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Marjorie Arsht Letters

Identifier: MS 1081
Finding aid note: Forms part of the South Texas Jewish Archives. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Content Description

One box of correspondence documents Marjorie Arsht's activities and ties within Texas Republican party politics from 1962 to 2002, including correspondence with Texas Governor Bill Clements and members of the Bush family. In cases where there were multiple letters with/about an individual or subject, the letters have been arranged alphabetically. General correspondence has been arranged chronologically.


  • Creation: 1962 - 2002

Conditions Governing Access

Collection open for research without restriction. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from Marjorie Arsht Letters must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library. The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Marjorie Meyer Arsht was born in 1915 Yoakum, Texas, to Marcell Achille Meyer and Myrtle Levy Meyer. Arsht graduated from Yoakum Public School, and entered Rice Institute, graduating Phi Beta Kappa at the age of 18. She then studied at The Sorbonne in Paris, France, securing a diplome superieur, and then earned a Masters of Arts in French at Columbia University in NYC at the age of 20.

She married Raymond Arsht in 1938. They had three children: Margot, Alan and Leslye Arsht. In 1962, Marjorie Meyer Arsht ran for Pos. 5 in the Texas Legislature as a female, Jewish, Republican candidate. Although defeated, she garnered 48.9% of the vote and was endorsed by the local newspapers: the Houston Post, the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Press, Human Events and Forward Times, as well as Inform, a local black newspaper. In 1963, she and her husband hosted an event for a special election of the Harris County Chair in the Republican Party, which launched the political career of George H. W. Bush. From that point forward, Marjorie Arsht was actively engaged in local and national Republican politics.

In 1979 then Governor William Clements appointed Marjorie to the Board of Regents of Texas Southern University, a position she held until 1984. At the age of 69, Marjorie served as Special Assistant in charge of speech writing for the Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD during the Reagan Administration. During this period, she was admitted into the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Marjorie Arsht was also the President of the Arsht Company, an energy development company, started by her husband. She served two separate terms on the Executive Board of Rice University's Alumni Association. She was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in New Orleans in 1988. Marjorie was a former member of the Board of Directors of the United Republicans of Harris County, past president of her Temple Beth Israel's Sisterhood, and served as the national spokeswoman for the American Council of Judaism.

Many charitable and political organizations benefited from her voluntary leadership and financial support, including but not limited to the Office of President George H. W. Bush, Magic Circle Republican Women's Club, United Republicans of Harris County, George Bush Presidential Library Fund and Barbara Bush Literacy Programs. She was also a member of the Houston Pachyderm Club, the Petroleum Club, the Houston Forum, and the Society of Rice University Women. In 1996 at the age of 84, she undertook continuing education studies through Rice University's Advanced Novel Writing Program under the tutelage of the international award-winner author, Dr. Venkatesh Kulkarni, giving her the tools she needed to write and publish her memoir at the age of 90, "All the Way from Yoakum: The Personal Journey of a Political Insider."

She passed away on January 27, 2008, in Houston, Texas at the age of 93.

Excerpt from:


.50 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



One box containing correspondence with Marjorie Arsht from individuals in the Texas Republican Party documents personal affairs and some political and social activity in which Marjorie Arsht was involved from 1962 to 2002.


The materials in this collection have been arranged in two series as follows:

Series I: Correspondence by subject/person; Series II: General Correspondence

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Leslye and Alan Arsht donated the papers on January 11th, 2023


Guide to the Marjorie Arsht Letters, 1962-2002
Sofiya Babirenko
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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