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Harris Masterson, III papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS 470
Finding aid note: Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents

The collection totals 87 document boxes and concentrates mainly on Harris Masterson, III's business and philanthropic interests. Dates range from 1892- 1980, bulk 1950-1979, and formats include correspondence, photographs, business and legal documents. Personal and family data are also chronicled. Highlights include Masterson's collecting interest in Texana and construction information on the Masterson house, Rienzi.

Dates

  • 1892-1980, bulk 1950s-1970s

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials from the Harris Masterson, III papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.

Biographical Note

Harris Masterson, III, native Houstonian and well-known philanthropist, was born July 9, 1914 to Libbie Mary Johnston and Neill Turner Masterson. He attended San Jacinto High School, the New Mexico Military Institute, and Rice Institute during the 1930s and later returned to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1955. Masterson was an intelligence officer during World War II and served as an instructor during the Korean Conflict. In 1951 he married the former Carroll Sterling Cowan. Among Masterson's better-known business interests were Westmoreland Importers, an antique and interior design studio, and "Houston Presents," which brought touring theatrical and orchestral groups to Houston. Harris Masterson served as board chairman or president of all major Houston arts organizations, and among his philanthropic interests were Houston area hospitals, charitable and cultural organizations including Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Center, Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Alley Theater, and several preservation societies. His honors include the 1996 Friends of Fondren Honoree [Rice University], and, along with his wife, the National Medal of Arts recipient [1990], and Cultural Leader of the Year [1974]. Masterson died on April 7, 1997 in Houston.

Extent

37 Linear Feet (87 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Harris Masterson III papers concentrate mainly on Masterson's business and philanthropic interests. Dates range from 1892- 1980, bulk 1950-1979, and formats include correspondence, photographs, business and legal documents. Personal and family data are also chronicled. Highlights include Masterson's collecting interest in Texana and construction information on the Masterson house, Rienzi.

Acquisition Information

The papers originally were part of the deposit of the Masterson Family Collection given by Harris Masterson, III in 1966. They have been treated informally as a separate collection, but were not officially separated from the original deposit until 1998.

Related Material

Harris Masterson, Jr. Papers MS 469,

Judge Harris Masterson Papers MS 448, and related information/vertical files on Harris and Carroll Masterson, Libbie Masterson, Neill T. Masterson and Peter Masterson.

The Masterson's Houston house, Rienzi, along with its furnishings of art and antiques, was bequeathed to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The house was named for Masterson's grandfather, Rienzi Melville Johnston, founder and former editor of The Houston Post.

Complementary Masterson papers may be housed at Rienzi or The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Archives.

The Masterson Texana Collection, donated in 1966, includes a cataloged book collection that was dedicated in 1975.

The Clarence Wharton Papers MS 19, donated by Carroll and Harris Masterson, III in 1970/71 as part of their Texana collection, have been removed from the Papers and are a separate manuscript collection.
Title
Guide to Harris Masterson, III papers, 1892-1980, bulk 1950s-1970s
Status
Completed
Author
Lee Pecht
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

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

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