Friday, March 29, 2013

Summer 1939

The last article Ethel published in the August 31- September 10th period was a "meet the professor" type article. Many of the mentioned professors appear in the Rice yearbook from 1938. I added their pictures as well as highlighted their names in red to help us get acquainted with them. Looks like the mustache was "in" during the summer of 1939!!

From the article, it is apparent that many of the professors traveled within the US and abroad. Historically, 1939 was the end of the Great Depression. According to the Rice Historical Society, the Great Depression was felt across the board at Rice. In 1932, salaries were cut by 5-10% and the registration fee for students rose from $10 to $25 a year. Students were also required to live on campus for at least one year and pay an additional $18 fee to support various student associations.

It must have been nice to have a professor's job and be able to travel, while many people were barely recovering from loosing their livelihood. These summer travels are an indication of improving economic times at the Institute and in the country.

At the same time the US was emerging out of the Depression, Europe was heading into War. On September 1st, only days prior to the publication of this particular article, Germany invaded Poland. The Rice professors returned from quieter parts of Europe and there is no mention in the article of the tentions overseas.

Professors at Rice End Europe Trip

Others Returning From Vacation in America and From Research as Session Nears.

September 10th, 1939

Dr. Marcel Moraud
Professor of French
Andre Bourgeois
Instructor in French
Registration for the new semester at Rice Institute Thursday and Friday is calling back professors and instructors from travels in American and Europe, and from study in libraries and research laboratories.

Four Rice faculty members spent the summer in Europe. Dr. Thomas W. Bonner, assistant professor of physics, has returned from England, where be was studying at Oxford University on a Guggenheim Fellowship in physic's. Dr. Marcel Moraud, professor of French, and Andre Bourgeois, instructor in French, are expected back from France this week, and Fred V. Shelton, French instructor, will arrive in New Orleans Monday after a summer in Antwerp, Belgium.
Three in Colorado.

H. E. Bray
Professor of Mathematics
Colorado was chosen by three Rice professors this summer. Dr. Harry B. Weiser, dean and professor of chemistry, stayed at his summer home in Estes Park, where he completed work on his latest book, "Colloid Chemistry," published last month. Dr. H. E. Bray, professor of mathematics, was in Eldora, Colo. Dr. Arthur J. Hartsook returned from Estes Park last week to supervise the construction of a new annex to the Rice chemistry building.

Other members of the chemistry department have had short vacations, but spending most of the summer at work. Dr. George H. Richter, assistant professor of organic chemistry, has just completed a laboratory manual for pre-medical students, on which he worked all summer.

Dr. Allen D. Garrison
Assistant Professor of
Chemical Engineering
Dr. Frank H. Hurley, instructor in analytical chemistry, has just returned from a two-week stay in New York City, and Dr. Allen D. Garrison, assistant professor of chemical engineering, left last week for a short stay in New York and Boston. Both have spent most of the summer doing chemical research in the Rice laboratories. Dr. Grover L. Bridger and Doctor Garrison took summer courses in chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State College.

Books Completed.

Dr. George Whiting of the English department completed his "Literary Milieu of Milton," on which he has been working for several years. It is being published this fall by the North Carolina Press. Dr. Max Freund, professor of German, has completed the translating and annotating of a detailed journal on Texas written by Gustav Bresel, young German who visited Texas between 1838 and 1840.
Dr. Max Freund
Professor of German

Dr. Harold A. Wilson
Professor of physics
Dr. Harold A. Wilson, professor of physics, visited Monterrey and Saltillo, Mexico, for a short while. He spent most of the summer working on new high voltage apparatus to be used by the physics a, department to bombard atoms. Dr. Claude W. Heaps, professor of physics, visited Springfield, Mass., and the New York World Fair.
Dr. Asa C. Chandler, professor of biology, is in New York at the third international congress of microbiology, and Dr. W. 0. Milligan is in Boston at the ninety-eighth national congress of the American Chemical Society, which Doctor Garrison will also attend.
W. O. Milligan
Research Assistant in Chemistry

Only three of the instructors will not return to Rice when
classes open September 18. Dr, Irwin C. Kitchin, instructor in biology for three years, will become assistant professor of zoology the University of North Carolina.
Doctor Bridger is now with the TVA, and Dr. James Greely, formerly with the civil engineering department left the faculty.

