Dr. Ralph A. Wooster Collection


      Dates: 1954-2010
      Size: .4.25 cubic feet
      Access: Open for research
      Collection Number: Special Collections #87

      Processed by: Penny Clark and Charlotte A. Holliman


Ralph Ancil Wooster was a born at home in Baytown, Texas on November 9, 1928. As a child he did farm chores and as a teen worked in his father’s filling station. He always loved reading and had a passion for history. While a student at Robert E. Lee High School he belonged to the junior historians and wrote articles for their publication. He continued his education at Lee Junior College where he graduated in 1948. Then he attended the University of Houston where he obtained both ba and ma degrees by 1950.

He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1954 where he was influenced by UT historians including Fulmer Mood, a student of landmark historian Frederick Jackson Turner, who introduced him to the collective biography; Barnes F. Lathrop, who utilized cliometrics, or the application of quantification to historical research, often making use of the federal census, a previously underutilized resource for historians, and the legendary Walter Prescott Webb who was a model of prolific research and writing.

Ralph Wooster served in the U.S. Army between 1944-1953, he was assigned to the Historical Division Headquarters, US Army Europe in Germany where he worked on SECRET and TOP SECRET historical reports for the Army.

Dr. Wooster joined the faculty in the history department at Lamar in 1955, where he worked as an instructor until 1957 when he was promoted to assistant professor. He served as associate professor from 1959-1962. Dr. Wooster became a full professor in 1964. He served as head of the Department of History from 1966-1970.

Professor Wooster is a well-known, accomplished historian who specializes in the American Civil War. His contributions to the field include hundreds of book reviews for scholarly journals, The Beaumont Enterprise, and Review of Texas Books, a Lamar University publication. He was a frequent presence at historical conferences where he gave papers and served as a commentator.

Wooster has a remarkable record of scholarship. He has written over 70 articles for scholarly publications and is the author, co-author, or editor of eleven books, "The Secession Conventions of the South" (Princeton University Press, 1962); "The People in Power: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Lower South 1850-1960" (University of Tennessee Press, 1969); "Politicians, Planters, and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South" (University of Tennessee Press, 1975); "Texas and Texans in the Civil War" (Eakin Press, 1995); "Civil War Texas: A History and a Guide" (Texas State Historical Association, 1999); "Lone Star Generals in Gray" (Eakin Press, 2000); "Lone Star Regiments in Gray" (Eakin Press, 2002); "Texas and Texans in World War II" (Eakin Press, 2005); and "Texas and Texans in the Great War" (State House Press, 2009). He was the co-author of "Texas and Texans" (Steck-Vaughn, 1972; revised 1978, 1987, and 1993), a junior high school textbook adopted by the State of Texas; co-editor of "Texas Vistas" (Texas State Historical Association, 1980; revised 1986 and 2006); and was the editor of "Lone Star Blue and Gray: Essays on Texas in the Civil War" (Texas State Historical Association, 1995).

Dr. Wooster’s knowledge and prestige as a historian was acknowledged by his serving as a consultant to David Wolper’s Production on the ABC Television Network, and as an editorial consultant to Random House, Princeton University Press, and the Texas State Historical Association Press.

One of his colleagues wrote of Wooster’s teaching: “Wooster would teach as Spencer Tracy acted, straightforward, honest, and compelling.” He was one of those rare professors who genuinely cared about his students, had a zeal for what he was teaching, and exhibited fairness and openness and because of this he consistently received student evaluations which said he had no faults as an instructor.

Dr. Wooster’s distinctions include teaching one of the first two graduate classes at Lamar and the first history graduate class. By 1976 he had supervised 27 completed master’s theses in history at Lamar. One of Wooster’s great legacies is the number of his students that are contributing to the field of history as teachers, museum professionals, and administrators.

Ralph Wooster’s excellence at teaching and scholarship was acknowledged with awards including being chosen as Piper Professor, which is awarded to only ten professors in Texas each year, in 1964; selected as a fellow in the Texas State Historical Association, 1964; Regents Professor, 1972; Phi Kappa Phi Award for Distinguished Teaching; Fellow, East Texas Historical Association, 1983; Ralph W. Steen Award, East Texas Historical Association, 1989; and Otis Locke Teaching Award, East Texas Historical Association.

Dr. Wooster was a leader at Lamar and in the historical community. He was president of Lamar’s Faculty Senate and president of the local chapter of TACT (Texas Association of College Teachers), president of the Texas State Historical Association, and president of the East Texas Historical Association.

He became a Lamar administrator in 1976 but continued to teach and research. As an administrator he held increasingly responsible positions over time. Dean of Graduate Studies, 1976-1977. Dean of Faculties and Graduate Studies, 1977-1980. Dean of Faculties and Assistant to Vice President for Academic Affairs, 1980-1984; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties, 1984-1986; Associate Vice President and Dean of Faculties, 1986-1991; and Interim Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, 1989-1990.

He retired from work as an administrator in 1991 but continued teaching on a part-time basis until 2006.

Dr. Ralph Wooster married Edna Lee Jones in 1947 when she was 19 and Wooster was 18. They have one son, Robert Allen Wooster, who was named for Robert E. Lee. The younger Wooster is a prolific historian who teaches at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi.

For more information on Ralph Wooster, please consult “Ralph A. Wooster: A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar,” by Terry Lee Rioux in Touchstone, (a Texas State Historical Association publication for university students) 1998; and Robert J. Robertson.


The collection documents Ralph Wooster’s life, particularly as a teacher and scholar. The collection includes oral histories conducted by Wooster’s student, Terry Rioux, which provide biographical material on Wooster’s early life and historians who influenced his work. The papers documenting Wooster’s scholarship include broadsides to Wooster’s presentations, reviews of Wooster’s books, and hundreds of reviews Wooster wrote on other historians’ books. The papers also include materials used in his classes including maps, examinations, and syllabi. The papers do not include research files Wooster compiled in writing books and articles.


This is a modification of a system originated by Terry Rioux, a student and biographer of Ralph A. Wooster.

1 – Correspondence
2 – Classes
3 – Photos
4 – Manuscripts
5 – Published Articles
6 – Books
7 – Awards and Honors
8 – Presentations
9 – Commentary at Historical Organization Sessions
10 – Wooster’s Reviews of Others Books
11 – Professional Organizations
12 – History Department
13 – Lamar University
14 – About Dr. Wooster
15 – Consulting Work
16 – Robert Wooster
17 – Civil Rights


[Identification of item]. Ralph A. Wooster Collection, University Archives and Special Collections, Mary and John Gray Library, Lamar University.


