Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Rienzi Melville Johnston papers, 1899-1926 MS 117

creator Johnston, Rienzi Melville, 1849-1926
Title: Rienzi Melville Johnston papers
Dates: 1899-1926
Abstract: Newspapers, clippings, personal correspondence, and photographs relating to the political life and professional life of Rienzi Melville Johnston, co-founder of the Houston Post and Texas and U.S. Senator.
Identification: MS 117
Quantity: 1.0 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical Sketch

Rienzi Melville Johnston was born in Georgia in 1849. He served as a drummer in the Confederate Army when he was twelve then reenlisted as a soldier when he came of age. Johnston moved to Texas in 1878 in order to edit the Crockett Patron newspaper, but after a year began to edit the Coriscana Observer. In Corsicana, Johnston founded the Independent newspaper. In 1880 he moved to Austin and quickly became a correspondent for the Austin Statesman, later to be renamed the Austin-American Statesman. The Houston Post later hired Johnston as a political correspondent in the capital and Johnston served there until he was appointed editor-in-chief of the newly reorganized Houston Post. Johnston was a vice president of the Associated Press and a strong Southern Democrat. He served as a member to the Democratic National Committee for the early part of the 1900's until 1913 when he was appointed by Governor Colquitt to serve the remainder of Senator Bailey's unexpired term. After he month long service in the United States senate, Johnston resumed his position with the Houston Post until his retirement in 1919. He served as a state senator and chairman of the state prison commission until his death in 1926. Johnston was a profoundly influential member of the press and a strong voice within the Democratic Party of the South, which he proudly served until his death. Quotes from Johnston's various political editorials surfaced in every Democratic newspaper in the Southwest and he was repeatedly asked to serve as higher positions within the state and national government.

Scope and Contents

This body of personal papers relating to Johnston's life as politician, press, and a prominent member of Houston society includes newspaper clippings and entire newspapers relating to Johnston's service as a senator and as co-founder of the Houston Post. The collection also includes personal correspondence with men such as John Wortham (1862-1924), Nelson Phillips (1873-1939), E.M. House (1858-1938), H.F. MacGregor (1855-1923), O.B. Colquitt (1861-1940), and E.O. Lovett (1871-1957).


This material has been arranged in the following four series:
Series I. Newspaper Clippings, 1908-1926
Series II. Correspondence, 1899-1918
Series III. Newspapers, 1900-1925
Series IV. Photographs and Ephemera, 1909-1920, n.d.


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish material from the Johnston papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Colquitt, O. B. , 1861-1940
House, Edward Mandell, 1858-1938
Lovett, Edgar Odell, 1871-1957
MacGregor, H. F. , 1855-1923
Phillips, Nelson, 1873-1939
Wortham, John Lee, 1862-1924
clippings (information artifacts)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Rienzi Melville Johnston papers, 1899-1926, MS 117 Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

The collection was a gift of Harris Masterson III, 1967.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Newspaper Clippings, 1908-1926

Box Folder
1 1 Johnston for Vice President, 1908
2 William Jennings Bryan's Candidacy for President, 1908
3 Johnston as Democratic National Committeeman, 1908, 1911, 1912
4-5 Johnston's Appointment to U.S. Senate, 1913
6 Johnston's Term as State Senator, Acting Lieutenant Governor, Acting Governor, 1913, 1917, 1918
7 Various clippings regarding Johnston, 1917
8 State's Rights and Prohibition ,1917, 1918
9 Regarding Johnston's candidacy for Governor, 1918
10 Johnston's Resignation as Editor of the Houston Post, 1918, 1919
11 Johnston's Death, 1926
12 Regarding Johnston, 1903-1924, 1926

Series II: Correspondence, 1899-1918

Box Folder
1 13 Personal and Political, 1899, 1901, 1909, 1911, 1912
14 Notes to Texas Senator R.M. Johnston, Jan. 1-8, 1913
15 Notes to Texas Senator R.M. Johnston, Jan. 9-23, 1913
16 Notes to R.M. Johnston and Political Correspondence, 1913
17 1914-1917
18 1918
19 Personal, undated

Series III: Newspapers, 1900-1925

Box Folder
1 20 Apalachicola Times, June 6, 1900
21 Brickbats and Bouquets, April 1, 1908
22 Daily Times-Herald, August 13, 1916
23 Editor and Publisher and Journalist, 1913, 1915
24 Fourth Estate, 1912, 1925
25 Galveston Daily News, August 15, 1912
26 Houston Post: Miscellaneous Clippings, 1913-1918
Box Folder
2 1 Houston Post: January 12, 1919
2 Houston Post: June 8, 1922
3 Houston Post-Dispatch: March 1, 1926
4 Houston Post-Dispatch: March 2, 1926
5 Houston Post-Dispatch: May 26, 1927
6 Pensacola Evening News, November 23, 1911
7 Post-Searchlight: October 24, 1918
8 Texas Republic: January 11, 1913

Series IV: Photographs and Ephemera, 1909-1920, n.d.

Box Folder
2 9 Photographs: 1909
10 Decree Appointing R.M. Johnston A Member of the Prison Commissioners Board, January 12, 1920
11 Stationery