Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First Night Football Game at Rice!

Ethel was not a big sports fan as far as I can recall, but my sons will be pleased to discover that she did know a bit about college football. She may have never set foot at the newly remodeled football stadium, on campus, but here is an article she wrote about Rice's promising 1939 team and their upcoming schedule.

Eyes of Nation Football Fans Will Turn to RiceSept. 30 for First Night Game

September 12th, 1939

The eyes of football fans all over the nation will turn toward Houston on September 30, where one of the major early season games will be played between Rice Institute and Vanderbilt University.
The game will also initiate night football at Rice Stadium. Lights have been installed at the new stadium, which has been put in readiness for the 1939 schedule. The Owls opened training last week.

Outstanding Team.

Owls have been touted by sports writers throughout the Southwest inference as one of outstanding teams s of the conference. Besides a wealth of material held over from last year's squad, including Ernie Lain and Olie Cordell, the varsity is enlarged by a great freshman squad of last year.
1938 returning Rice Football stars
Ernie Lain and Olie Cordill
Source:U.S.School Yearbooks>Texas>Houston>Rice>1938>p.216.
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com
Operations, Inc., 2010.p.216 

The four games of the season three of them at Rice Stadium will be played at night. After Vanderbilt, the Owls on October 7 played Centenary at Houston then on October 14 play Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and return home to meet Sam Houston State Teachers College on October 21. All night games start at 8 o'clock.

Conference  Action.

The Owls will then go to Austin to swing into action action in conference competition, meeting the University of Texas on October 28. This, and the remainder of  games on the schedule, will be afternoon game, starting at 2:30 p.m.

On November 4 the Owls will travel to New York to meet Fordham University Rams in the last intersectional game on the schedule. They then resume Southwest Conference play, meeting the University of Arkansas Razorbacks here on November 11 and then Teas Aggies here on November 18. 

Rice will play Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in Fort Worth on November 25, will return home to meet Baylor University’’s Bears on December 2 and will close the season in Dallas, playing Southern Methodist University on December 9. 

Rice's Winning Football Team from 1938
Campanile Yearbook 1938
Source:U.S.School Yearbooks>Texas>Houston>Rice>1938>p.210
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 
Operations, Inc., 2010. 
The 1938 squad Ethel mentioned, indeed had a great year. They were the first Rice team to reach the Cotton Bowl where they defeated Colorado 28-14 (Rice Historical Society Timeline). This championship team surely benefited from a newly remodeled stadium.  On September 23rd, 1938, the Thresher reported that the construction cost of $160,000 was raised by Rice fans in exchange for ticket options. Clearly, Texas was pulling out of the Great Depression! In 1939, the lights were turned on for the returning championship team, who were to hold the first game of the season at night!

Do you venture to guess when the first ever college football game was played under the lights? I did a little research and the answer surprised me. September 28th 1892! The game was held in Mansfield, Pennsylvania between Mansfield State Normal and Wyoming Seminary. Professional football did not hold a night game until twenty years later in 1902!

I can not help but conjure the popular TV series Friday Night Lights which aired a few years ago, based on a Texas high school football team. Today, the popularity of college football, has soared to unimaginable heights, and even high school football is played under the lights, in almost American towns. As reflected in Ethel's article, the Texan football tradition is deeply rooted. I bet she would have related to this highly acclaimed football tv drama. 

If you are a football fan and want to read more about the old stadium, here are several links to great posts, photos of the stadium and it's construction from the Rice History Corner Blog by Melissa Kean:
Following the 1939 Football season promises to be an exciting! Let's hope the Owls won their first night game against Vanderbilt University! I hope the scrapbook has more articles about the game!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Loss for Rice, Gain for University North Carolina

On the second page of the scrapbook, I found this article dated July, 1939. It was published during Ethel's summer break, and prior to all the previous articles, which were also published before Rice opened it's door for the academic year of 1939-1940. In this particular article she pays homage to a distinguished biology instructor who was leaving Rice. Dr. Kitchin, had strong roots in North Carolina where he was taking an assistant professor position at UNC. I think fellow genealogist and story teller extraordinaire, +Mariann Regan of Into the Briar Patch, A Memoir will appreciate this story as she also has deep roots in the state of North Carolina. Who knows, maybe Ethel's Scrapbook and the Briar Patch  will cross paths?



July, 1939

Dr. Irwin C. Kitchin, for the last three years instructor in biology at Rice Institute, is leaving Houston August 1 to take over his new duties as assistant professor, of zoology at the University of North Carolina.

