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Rienzi Melville Johnston papers

Identifier: MS 0117
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

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).


  • Creation: 1899 - 1926


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research. Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586.

Restrictions on Use

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

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.


1 Linear Feet ( (2 boxes))

Language of Materials



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.

Acquisition Information

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

Guide to the Rienzi Melville Johnston papers, 1899-1926
Tyler Kruse
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA