Lamar University Archives and Special Collections

Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection 1954-2010



Title: Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection
Dates: 1954-2010
Identification: Special Collections #87
Extent: .4.25 cubic feet
Repository: Mary and John Gray Library Special Collections Department Lamar University

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Ralph Ancil Wooster was a born at home in Baytown, Texas on November 9, 1928. As a child he did farm chores and as a teen worked in his father’s filling station. He always loved reading and had a passion for history. While a student at Robert E. Lee High School he belonged to the junior historians and wrote articles for their publication. He continued his education at Lee Junior College where he graduated in 1948. Then he attended the University of Houston where he obtained both B.A. and M.A. degrees by 1950.

He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1954 where he was influenced by UT historians including Fulmer Mood, a student of landmark historian Frederick Jackson Turner, who introduced him to the collective biography; Barnes F. Lathrop, who utilized cliometrics, or the application of quantification to historical research, often making use of the federal census, a previously underutilized resource for historians, and the legendary Walter Prescott Webb who was a model of prolific research and writing.

Ralph Wooster served in the U.S. Army between 1944-1953, he was assigned to the Historical Division Headquarters, US Army Europe in Germany where he worked on SECRET and TOP SECRET historical reports for the Army.

Dr. Wooster joined the faculty in the history department at Lamar in 1955, where he worked as an instructor until 1957 when he was promoted to assistant professor. He served as associate professor from 1959-1962. Dr. Wooster became a full professor in 1964. He served as head of the Department of History from 1966-1970.

Professor Wooster is a well-known, accomplished historian who specializes in the American Civil War. His contributions to the field include hundreds of book reviews for scholarly journals, The Beaumont Enterprise, and Review of Texas Books, a Lamar University publication. He was a frequent presence at historical conferences where he gave papers and served as a commentator.

Wooster has a remarkable record of scholarship. He has written over 70 articles for scholarly publications and is the author, co-author, or editor of eleven books, "The Secession Conventions of the South" (Princeton University Press, 1962); "The People in Power: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Lower South 1850-1960" (University of Tennessee Press, 1969); "Politicians, Planters, and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South" (University of Tennessee Press, 1975); "Texas and Texans in the Civil War" (Eakin Press, 1995); "Civil War Texas: A History and a Guide" (Texas State Historical Association, 1999); "Lone Star Generals in Gray" (Eakin Press, 2000); "Lone Star Regiments in Gray" (Eakin Press, 2002); "Texas and Texans in World War II" (Eakin Press, 2005); and "Texas and Texans in the Great War" (State House Press, 2009). He is the co-author of "Texas and Texans" (Steck-Vaughn, 1972; revised 1978, 1987, and 1993), a junior high school textbook adopted by the State of Texas; co-editor of "Texas Vistas" (Texas State Historical Association, 1980; revised 1986 and 2006); and was the editor of "Lone Star Blue and Gray: Essays on Texas in the Civil War" (Texas State Historical Association, 1995).

Dr. Wooster’s knowledge and prestige as a historian was acknowledged by his serving as a consultant to David Wolper’s Production on the ABC Television Network, and as an editorial consultant to Random House, Princeton University Press, and the Texas State Historical Association Press.

One of his colleagues wrote of Wooster’s teaching: “Wooster would teach as Spencer Tracy acted, straightforward, honest, and compelling.” He was one of those rare professors who genuinely cared about his students, had a zeal for what he was teaching, and exhibited fairness and openness and because of this he consistently received student evaluations which said he had no faults as an instructor.

Dr. Wooster’s distinctions include teaching one of the first two graduate classes at Lamar and the first history graduate class. By 1976 he had supervised 27 completed master’s theses in history at Lamar. One of Wooster’s great legacies is the number of his students that are contributing to the field of history as teachers, museum professionals, and administrators.

Ralph Wooster’s excellence at teaching and scholarship was acknowledged with awards including being chosen as Piper Professor, which is awarded to only ten professors in Texas each year, in 1964; selected as a fellow in the Texas State Historical Association, 1964; Regents Professor, 1972; Phi Kappa Phi Award for Distinguished Teaching; Fellow, East Texas Historical Association, 1983; Ralph W. Steen Award, East Texas Historical Association, 1989; and Otis Locke Teaching Award, East Texas Historical Association.

Dr. Wooster was a leader at Lamar and in the historical community. He was president of Lamar’s Faculty Senate and president of the local chapter of TACT (Texas Association of College Teachers), president of the Texas State Historical Association, and president of the East Texas Historical Association.

He became a Lamar administrator in 1976 but continued to teach and research. As an administrator he held increasingly responsible positions over time. Dean of Graduate Studies, 1976-1977. Dean of Faculties and Graduate Studies, 1977-1980. Dean of Faculties and Assistant to Vice President for Academic Affairs, 1980-1984; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties, 1984-1986; Associate Vice President and Dean of Faculties, 1986-1991; and Interim Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, 1989-1990.

He retired from work as an administrator in 1991 but continued teaching on a part-time basis until 2006.

Dr. Ralph Wooster married Edna Lee Jones in 1947 when she was 19 and Wooster was 18. They have one son, Robert Allen Wooster, who was named for Robert E. Lee. The younger Wooster is a prolific historian who teaches at Texas A and M University, Corpus Christi.

For more information on Ralph Wooster, please consult “Ralph A. Wooster: A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar,” by Terry Lee Rioux in Touchstone, (a Texas State Historical Association publication for university students) 1998; and Robert J. Robertson.


SCOPE AND CONTENT

The collection documents Ralph Wooster’s life, particularly as a teacher and scholar. The collection includes oral histories conducted by Wooster’s student, Terry Rioux, which provide biographical material on Wooster’s early life and historians who influenced his work. The papers documenting Wooster’s scholarship include broadsides to Wooster’s presentations, reviews of Wooster’s books, and hundreds of reviews Wooster wrote on other historians’ books. The papers also include materials used in his classes including maps, examinations, and syllabi. The papers do not include research files Wooster compiled in writing books and articles.


Restrictions

LOCATION OF RECORD

Special Collections


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item]. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, University Archives and Special Collections, Mary and John Gray Library, Lamar University.

Processed by Penny Clark and Charlotte A. Holliman

March 2013


Detailed Description of the Collection

Box
1 Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, Box 1 of 5
1.1 Correspondence
1.2 American Biography (History 4335) – Lectures – Mini-Session 1999
1.3 American Civil War – (History 4314) Exams, Policies, Syllabi, Questions and Terms
1.4 American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (1)
1.5 American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (2)
1.6 American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (3)
1.7 American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (4)
1.8 American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (5)
1.9 American Civil War – (History 4314) Maps
1.10 Former Students List Compiled by Wooster
1.11 Grade Books, 1961
1.12 Military History (History 334) – Lectures (1)
1.13 Military History (History 334) – Lectures (2) Includes Maps
1.14 Military History (History 334) – Lectures (3) Includes Exams and Articles
1.15 Nazi Germany (History 5342) Reading Lists, Exams and Syllabi
1.16 Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (1)
1.17 Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (2)
1.18 Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (3) Includes Newspaper Articles, Notes and Etc.
1.19 Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Maps, Newspaper Clippings, Lecture Outlines and Etc.
1.20 20th Century Biographies – Lectures – Fall 2004 (1)
1.21 20th Century Biographies – Lectures – Fall 2004 (2)
1.22 World War II – Class Materials – Includes Maps, Syllabi, Policies, Study Questions and Terms
1.23 Teacher Evaluation, Spring 1998
1.24 Teacher Evaluation, Spring 2000
1.25 Photos of Professors at Lamar
1.26 Photos - Affleck Family
1.27 Photocopies of Photos of Wooster – 1950s
1.28 Photos c. 1984; 1990
1.29 Photos – Wooster Teaching and Other History Professors
1.30 Photos of Wooster
1.31 Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck Edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – Pages 1-135
1.32 Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck Edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – Pages 136-270
1.33 Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck Edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – Pages 271-406
1.34 Wooster’s Publications as a High School Student
1.35 The Arkansas Secession Convention - 1954
1.36 “An Analysis of the Membership of Secession Conventions in the Lower South” – The Journal of Southern History, 1958 – Reprint
1.37 “The Secession of the Lower South: An Examination of Changing Interpretations” – Civil War History, 1961 – Reprint
1.38 “With Terry’s Texas Rangers: The Letters of Dunbar Affleck” – Civil War History, September 1963
1.39 “Four Years in the Confederate Infantry” – Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, 1972
1.40 George A. Custer’s East Texas Friend: Major General Thomas L. Rosser, C.S.A.
1.41 “Wealthy Texans, 1860”
1.42 “‘A Difficult and Forlorn Country’: The Military Looks at the American Southwest, 1850-1890” by Robert Wooster – Arizona and the West, 1986
1.43 “With the Confederate Cavalry in the West: The Civil War Experiences of Isaac Dunbar Affleck” – Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 1979
1.44 Program for Author’s Reception, 1987
1.45 Ed Eakin, 1927- 2002
1.46 "The Secession Conventions of the South" - 1961
1.47 "The People in Power: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Lower South, 1850-1860" - 1969
1.48 "Politicians, Planters and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South, 1850-1860" - 1975
1.49 Reviews of "Politicians, Planters and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South, 1850-1860" - 1975
1.50 Review of "Texas and Texans" - 1996
1.51 "Lone Star Blue and Gray" - 1995-1996
1.52 "Civil War Texas" - 1999
1.53 "Lone Star Generals in Gray" - 2000
1.54 "Texas Vistas" - 1987



