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, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth230458/ : accessed March 19, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University: Woodson Research Center, Houston, Texas.


  1. I think it is awesome that she kept a scrapbook like that, something I wish I had the presence of mind to do.

    1. It's not too late Bill! This is a really simple scrapbook, just the clippings and a date. I would have loved some footnotes, but they are absent. If you have stuff to archive, I suggest you jump into it, and if you don't have the time, just keep it simple! Your descendants will one day really appreciated it!


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