Spanning this eleven day period, Ethel published a total of eight articles, four of which were published on September 10th. They provide a view into the university as it readies itself for a new academic year. 

Photo Source: U.S. School Yearbooks 2010. 
Rice Institute 1938 p. 16-19

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hot Off the Press

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica  "A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed throughout another substance." Rice university was blessed with a world expert on the subject, it's very own Dean and professor, Dr. Harry Boyer Weiser. We've met Dr. Weiser several times already as he was mentioned in various other articles. See Rice Institute to Be Represented at Meet, for a photo of Ethel receiving her diploma from Dr. Weiser. Here, in another article from the first ten days of September, Ethel continues to report on the Chemistry department and her professor's new textbook.

"Rice Dean Gets Copies Of I! His New Book on Chemistry 

September 10th, 1939

First copies of a textbook, just off the press, entitled "Colloid Chemistry," have been received at Rice Institute by the author, Dr. Harry B. Weiser, professor of chemistry and dean of the institute.
Giving numerous applications of colloid chemistry in agriculture, industry and home economics, Doctor Weiser has tried to provide a textbook that will keep the students interested in the technical study through practical applications. Examples of this are the including of a method of manufacturing ammonia, the theory of why Jello and other gelatin desserts jell, a process for making petroleum drilling muds, and even a recipe for making mayonnaise.

Gall stones and agate both come from colloidal materials, he points out in another section of the book. Insect sprays are made to cover a larger area, wet the surface more thoroughly and last longer due to the addition of proper colloids.
Dean Harry B. Weiser
Source: U.S. School Yearbooks 2010. 
Rice Institute 1938 p. 16

Sixth He Has Published.

This is the sixth book Professor Weiser has published. The text is intended to give the student a thorough grounding in colloid chemistry, with special attention to the modern theories and developments, and also to acquaint him,with the wide applications of science to industrial arts, biology land agriculture.

Applications to lubrication, adhesives and soaps are made in the first section of the book, in which absorption is taken up. Bentonite, the material which prevents the hardening of clay in the earth's strata around the drill in drilling for petroleum, is discussed in the division on colloidal gelatins.

Dyestuffs Discussed.

Dyes and dyestuffs are discussed in a later section, in which technical methods of keeping cloth from spotting when dyed brilliant colors are pointed out. The section also presents the best methods of preparing blueprints.

The book, to be used this year in Professor 'Weiser's courses at Rice in colloidal chemistry for senior and graduate students, is an outgrowth of his 25 years of experience as an instructor and professor in the science at Cornell University, the University of Tennessee. and Rice Institute.

Doctor Weiser is a member of the executive committee of Sigma Xi, national honorary science fraternity; chairman of the National Colloid Symposium, and chapter councillor of the Rice Chapter a Phi Lambda Upsilon, national honorary chemistry association. He is one of the foremost American authorities on colloid chemistry."
Photo of the original text book from Amazon

The book is now out of print, though a few used copies are available on amazon for about $3.00. My hunch is that Ethel, a senior in 1939, would have signed up for this class and was the first of Chemistry students around the country to use the textbook, written by the renown professor. Dr. Weiser seemed ahead of his time in trying to make Chemistry more attractive to students by focusing on it's practical implications.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What to Make of Two Almost Identical Scrapbook Articles?

Just when I was feeling pretty confident that Ethel's articles were all most likely clipped from the Houston Chronicle where she worked her senior year, I turned to the second page of the scrapbook and found the following article. You may recognize the content from last weeks post: Rice Institute to Be Represented at Meet.


Dr. W. O. Milligan of the chemistry department at Rice Institute will address the ninety-eighth national meeting of the American Chemical Society at Boston, September 10. Doctor Milligan will speak before the division of colloid chemistry on "Electron Diffraction Studies on the Hydrous Oxides Amorphous to X-Rays." This address will be a report of recent research work carried out in the Rice Institute chemical laboratories by Prof. Harry B. Weiser, dean, and Doctor Milligan. The results of this work will be published later in a chemical journal.) 

The technique of electron diffraction is being used by these two Rice scientists to study the structure and constitution of colloidal materials, such as the hydrous oxides of iron and aluminum. Professor Weiser and Doctor Milligan have applied the method of X-ray diffraction to the problem of the constitution of the hydrous oxides :for 10 years. A fine beam of high speed electrons is allowed to pass through a very thin film of the oxide being examined. If the oxide is crystalline, a pattern of concentric rings will be recorded on a photographic plate. The entire apparatus is within a high vacuum.

Doctor Milligan will attend a meeting of the national research council committee on the application of X-rays to chemistry and chemical technology in Boston, September 13.

I've included a photo of the first article here again for comparison and closer examination. The information is similar but not identical. Interestingly, the date handwritten on the first post was September 10th, while on the post from the second page, September 1st. The second post (though from an earlier date) is a bit longer and more technical in it's description of Dr. W. O. Milligan's research. This article is marked by lines, an making we already observed last week on an earlier article. The headline on the second article written in all Capital letters while on the earlier clipping, it's written in title format with only the first letter of each word capitalized.

This new finding leads me to question the theory that all of these articles originated from one newspaper. It's unlikely the Houston Chronicle posted two articles discussing the same Rice professor travelling to the same conference in a span of ten days.

I double checked the Threser and could not find this articles in any of the September publications. As far as I can tell, there wasn't a September first publication. The Thresher was published on Friday. The September 1st, would have been a Sunday. Therefore I believe one of these articles must have been published in the Houston Press while the other in the Houston Chronicle. A theory I will have to prove by examining these two publications on Microfilm, hopefully in the near future!

I found a picture of Dr. Milligan and his later achievements from a Southwest Resort article in 1950.
(Click to Enlarge)
Source: American Chemical Society. Dallas/Fort Worth Section.. 
Southwest Retort, Volume 3, Number 1, October 1950. [Dallas, Texas]. UNT Digital Library. Accessed March 22, 2013.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workday Wednesday Downtown Houston c1940

A couple of weeks ago, as I was finalizing the idea for this blog, I pulled out a photo of my grandmother Ethel, and placed it, front and center on my desk.This is my system of raising a photo high  up on the priority lists of photos to investigate. After my experience with the Guenard Speed & Clemens building from another mystery photo (see: Where Was This Picture Taken?) I knew, the writing on the awning behind Ethel, was a huge bonus and should help me discover the story behind this photograph.

Last January, via twitter, I met Lorraine Arnold  (@LegacyRoots) who specializes in the history of buildings and business. Lorraine, was able to identify the location of a building in a photo of Ethel's father, William Bloomfield from around 1920. She featured this amazing photo detective tale in her blog Legacy Roots. I hope Lorraine will be proud of the photographic detective work I was able to do with Ethel's photo today!
Though the writing on the awning behind Ethel is obstructed by her head, thanks in part to the glasses, it's pretty obvious the sign says Houston Optical Co.

The Big Clue

The crowds and tall buildings indicate a busy Downtown Houston street. Her outfit, the fitted blazer, sharp skirt and high heeled pumps suggest Ethel was dressed for work. She looks pretty young, so I am estimating the photo to be from around the early 1940s. Maybe heading to her first job as a secretary after college.

My next step was to look for information on the Houston Optical Co. Google was unhelpful so I turned to the US Ci Directory on I went to the 1940 City of Houston Directory and BINGO!

The Houston  Optical Co., owned by Ronald M Chamberlin, was located on 1006 Texas Avenue, Houston, Texas.

Houston Optical Co, third from the top.
(Click to Enlarge)
Source: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Texas > Houston > 1940 > Houston, Texas, City Directory, 1940 > p.271
Then I had another thought. Maybe this was next to the Houston Chronicle offices. I flipped back one page and found the entry for the daily paper where Ethel was a Rice Correspondent, during her senior year (1939-1940). The Houston Chronicle was housed in the Chronicle Building, 512-520 Travis Street, Houston, Texas.

