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Rice Institute President Edgar Odell Lovett papers

Identifier: UA 0014
Finding aid note: Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents

Edgar Odell Lovett's Presidential Papers document his lengthy tenure in office, from 1912-1945. The papers, housed in 62 Hollinger boxes, include his speeches, general office correspondence and records, construction records of the new Rice Institute, academic department records and financial matters. The collection is arranged in four series.

The first series, Planning the Institute, chronicles the beginning of Rice through correspondence, reports, faculty selection and building records. Opening of the Institute and Book of the Opening, the second series, includes correspondence regarding the formal opening of Rice and the official record of the opening, Book of the Opening. The third series is the President's Office Records, which detail the everyday records generated by the president's office--fiscal matters, speeches given by Lovett, correspondence and general office records. Academic Departments constitute the fourth series and document the general office matters of the departments.

Arranged in four sub-series of Correspondence, World Tour Reports [detailing Lovett's visits to international educational facilities], Faculty Selection, and Construction Records. The records give a detailed account of the many facets involved in beginning an institute for higher learning. The bulk of the materials are among the construction records of correspondence, bids, specifications, contracts, blueprints, and expense/time sheets.


  • 1907 - 1954
  • Majority of material found within 1914 - 1944

Access restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from President Edgar Odell Lovett papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Biographical / Historical

Edgar Odell Lovett (1871-1957), mathematics professor and president of Rice Institute (now Rice University), was born in Shreve, Ohio, on April 14, 1871. After graduating from Shreve High School he entered Bethany College, Bethany, WV, where he graduated in 1890. From 1890 until 1892 he was professor of mathematics at West Kentucky College; in 1892 he became an instructor at the University of Virginia, where he continued his studies and received degrees of M.A. and Ph.D. in 1895. The following year he studied in Europe and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Leipzig in 1896. In 1897 Lovett lectured at Johns Hopkins University and the universities of Virginia and Chicago, and became instructor in mathematics at Princeton University in September. He was promoted to assistant professor of mathematis in 1898 and from 1900 to 1905 held the rank of professor. From 1905 to 1908 he was both professor and head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton.

In 1907 he was asked to head Rice Institute, Houston, being recommended for the post by Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton. He accepted in 1908, moved to Houston, and was formally inaugurated as the first president of the institute on Oct. 12, 1912; he continued in this capacity until his retirement on March 1, 1946. Thereafter, he was associated with Rice as president emeritus, director and consultant.

Lovett was a member of many learned societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, the London Mathematical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1898 he married Mary Ellen Hale; they had two daughters and two sons. He died on Aug. 13, 1957, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

Excerpted from The New Handbook of Texas, 1996


32 Linear Feet (62 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of correspondence, reports, faculty selection, building records, official record of the opening, President's Office Records, speeches, general office records, World Tour Reports, Faculty Selection, and Construction Records, including bids, specifications, contracts, blueprints, and expense/time sheets.

Acquisition Information

The papers were the official records of the President's Office in Lovett Hall and eventually were moved to attic storage. Transfer to Fondren Library occurred in the early 1960s.

Related materials

See also related collection, Edgar Odell Lovett Personal Papers, MS 60; information (vertical) files: Edgar O. Lovett; Edgar O. Lovett addresses---1919-1945; Edgar O. Lovett Bethany College Memorial, 1965; Edgar O. Lovett Princeton; Lovett Family. See also Photo/Image files and memorabilia.

General note

Portions of this collection are available online at
Guide to the Rice Institute President Edgar Odell Lovett papers, 1912-1945
Lee Pecht and Cary McStay
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA