Scope and Contents
The collection consists of College Cabinet minutes, as well as other college-related documents and lists, such as the Constitution and by-laws, Plan and Perspective, handbook, freshman orientation, other publications, correspondence and memos, photographs and negatives, video, news clippings, theatrical programs, and space utilization plans.
Conditions Governing Access
Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Restrictions on Access
This material is open for research, except for Box 44, Folder 20. The Wiess Vault USB is restricted until 2033. Please see note on Series XXXI.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from the Rice University Harry Carothers Wiess College Records must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Biographical / Historical
Wiess Hall was built in 1949 by the generous gift of the estate of Harry Carothers Wiess. Wiess was an oil tycoon and founder of Humble Oil (which later became Exxon and now Exxon-Mobil). Wiess Hall originally was built to house the growing numbers of students after World War II and consisted of 100 bedrooms and a small lobby known as the Outer Commons. It was popular for its outdoor hallways, wrap-around balconies and cross-ventilation construction in the pre-air-conditioning era.
In 1957, Rice's residential college sytem was established. South, East, West and Wiess Halls were all male, and became Will Rice, Hanszen, Baker and Wiess Colleges. Jones College was all female. Wiess received additions such as a commons, public basement area, more rooms, a library and grassy courtyards. Wiess' first Master was Dr. Roy Talmage (Biology), who insitituted formal blazers which were worn at formal Sunday dinners. Freshmen served as waitstaff during family meals and were made to wear green beanies to distinguish themselves. Wiess became co-ed in 1983.
Wiess is known for its large public party, Night of Decadence (NOD), Pumpkin Carolling, its theater, Wiess Tabletop, and jacks. Wiess students engineered the most famous jack (prank)in Rice history in 1988 when they turned the statue in the academic quad of William Marsh Rice around to face the Fondren Library. The perpetrators of the jack and their exact methods are still unknown.
IN 2002, Wiess College was rebuilt. The original 1949 building had become unsafe and had foundation problems.
Excerpted in part from Wiess O-Week manual, 2002.
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Language of Materials