Special Collections


Box 1
Folder 1: Correspondence
Folder 2: American Biography (History 4335) – Lectures – Mini-session 1999
Folder 3: American Civil War – (History 4314) Exams, policies, syllabi, questions and terms
Folder 4: American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (1)
Folder 5: American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (2)
Folder 6: American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (3)
Folder 7: American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (4)
Folder 8: American Civil War – (History 4314) Lectures (5)
Folder 9: American Civil War – (History 4314) Maps
Folder 10: Former students list compiled by Wooster
Folder 11: Grade books, 1961
Folder 12: Military History (History 334) – Lectures (1)
Folder 13: Military History (History 334) – Lectures (2) Includes maps.
Folder 14: Military History (History 334) – Lectures (3) Includes exams and articles
Folder 15: Nazi Germany (History 5342) Reading lists, exams and syllabi
Folder 16: Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (1)
Folder 17: Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (2)
Folder 18: Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Lectures (3) Includes newspaper articles, notes and etc.
Folder 19: Nazi Germany (History 5342) – Maps, newspaper clipping, lecture outlines and etc.
Folder 20: 20th Century Biographies – Lectures – fall 2004 (1)
Folder 21: 20th Century Biographies – Lectures – fall 2004 (2)
Folder 22: World War II – Class materials – includes maps, syllabi, policies, study questions and terms
Folder 23: Teacher Evaluation, spring 1998
Folder 24: Teacher Evaluation, spring 2000
Folder 25: Photos of professors at Lamar
Folder 26: Photos - Affleck family
Folder 27: Photocopies of photos of Wooster – 1950s
Folder 28: Photos c. 1984; 1990
Folder 29: Photos – Wooster teaching and other history professors
Folder 30: Photos of Wooster
Folder 31: Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – pages 1-135
Folder 32: Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – pages 136-270
Folder 33: Civil War Letters of Private Isaac Dunbar Affleck edited by Robert W. Williams and Ralph A. Wooster – pages 271-406
Folder 34: Wooster’s publications as a high school student
Folder 35: The Arkansas Secession Convention - 1954
Folder 36: “An Analysis of the Membership of Secession Conventions in the Lower South” – The Journal of Southern History, 1958 – reprint
Folder 37: “The Secession of the Lower South: An Examination of Changing Interpretations” – Civil War History, 1961 – reprint
Folder 38: “With Terry’s Texas Rangers: The Letters of Dunbar Affleck” – Civil War History, September 1963
Folder 39: “Four Years in the Confederate Infantry” – Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, 1972
Folder 40: George A. Custer’s East Texas Friend: Major General Thomas L. Rosser, C.S.A.
Folder 41: “Wealthy Texans, 1860”
Folder 42: “‘A Difficult and Forlorn Country’: The Military Looks at the American Southwest, 1850-1890” by Robert Wooster – Arizona & the West, 1986
Folder 43: “With the Confederate Cavalry in the West: The Civil War Experiences of Isaac Dunbar Affleck” – Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 1979
Folder 44: Program for Author’s Reception, 1987
Folder 45: Ed Eakin 1927- 2002
Folder 46: The Secession Conventions of the South, 1961
Folder 47: The People in Power: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Lower South, 1850-1860, 1969
Folder 48: Politicians, Planters and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South, 1850-1860, 1975
Folder 49: Reviews of Politicians, Planters and Plain Folk: Courthouse and Statehouse in the Upper South, 1850-1860, 1975
Folder 50: Review of Texas and Texans, 1996
Folder 51: Lone Star Blue and Gray, 1995-1996
Folder 52: Civil War Texas, 1999
Folder 53: Lone Star Generals in Gray, 2000
Folder 54: Texas Vistas, 1987

Box 2
Folder 1: Phi Kappa Phi
Folder 2: 35 Year Service Award, 1991
Folder 3: American Philosophical Society Grant for Research, 1960s
Folder 4: Piper Professor, 1964
Folder 5: East Texas Historical Society
Folder 6: The East Texas Historical Association – Certificate of Appreciation, 1981
Folder 7: Awards and Honors
Folder 8: “Excellent Ex” Lee College, 1979
Folder 9: Texas State Historical Association Fellows, 1966
Folder 10: Evening lectures – A New Look at the American Civil War, 1982
Folder 11: Lee College World War II Symposium, 1992
Folder 12: Program for Grand Opening Ceremony for the Restored Tyrrell Historical Library, July 29, 1990
Folder 13: Wooster’s comments on Walter P. Webb at Webb Society’s 25th Anniversary
Folder 14: Presentations
Folder 15: Presentations
Folder 16: Presentations, 1990
Folder 17: Commentary on “Politics and Community: Party Development in Antebellum America” at American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 1976
Folder 18: Wooster’s Comments at the Southern Historical Association, 1978
Folder 19: Commentary at Organization of American Historians, 1981
Folder 20: Comments on “Social Structure and Politics in American History,” at Organization of American Historians, April 2, 1981
Folder 21: Comments on TSHA Papers on Sam Houston, 1993
Folder 22: Secession Comments TSHA, 1990
Folder 23: Wooster’s Commentary on Secession
Folder 24: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1950s
Folder 25: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
Folder 26: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
Folder 27: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
Folder 28: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1960s
Folder 29: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1962-1963
Folder 30: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1965
Folder 31: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1969 – 1970
Folder 32: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1970s
Folder 33: Wooster’s Reviews of Other Scholars 1970s-1980s
Folder 34: Book Reviews Wooster Wrote of Others Works, 1976-1977
Folder 35: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1980s – 1990s
Folder 36: Book Reviews by Dr. Wooster, 1990s – 2000s
Folder 37: Wooster’s Comments on “Planters, Yeomen, and Slaves: A Quantitative View of Antebellum Texas Agriculture”
Folder 38: Book Reviews – Review of Texas Books, 1991-1993
Folder 39: Book Reviews – Late 1980s and Early 1990s
Folder 40: East Texas Historical Association
Folder 41: Texas State Historical Association
Folder 42: Texas State Historical Association, 1974
Folder 43: History Department, 1960s
Folder 44: Resumes History Department Faculty
Folder 45: Dr. Earl Fornell, Professor of Government – Book Review
Folder 46: Employment at Lamar
Folder 47: Wooster at Lamar
Folder 48: Return of Regents’ Professor Medal, 1992
Folder 49: Board of Regents/Regents’ Professor Controversy, 1992-1993
Folder 50: Lamar University
Folder 51: Retirement, 1991
Folder 52: Ralph and Edna Wooster Scholarship, 2000
Folder 53: Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT), 1994
Folder 54: TACT
Folder 55: Telegram Offering Wooster Job at Lamar, 1955

