University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Cousins (Robert Bartow, Sr.) Papers, 1861, 1894-1933

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cousins, Robert Bartow, Sr., 1861-1932
Title: Cousins, Robert Bartow, Sr., Papers
Dates: 1861, 1894-1933
Abstract: The Robert Bartow Cousins, Sr. Papers, 1861, 1894-1933, contain correspondence, speeches, literary efforts, financial papers, legal documents, photographs, and clippings concerning the career of Robert Cousins.
Accession No.: 1951
Extent: 3 ft., 8 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Robert Bartow Cousins (1861-1932), named by his Confederate Army surgeon father for Gen. Francis Bartow, lived in near-poverty for most of his childhood. His family’s farm in Fayetteville, Georgia lay in the path of William Sherman’s March to the Sea. His mother taught an informal school in their backyard for her son and many of the local area children.

Cousins decided early on to become a teacher. He attended the University of George and later studied law in a Florida attorney’s office, passing the bar in Atlanta. He soon moved to Longview, Texas. He served as the Mineola and Mexia school superintendent, gaining a statewide reputation as an effective administrator. He served as president of the Texas State Teachers Association and also served as an assistant to John L. Wortham in the business office of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.

Cousins became the state superintendent in 1904 and pushed through a number of educational reforms, including state accreditation, public school taxes, and upgraded standards for teachers. He resigned from this position in 191 when offered the position of president as West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas State University). Cousins had helped to establish this school and as president, he selected the faculty and crafted the school’s standards. Cousins also began the tradition of the handing down a gold ring, the presidential ring, when he resigned in 1918.

After leaving West Texas State, Cousins entered into business in Longview, Texas, where he stayed for three years. He then moved to Houston to become the superintendent of the public schools there and once gain pushed through educational reform. In 1924, he moved to Kingsville as president of South Texas Teachers College (now Texas A &M University at Kingsville). He received an LL.D. from Southwestern University at Georgetown after taking leave and doing graduate work at the University of Chicago. He returned to South Texas State College in 1929 and reorganized so that it could seek more financial support; he renamed it the Texas College of Arts and Industries. He died in 1932 of influenza.


Anderson, H. Allen. “Cousins, Robert Bartow.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 27, 2010.

Scope and Contents

The Robert Bartow Cousins, Sr. Papers, 1861, 1894-1933, contain correspondence, speeches, literary efforts, financial papers, legal documents, photographs, and clippings concerning the career of Robert Cousins. Papers relate to the history of education in Texas (1894-1832) and include a biography of Cousins by his daughter Edith Cousins, and a Civil War letter from Isaac W. Cousins to his wife (1861).


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Cousins, Edith
Cousins, Robert Bartow, Sr., 1861-1933 -- Archives
Cousins Family
Subjects (Organizations)
Kelly Plow Co. (Houston, Longview: Tex.)
Education -- Texas -- History -- Sources.
Prisions, Pardons, Paroles -- Texas -- History.
Schools -- Texas -- History -- Sources.
Superintendents of Public Instruction -- Texas -- History -- Sources.
Teachers and Teaching -- Texas -- History -- Sources.
Universities and Colleges -- Texas -- History.
Austin (Tex.)
Canyon (Tex.)
Houston (Tex.)
Longview (Tex.)
Dallas (Tex.) -- Oriental Hotel, 1908.
Denton (Tex.) -- First National Bank, 1908.
San Antonio (Tex.) -- Peacock Military School, 1907.
El Paso County (Tex.) -- Courthouse, 1907.
Webb County (Tex.) -- Courthouse, 1907.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Robert Bartow Cousins, Sr. Papers, 1861, 1894-1933, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2D4 Correspondence, 1861, May 1908
2D5 Correspondence, June, 1908-1920
2D6 Correspondence, 1921-October 1924
2D7 correspondence, Novemer, 1924-1926
2D8 Correspondence, 1927-1928
2D9 Correspondence, 1929-1930
2D10 Correspondence, 1931-March 1933
Family letters, ndated, of Ralph Cousins, Wayne cousins, Edith Cousins, Dr. and Mrs. Cousins, Bartow Cousins
2D11 Miscellaneous letters, undated
Manuscripts about R. B. Cousins by Edith Cousins, incomplete
Typed copies of R. B. Cousins by Edith Cousins, incomplete
Speeches, articles and notes, 1894-1924
Manuscript about whaling expedition by R. B. Cousins' father
Articles on Houston public schools
Articles about penitentiary
Incomplete speeches
Personal accounts, 1916-1932
Legal documents, notes, bank statements, insurance policies, tax receipts, building accounts
Miscellaneous legal papers
2D12 Printed Material
Pedagogy, normals, institutions, miscellaneous papers
3L303 Scrapbook
3S168 Oversize legal financial documents
3Y14 Photographic materials
Photo postcard of funeral bier in parlor, n.d.
Photo of West Texas State Normal College (Canyon) under construction, 1910
2 of persons in front of West State Normal College, 1910-1914
1 of dining room decorated for party
1 of boy wearing knickers