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.


  1. I wonder what the called High Vacuum back then, now we can achieve 10x10-10 in our storage ring.

    1. Now that is to technical for me! I'm going to leave that research up to you Bill!

  2. That sounds likely to me! Two different newspapers. Luckily, both the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press are in the area. I would be astonished if these two articles weren't from exactly these two newspapers! I wonder what Ethel thought of these researching professors -- were they admirable, annoying, kind, or what?

    1. Why do you think she crossed some articles out Mariann? I have been pondering her relationship to her professors as well. There are no clues yet. That is part of the problem of studying her from the perspectives of articles she wrote for the paper. We see her trying to be impartial and don't get to see her emotions or thoughts.


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