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Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange personal papers

Identifier: MS 0506
Finding aid note: 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.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the personal papers of Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange. The collection includes correspondence, financial, business and estate records for Ray Strange, her parents and husbands. Her collection includes photos and mementos of her travels across the United States and all over the world, as well as political photos and memorabilia from Presidential campaigns from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

The first series includes personal papers beginning with a brief family history covering the years 1915-1936. Mrs. Strange's school honors, societies, charitable trusts personal and family financial and estate records from 1937-1999 follow. Series Two consists of real estate records for the family land holdings in Houston, other sites in Texas, and Louisiana. Series Three contains records of her involvement in various Presidential campaigns as aell as political correspondence. Series Four consists of her personal and family involvement in fund drives, alumni committees and other projects associated with Rice University. Series Five contains several books with articles by or about her second husband, Henry W. "Harry" Hoagland, Jr. Series Six contains photographs and family albums with items dating from 1914-2002. Series Seven has correspondence from 1950 to 2006. Series Eight has photographs from 1912-2000, and Series Nine has one box of oversize photos and certificates.


  • Creation: 1912-2009

Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Ray Watkin Strange personal papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Rice University.

Biographical Note

Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange was born Annie Ray Watkin on May 11, 1915, to parents William Ward Watkin and Annie Ray Townsend Watkin in Houston, TX at the Watkin residence, 5009 Caroline. She was home schooled through second grade by her mother and then entered the Kinkaid School (San Jacinto at Elgin) where she graduated from the tenth grade. The family traveled to France in 1928-29 for her father to study architecture. In 1930 she entered Chatham Hall, an Episcopal Preparatory School in Chatham, VA and majored in American history. She attended Rice Institute from Sept. 1932 to June 1936, graduating with a baccalaureate degree in liberal arts with a major in French. She was queen of Rice Institute's Archi-Arts Ball in 1936 and the same year was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Ray married Carl Biehl, a shipping executive, in Dec. 1939 and moved with him to Washington, DC where he had accepted a position with the War Shipping Department. After her husband left for England with the Army Transportation Corps, Ray returned to Houston and pursued a master of arts degree in the history of art at Rice Institute under the auspices of the School of Architecture and professor James Chillman. She received her MA in 1944. Ray served as secretary of the Houston chapter of the American Red Cross through 1945 and as Red Cross Arts and Skills Corps Chairman in 1947. She was involved in managing the Watkin family land and oil properties all over the states of Texas and Louisiana. Ray divorced Biehl in 1955 and in 1961 married Henry W. Hoagland, spending time between Boston, Houston, Kennebunkport, ME and Tucson, AZ. Following Hoagland's death, Ray married Robert F. Strange on Jan. 25, 1997. The couple lived in Brenham, TX until Mr. Strange died in 2001. Mrs. Strange lived in Houston, TX until her death in 2011.

Mrs. Strange served on many committees at Rice and helped to establish several foundations. Ray formed the Rice Alumni History Committee in 1975, now the Alumni Archives Committee, and permanently endowed the William Ward Watkin Traveling Scholarship in Architecture. In 1975, she organized an alumni history committee to interview important professors and alumni. She served on the Rice History Committee that edited and underwrote the first official history of Rice, A History of Rice University: The Institute Years 1907-1963, by Fredericka Meiners (1982). She established the William Ward Watkin Endowed Chair in Architecture in 1999. She was an honorary board member of the Rice Historical Society and underwrote a book on Capt. James A. Baker's role in the development of Rice. Mrs. Strange donated materials and support to the Rice University Archives (named in honor of her parents as the "William Ward Watkin and Annie Ray Watkin University Archives") at the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.


24 Linear Feet (47 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of the personal papers of Houston philanthropist Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange (1915-2011). The collection includes correspondence, financial, business and estate records and personal memorabilia of Ray Strange. Her father, William Ward Watkin, was Supervising Architect during the construction of the original Rice Institute campus and later the Dean of Architecture at Rice. Mrs. Strange was a friend and generous donor to Rice University for many years. The papers and memorabilia were assembled by Mrs. Strange over her lifetime. The collection also includes family photo albums and many personal photos.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Mrs. Ray Watkin Strange, Class of 1936, M.A. 1944.


No future additions are expected for this material.


Guide to the Ray Watkin Strange personal papers, 1912-2009
Kathryn Morrow
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