Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Cooper K. Ragan correspondence with Andrew F. Muir, 1955-1962



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ragan, Cooper K., 1905-1986
Title: Cooper K. Ragan correspondence with Andrew F. Muir
Dates: 1955-1962, bulk 1959-1962
Abstract: Material consists of correspondence between Cooper K. Ragan and Rice University historian Andrew F. Muir. They relate primarily to Muir’s published works, historical information and criticisms of others' works.
Identification: MS 36
Quantity: 25 letters (1 folder)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Woodson Research Center,   Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Sketch

Cooper Kirby Ragan was born on June 15, 1905, in Newton, Texas. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree (1925) and an LL.B. (1928) from the University of Texas. After admission to the Texas Bar in 1928, he began work as an attorney with Huggins, Kayser, and Liddell in Houston, Texas. He then served as general counsel and director of Kirby Petroleum Company in Houston, Texas (1930-1956). Ragan married Susan Menefree Wilson in 1945. He became a partner in the firm of Ragan, Russell, and Rorschach after 1964, was chairman of the Texas Civil War Committee from 1959 to 1963 and secretary-treasurer of the Jefferson Davis Association. Ragan became a member of the Texas State Historical Association (1946) and served as president from 1970 to 1971. He was also president of the Houston Civil War Round Table and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the American Law Institute. Ragan wrote numerous articles for professional journals and authored two books, Josephus Somerville Irvine, 1819-1876: The Worthy Citizen (1963) and Massachusetts Bay and the Lone Star State: Shall the Twain Never Meet?(1971).

Cooper K. Ragan died on December 30, 1986.

Andrew Forest Muir was born January 8, 1916 in Houston Heights, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1938) and a Master of Arts (1942) from Rice Institute, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Texas (1949). While in Austin he taught at St. Luke’s school and tutored English at the University of Texas (1942-44), also serving as acting director of the San Jacinto Museum of History (1943-44). Muir next traveled to Hawaii where, from 1945 to 1949, he worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Engineers in Honolulu, Hawaii, taught history at the Iolany School, and later was Educational Advisor to the Commanding General at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He served as an Assistant Professor of History at Daniel Baker College in Brownwood, Texas, from 1951-53, before moving on to teach at the Polytechnic Institute, in San German, Puerto Rico for the 1953-54 academic year. Honored as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow for 1957-58, he then joined the history department at Rice Institute in 1958.

As a historian, Muir published numerous studies on religion and church leaders in Hawaii during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as several studies on free blacks in the Houston area. He also authored Early Missionaries in Texas(1941), Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1936-1841(1944), The Thirty-Second Parallel Pacific Railroad in Texas 1872(1949), and Thomas Jefferson Ewing, Texas Ward: Politician (1952) as well as Texas in 1837, which he edited in 1958.

Known as an authority on William Marsh Rice, his work William Marsh Rice and His Institute: A Biographical Study was edited by Sylvia Stallings Morris and posthumously published in 1972. In addition, Muir contributed to The Handbook of Texas, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and served as associate editor of the Journal of Southern History.

Andrew Forest Muir died on February 3, 1969.

Excerpted from The New Handbook of Texas , 1996


Scope and Contents

Consists of correspondence (25 letters) between Cooper K. Ragan and Rice University history professor Andrew F. Muir. The majority of the correspondence deals with comments on Muir’s published articles and papers, historical information, criticisms of others’ works, and mention of meetings and programs of the Texas Historical Association and the Houston Civil War Roundtable. Two letters, written by Muir, are handwritten, signed. The last two letters (January 30 and 31, 1969) mention Muir’s ill health. Andrew Muir died on February 3, 1969.


 

Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically into the following two series:
Series I: Correspondence, 1955-1959
Series II: Correspondence, 1961-1969

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from the Cooper K. Ragan correspondence with Andrew F. Muir, 1959-1962 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Muir, Andrew Forest, 1916-1969
Ragan, Cooper Kirby, 1905-1986
Formats:
Correspondence

Related Material

See Andrew Forest Muir papers,1763-1969, MS 17, Woodson Research Center.

See Kirby Petroleum Company/George Sawtelle Executive records, 1921-1967, MS 504, Woodson Research Center.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cooper K. Ragan correspondence with Andrew F. Muir, 1955-1969, bulk 1959-1962, MS 36, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Provenance

This collection was a gift donated by Cooper K. Ragan, June 1976.


