champions)

The Woodson Research Center recently received 4 rings that belonged to former Rice President Dr. Malcolm Gillis honoring athletic achievements during his tenure:

1996 SWC Champions Forever ring
1997 WAC Champions NCAA College World Series ring
2003 NCAA World Series Championship ring
1994 SWC Football Champions ring – (Rice were co-champions)

Our thanks to Dr. Gillis’s widow, Elizabeth Gillis, for sending us these wonderful additions to our collections. Mrs. Gillis is also the inspiration for the most prestigious prize given to university staff each year, the Elizabeth Gillis Award for Exemplary Service . The award is presented to staff who demonstrate exemplary commitment and service to the university, just as Elizabeth Gillis did during her years of service to Rice.

Color photograph of Dr. Malcolm Gillis, president of Rice University, in the dugout area of Reckling Park baseball field, speaking with members of the Rice Owls baseball team. Gillis is wearing dark glasses, a white, short-sleeved shirt with black collar and a white and black baseball cap. and A trio of players are sitting on the edge of the dugout facing him, with other players and spectators standing in the background. The bleachers, filled with spectators, are visible in the distance.
“Dr. Malcolm Gillis with members of Rice University Baseball team.” (2003) Rice University:

Shelving New Books

Newly catalogued books for Woodson Research Center collections

In addition to the named Rare Book Collections that are housed in the Woodson Research Center we also add newly published books to our collections. We recently received some new books written or edited by Rice University faculty and staff. These include a 2 volume work edited by Dr. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, and a professor in the Department of Political Science: Voting and Political Representation in America; and Joy at Work: Organizing your Professional Life written by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business.

It’s also exciting to see new books written by our colleagues here in Fondren. David Bynog, Head of Acquisitions, has recently written Notes for Violists. Published by Oxford University Press, the work offers historical and analytical information on 35 pieces for the viola, from Bach to Weber. Bynog is a violist himself and edited more than 40 compositions. Bynog’s book will be preserved in the Woodson Research Center available for researchers.

New Videos

In case you haven’t been watching the Fondren Library YouTube page, you missed some new videos that we uploaded.

This one made by Camille Chenevert showcases our historical images and charts the growth of the university.

The other video shows how the library has changed through the years. It was made by Ian McCarthy with assistance by Claire Weddle.

Tech Thursday: Leveling

This will be the last Tech Thursday post I author. It’s a bit of a bittersweet occasion for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have. So, without further ado, I’m going back one more time to my favorite source for Tech Thursday posts- the Rare Book Collection.

A few years ago, Woodson then-intern Susan Kirby made an online exhibit for the History of Science Rare Book collection, featuring some scanned images from a little volume entitled Traité du Nivellement by Jean Picard (1620-1682). Picard was a French astronomer credited with a number of advances in his field, the most famous being the first accurate measurement of the Earth’s size. He was also interested in surveying and hydraulics, and was the principle designer of the aqueducts and cisterns that supplied water to Versailles.

Traité was published posthumously by Phillippe de la Hire, a French polymath and contemporary of Picard. Broken up in sections, the book discusses the theory, instruments, and practices of Leveling, a kind of land surveying. La Hire also included a condensed version of another of Picard’s works, Measuring the Earth. The book includes many diagrams of surveying interments, many of which were original to Picard, including a level fixed with telescope lenses and reticules.





Humanities students dig deep in the Archives

This past spring, the Woodson in partnership with the Humanities Research Center supervised two undergraduate students in archival research in the areas of medical humanities and cultural heritage. Students learned to apply their humanistic training to real-world problems and to put their critical thinking to use as they learned new practical skills. The students conducted deep research and analysis of primary sources and learned about the nature of archives.

Miriam Shayeb is a freshman English major and was selected to work with the Kezia Payne DePelchin Yellow fever epidemic letters, 1878-1879 (MS 201). This collection consists primarily of a bound volume of 34 letters, the majority of which were written by Mrs. Kezia Payne DePelchin (1828-1893) of Houston, to her sister, describing her experiences as a nurse during the Yellow fever epidemic of 1878 in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The letters have been digitized and transcribed and are available in the Rice Institutional Repository. Miriam analyzed the letters to gain insight into the treatment of illness in postbelllum South and the “interactions between doctors and nurses during an era in which nursing was not completely professionalized.” She also focused on the intersection of race and illness and nursing. She created two online articles on the OpenStax / platform:


Edna Otuomagie is a Junior Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) major and was selected to work on the Between Decisions Omeka Exhibit. Utilizing Fondren’s Omeka web-based exhibit platform, the exhibit explores how Rice University historically handled gender/sex and race relations through discussion of the huge decisions Rice made concerning these issues from 1957 to 1970—a time when Rice underwent many changes including desegregation based on gender/sex and race. Edna researched the topic in the university archives and spoke with University Historian Melissa Kean and others in the Rice community. Edna created a fascinating exhibit on a topic of great interest that had not been covered in a succinct but over-arching way. Her exhibit is available online: Edna was honored with First Prize in the School of Humanities for her research and received the Humanities Research Center’s First Prize at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Jacqueline McCauley at Rice University, 1965

Both students created thoughtful archival research projects and delivered them in accessible ways online to a broader audience.