Doctor Kitchin is the only American to have received a degree from Prof. Hans Spemann at famed German embryologist and winner of the Nobel prize in medicine.

Doctor Kitchin worked for four years, with Professor Spemann at Freiburg. Germany, and in the marine biological station at Naples. After receiving his Ph. D. degree from the University of Freiburg, Doctor Kitchin held the Session research fellowship at Yale University.

Working as an experimental embryologist, Doctor Kitchin has produced twins and Siamese twins from single eggs of salamanders. He explains at by studying the conditions y which his double‑headed monsters are produced, fundamental embryological principles are brought to light which are presumably as applicable to man and the higher animals as to salamanders.

Explaining this method of study he says, "If we know exactly the conditions necessary for producing our second and extra head, we are lead to believe that similar but naturally occurring causes bring about the development of the single head in normal animals.

"When properly cared for, these two-headed animals are capable of living a normal span of life like any side-show freak.”

At Rice, Doctor Kitchin has also carried on a series of is investigations on the development of both the pituitary gland-end the backbone.

Doctor Kitchin, at 27, is returning to North Carolina, where his family name has become distinguished in the public life of that state. His father, Dr. Thurman D. Kitchin. is president of Wake Forest College. Two of his uncles have represented North Carolina as congressmen. One of his uncles has served as governor of the state. His grandfather was a congressman and his great-grandfather a North Carolina governor.

With such an esteemed background, and distinguished credential, at such a young age, I am not surprised he was called back home. Rice certainly lost a great educator!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Social Butterfly? Very Fishy! Revisited

A couple of weeks ago I published a post on my other Blog, Past Present Future, as part of the Fearless Females series (+Lisa Alzo's, The Accidental Genealogist', 31 inspirational writing prompts in celebration of Women's History Month). In case some of you missed it, I thought it would be fun to republish it here today as it features an article about Ethel (not by Ethel) from exactly seventy-five years ago today. Here is the post titled: Social Butterfly? Very Fishy!

March 17th prompt— Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.
As most of you know, I have been reading many newspaper articles from 1939-1940 for my new blog Ethel's Scrapbook. The blog is centered around my grandmother Ethel and the articles she published as a Rice Institute correspondent for the Houston, Chronicle all of which she collected in her scrapbook. While researching for the new blog, came across scores of additional articles she published in the Thresher, the Rice Weekly Student publication from the same time period. So far, I'm amazed at home much I've learned about my beloved grandmother in only one week since I launched Ethel's scrapbook.
Growing up, I mostly heard that her time at rice was difficult because she was so young. "Socially, it was difficult to fit into college when you are three or four years younger than everyone else," I remember her explaining. She discouraged all of her children and grandchildren from getting ahead in school, because of her experience of skipping second and third grade. Therefore, when I came across this write up about my grandmother in the Thresher, I was surprised. None of the Thresher articles made the scrapbook. Maybe there is another scrapbook that hasn't surfaced yet, but thanks to The Portal to Texas History, see learn quite a bit more about my grandmother's years in college.
It seems she was quite the social butterfly after all!

Bloomfield Gives Backyard Beach Part for Club

"Ethel Bloomfield more or less entertained the Rice Writing Club with a bay party in her back yard, fully equipped with a gold-fish aquarium. Membres of the club waded to the tune of "We Must Go Down to the Sea again," by J Masefield.
Catastrophe of the escapade: ex-member Flossie Albrecht sat on one of Ethel's pet cacti and in revenge stabbed the cactus back with a dagger off the Spanish dagger plant. 
Bloomfield Give Backyard
Beach Party for Club
Joke of the escapade: W. C. Marlone dunked a telephone in the pond, taking it for more or less half a donut. 
Love affair of the escapade: Clyde Terry got it bad for Hellen Norris.
Revolt of the escapade: The president refuses to call the meeting to order. She was heckled, it seems, at not being allowed to parachute-jump from the top of the telephone pole.
Explosion of the escapade: Mary Emily Miller wanting to be alone got into Ethel's newly-remodeled servant house and, lighting a cigar blew the place up. It was a stick of dynamite.
Refreshments of the escapade: Ethel served eggs more or less to the tune of "Break, Break, Break." Mr. Williams, sponsor of the Writing Club, and ever the individualist, dangled his neck over the edge of the pond until he managed to catch skin, and swallow two of Ethel's prize goldfish.
Miss Bloomfield's bay party was a great success, enjoyed by everyone. She is cordially invited to have another one some time soon."

