Scope and Contents
The collection consists of records from 1966 through 2008, two trophies, a plaque, and the electronic buzzing system used when the Rice team competed on the televised version of the national tournament and won in 1966. The two boxes of information files include lists of team members and scoring sheets from campus tournaments, names of the winning campus team members who entered regional tournaments, and the lists of sixteen competing schools when the Rice team qualified for the national tournament.
Contained in the cartons are trophies from 1982 and 1991. The 1982 trophy for national runner-up is an urn on which the engraving includes the names of the team members and their class years. The 1991 trophy is a silver bowl for the first place finish. It is engraved with “Rice University” but does not include the team members’ names.
The College Bowl was a program that began in 1953 on the radio as a tournament style game in which college level teams from throughout the United States competed by answering factual questions testing a broad range of knowledge. In 1959 the competition moved to television with General Electric as its primary sponsor. The program continued on television until 1970, when its Sunday afternoon time became given to televised football. The College Bowl Company in 1977 with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) organized competition on campus and regional levels, culminating in a national tournament of sixteen teams. These annual competitions continued until 2008, when the company’s program had become replaced at key schools by the program of the Academic Competition Federation.
Items in the College Bowl collection in the Woodson Research Center represent participation by Rice University teams in College Bowl competition from 1966 through 2008. There are no records for 1970 through 1978 and none from 1983 through 1987, but except for these gaps, the information files provide a clear picture of the participation of Rice teams.
The records begin in 1966 when Rice won the national championship on the televised program. They show that the university entered teams in 1966-67, 1967-68, and 1968-69. Tournaments moved from television to radio in 1970, but it was apparently not until 1975-76 that Rice began to hold a campus tournament to determine the make-up of a team to enter the national competition. Campus tournaments were held in 1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79. The 1979 team that had won the campus tournament twice in a row was one of 30 teams chosen by CBS to compete in three taping sessions across the country. These sessions were the precursor to subsequent regional tournaments.
This 1979 Rice team won two rounds but was eliminated in the third by Emory.
In 1982 the Rice team was the national runner-up. By this time 80 to 100 students were competing in Rice intramural tournaments. The 1988 team won the regional tournament and went as one of sixteen teams to compete in the national tournament . Again in 1989, 1990, and 1991 Rice made it to the national tournament. In 1990 Rice won fourth place, and the 1991 team won the national championship. The 1992 and 1993 teams also competed in the national tournament.
The information files show that in 1994 campus tournaments were continuing, but if teams were entering the regional tournament, Rice was not the regional winner again until 1997. From 1998 on until 2008 there were campus tournaments, and Rice continued to enter teams in regional competition.
In 2008, the last year of the College Bowl, Rice was again one of the sixteen teams in the national tournament.
In varying degrees, the files include names of team members, schedules of the campus tournaments, and scoring sheets from the campus tournaments. There are also papers showing the names of Rice faculty and staff who were involved with the College Bowl over the years. The name of Kay Flowers, Assistant Librarian, stands out as a long-time volunteer sponsor of the teams.