Friday Flashback: A Mystery of the Archives

As we prepare to move into the new building, we have made a concerted effort to document and archive printed materials from the last 40 plus years of Continuing Studies. It is this effort that has led to our Friday Flashback blog series you’ve been enjoying over the past several weeks.

It has been fascinating to look back at the past several decades’ worth of materials and share stories related to each piece. This Friday, however, given the upcoming holiday and start of basketball season next week, we have a bit of a Halloween mystery to solve. In our archiving adventures, we came across a large green folder with a label reading “Rocket Autographs 1979.” The contents of the folder are a single mailer advertising an “Exploratory Data Analysis” course to be offered Jan. 15-17, 1979 here in Continuing Studies. The document alone is interesting, but what is truly intriguing are the five signatures scrolled haphazardly around the face of the mailer. The signatures read as follows: Slick Watts, Robert Reid, Mike Newlin, Moses Malone and Rick Barry. For those of you who do not follow sports, these five gentlemen were part of the 13-man roster that made up the Houston Rockets in the 1978-79 season.

Rocket's Autographs-1979

So, what’s the mystery?

How did we come across these signatures? What were the Rockets doing on campus in 1979? And, did they take the “Exploratory Data Analysis” course?

If you know any of the background regarding this very interesting piece from our archives, please tell us about it in the comments section below.

Bonus: Here is a picture of famous Houston Rocket, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon speaking in our class, “Dimensions of Islam.”

Hakeem Abdul "The Dream" Olajuwon

Bret Newcomb


Bret Newcomb, Marketing Specialist

2 thoughts on “Friday Flashback: A Mystery of the Archives

  1. Here is my take on the autographs. In the 70s, it was very common for the Rockets to drop in Autry Court for light workouts and casual scrimmages during the off season. I recall playing a pick up game against Rudy Tomjonavich one time and one of my biggest thrills was making a hook shot over him in the paint. The Rockets played at the Summit in Greenway Plaza at the time and many of the players lived close by the Rice campus. I don’t think the Rockets attended the academic event mentioned on the envelope. Moses Malone only attended one week of college at the University of Maryland and was not well known as an erudite scholar. I think a Rice student ran into them and asked for an autograph with the only paper he or she had at the time. For example, I once ran into my Dad’s baseball hero, Joe Niekro, at the Memorial Park jogging track, and the only piece of paper I had for him to sign was the outside cover of my Dad’s Last Will and Testament which they both thought was funny. On another occasion I ran into Nolan Ryan in an elevator and the only paper I had which he could sign was a Houston Oilers ticket stub.

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