Around the World with the Lovetts
Edgar Odell Lovett and his wife, Mary Hale Lovett, and Rice Secretary F. Carrington Weems, sailed across the Atlantic on the "Empress of Ireland". Other legs of their world tour were made possible by other ships and trains.
They traveled by rail from Houston to Montreal, Canada. They left Montreal on July 24, 1908, aboard the Empress of Ireland, a steamer run by the Canadian Pacific Line. In just under a week's time, they arrived in Liverpool, where their visits to educational institutions began.
The Lovetts enjoyed social life on board the ships. Mrs. Lovett participated in the social life on board by performing in this charitable program benefiting the Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution.
In February, 1909, Lovett and Weems traveled on the SS Corvania, a steamer, from Granada, Spain to Genoa, Italy. Later that month they traveled from Italy to Greece on the SS Bruenn, and from Greece to Turkey on the SS Reine Olga.
Traveling by train up through to St. Peterburg in March, they boarded the Trans-Siberian Express and rumbled across Russia for twelve days.
The Chinese Eastern Railway was a single tracked line providing a shortcut for the world's longest railroad, the Trans-Siberian Railway. It ran from near the Siberian city of Chita via Harbin across northern inner Manchuria to the Russian port of Vladivostok. This route drastically reduced the travel distance required along the originally proposed main northern route to Vladivostok.
They arrived at Vladivostok on March 22 and boarded the SS Mongolia the next day heading for Japan.
After visiting Japan, they again boarded the SS Mongolia and made way towards Hawaii, resting one night on land, and boarding again for San Francisco, arriving on April 23, 1909.
From there, Mary Hale Lovett traveled home to Kentucky to see her parents and children as quickly as possible.
Lovett and Weems continued traveling south through California, visiting schools. The men finally boarded the Sunset Express for Houston from Los Angeles, arriving on May 7, 1909.
Map created in 2009 detailing the route taken in 1908-1909 by Edgar Odell Lovett, Mary Hale Lovett and F. Carrington Weems for the Rice Institute.
While seeking the expertise of international scholars and educators to help shape the Rice Institute, Lovett visited schools, colleges, universities, art galleries and other cultural organizations.
Countries they visitied include but are not limited to: England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Russia and Japan.
Dr. and Mrs. Lovett regularly wrote home to their families. Mrs. Lovett also kept a travel diary detailing her activities and noting some of Dr. Lovett's.
Letter from Rice Institute President Edgar Odell Lovett to his sister-in-law Annie Hale, while traveling in Japan at the end of the world tour for Rice Institute. In the letter, he details the travel and homecoming plans for himself and his wife Mary, including a suggestion that Annie arrange a dressmaker's assistance upon their return, as Mrs. Lovett had not been able to sew in preparation for the coming summer.
Mary Hale Lovett
Lovett's travel diary provides a detailed window into the daily schedule of the world tour. No such travel diary by Dr. Lovett is known to exist.
Mary Hale Lovett
A sprig of heather gathered in Scotland by Lovett, presumably for Dr. Lovett's lapel.
Inspiration Visible at Rice
Many aspects of the places the Lovetts visited in 1908-1909 are visible at present day Rice University.
The orignal faculty organization at Rice Insitute followed the spirit of this note, with a Faulty of Science and a Faculty of Letters.
This note was written by Edgar Odell Lovett while at Rowardennan, near the mountain Ben Lomond in the Scottish Highlands, on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.
See the 1912 Rice Institute General Announcements for more details on the original faculty and the subjects taught that opening year.
Inspiration Visible at Rice
Stanford University's Mediterranean influenced architecture appealed to the early Rice Institute board.
The style features buildings with carved stone arches, colonades and towers, organized along an axis punctuated by open quads and preserving long sight lines through the campus.
Edgar Odell Lovett and Mary Ellen Hale Lovett Family papers, 1849-1979 (MS 494), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of Rice Institute. Boles, John B. Baton Rouge, La. : Louisiana State University Press, 2007.
Canadian Pacific Railway Supplement No. 7 to Hand Book and Time Table No. 15, 1908. Train schedule information gathered by the Lovett and Weems party as they traveled by rail from Houston to Montreal and then began their transatlantic journey aboard the H.M.S. Ireland.
R.M. Munster postcard from Lovett world tour
Printed breakfast menu on board the S.S. Mongolia, on which Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Odell Lovett of Rice Institute traveled in April1909
Map created in 2009 detailing the route taken by Edgar Odell Lovett, Mary Hale Lovett and F. Carrington Weems for the Rice Institute.
Letter from Edgar Odell Lovett to sister-in-law Annie Hale, March 27, 1909