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


  1. This reads very much like our university's newsletters -- a list of every teacher's publications and accomplishments--except that these days the newspapers don't really carry university news. Rice had a number of distinguished academics back then, and Ethel had a good view of what an academic community would be like. Professors aren't as "special" today, unless they are in nationally known universities, and many of them make about what public school teachers make.

    1939 was an ominous year. I shudder to think of what the world went through.

    1. It certainly was much smaller and personalized back then, Mariann. I don't know that the quality of professors has changed so much. It just depends where you are I guess. If the ratios are really 1-8 or 1-10 like they report at many of these schools, I bet despite the larger student body size, students still have many opportunities to get to know their professors!

      As for 1939, it is interesting to see what a young girls life was, so isolated from world events on her college campus. Being Jewish and having many relatives back in Europe, I am sure at home, there was much discussion and dread of world events. I am curious to see if any of her writings dared touch on the subject despite the fact that her job was Rice correspondent.


Thank you for visiting Ethel's Scrapbook! Your comments are greatly appreciated!