Box
2 Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, Box 2 of 5
2.1 Phi Kappa Phi
2.2 35 Year Service Award, 1991
2.3 American Philosophical Society Grant for Research, 1960s
2.4 Piper Professor, 1964
2.5 The East Texas Historical Society
2.6 The East Texas Historical Association – Certificate of Appreciation, 1981
2.7 Awards and Honors
2.8 “Excellent Ex” - Lee College, 1979
2.9 Texas State Historical Association Fellows, 1966
2.10 Evening Lectures – "A New Look at the American Civil War" - 1982
2.11 Lee College World War II Symposium, 1992
2.12 Program for Grand Opening Ceremony for the Restored Tyrrell Historical Library, July 29, 1990
2.13 Wooster’s Comments on Walter P. Webb at Webb Society’s 25th Anniversary
2.14 Presentations
2.15 Presentations
2.16 Presentations, 1990
2.17 Commentary on “Politics and Community: Party Development in Antebellum America” at American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 1976
2.18 Wooster’s Comments at the Southern Historical Association, 1978
2.19 Commentary at Organization of American Historians, 1981
2.20 Comments on “Social Structure and Politics in American History,” at Organization of American Historians, April 2, 1981
2.21 Comments on TSHA Papers on Sam Houston, 1993
2.22 Secession Comments, TSHA, 1990
2.23 Wooster’s Commentary on Secession
2.24 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1950s
2.25 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
2.26 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
2.27 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
2.28 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
2.29 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1962-1963
2.30 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1965
2.31 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1969 – 1970
2.32 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1970s
2.33 Wooster’s Reviews of Other Scholars, 1970s-1980s
2.34 Book Reviews Wooster Wrote of Others Works, 1976-1977
2.35 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1980s – 1990s
2.36 Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1990s – 2000s
2.37 Wooster’s Comments on “Planters, Yeomen, and Slaves: A Quantitative View of Antebellum Texas Agriculture”
2.38 Book Reviews – Review of Texas Books, 1991-1993
2.39 Book Reviews – Late 1980s and Early 1990s
2.40 The East Texas Historical Association
2.41 Texas State Historical Association
2.42 Texas State Historical Association, 1974
2.43 History Department, 1960s
2.44 Resumes, History Department Faculty
2.45 Dr. Earl Fornell, Professor of Government – Book Review
2.46 Employment at Lamar
2.47 Wooster at Lamar
2.48 Return of Regents’ Professor Medal, 1992
2.49 Board of Regents/Regents’ Professor Controversy, 1992-1993
2.50 Lamar University
2.51 Retirement, 1991
2.52 Ralph and Edna Wooster Scholarship, 2000
2.53 Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT), 1994
2.54 TACT
2.55 Telegram Offering Wooster Job at Lamar, 1955



