Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Rice University Cohen House records, 1920-1971 UA 128

creator Rice University. Cohen House.
Title: Rice University Cohen House records
Dates: 1920-1971
Abstract: Collection of blueprints, correspondence, financial records, photographs and more relating to the design, maintenance and furnishings of the Cohen House Faculty Club. Also includes samples of dishes and linens used in the original dining room as well as materials related to the Cohen family.
Identification: UA 128
Quantity: 10.5 Linear Feet14 boxes
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical / Historical

In the 1920’s George S. Cohen, a Houston business man and owner of Foley’s department store donated $125,000 to Rice University to build a faculty club in honor of his parents Robert I. and Agnes Cohen. The faculty club was officially opened at homecoming in November 1927. The building was enlarged in 1958 when the main dining room and terrace were added. The cost of this renovation, which was also funded by George S. and his wife Esther Cohen, was $260,000 and brought the size of the building from 7,100 square feet to 13,600 square feet. In 1976 a major renovation took place and in 1980 the Esther M. Cohen Memorial Garden and the fountain were dedicated. In 1983 the employee restrooms and locker rooms were renovated and the air-conditioning was updated. In 1985, crown molding and new wall coverings were added. In 1993 and 1994 more renovations took place to add wheelchair ramps as well as new club offices and restrooms. In 2006, further renovations replaced the ceiling in the dining room and placed early photographs of campus reprinted by Geoff Winningham from the original glass plate negatives.

Scope and Contents

The Cohen House Records collection consists of financial statements, bills, building specifications, donation and contribution records, and guest records for the Cohen House faculty club between 1920 and 1970. Also included in the collection are records of equipment and furnishings transactions, original pieces of china used in Cohen House, correspondence between George S. Cohen and various departments and people at Rice University, news clippings, scrapbooks, and photographs.


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Cohen House records, UA 128, must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

clippings (information artifacts)
blueprints (reprographic copies)
Rice University.
Rice University. Faculty Club.
Cohen, Esther
Cohen, Agnes
Cohen, Robert
Cohen, George S.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cohen House Records, 1920-1970, UA 128 Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

This collection was a gift donated from the Margaret Doyle estate on January 14, 1986.


No future additions are expected for this material.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I. Correspondence, 1927-1992

Box Folder
1 1 Cohen House financing, 1927-41
2 Agreements
3 Building specifications
4 Plaque inscription
5 Shield/crest—see also Box 13 for photograph of carved shield
6 Wood carving—Peter Mansbendel
7 Bills, 1927-29
8 Bills and correspondence, 1928-58
9 Bills and accounting, 1932-62
10 Summary, Cohen House bills, 1927-28
11 Financial Statements
12 Building alterations
13 Gardens
14 Sculpture
15 Planning Study 1992
Box Folder
2 1 Sundial
2 Donations/Contributions
3 Invitations to dedication
4 Guest Registers, 19297-59, with George Cohen’s handwritten notes
5 Guest Registers, 1959-70
6 Guest Registers, 1964-68

Series II. Equipment and Furnishings, 1927-1959

Box Folder
3 1 China-Scammell China Co., 1927-54
2 China-Sterling China Co., 1958
3 China orders, 1958-59
4 Linens-Wm. Liddell Co., 1927-58
5 Linens-bills, 1940-48
6 Linens-Walter Mayer & Co., 1958
7 Silverware, 1926-58
8 Silverware, 1954-58
9 Glassware-Libbey & Sterling Glass Co., 1927-40
Box Folder
4 1 Equipment-Kitchen and Dining Room, 1927-40
2 Equipment-Athletic, 1927-28
3 Furnishings orders, 1927-40
4 Billiard table, 1927
5 Draperies, 1927-36
6 Furniture-Correspondence and bills, 1950-54
7 Furniture-Aladdin Iron Works, 1927
8 Furniture-Cincinnati Wrought Iron Works, 1927-34
9 Furniture-Newton & Hoit Co., 1927-55
10 Furniture-Englander Spring Bed Co., 1927-28
11 Furniture-Upholstery, 1940-41
12 Fireplace, 1927-28
13 Mirrors, 1927
14 Refrigerator-Iroquois Electric Refrigeration Co., 1927-28
15 Replacements, 1932-53

Series III. George S. Cohen Personal Files, 1927- 1978

Box Folder
5 1 Correspondence, Rice Institute and others, 1927-1941
2 Correspondence, Friends of Rice, 1930s
3 Correspondence, Athletics Department, 1930’s-40’s
4 Correspondence1960’s
5 Rhodes Matter, 1928
6 Newsclips, 1959-1971
7 Newsclips, 1927-1928
8 Newsclips, 1972
9 George Cohen tributes, 1961-1972
10 Robert Cohen tributes, 1934 – see also oversized materials Box 13 for framed tribute
11 Robert Cohen memorial books (2), 1934
12 Agnes Cohen death, 1945-46
13 Esther Meyer Cohen memory book, 1978

