Baylor University, the Texas Collection

Rufus Columbus Burleson Papers, 1836-1966, undated



Collection Summary

Creator Burleson, Rufus Columbus, 1823 - 1901
Title Rufus Columbus Burleson Papers
Dates: 1836-1966, undated
Abstract The Burleson (Rufus Columbus) Collection contains manuscripts of Reverend Burleson, former president of Baylor University. This collection consists primarily of personal correspondence and literary productions such as sermons, students’ essays, newspaper clippings, class rosters, and notes. Financial papers, legal documents, and a family photo album are also included.
Quantity: 9 document boxes.
Language of the Material English
Repository Baylor University, The Texas Collection

Biography/Profile

Rufus Columbus Burleson was born in Decatur, Alabama, on 1823 August 7, to Jonathon Burleson and Elizabeth Byrd. He was one of thirteen children (8 daughters and 5 sons). From his early years, Burleson was an excellent student who strove to distinguish himself from among his peers. Throughout his youth, he had strong aspirations to attend law school. At the age of sixteen, Burleson had a conversion experience at a Baptist revival and chose to devote his life to the ministry instead. He enrolled in Western Baptist Theological Seminary in Covington, Kentucky and graduated with his degree in 1846.

In 1848, Burleson moved to the Texas frontier as a Baptist missionary a few years after the state had been annexed to the United States. He had been called upon to replace William Tryon, the recently deceased pastor of the First Baptist Church in Houston.

Throughout their ventures in Texas, Rufus C. Burleson and his brother Richard B. Burleson were among the most influential Baptists in the state. A strong moral education was seen as vital to the sanctity of the Baptist denomination both in the training of future ministers and the molding of virtuous citizens. This dream became realized upon the establishment of Baylor University on 1845 February 1. Although Rufus was not in Texas at this time, he quickly became involved in raising funds and publicity for the fledgling university.

Rufus Burleson’s rising popularity and influence brought about significant changes in his life. In 1851, Burleson ascended to the presidency of Baylor University in Independence, Texas. Under his leadership, Baylor University grew into a formidable institution. On 1853 January 3, he married Georgia Jenkins. On November 19 of the following year, Burleson baptized famous Independence resident General Sam Houston.

Despite his great successes as Baylor’s president, Burleson’s term of office was increasingly filled with problems. Raising money to keep Baylor’s doors open was always difficult, and Burleson did not always agree with Horace Clark, the principal of Baylor’s Female Department, on many university issues. Burleson left Baylor in 1861 to take charge of Waco University.

Despite the long tenure of William Crane as the next president of Baylor, and his attempts to raise funds, the university was unable to sustain itself financially. In 1886, Burleson became the first president of Baylor University after Baylor moved from Independence to Waco and merged with Waco University. Burleson served in this administrative capacity until 1897. During this time, Burleson’s reputation was marred by controversy. In 1894, a young Brazilian girl living with the Burleson family became pregnant. Although a jury found Burleson innocent of the accusations brought against him, his reputation never recovered.

Even after resigning from his position as president, Burleson continued to work for the interests of the University over the next four years. Burleson passed away in Waco, Texas on 1901 May 14 at the age of 77.


Scope and Content

The Burleson (Rufus Columbus) Collection is made up of at least twelve donations accepted from 1941 until 1982. These records were collected by Burleson and his descendants, friends, and colleagues. The collection includes business and personal correspondence, legal documents, financial records, a family photo album, newspaper clippings, books, diaries, ledgers, class rosters, sermons, advertisements, and students’ essays. Correspondence comprises the bulk of the collection, highlighting Rufus Burleson’s life journey, particularly his terms as president of Baylor University.


Arrangement

The Burleson Papers are arranged in 5 series: I. Correspondence, II. Legal Documents, III. Financial Documents, IV. Literary Productions, V. Photographic Material. Appendix A includes a quick overview of Rufus Burleson’s immediate family.

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to The Texas Collection in writing. Please use the Request Form for Copying Materials sheet. Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator (s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Physical Description

General condition: Good.


Index Terms

Baylor University -- History.
Baylor University (Independence, Tex.) -- History.
Baylor University -- Presidents.
Burleson, Georgia Jenkins, 1833-1924.
Burleson, Rufus Columbus, 1823-1901.
Crane, William Carey, 1816-1885.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Rufus Columbus Burleson Collection, Accession #0057, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Acquisition Information

Accession No. 57.

Processing Information

Described by Thomas DeShong. Released on 2013-06-17.

Archivist's Notes: Much of the original classification for the collection has been maintained. Folders containing empty envelopes were removed and unique stamps and letterheads are currently being processed. The most significant change occurred in dealing with the correspondence series. Although the letters were already arranged chronologically, frequent correspondents to Rufus Burleson were separated from the general subseries. Examples include former Baylor President William Carey Crane and Burleson’s brother Richard Burleson.

This collection would prove useful to any researcher seeking to learn more about Rufus Burleson and Baylor University. Personal correspondence and literary productions comprise an overwhelming majority of the collection, although there are significant financial papers, legal documents, and photographs present as well.

Rufus Burleson was but one of thirteen children born to Jonathon Burleson and Elizabeth Byrd. His four brothers included Richard, Dabney, Aaron, and William. His eight sisters were named Elizabeth, Emile, Edna, Eliza, Jane, Mary, Martha, and Isabella. All the children matured into adulthood except for Elizabeth.

Rufus married Georgia Jenkins on 1853 January 3. Henry Lee Graves, the first president of Baylor, was officiating. The couple had five children, but only two survived into adulthood (Hallie Byrd Burleson and Richard Adair Burleson).

Rufus’s mother Elizabeth was a direct descendant of William Byrd, a wealthy plantation owner from colonial Virginia who was influential in the founding of Richmond.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence 1843-1966, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Good.
Biography/Profile
This series of correspondence comprises most of the collection. The majority of the letters are personal exchanges between Rufus C. Burleson and family members, fellow ministers, Baylor officials, Baylor students, and organizations such as the Texas Baptist Herald.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 57.
box folder
1 1 General 1843-1856
2 General 1858-1859
3 General 1860-1861
4 General 1864-1871
5 General 1872-1879
6 General 1880-1886
7 General 1887-1890
8 General 1891 February-June 7
9 General 1891 June 12-July
10 General 1891 August 8-27
11 General 1891 August 28-September 2
12 General 1891 September 3-5
13 General 1891 September 6-12
14 General 1891 September 14-25
15 General 1891 September 26- November
16 General 1891 December - 1892 January
17 General 1892 February-April
18 General 1892 May-August
19 General 1892 September-October
20 General 1892 November-December 12
21 General 1892 December 13-31
22 General 1893 January 1-12
23 General 1893 January 13-31
24 General 1893 February 1-13
25 General 1893 February 14-17
26 General 1893 February 18-27
27 General 1893 March 1-8
28 General 1893 March 10-17
29 General 1893 March 18-25
30 General 1893 March 26-April 8
box folder
2 1 General 1893 April 11-22
2 General 1893 April 23-29
3 General 1893 May 1-8
4 General 1893 May 9-20
5 General 1893 May 21-29
6 General 1893 June
7 General 1893 July-August
8 General 1893 September
9 General 1893 October
10 General 1893 November
11 General 1893 December 1-14
12 General 1893 December 16-26
13 General 1894 January 1-26
14 General 1894 February 2-28
15 General 1894 March-April 16
16 General 1894 April 18-June
17 General 1894 August-October 10
18 General 1894 October 29-December
19 General 1894 January 5-18
20 General 1895 January 19-30
21 General 1895 February 2-19
22 General 1895 February 20-26
23 General 1895 March 1-5
24 General 1895 March 6-13
25 General 1895 March 14-25
26 General 1895 March 26-31
27 General 1895 April 1-7
28 General 1895 April 9-17
29 General 1895 April 18-25
30 General 1895 April 26-May 5
31 General 1895 May 8-12
32 General 1895 May 13-24
33 Correspondence: General 1895 May 25-June
34 General 1895 July-August
box folder
3 1 General 1895 September 2-14
2 General 1895 September 17-25
3 General 1895 September 26-October 20
4 General 1895 October 25-31
5 General 1895 November 1-15
6 Correspondence: General 1895 November 16-20
7 General 1895 November 21-30
8 General 1895 December 2-17
9 General 1895 December 20-31
10 General 1896 January 1-5
11 General 1896 January 6-15
12 General 1896 January 16-20
13 General 1896 January 22-29
14 General 1896 January 30- February 9
15 General 1896 February 10-17
16 General 1896 February 19-26
17 General 1896 February 27-March 5
18 General 1896 March 7-11
19 General 1896 March 12-17
20 General 1896 March 18-27
21 General 1896 March 28-April 9
22 General 1896 April 10-15
23 General 1896 April 16-26
24 General 1896 April 27-30
25 General 1896 May 1-12
26 General 1896 May 13-28
27 General 1896 June 1-25
28 General 1896 June 27-July
29 General 1896 August 1-21
30 General 1896 August 22-September 5
31 General 1896 September 7-12
32 General 1896 September 14-24
box folder
4 1 General 1896 September 25- October 5
2 General 1896 October 6-23
3 General 1896 October 23-31
4 General 1896 November 1-8
5 General 1896 November 9-15
6 General 1896 November 16-21
7 General 1896 November 23-30
8 General 1896 December 1-8
9 General 1896 December 9-16
10 General 1896 December 17-21
11 General 1896 December 23-28
12 General 1896 December 29-31
13 General 1897 January 1-12
14 General 1897 January 13-31
15 General 1897 February 1-12
16 General 1897 February 13-15
17 General 1897 February 16-28
18 General 1897 March 1-7
19 General 1897 March 9-13
20 General 1897 March 15-20
21 General 1897 March 22-27
22 General 1897 March 28-31
23 General 1897 April 1-6
24 General 1897 April 7-9
25 General 1897 April 10-13
26 General 1897 April 14-24
27 General 1897 April 25-28
28 General 1897 April 29-May 3
29 General 1897 May 4-17
30 General 1897 May 18-28
31 General 1897 May 31-November
box folder
5 1 General 1898 January-April
2 General 1898 May-1899 April
3 General 1899 May-December
4 General 1900-1966
5 General: Folder 1 of 10 undated
6 General: Folder 2 of 10 undated
7 General: Folder 3 of 10 undated
8 General: Folder 4 of 10 undated
9 General: Folder 5 of 10 undated
10 General: Folder 6 of 10 undated
11 General: Folder 7 of 10 undated
12 General: Folder 8 of 10 undated
13 General: Folder 9 of 10 undated
14 General: Folder 10 of 10 undated
15 David Abner, Jr. to Rufus C. Burleson 1893-1896
16 George W. Baines to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1860-1897
17 R.E.B. Baylor from Rufus C. Burleson 1854
18 Baylor University 1859-1896
19 A.A. Burleson to Rufus C. Burleson 1892-1897
20 Dabny Burleson to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1868-1896
21 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1860 July- 1872 May 8
22 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1872 May 15- 1873 March
23 Richard Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1873-1874 April
24 Georgia Jenkins Burleson 1849-1895 undated
25 Richard Burleson to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1847- September 1856
26 Richard Burleson to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1856 October - 1861
27 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1856- 1858
28 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1859- June 1860
29 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1875 February-April 8
30 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1875 April 8-May
31 Rufus C. Burleson to Texas Baptist Herald 1875 July-1877
32 B.H. Carroll 1875-1897, undated
box folder
6 1 F.H. Claypool to Rufus C. Burleson 1896
2 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1845-1849
3 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1860-1868
4 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1869-1870
5 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1871-1873
6 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1874-1875 April
7 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1875 May-August
8 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1878 January-August 9
9 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1878 August 20-November
10 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1879
11 W. Carey Crane from Rufus C. Burleson 1881-1882
12 L.A. Downing to Rufus C. Burleson 1891-1892
13 M.D. Early to Rufus C. Burleson 1893-1896
14 John F. Elder to Rufus C. Burleson 1893-1897
15 Family to Rufus C. Burleson 1883-1895
16 Family to Rufus C. Burleson 1896-1899, undated
17 Corra Bacon Foster to Rufus C. Burleson 1893-1896
18 B.F. Fuller to Rufus C. Burleson 1896-1897
19 J.B. Gambrell to Rufus C. Burleson 1897
20 Elder H. Garrett to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1860-1861
21 P. Hams to Rufus C. Burleson 1896
22 S.A. Hayden to Rufus C. Burleson 1891-1896 October
23 S.A. Hayden to Rufus C. Burleson 1896 November-1897
24 A.J. Holt to Rufus C. Burleson 1893-1897
25 Invitations 1885-1918, undated
26 Henry A. Ivy to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1895-1897
27 A.M. Johnson to Rufus C. Burleson 1890-1895
28 B.F. Johnson to Rufus C. Burleson 1895-1897
29 Eustace E. King to Rufus C. Burleson 1896
30 W.H. Kuykendall to Rufus C. Burleson 1897
31 W.H. Long, Sr. to Rufus C. Burleson 1891-1897
32 L.R. Millican to Rufus C. Burleson 1891-1897
33 Elle Orecoll to Rufus C. Burleson 1897 April
34 S.H. Slaughter to Rufus C. Burleson 1895-1897
35 Willis Upshaw to Rufus C. Burleson 1896-1897, undated
36 John Ward to/from Rufus C. Burleson 1891-1896
37 J.M. Welborne to Rufus C. Burleson 1896 January-April 4
38 J.M. Welborne to Rufus C. Burleson 1896 April 6-June



Legal Documents 1836-1857, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Good.
Biography/Profile
This short series includes portions of wills, records of court proceedings, and affidavits.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 57.
box folder
6 39 Legal Documents: Burleson Family: General 1836-1857, undated



Financial Documents 1850-1947

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Good.
Biography/Profile
This short series contains papers for Burleson’s personal finances as well as those of Baylor University.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 57.
box folder
6 40 Financial Documents: Baylor University: General 1850-1867
box folder
7 1 Financial Documents: Baylor University: General 1870-1947
2 Financial Documents: Rufus C. Burleson: General 1873-1893
3 Financial Documents: Rufus C. Burleson: General 1894-1899



Literary Productions 1840-1958, undated

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Good.
Biography/Profile
This large literary series includes a vast array of documents including pamphlets, published sermons, newspaper clippings, class rosters, students’ assignments, and various books. Burleson’s affiliation with Baylor is quite evident in this series.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 57.
box folder
7 4 Biographical: Sketches undated
5 Minutes: Texas House of Representatives 1893 February 18
6 Pamphlets: Rufus C. Burleson: “Family Government” Undated
7 Speeches: Rufus C. Burleson: Memorial for Sam Houston 1893
8 Sermons: Rufus C. Burleson: General 1846-1849, undated
9 Sermons: Rufus C. Burleson: Dedication of Huntsville Baptist Church 1891 July
10 Sermons: Rufus C. Burleson: Memorial for Rev. Dr. James Stribling 1892
11 Sermons: Notes: Rufus C. Burleson undated
12 Sermons: Brother Sanders 1841-1842
13 Clippings: General 1856-1908
14 Clippings: General 1943-1958, undated
15 Clippings: Rufus C. Burleson 1865-1901
16 Programs: General 1892-1900, undated
17 Business Cards: General 1895-1918, undated
18 Baylor University: Prospective Teachers 1890-1900, undated
19 Rosters: Baylor University Students 1869-1891
20 Sheet Music: Dixie: A Souvenir of the Confederacy 1859
21 Essays: Baylor University Students: English Bishops’ Trial: Folder 1 of 3 undated
22 Essays: Baylor University Students: English Bishops’ Trial: Folder 2 of 3 undated
23 Essays: Baylor University Students: English Bishops’ Trial: Folder 3 of 3 undated
24 Essays: Baylor University Students: Conscience: Folder 1 of 2 undated
25 Essays: Baylor University Students: Conscience: Folder 2 of 2 undated
26 Essays: Student Quizzes: Texas History undated
27 Notes: Rufus C. Burleson: Hebrew Grammar undated
28 Notes: General: Folder 1 of 2 undated
29 Notes: General: Folder 2 of 2 undated
30 Manuscripts: Lectures: Rufus C. Burleson 1875, undated
31 Manuscripts: Religious Reports 1840-1861, undated
32 Manuscripts: Texas Education System 1875-1880
box folder
8 1 Manuscripts: Texas Education System 1880-1897
2 Manuscripts: Texas Education System undated
3 Printed Materials: The Guardian 1891-1892, undated
4 Printed Materials: Blank Applications 1890, undated
5 Printed Materials: Booklets: Texas Baptists 1859-1888
6 Printed Materials: Advertisements: General 1892-1897
7 dvertisements: General: Folder 1 of 2 undated
8 Printed Materials: Advertisements: General: Folder 2 of 2 undated
9 Printed Materials: Advertisements: Book Catalogs 1893-1895
10 Printed Materials: Advertisements: Educational 1893-1898, undated
11 Printed Materials: Advertisements: Baylor University 1869-1891
12 Printed Materials: Advertisements: Religious 1865-1895, undated
13 Book: Tuition Ledger 1866-1870
14 Book: Grade book 1871
15 Book: Diary: Rufus C. Burleson 1847-1849
16 Book: School Records 1876-1877
box folder
9 1 Book: A Brief History of the Burleson Family undated
2 Book: Register of Book Prices undated
3 Book: School Register 1842
4 Book: Ledger: Hallie Byrd Burleson 1878
5 Book: Roster of Former Students 1883



Photographic Materials 1696-1881

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Good.
Biography/Profile
This series includes a complete photo album of the Burleson family.
Acquisition Information
Accession No. 57.
box folder
9 6 Photographic Materials: Photo Album: Burleson Family 1869-1881, undated