University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Homer Price Rainey Papers, 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rainey, Homer P. (Homer Price), 1896-1985
Title: Rainey, Homer Price, papers
Dates: 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991
Abstract: The Homer Price Rainey Papers, 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991, include correspondence, speeches, minutes, certificates, political posters, literary productions, questionnaires, programs, photographs, news clippings, and printed material about Rainey.
Accession No.: 1939; 1948; 1949; 93-055; 2010-228; 2016-137
Extent: 4 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Homer Price Rainey (1896-1985) was born in Clarksville, Texas, where he grew up in a poor farming family. He was valedictorian of his class at Lovelady High School in 1913. At the age of 19, he became a Baptist minister, and he served in the United States army during World War I. In 1919, Rainey earned his B.A. degree from Austin College and taught education there for three years before attending the University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in 1923 and a doctorate in 1924. Rainey taught at the University of Oregon until 1927, when he became president of Franklin College in Indiana, 1927-1931. He then became president of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, 1931-1935, and served for four years as director of the American Youth Commission of the American Council on Education.

The board of regents of the University of Texas appointed Rainey president in 1939. Rainey often battled with the board, protesting against the regents’ firings of professors, weakening of tenure, and terminating social science research funds. He further angered the regents by attempting to bring the UT Medical Branch at Galveston into the university proper. However, the greatest conflict between Rainey and the board involved their attempts to fire a professor who placed the third volume of John Dos Passos’ USA trilogy on the English department’s sophomore reading list. Eventually the board of regents fired Rainey in November 1944, citing no reasons, and 8,000 students went on strike in response, marching from the campus to the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. Governor Stevenson appointed new regents and made other changes, but Rainey was never reinstated as president.

In 1946, Rainey ran for governor, and though he lost to Railroad Commissioner Beauford H. Jester, he made waves as being the first candidate to run for state office supported by minorities, labor unions, and independent progressives. One year later Rainey became president of Stephens College in Missouri, and joined the education faculty at the University of Colorado in 1956. In 1971 he wrote an account of his experiences at UT entitled The Tower and the Dome. He married Mildred Collins in 1920 and they had two daughters. He died in 1985.

Source: Green, George N. "Rainey, Homer Price."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed July 27, 2010.

Scope and Contents

The Homer Price Rainey Papers, 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991, include correspondence, speeches, minutes, certificates, political posters, literary productions, questionnaires, programs, photographs, news clippings, and printed material about Rainey. The papers relate to conferences on public education, Rainey’s inauguration as President of the University of Texas, his gubernatorial campaign, and the Rainey-University of Texas board of regents dispute over academic freedom. The bulk of the collection consists of scrapbooks, created by Rainey, documenting his career at and controversies with the University of Texas.


Use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Rainey, Homer P. (Homer Price), 1896-1985--Archives.
Brandon, Arthur L. (Arthur Leon)
Burdine, J. Alton (John Alton), 1905-
Castro, Américo, 1885-1972
Edwards, Newton, 1889-
Gordon, Wendell Chaffee, 1916-
Gulick, Luther Halsey, 1828-1891
Hackett, Charles W. (Charles Wilson), 1888-1951
Himstead, Ralph E. (Ralph Ebner), 1893-1955
Hoblitzelle, Karl, 1879-
Jester, Beauford Halbert, 1893-1949
Leake, Chauncey Depew, 1896-1978
O'Daniel, W. Lee (Wilbert Lee), 1890-1969
Painter, Theophilus S. (Theophilus Shickel), 1889-1969
Pattee, Richard, 1906-
Pittenger, Benjamin Floyd, 1883-
Reeves, Floyd W. (Floyd Wesley), 1890-1979
Sellards, E. H. (Elias Howard), 1875-1961
Jacob, Henry
Stevenson, Coke R. (Coke Robert), 1888-1975
Subjects (Organizations)
University of Texas
University of Texas. Board of Regents
College presidents--Texas
Austin (Tex.)

Related Material

See also the Eugene Campbell Barker Papers, 1785 (1812-1959), William James Battle Papers, 1870-1959, and Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966.

Separated Material

Some material has been separated to the Library Unit.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Homer Price Rainey Papers, 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Processed by Winnie Allen, September 1948. Revised by Deborah Bloys, January 1993; Steve Stappenbeck, September 1998; Mark Firmin, February 2012; Laurel Rozema, June 2012; and Rachel Nellis, May 2016.

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



2R156 Addresses delivered at pre-inaugural conferences
4N16f Inauguration of Rainey as University of Texas President, scrapbook, 1939
4L288 Political scrapbooks
Broadsides and clippings
4L294 Scrapbook May - December 1945
4L297 Scrapbook
4L298 Scrapbook
Political newspaper
3L381 Committee of Correspondence, 1944-1946
Collier's article, January 6, 1945
Pamphlets, etc.:
Rainey for Governor postcard
Rainey for Governor pamphlet, 1946
"Religion in Life" radio address, 1946
Rainey controversy poem
Pamphlet: "Are Tenure and Freedom Secure at the University of Texas?" 1945
Newspaper clippings
3L382 Rainey Controversy scrapbook:
4R126 1944-1945
4M368 Austin American:
November-December, 1944
4M369 October-December, 1944
4L290 Number I, July-September, 1944
4L291 Number II, October, 1944
4L292 Number III, November 1-15, 1944
4L293 Number IV, November 15 - December 1, 1944
2.325/N42b Number V, December 1944
Number VI, January 1945
Honorary Degree, Bolivia, 1961
First Baptist Church certificate, Boulder, Colorado, 1970
University of Colorado Alumni Association award, 1970
University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association Life Membership for Mildred Rainey, 1967
Austin College Distinguished Alumnus award, 1973
New York University Hall of Fame, 1965
Commission on Standards and Accreditation of Services for the Blind award, 1966
Dedication of Homer Rainey Hall, 1996
Homer Rainey’s funeral guest book, 1985
Facsimile of Abraham Lincoln’s fire insurance policy, 1861
Oversize photo portraits of Rainey
2.325/A89c Correspondence, speeches, statements, press releases, petitions, newspaper clippings, 1939, 1946, 1971
"The Rainey Crisis: A Political Struggle," by Dan Thornberry, 1975
Photocopies of telegrams, letters, re: Homer P. Rainey from the Frank P. Graham Papers at the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1943-1945
Newspaper clippings, 1941, 1944-1946, 1964, 1971, 1974
Campaign materials, 1946
Printed material, re: Homer Rainey controversy and gubernatorial campaign, 1939, 1944-1945
2.325/U507 "Reprint of President Homer P. Rainey's Speech," 1944
2.325/K81 Laminated newspaper clippings, re: Homer Rainey controversy, 1944
2.325/Q108 Letters and articles from the UT Students Association, re: Homer Rainey controversy, 1942-1944