The collection consists primarily of photographs of events associated with the first thirty-two commencement ceremonies of Rice Institute. There are a few special occasions apart from commencements: in November 1918, the presence of the British Educational Mission and members of the Official French Mission to the United States for the inauguration of the Sharp Lectureship; the Nov. 27, 1919, Thanksgiving Day reunion service after World War I; the February 5, 1920, visit to Rice by General John J. Pershing; and the April 1922 visit of President and Mrs. Lowell of Harvard University for his delivery of the third series of the Godwin Lectures on Public Affairs.
All but one of the first thirty-two commencements of the Institute are represented, and typically by the baccalaureate speaker and the commencement speaker. In some years there are photographs of a garden party. In a few cases individual graduates are featured, and there are a number of photographs of academic processions and dignitaries seated on the platform.
Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-348-2586.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from the Rice Institute Photographs of Special Occasions, 1912-1946 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Biographical / Historical
Rice Institute was founded in 1891 and formally opened in 1912, initally known for its focus on the sciences. The name changed in 1960 to Rice University, to reflect its broader scope of teaching.
Capt. James A. Baker was a prominent attorney in the law firm of Baker, Botts & Baker, who represented many wealthy citizens, one of whom was William Marsh Rice, founder of Rice University. In 1891, Baker was made a member of the Rice Institute Board of Trustees and eventually became Chairman of the Board. After Rice’s death in 1900, a suspicious Capt. Baker alerted authorities to the possibility of foul play. Because of his efforts, investigators discovered that Rice was in fact murdered by an associate.
As Chairman of the Board, Baker contributed to the establishment of Rice University an elite educational institution. Because of his business savvy, the Rice endowment was more than doubled in the early years of the university. Mr. Baker served as Chairman until his death on Aug. 2, 1941. His son, James A. Baker, Jr., served in World War II, became a lawyer in the family firm and continued the Baker commitment to Rice, as has James A. Baker III., Capt. Baker’s grandson, founder of the Baker Institute for Public Policy, at Rice University.
The collection consists of 284 8” by 10” black and white photographs of special occasions at Rice Institute, chiefly baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. The photographs were collected by Captain James A. Baker and were presented in May 1960 to the Rice Institute Library in memory of Captain and Mrs. Baker by the Baker family.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was a gift presented in memory of Captain and Mrs. James A. Baker by the Baker family in May 1960.
Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University 6100 Main St.
Rice Institute Photographs of Special Occasions, 1912-1946, UA 349. Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. https://archives.library.rice.edu/repositories/2/resources/900 Accessed December 09, 2023.