The Houston Chronicle
Source: same as above p.270
Next, I need to figure out how far apart were these two locations. I returned to google, this time, entering the two locations on google maps. This is a crude estimation of the 1940s location, but hoping the lots haven't been renumbered to many times since 1940, it should give me a good idea of the proximity of where this photo was taken and Ethel's stomping grounds, The Houston Chronicle. (Note: I did also check on the address of the Houston Press, where Ethel worked during her junior year, 2001-2019 Rusk Avenue, which was much further away from the Houston Optical Co. location).

Point A is 1006 Texas Avenue, the location of the 1940 Houston Optical shop. Point B is 512-520 the location of the Houston Chronicle building (which today takes up the whole block). As you can see, Travis Street and Texas Avenue intersect. If you click a street view at the Texas Avenue location, this is what you see:

The building today is the Historic Rice Hotel Building which houses the Post Lofts, and spans from Travis to Main Street on Texas Avenue.

If you follow the virtual tour around the historic building and onto Travis Street, you find yourself in this spot:

Your view from the Travis Street corner of the expanded Chronicle building is:

You can zoom in and see the historic street lamps the city of Houston preserved for the district, almost identical to the ones from Ethel's photo (take another look). 

The Rice Hotel, according to the Houston's City Directory, spanned from 917-925 Texas Avenue. The Houston Optical Co. at 1006 Texas Avenue was at the Main Street intersection, literally across the street from the Hotel. There is not enough detail in the buildings in Ethel's photos, to pinpoint which direction of the street the picture was taken from. What is clear, she was standing on the corner of 1006 Texas Avenue between main street and Travis Street where the old Chronicle building stood. I'm pretty sure the building to her left (to the right side of the photograph) must be the Rice Hotel. Here are some old postcards of the old Houstonian landmarks. 

What precisely was my stylish grandmother doing in the hip part of Houston that day,  I can only guess, so I'll put my best guest forward. I think she was either dropping off an article, going to a staff meeting or maybe picking up her $15 paycheck from the Houston Chronicle. Maybe in her bag she had a copy of that day's edition to take home and cut out her article for the scrapbook?
The Chronicle Building 1913
The Rice Hotel 1912
The University of Houston Digital Library:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Page One from Ethel's Scrapbook Completed

This is the fifth and final article Ethel posted on the first page of her scrapbook. They were published in a period of 11 days, from August 31st-September 10th. And again, the Chemistry department makes news. Three of the articles feature the department where Ethel studied. We'll have to see if this is a trend, or just a coincidence.

As the country was pulling out of the great-depression which lasted from 1929-1939, Rice was investing in the sciences, particularly the Chemistry department, buying new equipment and building new labs. The new fall semester was just underway and Ethel was about to enjoy both the new Mess hall and the extra space in the Chemistry building (her major), just in time for her senior year.

"Construction is Speeded on Rice’s Campus September 11th, 1939.

Size of Mess Hall Almost Doubled and Annex to Chemistry Building is Being Completed.


Nearness of the new school semester is speeding the completion of two construction projects begun this summer on the Rice Institute campus.

The mess hall, between South Hall and East Hall in the men's dormitories, has been enlarged to almost double the former capacity and the chemistry building has a new annex to be used by the chemical engineering department.

The addition to the mess hall will accommodate about 300 students, bringing the total capacity of the dining room to around 650.

About 2000 square feet of floor space has been added, Albert Meyerson, contractor, said.
Chemistry Building Annex.

The chemistry building annex contain equipment for senior chemical engineering students. Several large pieces of apparatus bought recently by the department will be moved from the basement laboratories into the new section immediately. A 100-plate copper fractionating still, installed last winter, will be the first piece of equipment to be moved into the laboratory.

The annex will provide space to complete the demonstration of every unit process in chemical engineering, Dr. Arthur J. Hartsook, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rice, believes. Blueprints for several new pieces of equipment to illustrate each of these processes are being made by Dr. Hartsook. He is in charge of designing and will supervise construction.
 Apparatus Included.

Apparatus to be placed in the annex for use in advanced courses includes a fractionating tower, a temperature control column, rotary dryer, humidifier, small steam boiler for heat material balance, and equipment to illustrate absorption and adsorption, rectification, thickening, hydraulic classification, crystallization extraction, and water softening.

The laboratory, 55 feet long and 30 feet wide, is two floors high with an iron tap-walk at the mid story level. A scientifically designed skylight will give illumination much better than that found in laboratories of most large Eastern colleges. The annex was built to alleviate the crowding in the
original laboratories when the department acquired several new pieces of apparatus last year."

When I launched this blog last week, I was unsure which newspaper the articles in the scrapbook came from, the Thresher—the Rice weekly student publication, the Houston Press or the Houston Chronicle. I have now, confirmed that they did not come from the Thresher. See if you reach the same conclusion:

From the Thresher
 Front Page Sep 14, 1939
(Click to Enlarge
See Source below)

"Chemistry Building Increased To Hold Special Apparatus

New Laboratory Offers Seniors Method For Unit Operation

Added space has been given the senior chemical engineering students, said Arthur J. Hartsook, assistant professor of chemical engineering, this summer by the construction of new wing to the north side of the Chemistry building. 

This addition was needed to place special apparatus which has been designed for "chemical engineering student operations, experience and knowledge."

Apparatus By Hartsook

The greatest part of this apparatus... (see ANNEX page four).

The continuation from this article was practically illegible and I did not attach it here. There was a separate article in this same publication about the Mess Hall expansion titled, Mess Hall Grows, Seniors Floored, which went into more detail of how it affected the student body especially which dorm. 

Surprisingly, these Thresher articles do not credit the author. In previous years, the student paper listed the reporter at the top of most articles. In 1939 they must have changed their policy, so it's unclear who wrote these matching articles. My guess is that Ethel first submitted her work to the Chronicle  and then tailored the same articles for the Rice student body. She most likely wrote both set of articles, though she was not listed as a contributor to this particular issue dated Sep 14th, 1939. It's possible another student wrote the Rice articles, we'll never know for sure. One thing is sure. The scrapbook articles are not from the Thresher! 

Source: The Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 1, Ed. 1 Thursday, September 14, 1939, Newspaper, September 14, 1939; digital images, ( : accessed March 19, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Rice University: Woodson Research Center, Houston, Texas.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rice Institute to Be Represented at Meet

For the second time in a week, the chemistry department at Rice makes news! This time, faculty members will be heading to Boston, while their college Professor Chandler from the Biology department will be in NY.

Rice Institute to Be Represented at Meet 9/10/1939

Two Rice Institute faculty members will represent Rice at the ninety-eighth national meeting of the American Chemical Society, in be held Monday through Friday in Boston, Mass.

Chemistry Tower
Rice University
From Rice Yearbook 1938

U.S. School Yearbooks [database on-line].

Provo, UT, USA:
Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: 
Various school yearbooks
from across the United States.

Dr. Winfred O. Milligan, research assistant in. chemistry, will present a paper at the conference, Monday morning, before the division of colloid chemistry. His topic is "Electron Diffraction Studies on the Hydrous Oxides Amorphous to, X-Rays." The speech reports on research work that Doctor Milligan has completed at Rice Institute, in collaboration with Dr. Harry B Weiser, dean and professor of chemistry.

Dr. Allen Garrison assistant professor of chemical engineering will represent Rice, along with Doctor Milligan, at the conference and the two will attend a meeting of the National Research Council committee on the application of X-Rays to chemistry and chemical technology, Wednesday, in Boston.

Ethel with afore mentioned Dean and Chemistry Department
 profesor Harry B. Weiser at graduation, June 1940.