Tech Thursday: College Bowl Buzzers

Earlier this week, Norie brought you the story of the 1982 Western Regionals College Bowl, where Rice took second place in the finals, so I thought you all might like to see some of the buzzer systems the team has practiced with.


Quik Pro

The Quik Pro seems to have a been a popular model for the team; there are three in the collection. There is also a QuizSystem and a Logitek Quiztron.





Horrible Strangle Monster

And, for completeness, here is the 1991 College Bowl National Championship trophy for 1st place.


College Bowl 1991 National Championship, First Place, Rice University
























Tech Thursday: Legacy Media Preservation Test 2

Continuing the project I began with my last post, yesterday I took a few samples of 3.5″ floppies from the Westheimer Literary papers in the hopes of imaging and preserving their data. This time, I was working with our new intern, Clair. Clair is working on the Baker College records, and she had a stack of floppies and CDs that needed some attention, so this was a good time to train her with using Bitcurator. As I expected, things did not proceed as smoothly with the 3.5″ floppies.



We used a USB supported iomega floppy drive. None of the Westheimer discs were readable, and I was worried the problem might be the reader, but then one from the Baker College records still worked!


Westheimer floppies did not mount


With Clair in the driver seat, we imaged the disc, extracted metadata, and compiled the reports. The disc contained a readable doc file, a College Master’s reflection on the responsibilities and pleasures of his job.


Summary: the plug-and-play iomega floppy drive works, and Bitcurator did a great job with imaging the disc.


Tech Thursday: New Media Readers for the Woodson

Sorry for the late post folks!

John “Grungy” Gladu, a longtime friend of Rice and the Woodson, has generously donated several old media readers to augment the Woodson’s digital preservation program. Previously, the Woodson was outfitted to image and capture metadata from floppy discs, Zip discs, CDs, DVDs, reel to reel audio, and Hard Drives. This new equipment will give us access to several more formats, including Jaz drives, Linear Tape-Open 1 (LTO 1) drives, and Peerless storage drives. For good measure, we also got a pristine, unused 5.25″ floppy disc drive.

Thanks-a-million, Grungy!

Jaz drive

Jaz drive

LTO drive

LTO drive

Peerless drive system

Peerless drive system

5.25" floppy drive

5.25″ floppy drive

Tech Thursday: Vera Prasilova Scott Photography Equipment- Enlarger


Prasilova was born in 1899 in Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A talented artist, she apprenticed under famed Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) at the age of 18, and went on to earn a Master’s from the Graphic Arts School in Munich, Germany. Eventually, Prasilova opened and operated a successful photography studio in Houston, where her clientele included Rice faculty and well-to-do members of the community. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Museum of Czech Literature. See the finding aid for her collection for more information on Prasilova, and the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive for examples of her work.

An enlarger is used to magnify the image captured on a photographic negative or transparency. The principle of an enlarger is simple: a light projects the negative image through the lens at the bottom of the enlarger and onto photographic paper. The size of the image can be adjusted by moving the lens nearer to or farther from the paper, or by moving the negative nearer to or farther from the lens. The patent number identifies this enlarger as an E. 0. ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHIC ENLARGER, and it conforms to the design on the patent.



Slot for the negative. A light would be mounted behind to the right.


The track controls the distance between the lens and the negative. The enlarger itself can slide up and down on the back board.


Inside the bellows.


Carl Zeiss Jena lens.


1000w light bulb.

Tech Thursday: Horse-drawn Vehicles

Continuing with the Masterson Texana Collection, here is another little treatise on technology, American Horse-Drawn Vehicles. Written by Jack D. Rittenhouse, this first edition is from 1948. This book surveys about 200 different American coaches, carriages, and wagons. Written when horse-drawn vehicles were still in limited use, the book was a response to demands for historical documentation of the rapidly vanishing form of conveyance. According to the dust jacket, the illustrations are generally half-inch scale and contemporary with their corresponding vehicle. Care was taken to “show construction designed clearly.”




pg3 pg44





Rittenhouse, Jack D. 1912-. American Horse-drawn Vehicles: Being a Collection of Two Hundred and Eighteen Pictures Showing One Hundred and Eighty-three American Vehicles, and Parts Thereof. [First edition]. Los Angeles, 1948.