Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Jacob "Jake" Henry Hess Jr. papers, 1919-1939 [Bulk 1919-1936] MS 450

creator Hess, Jacob "Jake" Henry, Jr.
Title: Jacob "Jake" Henry Hess Jr. papers
Dates: 1919-1939 [Bulk 1919-1936]
Abstract: The papers of Jake Hess reflect his football, basketball, and tennis careers, both before and after his days as a student and star athlete at Rice Institute.
Identification: MS 450
Quantity: 0.25 Linear Feet12 folders
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical / Historical

Jake Hess was born in 1909[?] in Cleburne, Texas. He had once played basketball and football for the Fort Worth church leagues and he became one of Rice Institute’s first nationally known basketball and tennis athletes. As a member of those leagues, he and his teammates won the city championship in football in 1923 and in basketball the year he left for college.

Hess became a student at Rice in 1927. He co-captained the freshmen basketball team and, by 1929, was fourth in individual scoring in the Southwest Conference basketball association. The following year he became the conference’s leading scorer, and, in 1931, was elected captain of the team.

Hess won All-American mention honors in basketball and became captain of Rice’s tennis team in 1931. In 1930 he became the Southwest Conference singles champion. The next year he took his team to the conference tennis championships, where they won. His brother, Wilbur, won the national intercollegiate and Southwest Conference tennis singles championships for Rice in 1935.

One year later Hess was elected president of Rice University’s “R” Association, a group composed of the school’s athletic lettermen. Hess married Leota Meyer in 1936. After college, Jake Hess worked for Texaco and played on the company’s basketball team, the Scotties. He also won several tennis tournaments, including the West Virginia State Open and the Virginia State Open. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II and later started a construction business.

Hess died July 16, 1957, from complications associated with a reoccurring brain tumor. In 1970 Rice University opened the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium, named in honor of its former star athlete.

Scope and Contents

The Jacob "Jake" Henry Hess, Jr. papers consist of notebooks, newsclippings, awards, certificates, programs, school documents and photographs and span the years 1929 to 1932. They reflect his football, basketball, and tennis careers, both before and after his days as a student and star athlete at Rice Institute.


Access Restrictions

This materials is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Jacob "Jake" Henry Hess Jr. papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Index Terms

Rice University
Tennis players
Hess, Jacob "Jake" Henry, Jr.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jacob "Jake" Henry Hess, Jr. papers, 1919-1939, MS 450, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

This collection was a gift of Jake Hess’ daughter, Karen Hess Rogers, via Rice Alumni Affairs. Oct. 1996.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Alphabetical files

1 Architecture Notebook
Scope and Contents note
Drawings by Hess within the architecture notebooks consist of structures designed by famous Renaissance artists in Florence, Italy, as well as ancient structures like the Giza pyramids and Mycenaean Gate of Lions.
2 Award, Rice “R” Association, n.d.
3 Certificates: Boy Scout documents,1923 - 1924
Certificates: Fort Worth Public Recreation Board recognizing Hess’s participation on 1923 city championship football team
4 Letters (2), 1923 and n.d.
5 Magazine articles regarding Hess' tennis career, 1932, 1936, and 1937
6 Miscellaneous banking / club membership
7 Newsclippings, 1928-1939
8 Newsclippings, Undated
9 Notes: handwritten series of cities and states and may indicate the places to which Hess traveled to play tennis
10 Photos: four images, one may feature Hess, undated
11 Program: Mexico-Texas tennis tournament, n.d.
12 School Documents
Report card from the Cleburn Public School for 1919-1920
Fort Worth Central High School report cards from the 1924-1925 and 1925-1926
Graduation announcement from 1926