The scrapbook articles so far, portray Ethel as a serious aspiring reporter. Today, on my other blog, Past-Present-Future, I shared a lighter side of Ethel. As part of an ongoing series commemorating Women's History Month spearheaded by  +Lisa Alzo's. Today's prompt was: Social Butterflies, and I couldn't resist including the story about Ethel under that prompt, although it really should have been posted as part of Ethel's Scrapbook. Do make sure to check out! Day 17: Fearless Females: Social Butterfly? Very Fishy! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yearbook 1937-1938

Ethel's pasted her articles into her scrapbook during her senior year at Rice Institute. It was the academic year of 1939-1940. While most of her classmates at Rice were twenty-one years old or so, Ethel, had just turned seventeen. She was young, and female. The first three clippings hinted at the difficulties of women on campus. The discrimination felt by women was not unique to Rice. Since, this is Women's History Month, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the statistics regarding women at Rice during my grandmother's stay and see how far women have come in a span of three generations!

Rice, founded in 1912, was unusual amongst institutions of higher learning, as it accepted women from the get-go.  The class of 1912, made up of 48 young men and 29 young women, was taught by twelve member faculty (Rice University). Today, there are more than six thousands students, close to four thousand undergraduates, 48% of whom are female, according to US News college ranking.

The 1938 Rice Yearbook, the Campanile, is available on as part of their US School Yearbooks online database. Ethel was a member of the sophomore class.

Ethel's yearbook picture. (First from the left). She was 15 years old.
The Campanile 1937-1938. 
Statistics gathered from the 1938 Yearbook:
  • Board of trustees members: 7 members. All men
  • Administration Offices: President, Dean, Registrar, Bursar and Advisor to Women. All male, except the Advisor to Women, Sarah L. Lane.
  • Professors: 13, all men.
  • Assistant professors: 8, all men.
  • Instructors: 22,  all men.
  • Assistance and Fellows: 23, (22 men, 1 woman).
  • Graduate Students: 6, all men.
  • Student Council: 6, (4, men, 2 women).
  • Class Representatives 9 (5, men, 4 women).
  • Women's Council: 12 women.
  • Honor Council: 9 (4 men, 5 women).
  • Sophomore Class: 362 students,  (98 women about 27%)
  • Pre-Med and Pre-Law and Engineering Societies. All male. 
  • Band: All male.
The faculty, was just about all male, but the university, sensitive to the women students, established an administrative position, the Advisor to Women to help the female students. The picture in the student body was quite different, and the women were well represented in the Student Council. They also advocated for themselves with the Women's Council. Careers like Medicine, Law and Engineering were completely male dominated. It would be interesting to see how many women compared to men, reached graduation. I bet, many, like Miss Whatley mentioned in the August 31st, 1939 article: Psychology Teacher And Rice Student Wed in New Mexico. The article only mentions that her husband, Professor Pattie, continued his professorship. It's unlikely the new Mrs. Pattie, continued her studies. For those of you curious to see what Miss Whatley looked like, I finally was  discovered her photograph in the yearbook (I was looking in the wrong year).
Billie Bess Whatley, Freshman 1937-1938
Source: U.S. School Yearbooks [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rice Opens New Courses in Chemistry

Today's article interestingly is about the Chemistry department. Ethel would have been a Junior in 1939 and a student of chemistry so this subject close to her heart. Noteworthy is the last section when she mentions which of the students were awarded fellowships. All four were men. In her unfinished memoir did describe the discrimination she felt applying for jobs in chemistry once she graduated. I wonder if she began noticing this kind of discrimination within the department as well. It will be interesting to see future articles about the chemistry department in the future. 

Revision of Senior and
Graduate Section. of Department at Institute Is Completed

Six new half-year courses and one new full-year course in chemistry have been established at Rice Institute this year in a complete revision of the senior and graduate section of the chemistry department, it was announced this week.

Half-year courses in chemistry will give short, concentrated presentations of highly specialized branches of the science. In previous years, only the longer, more generalized courses were offered. The new courses will enable advanced students to acquire more thorough grounding in chemistry, Dr. George H. Richter, assistant professor of chemistry, explained.

Special Examinations.

Also new this year are the special examinations required of candidates for master's and doctor' degrees in chemistry that have been added to the general requirements for these advanced degrees. Courses open only to students passing these examination have, furthermore, been created. The comprehensive examination to be given before October 1 on the academic year, will cover analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, as well as scientific German.

Senior students will have two new courses to choose from during the second halfyear—advanced physical chemistry and advanced inorganic qualitative analysis. Graduate students working toward an M.A. degree have open to them three new courses during the first half-year—adsorption, the theory of valence, and advanced physiological chemistry.

Heterogeneous Equilibrium.

A new course in heterogeneous equilibrium will be presented during the second half-year. Three courses will be open only to candidates for the Ph.D. degree. The most modern type of X-ray diffraction apparatus, installed this summer, will be used in chemistry 610. Heterocyclic chemistry
640 has been newly-created, and advanced inorganic chemistry completes the group. Four new men have been given fellowships in the reorganized department: Sam R. Bethea and Ervon J. Eggemann of Iowa in chemical engineering, and James Holmes of Georgia and William R Purcell of Mattoon, Ill., chemistry.

This is the second article dated September 3rd (yesterday's post, Professor A. C. Chandler, was about a Biology professor). There seems to be a science theme to day. I doubt new courses in any department at Rice would make the local newspapers today. It's interesting to think that type of information was worth of a newspaper article back then. Today, we may hear about new innovative programs at universities, but not a minor expansion of courses in a small department nor a trip to a conference by a conference by one professor.   

Remember Professor Pattie from the psychology department? The one Ethel wrote about in an article earlier the same week which I shared on the debout of this blog? Yes, the assistant professor who ran off to marry a student? Well, I was curious about him, and decided to look up the "scandalous" couple in the Rice Yearbook, the Campanile. There he sits at the bottom of the page. His bride, Miss Whatley is conspicuously missing from the Sophomore class where she reportedly belonged. I hope to find her in the future!

A page from Campanile, Rice Institute Yearbook 1938
Assistant Professor Dr. Frank A Pattie, Jr. bottom right.
(Click to Enlarge) U.S. School Yearbooks [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Professor A. C. Chandler

Yesterday's launch of Ethel's Scrapbook was quite successful! The blog enjoyed 100 visitors! +Jana Last was the first to join! Thanks +Jana Last and welcome to all my new members and readers!

One of mysteries posed by Ethel's scrapbook is which publication the articles came from. By process of elimination, I believe I have narrowed down the possibilities from three to two. After studying the Thresher weekly online, on the The Portal to Texas History website, I am convince these clippings do not come from the Rice student newspaper. The Thresher articles, for the most part, list the author. My grandmother is credited to quite a few articles. Therefore, I believe the articles in the scrapbook come from her job as the Rice correspondent for the two local Houston papers, the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press.

Today's article is titled Rice Professor Leaves To Talk at Biology Meeting. Interestingly, the article is crossed out (see image below). Several other articles throughout the scrapbook are crossed out as well. I am hoping to discover a pattern that might explain why she chose to draw a line through some of these articles. I present to you, article #2 from Ethel's scrapbook:

Rice Professor Leaves To Talk at Biology Meeting 9/3/1939

Dr. A. C. Chandler, professor of biology at Rice Institute, left Saturday for a three-week visit to New York, where he will give a paper on "Investigation of Immunity in Tape Worm Infections" before the Third International Congress of Microbiology.

The congress will be held from September 4 to 9, and will feature talks by leading biologist from many nations. Doctor Chandler is corresponding member from the section on parasitology, and is the only Texan who will be on the program. 

"In experiments I found that tape worms absorb the food from nourishment a person takes into his body, and that if there is only one tape worm its growth is successful and long lived. But if more than one are found in a person , all die except for one. 

"There might be two reasons for such results. Either the person is immune from tape worm or the other can not grow because they are crowded.
"In the experiment, I fed rats already infected with tape worms with larve worms from beetles. After observing the rats for several days an operation was performed and all but one of  the worms removed. The result was that the worm continued to grow after the others were removed. This proved that the person was not immune, but that worms could not grow because they were crowded. 

"Experiments with vaccine were not successful  A vaccine had no effect on the worm in the infected rat. Even when the vaccine was given by mouth the tape worm was not harmed. 
"Premunition was the conclusion of the experiments," Doctor Chandler said. 

Premunition means protection against infection while the patient is infected. In other words if a person is the victim of tape worm disease, no other tape worm can become dangerous until the infectious one is destroyed. 

