Skip to main content

Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory collection

Identifier: UA 0438
Finding aid note: Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains papers related to the chemical engineering program and faculty at Rice—courses they taught, papers they wrote, and the development and accreditation of the Bachelor of Science of Chemical Engineering program at Rice, including course evaluations, teaching outlines and notes, technical reports, budgetary notes, and faculty theses.

The collection also contains photographs of the professors, photographic slides, awards, architectural drawings, and programs from chemical engineering events, and memorabilia such as a copper box stored with documents in Abercrombie’s cornerstone, a universal countdown timer, and large commemorative plaque

The materials are in good condition and range in date from 1948 to 2018. Researchers interested in buildings at Rice, the inner workings of the Chemical Engineering program, or contributions of Rice Faculty would find this collection helpful.


  • Creation: 1948 - 2018


Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research. Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory collection, 1948-2018 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

The Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory was built in 1948 with a gift from J.S. and Lillie Frank Abercrombie and their daughter Josephine E. Abercrombie '46, and was designed by architects Staub & Rather with consultation from William Ward Watkin. A sculpture by William McVey '27, the best-known artist alumnus of Rice at the time, completed the project. Plans to demolish the building are slated for May of 2021 with the construction of a replacement engineering and science building to follow in January of 2023.


8 Linear Feet (6 boxes and 2 oversize items)

Language of Materials



The Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory collection provides an overview of the chemical engineering program housed within the building’s walls for over seventy years. Faculty research, class papers, and program accreditation materials forming the bulk of the collection, with event programs, photos, and memorabilia offering more insight into the program’s culture.


The materials are arranged in eight series as follows:

Series I: Event Programs

Series II: Photos

Series III: Faculty

Series IV: Courses

Series V: Department of Chemical Engineering Budget

Series VI: Accreditation

Series VII: Memorabilia

Series VIII: Oversize

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Department of Chemical Engineering donated the materials in May of 2021.

Guide to the Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory collection, 1948-2018
Gabby Parker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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