Series IV. Photographs/Scrapbooks, 1920-1971

Box Folder
6 1 Photographs-George S. Cohen, 1927-1969 (includes image of Cohen signing check for gift to Rice)
2 Photographs-Cohen rowing, as a young man, ca. 1920?
3 Photographs-Agnes (Mrs. Robert), George Cohen, 80th birthday party at Cohen House, 1937, and one undated portrait, possibly 1920s
4 Photographs-Robert and Agnes Cohen, undated
5 Photographs-Family (unidentified)
6 Photographs-Cohen House, laying of cornerstone, 1927
7 Photographs-Cohen House improvements / construction, 1958-1971
8 Photographs-Cohen House exterior in snow, 1950s
9 Photographs-Cohen House interior, 1961
10 Photographs-Cohen House fountain construction
11 Photographs-Cohen House gardens (including fountain and sundial), 1961
12 Photographs-Cohen House events, 1961 party, 1934 garden party, 1937 80th birthday luncheon for Mrs. Cohen
13 Photographs-Rice campus, 1966
14 Photographs (large folder)-Robert Cohen
15 Photographs (large folder)-Caricatures, M/M George Cohen
16-19 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House, laying of cornerstone
20 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House exterior
21 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House interior
22 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House gardens
23 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House sundial
24 Photographs (large folder)-Cohen House fountain
25-26 Congratulatory messages on Cohen House Dedication, 1927-28
Box Folder
13 - Oversize - cartouche over fireplace
- Faculty Club constitution

Series V. Tableware (china, crystal, silver, linens), n.d.

Box Folder
7 - China pattern: Blue band with Cohen House crest-Lamberton China
1 dinner plate
2 salad plates
1 bread & butter plate
1 demitasse cup
1 match holder
Box Folder
7 - China pattern: Floral border with Cohen House crest-Scammell’s Trenton China
1 dinner plate
2 demitasse cups
1 coffee cup
Box Folder
7 - China pattern: smooth blank with Cohen House crest
2 dinner plates
Box Folder
7 - 1 glass dessert plate with Cohen House crest
- 4 everyday drinking glasses, various shapes, with Cohen House crest
Box Folder
8 - Crystal with Cohen House crest: 1 champagne glass, 1 water goblet
Box Folder
9 - Crystal with Cohen House crest: 1 water goblet
Box Folder
10 - Crystal with Cohen House crest: 2 seafood cocktail glasses
Box Folder
11 - Linens
Tablecloth (large ivory) with Cohen House insignia
Tablecloth (beige and white) with Cohen House insignia
Napkins, 12, (ivory) with Cohen House insignia
Box Folder
11 - Silver
3 Cohen House serving spoons
1 Cohen House relish fork
1 Cohen House knife
1 Cohen House fork
1 set sample silver- serving spoon, 2 soup spoons, knife, fork, teaspoon, dessert fork, butter knife
4 dies for stamping sterling silverware with Cohen House crest

Series VI. Realia, 1960 and n.d.

Box Folder
12 - Plaque: “Cohen House, Gardens, November 15, 1960” Original tile from Cohen House terrace (before alterations) False binding for "The Campanile"
14 Cohen House Bowl (description of bowl's history included in box) 1940

Series VII. Blueprints, 1927-1960 (located in map case drawer #15)

Box Folder
dr 15 - Cohen House, n.d.(ca. 1927), sheets 1-13; William Ward Watkin, Architect
- Addition to Cohen House, n.d., sheets 1-4 (3 copies); Robert F. White and Associates
- Landscape plans-planting plan, Oct. 17, 1960, Robert F. White and Associates
- Landscape plans-planting plan, Jan. 12, 1960, Robert F. White and Associates
- Additions to Cohen House, Feb. 27, 1958, sheets 1-10; Lloyd and Morgan, Architects
- Illuminated fountain set of 4 plans, Feb, 26, 1960 (2 copies); Establissements Houdry, Architects
- Filter details and design of the pumping station for Illuminated fountain, March 4, 1960; Establissements Houdry, Architects
- Illuminated fountain set of 5 plans (reverse image); Establissements Houdry, Architects
- Fountain effects diagram (3 copies total, 1 reverse image); Establissements Houdry, Architects
- Study for garden wall at Cohen House, July 24, 1959; Robert F. White and Associates
- Additions to Cohen House, inside elevations showing stone plaques and memorial stone; Lloyd and Morgan, Architects
- Illuminated fountain pencil design, September 26, 1956; Establissements Houdry, Architects
- Cohen House gardens sketch, n.d. (2 copies, 1 pencil sketch, 1 paper)
- Addition to Cohen House, detail of cabinets in kitchen, n.d.; W. W. Watkin, Architect
- Addition to Cohen House, layout for equipment in new kitchen, n.d.; W. W. Watkin, Architect
- Addition to Cohen House, detail of recess for kitchen range, n.d.; W. W. Watkin, Architect
- Lighting and electrical layout, Cohen House luminous fountain. n.d. (3 copies total, 2 copies not identified) Brown and Root, Inc. Engineers, Inc. Constructors
- Foundation Plan for garden wall-Cohen House, December 15, 1959; Brown and Engineers and Constructors
- Pumps and piping, Cohen House luminous fountain, April 25, 1960 (2 copies); Brown and Root, Inc. Engineers and Constructors