Detailed Description of the Collection

TL - Typed letterTLS - Typed letter signed

 

Series I: Correspondence, 1959-1959

folder
1 (TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan thanks Muir for sending a reprint of his article, “The Free Negro in Harris County, Texas.” May 16, 1955
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir informs Ragan of an essay he published in Civil War History and in Southwest Review. Also mentions an upcoming meeting of the Houston Civil War Round Table. January 5, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir expresses appreciation for Ragan’s personal library. He also mentions an article he published in the Texas Folklore Society. January 16, 1953
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Thanks for a note about Mrs. Robertson, the daughter of Dick Dowling and congratulations on honors for Muir. Also writes that Judge F. Robertson was the Uncle of former governor Dan Moody. Ragan hopes to see Muir at a meeting of the Civil War Round Table to hear Frank Vandiver speak. March 29, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir asks for the names and addresses of two ladies who are descendants of Theodore Uglow Lubbock, adopted son of Governor Lubbock. June 25, 1959
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan answers the above letter by writing that the names of the descendants are Mrs. Cecil Haden (Laura Breed) and Mrs. F.R. Findley (Augusta Breed) of Houston, Texas. July 16, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes about his work on the Journal of Southern History and two papers he is preparing for publication, Railroads Come to Houston, 1857-1861 and William Marsh Rice, Resident of Houston, 1839-1863. Muir also writes about a trip to the Ozarks and a visit to the grave of Rice’s brother, David. He writes of his talk with David’s grandson and on U.S. Civil War involvement. July 18, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes that he has read Edwin C. Bears’ Washburn Autumn Raid on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad and finds the paper "impossible" and literary style "monotonously bad." August 3, 1959
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan praises Muir on his papers on Houston railroads and William Marsh Rice. He wants to discuss E.B. Nichols and his part in the U.S. Civil War. Ragan writes that he agrees with Muir’s critique of Washburn’s Autumn Raid. He mentions a new biography of James Stephen Hogg and Senator Ralph Yarborough’s enthusiasm for the book. August 5, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes that he is an admirer of James Hogg and mentions that the longest biographical sketch he knows of on Ebenezer B. Nichols appears in William Manning Morgan, Trinity…Church, Galveston, Texas, 1841-1953, a Memorial History. August 10, 1959
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan writes that he has read “your monograph on your great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Ewing." Ragan expresses admiration for Muir’s knowledge of Harris County and Texas history. August 11, 1959
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes that Charles Ramsdell, Jr. is a descendent of "Em. Britten" and discusses his work on the Journal of Southern History. October 27, 1959



 

Series II: Correspondence: 1961-1969

folder
1 (TLS) Andrew Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes of program news of the Texas State Historical Association and Ragan's role as a presenter. March 13, 1961
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan writes about the papers of a deceased friend, Edward V. Clark and a story related by a John H. Kirby; mentions he did not see Muir at the latest Texas Historical Association meeting. May 25, 1961
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir thanks Ragan for the aforementioned papers (Mr. Clark's recollection of Mr. Kirby's statement on William March Rice's cotton operations during the Rebellion). Muir writes he believes most of the story is correct. May 29, 1961
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir mentions the suggestion that Secretary of State Rusk is a descendent of Thomas Jefferson and a need for detailed knowledge of the pre-Texan life of "many of our heroes." June 17, 1961
(ALS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir writes of the Houston Post's "weekly Sunday school lesson." September 22, 1961
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan writes of Muir’s article in the Post on “The Rice Case” and asks when the biography can be expected. September 25, 1961
(ALS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir thanks Ragan for his hospitality and offers criticism on a paper presented at a recent meeting. December 7, 1962
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan mentions a reference to one of Muir’s articles in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly on William P. Johnson and asks Muir for a reprint. December 14, 1967
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir answers Ragan’s request from the above letter and with humor, writes, “I wish you pettifoggers would learn to make historical citations.” December 15, 1967
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan thanks Muir for sending the Johnson article and answers with humor, “I am glad you noted the improved manner in which to give citations…” December 19, 1967
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan writes he missed seeing Muir at a past Texas State Historical Association meeting. May 20, 1968
(TL) Cooper K. Ragan to Andrew F. Muir. Ragan writes that he had heard Muir was not feeling well and hopes he has improved. He mentions Muir’s research on Stephen F. Austin and his family and writes of a court case in 1877 regarding James Bryan (brother-in-law of Moses Austin). January 30, 1969
(TLS) Andrew F. Muir to Cooper K. Ragan. Muir thanks Ragan for his previous letter. Muir writes that he was in “Titus Harris’s hospital” (reference to UTMB in Galveston) from mid-November through mid-January. He states, “At last I got me out of the hospital, but I haven’t got hospital out of me yet.” January 31, 1969 (Andrew F. Muir died on February 3, 1969)