The Summary of his address was given by the doctor before he left. 

Now what scientist today goes to a three week conference? Times have changed! This article spoke to me in several ways. My husband is a scientist who uses rats and mice in his experiments. Apart from the length of the leave, I notice a few other major differences in the evolution of scientific research since my grandmother roamed the Rice campus. For one, no one would draw conclusions on humans directly from a mouse experiment. Mice are a good model, but one can not conclude the same result in human with human trials. Secondly, I had a difficult time reaching the conclusion he drew from the experiment of surgically removing the worms. I read the paragraph several times and I'm still not sure of the conclusion. If it wasn't a direct quote from his report, I would think my grandmother might have misunderstood his experiment. Finally, I'm curious if his results hold true today (I've made a note to look this up). 

Since today is Friday Face's From the Past day, I thought I would try to find a picture the renown parasitologist. I did even better. I found a great blog post about him on the Rice's Historian's Blog by Melissa Kean. Melissa wrote about a series of coincidences which lead her to learn about professor Chandler. Ethel's article will continue the stings of serendipitous events.
Professor Chandler c1940 from Historian's Blog
One of Melissa Kean's readers, relayed a rumor that Dr. Chandler smuggled a tapeworm inside himself. Another recalled that he named a tapeworm Homer and provided the bibliography to support his claim. 
The good news is, this professor did not run off and marry a student like his colleague Dr. Frank Pattie from the psychology department (see yesterday's post).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Welcome to Ethel's Scrapbook!

Ethel, 1936, graduating from
Sam Houston High School. She was a top
 student and at fourteen, the youngest in her grade. 
Welcome to Ethel's Scrapbook! I invite you to join me on a remarkable journey. Each day, I will post another articles from the hundreds of articles I discovered in my grandmother's scrapbook.

Ethel worked as a reporter and associate editor for the Thresher, the weekly student publication at Rice University. She also was the Rice correspondent at The Houston Press (a Scripps Howard paper) and The Houston Chronicle. Her prolific career as a young reporter is even more impressive, when you take into account that she enrolled at Rice, at the age of fourteen.

Today, as an inauguration post, I would like to start with a picture of the scrapbook, a photograph of Ethel and at her High School graduation, and the first article in the scrapbook. Do check the About page, and the scrapbook page of this blog for more information about Ethel the scrapbook. I will be posting everyday, so do check often!

Ethel's Scrapbook 1939-1940
Rice University
The inside cover has the following sticker identifying the owner of the scrapbook. From the married names on label, it's clear Ethel pasted this label much later than 1940.

This label must have been pasted after
1970 when she married Fred Alzofon.

And now...the first article from the scrapbook.

Psychology Teacher And Rice Student Wed in New Mexico 8/31/1939

A campus romance between professor and student was climaxed in Roswell, N.M. when Dr. Frank A Pattie, Jr., and Miss Billie Bess Whatley were married there, it was learned here Thursday. 

The marriage, according to an Associated Press dispatch Thursday, was performed last Thursday at St. Andrew's Episcopal church of Roswell by Rev. Frederick B. Howden, Jr., rector. It said that after a wedding trip to Mexico City, the couple will return to Houston. 

Dr. Pattie, assistant professor of psychology at Rice Institute  and Miss Whatley, who finished her sophomore year at Rice last June, became acquainted two years ago when she entered the institute as a freshman taking a pre-medical course, friends here said. 

The romance, which was not generally known on the campus, began last fall when Miss Whatley enrolled in Doctor Pattie's introductory psychology course at Rice. 

During her year's study of psychology, the young student had helped Profesor Pattie with several of his experimental research projects by serving as a subject. 

The young professor, a former instructor at Harvard University, holding degrees from Vanderbilt, Harvard and Princeton, and his bride will make their home in Houston. Doctor Pattie will continue his professorship.

Mrs. Pattie is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.William Whatley of Roswell, N.M. 

Well, there you have it! Seems like this matrimony wasn't quite as scandalous then as it might be today. The professor was involved with a student and didn't lose his job!

Looking forward to hearing your comments!