Scope and Contents
Consists of correspondence (25 letters) between Cooper K. Ragan and Rice University history professor Andrew F. Muir. The majority of the correspondence deals with comments on Muir’s published articles and papers, historical information, criticisms of others’ works, and mention of meetings and programs of the Texas Historical Association and the Houston Civil War Roundtable. Two letters, written by Muir, are handwritten, signed. The last two letters (January 30 and 31, 1969) mention Muir’s ill health. Andrew Muir died on February 3, 1969.
Cooper Kirby Ragan was born on June 15, 1905, in Newton, Texas. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree (1925) and an LL.B. (1928) from the University of Texas. After admission to the Texas Bar in 1928, he began work as an attorney with Huggins, Kayser, and Liddell in Houston, Texas. He then served as general counsel and director of Kirby Petroleum Company in Houston, Texas (1930-1956). Ragan married Susan Menefree Wilson in 1945. He became a partner in the firm of Ragan, Russell, and Rorschach after 1964, was chairman of the Texas Civil War Committee from 1959 to 1963 and secretary-treasurer of the Jefferson Davis Association. Ragan became a member of the Texas State Historical Association (1946) and served as president from 1970 to 1971. He was also president of the Houston Civil War Round Table and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the American Law Institute. Ragan wrote numerous articles for professional journals and authored two books, "Josephus Somerville Irvine, 1819-1876: The Worthy Citizen" (1963) and "Massachusetts Bay and the Lone Star State: Shall the Twain Never Meet?"(1971).
Cooper K. Ragan died on December 30, 1986.
Andrew Forest Muir was born January 8, 1916 in Houston Heights, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1938) and a Master of Arts (1942) from Rice Institute, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Texas (1949). While in Austin he taught at St. Luke’s school and tutored English at the University of Texas (1942-44), also serving as acting director of the San Jacinto Museum of History (1943-44). Muir next traveled to Hawaii where, from 1945 to 1949, he worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Engineers in Honolulu, Hawaii, taught history at the Iolany School, and later was Educational Advisor to the Commanding General at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He served as an Assistant Professor of History at Daniel Baker College in Brownwood, Texas, from 1951-53, before moving on to teach at the Polytechnic Institute, in San German, Puerto Rico for the 1953-54 academic year. Honored as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellow for 1957-58, he then joined the history department at Rice Institute in 1958.
As a historian, Muir published numerous studies on religion and church leaders in Hawaii during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as several studies on free blacks in the Houston area. He also authored "Early Missionaries in Texas"(1941), "Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1936-1841"(1944), "The Thirty-Second Parallel Pacific Railroad in Texas 1872"(1949), and "Thomas Jefferson Ewing, Texas Ward: Politician" (1952) as well as "Texas in 1837," which he edited in 1958.
Known as an authority on William Marsh Rice, his work "William Marsh Rice and His Institute: A Biographical Study" was edited by Sylvia Stallings Morris and posthumously published in 1972. In addition, Muir contributed to "The Handbook of Texas," "Southwestern Historical Quarterly," the "Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church," and the "Tennessee Historical Quarterly," and served as associate editor of the "Journal of Southern History."
Andrew Forest Muir died on February 3, 1969.
Excerpted from The New Handbook of Texas, 1996