I made a double take and reread the article which didn't make a lot of sense. Especially, knowing my serious, overachiever grandmother and the very serious image her scrapbook articles portray? A backyard beach party? Goldfish? Really?
I went back to the The Portal to Texas History website to find the full page from where I clipped this particular article. Something was very fishy! This was page three of the edition, but instead it resembled a front page.

The Thresher, April 1st, 1938
(Click to enlarge)
The Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 23, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, April 1, 1938, Newspaper, April 1, 1938; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth230417/ : accessed March 18, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University: Woodson Research Center, Houston, Texas.

This was an April Fools edition!
Ethel may have taken part in writing this article as she was an associate editor. The joke may have been played on her, but I'd like to imagine she took it well. After all, she did continue on at the publication and was even the Staff Nominee for Assistant Editor later on that year. In truth, Ethel did host the Writing Club at her home, but the meetings were not half as much fun as this imaginary beach party. The true report of the meeting she hosted on May 2nd of that year reads as follows:

"At the last meeting, held Monday, May 2nd, at the home of Ethel Bloomfield, Mary Bethany and Helen Saba read short stories and Harry Hold and Clyde Terry read poems. All works read at the meetings of the Writing Club are written either by Rice Institute students or graduates."
The Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 23, No. 28, Ed. 1 Friday, May 13, 1938, Newspaper, May 13, 1938; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth230423/: accessed March 18, 2013),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University: Woodson Research Center, Houston, Texas.

Thankfully, my grandmother's image was restored from party animal, to serious aspiring writer!

Back to School

The next section of the scrapbook is also packed with articles. Two more pages of the Ethel's scrapbook are pack with articles spanning only four days: September 12-15. This first article is noted as Back-to-School and had not one, but two large photos. In this article, Ethel chose to celebrate Rice's advancements into modernity by examining Rice's History!

Rice Grows From Four Buildings On Prairie to Modern Institute 

September 12, 1939 back-to-school

From Ethel's Scrapbook
Photo of the Rice Institue Administration Building
"Rice Institute which begins its twenty-seventh academic session with classes Monday, started an education infant in 1912 and has grown to one of the nation’s outstanding seats of learning. 

Some 1350 students will register at Rice Institute this year, it was announced, about 400 of them freshmen.

Far Different Scene

But the students who go to Rice Institute this year to begin another year of study will meet a far different scene than did the comparative handful of students who were on deck to begin their college education when Rice first open it’s doors on September 23, 1912. 

From Ethel's Scrapbook
Photo caption: Above is pictured the Cohen
House, one of the newest building at Rice
Institue.It is used as a clubhouse for
Faculty Members
Today beautiful landscaped grounds and buildings of conforming architecture greet the new students. In 1912 Rice Institute was just four buildings on plowed prairie land with no tree or shrub in sight. 

But the 59 students who registered for the first classes saw that the foundations of a great institution had been laid, and the opening exercises gave notice to the world that nothing but the best was aspired to, that the new institution proposed to take its place among the greatest in the world. 

Colorful Story

William March Rice
Source: Wikipedia
The story of Rice Institute is a colorful-one. This beginning, with high aspirations, had been made possible by a New Englander who came to Texas a youth, became rich and left $15,000,000 of his fortune for the building and maintenance of a large educational plant for Houston Texas. That New Englander was William Marsh Rice, for whom the institute is named.

Dr. Edgar Odell Lovett, who has been president of Rice since its inception, and other heads of the college have brought to Houston many distinguished individuals as lecturers and about as many able scholars are resident members of the institute itself. It has gained steadily in national recognition both for its scholastic standing and its athletic teams.

Dr. Edgar Odell Lovett
Source: Rice Campanile Yearbook 1917
On Rice’s faculty are several internationally noted scientist, among them Dr. Harry Boyer Weiser, professor of chemistry; Dr. Asa Crawford Chandler, professor of biology, and Dr. Edgar A Altenberg assistant professor of biology.

The institute offers a liberal education in arts, as well as in sciences and engineering, for which it is particularly noted."

The first publication of the student newspaper at Rice, the Threser, was published Thursday, September 14th, in anticipation of the first day of class, Monday September 18th. All of the articles we have reviewed so far, were published prior to the first day of school. She continues to review the changes at Rice in preparation for the new academic year. I don't know about you, but I'm excited for the academic year of 1939-1940 to finally begin!