TABLE OF CONTENTS
Guide to the Jake R. Hess Papers, 1919-1939 [Bulk 1919-1936]
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 R. Hess Tennis Stadium, named in honor of its former star athlete.
The Jake R. Hess 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.
This materials is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the Jake R. Hess papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Jake R. Hess papers, 1919-1939, MS 450, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
This collection was a gift of Jake R. Hess’s daughter, Karen Hess Rogers, via Rice Alumni Affairs. Oct. 1996.