Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Audiocassettes:

Transcripts:

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Bernard Rapoport Oral History Collection, 1993



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rapoport, Bernard, 1917-2012
Title: Rapoport, Bernard, Oral History Collection
Dates: 1993
Abstract: Comprising 28 audiocassette tapes and associated transcripts, the Bernard Rapoport Oral History Collection, 1993, documents the experiences and opinions of Bernard Rapoport's family, friends, and colleagues concerning labor unions, the Democratic Party, Rapoport's philanthropic endeavors and foundation, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, and his company, American Income Life Insurance Company.
Accession No.: 1993
Extent: 9 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Texas philanthropist and entrepreneur Bernard Rapoport (1917-2012) founded the multi-million dollar American Income Life Insurance Company. With his wife, he established the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation to support organizations in Israel and Waco as well as the University of Texas and numerous other educational, welfare, and political projects. The couple heavily supported and contributed to the Texas Democratic Party and candidates and political groups in the United States, including Bill and Hilary Rodham Clinton, Ralph Yarborough, Ann Richards, Ted Kennedy, Lloyd Bentsen, and George McGovern.

Born in San Antonio on July 17, 1917, Rapoport learned from an early age the importance of family, community, and generosity. His parents David and Riva Rapoport had fled Russia following their participation in the revolution of 1905. They instilled in their son and daughter Idel the importance of education, political freedom, Judaism, and generosity. During the Great Depression, Rapoport worked his way through the University of Texas (UT), graduating with a degree in economics in 1939 and marrying Audre Newman three years later.

In 1951, Rapoport and his wife’s uncle Harold Goodman founded the American Income Life Insurance Company (AIL) with $25,000 in Indianapolis, moving the headquarters to Waco in 1958. Under Rapoport’s leadership, the company spread into labor union and credit union markets and became one of the first Union Label insurance companies. In 1994, the insurance and financial services holding company Torchmark Corporation purchased AIL for $563 million.

Rapoport spent most of his life actively supporting the Democratic Party, starting with his membership in the Progressive Democrats while at UT and Homer Rainey’s gubernatorial campaign in 1944. He later supported Ralph Yarborough, Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, Ann Richards, Ted Kennedy, Alan Cranston, and George McGovern, during whose campaign in 1972 Bernard met Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. From 1974 onward, Rapoport donated to every one of Clinton’s campaigns and served as fundraiser for both of his presidential bids.

The Rapoports founded the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation in 1987. Annual contributions supported the state of Israel, the University of Texas at Austin, the Waco community, and other worthwhile projects, including the Jerusalem Foundation, Planned Parenthood, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Paul Quinn College. The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Academy in the Waco Independent School District is named in honor of their support. Furthermore, he believed in the protection of free speech and freedom of the press, contributing to the Texas Observer for fifty years, first as an advertiser and later as a member of the board of the newspaper’s publisher Texas Democracy Foundation.

Rapoport’s time at the University of Texas (UT) greatly influenced his success in life, and his pride in his alma mater resulted in both financial and service contributions to the University. In 1991, Ann Richards appointed Rapoport to the UT System Board of Regents, on which he served as chairman from 1993 until his retirement from the board in 1997. During his tenure, the board approved the South Texas-Border Initiative to increase access to higher education in South Texas, the purchasing power of the Permanent University Fund increased, and the University created the UT Investment Management Company. Rapoport also established or contributed to numerous endowments for scholarships and chairs in economics and the liberal arts and funding the Blanton Museum of Art and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Named in recognition of the couple, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Building on the UT-Austin campus houses the College of Liberal Arts.

In 2002, the University of Texas Press in the Briscoe Center’s Focus on American History Series published Rapoport’s memoir, Being Rapoport: Capitalist with a Conscience, as told to Briscoe Center director Dr. Don Carleton. Currently, the Briscoe Center in collaboration with the Rapoport Foundation and UT Libraries is working on a project to digitize the memoir as well as numerous historical documents and photographs to accompany the text for a revised and enhanced digital edition of Being Rapoport.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Contents

Comprising 28 audiocassette tapes and associated transcripts, the Bernard Rapoport Oral History Collection, 1993, documents the experiences and opinions of Bernard Rapoport as well as his family, friends, and colleagues. The audiotapes, July-October 1993, consist of eleven interviews conducted by Barbara Griffith and Don E. Carleton of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for American History with Idel B. McLanathan, Hank Brown, Ray Marshall, and Fred Schmidt, among others. The interviews discuss Rapoport’s involvement in labor unions, the Democratic Party, his philanthropic endeavors and foundation, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, and his company, American Income Life Insurance Company.

