At Rice, university's history a treasure hunt

Historians in the News

In a quest worthy of Indiana Jones, official Rice University historian Melissa Kean braves menacing cobwebbed recesses on her campus that few others even know exist. In search of historic gems - Rice turns 100 this year - the intrepid researcher has discovered vacuum tube-studded remnants of an early computer, old student scrapbooks, the first school president's black top hat and boxes brimming with relics of ancient gridiron battles lost and won.

In a typical day, the lawyer-turned-academic explores, gathers and interprets for 10 hours or more. Then she retreats to her home, where, in a chatty university history blog,, she shares her discoveries with the world.

Kean, 53, first came to Rice as a history graduate student in 1991. "Sometimes people will ask me if I don't get bored, spending 20 years in the same archives," she said. "But stuff keeps coming, coming, coming. It's like being in a really long, really good marriage. I know so much that it's almost wild."...

comments powered by Disqus