Box
3 Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, Box 3 of 5
3.1 About Dr. Wooster
3.2 John W. Storey Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 7, 1997
3.3 Ralph A. Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 8, 15, 22, 29, 1997
3.4 Edna Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 25, 1997
3.5 Robert Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, November 4, 1997
3.6 Adrian Anderson Interview, August 10, 1999
3.7 “Ralph A. Wooster, The Scholar” by Robert J. Robertson – ETHA Paper, February 17, 2007
3.8 "Ralph A. Wooster: A Synthesis" by Terry Rioux, 1997
3.9 T. Rioux Notes for “A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar”
3.10 “Ralph A. Wooster: A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar” by Terry Lee Rioux, 1998
3.11 “Herodotus, Wooster, and Others” by Robert J. Robertson, 2004
3.12 Wooster – Resumes
3.13 Wolper Pictures – First Draft (October 2, 1974) of “The Honorable Sam Houston” Script and Correspondence, 1974
3.14 Consultant/Historian for the Movie,”The Honorable Sam Houston,” 1974 – The Wolper Organization. Includes Correspondence and a “Sam Houston” Script (Revised November 19, 1974)
3.15 Consulting Work, 1975
3.16 Civil Rights
3.17 Robert A. Wooster



Box
4 Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, Box 4 of 5 (Oversize Papers)
4.1 Newspaper Clipping, “Tech Salary Practices are Rapped,” c. 1965
4.2 Newspaper Clipping, “Texas Professors Committee for Johnson-Yarborough-Connally,” November 1, 1964
4.3 American Association for State and Local History, Certificate of Commendation, September 24, 1970
4.4 Newspaper, “Anderson to Become Chairman of History Department Sept. 1” The Redbird, March 6, 1970
4.5 Newspaper Clipping, “22 Get Bonuses for Effective Teaching,” Beaumont Enterprise, October 27, 1972
4.6 Newspaper Clipping, “County Vote By Boxes On Amendments,” November 1972
4.7 Newspaper Clipping, “County Vote By Boxes On Candidates,” November 1972
4.8 Newspaper Clipping, “History Club Joins Webb Society,” The Texian, February 21, 1974
4.9 Newspaper, “Historical Society to host Spring Conference Saturday,” The Oil City Visitor, March 29, 1974
4.10 Newspaper, “Dr. Wooster, Lamar Dean, One of 4 Honored By LC,” The Baytown Sun, February 8, 1979
4.11 Newspaper Article, “Making Do: Explosion Displaces LU Administrators,” Beaumont Enterprise, July 23, 1986
4.12 Newspaper Clipping, “Wooster: Different Roles Make the Man,” University Press, March 31, 1989
4.13 Newspaper Clipping, “Can Statistics Gauge ‘Ugliness?'” Beaumont Enterprise, April 19, 1990
4.14 Newspaper, “Wooster Returns Medal, Certificate,” University Press, September 23, 1992
4.15 Newspaper, “Civil War: Wooster More than Just a Footnote in LU History,” UP Beat, Fall 1995
4.16 Newspaper Clipping, “Students Line Up for Lamar Professor’s Classes,” Beaumont Journal, October 1-7, 1998
4.17 Newspaper Clipping, “A Sad Easter Monday” (About the Loss of Beebe Ranch Home to Fire), Chincoteague Beacon, April 17, 1996



Box
5 Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, Box 5 of 5 (Oral Histories)
5.1 John W. Storey (Chair, History Department, Lamar University) and Terry Lee Rioux, October 7, 1997
5.2 Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 8, 1997
5.3 Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 15, 1997 (2nd in Series)
5.4 Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 22, 1997
5.5 Ralph A. Wooster – The West; Civil War, October 23, 1997
5.6 Ralph A. Wooster – Civil War, October 1997
5.7 Edna Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 25, 1997
5.8 Ralph A. Wooster, October 29, 1997 (Last)
5.9 Ralph A. Wooster – Law and Order (Colt Revolver, Walter Prescott Webb and Outlaws)
5.10 Ralph A. Wooster Perspectives – 1960s, February 18, 1998