Return to the Table of Contents


 

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series:
  • I. Audiocassettes
    • a. Copies
    • b. Masters [Restricted]
  • II. Transcripts

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

For preservation purposes, the audiocassette masters are restricted. Copies are provided for patron use.

The interview tapes and transcripts for Charles Terrell and Bernard Rapoport are restricted for confidentiality issues. Please contact repository for more information.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Rapoport, Bernard, 1917-2012 -- Archives.
Rapoport family.
McLanathan, Idel Rapoport Bruckman, 1920-2011
Brown, H. S. (Hank)
Marshall, F. Ray
Schmidt, Fred H.
Schmidt, Sonia
Hill, Forest G. (Forest Garrett), 1919-
Sale, Jim
Friedsam, H. J.
Friedsam, Reva
Mullinax, Otto B., 1912-2000
Hay, Jess
Terrell, Charles, 1938-
Subjects (Organizations)
American Income Life Insurance Company.
Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation.
University of Texas System. Board of Regents.
University of Texas at Austin.
Democratic Party (Tex.)
Subjects
Philanthropists -- Texas.
Insurance -- United States.
Insurance -- Texas.
Labor unions -- United States.
Politics -- United States.
Places
Waco (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century.
Texas -- History -- 20th century.
United States -- Relations -- Israel.

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Material

See also the Bernard Rapoport Papers.

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Bernard Rapoport Oral History Collection, 1993, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Laurel Rozema, August 2011.

Revisions made by Rebekah Curry, July 2014.

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Papers

 
box
2x69b Audiocassettes:
Copies:
Fred and Sonia Schmidt, Fredericksburg, TX, September 9, 1993
[two tapes]
Dr. Forest Hill, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, September 13, 1993
Jim Sale, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 6, 1993
Ray Marshall, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 8, 1993
Hank Brown, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 12, 1993
[two tapes]
Hiram and Vera [Reva] Friedsam, Denton, TX, October 18, 1993
Otto Mullinax, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 18, 1993
[two tapes]
Dr. Idel B. McLanathan, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 21, 1993
Jess Hay, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 27, 1993
box
2x69c Bernard Rapoport, Waco, TX, interviewed by Don E. Carleton and Barbara Griffith, July 13, 1993
[RESTRICTED]
Charles Terrell, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 27, 1993
[RESTRICTED]
Masters:
[RESTRICTED]
Bernard Rapoport, Waco, TX, interviewed by Don E. Carleton and Barbara Griffith, July 13, 1993
Fred and Sonia Schmidt, Fredericksburg, TX, September 9, 1993
[two tapes]
Dr. Forest Hill, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, September 13, 1993
Jim Sale, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 6, 1993
Ray Marshall, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 8, 1993
Hank Brown, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 12, 1993
[two tapes]
Hiram and Vera [Reva] Friedsam, Denton, TX, October 18, 1993
Otto Mullinax, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 18, 1993
[two tapes]
Dr. Idel B. McLanathan, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 21, 1993
Jess Hay, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 27, 1993
Charles Terrell, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, includes business card as Chairman of the Board for Unimark Insurance Agencies, October 27, 1993

Return to the Table of Contents




 
box
2C440 Transcripts:
Fred and Sonia Schmidt, Fredericksburg, TX, September 9, 1993
Dr. Forest Hill, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, September 13, 1993
Jim Sale, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 6, 1993
Ray Marshall, Austin, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 8, 1993
Hank Brown, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 12, 1993
Hiram and Vera [Reva] Friedsam, Denton, TX, October 18, 1993
Otto Mullinax, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 18, 1993
Dr. Idel B. McLanathan, San Antonio, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 21, 1993
Jess Hay, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 27, 1993
box
2x328 Bernard Rapoport, Waco, TX, interviewed by Don E. Carleton and Barbara Griffith, July 13, 1993
[RESTRICTED]
Charles Terrell, Dallas, TX, interviewed by Barbara Griffith, October 27, 1993
[RESTRICTED]

Return to the Table of Contents