Box 3
Folder 1: About Dr. Wooster
Folder 2: John W. Storey Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 7, 1997
Folder 3: Ralph A. Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 8, 15, 22, 29, 1997
Folder 4: Edna Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, October 25, 1997
Folder 5: Robert Wooster Interview Conducted by Terry Rioux, November 4, 1997
Folder 6: Adrian Anderson Interview, August 10, 1999
Folder 7: “Ralph A. Wooster, The Scholar” by Robert J. Robertson – ETHA Paper, February 17, 2007
Folder 8: Ralph A. Wooster: A Synthesis, by Terry Rioux, 1997
Folder 9: T. Rioux Notes for “A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar”
Folder 10: “Ralph A. Wooster: A Retrospective of a Gentleman Scholar” by Terry Lee Rioux, 1998
Folder 11: “Herodotus, Wooster, and Others” by Robert J. Robertson, 2004
Folder 12: Wooster – Resumes
Folder 13: Wolper Pictures – First Draft (October 2, 1974) of “The Honorable Sam Houston” Script and Correspondence, 1974
Folder 14: Consultant/Historian for the Movie,”The Honorable Sam Houston,” 1974 – The Wolper Organization. Includes Correspondence and a “Sam Houston” Script (revised November 19, 1974)
Folder 15: Consulting Work, 1975
Folder 16: Civil Rights
Folder 17: Robert A. Wooster

Box 4 (Oversize Papers)
 Folder 1: Newspaper Clipping, “Tech Salary Practices are Rapped,” c. 1965
 Folder 2: Newspaper Clipping, “Texas Professors Committee for Johnson-Yarborough-Connally,” November 1, 1964
 Folder 3: American Association for State and Local History, Certificate of Commendation, September 24, 1970
 Folder 4: “Anderson to Become Chairman of History Department Sept. 1” The Redbird, March 6, 1970
 Folder 5: Newspaper Clipping, “22 Get Bonuses for Effective Teaching,” Beaumont Enterprise, October 27, 1972
 Folder 6: Newspaper Clipping, “County Vote By Boxes On Amendments,” November 1972
 Folder 7: Newspaper Clipping, “County Vote By Boxes On Candidates,” November 1972
 Folder 8: Newspaper Clipping, “History Club Joins Webb Society,” The Texian, February 21, 1974
 Folder 9: Newspaper, “Historical Society to host Spring Conference Saturday,” The Oil City Visitor, March 29, 1974
 Folder 10: Newspaper, “Dr. Wooster, Lamar Dean, One of 4 Honored By LC,” The Baytown Sun, February 8, 1979
 Folder 11: Newspaper Article, “Making Do: Explosion Displaces LU Administrators,” Beaumont Enterprise, July 23, 1986
 Folder 12: Newspaper Clipping, “Wooster: Different Roles Make the Man,” University Press, March 31, 1989
 Folder 13: Newspaper Clipping, “Can Statistics Gauge ‘Ugliness?'” Beaumont Enterprise, April 19, 1990
 Folder 14: Newspaper, “Wooster Returns Medal, Certificate,” University Press, September 23, 1992
 Folder 15: Newspaper, “Civil War: Wooster More than Just a Footnote in LU History,” UP Beat, Fall 1995
 Folder 16: Newspaper Clipping, “Students Line Up for Lamar Professor’s Classes,” Beaumont Journal, October 1-7, 1998
 Folder 17: Newspaper Clipping, “A Sad Easter Monday” (About the loss of Beebe Ranch Home to Fire), Chincoteague Beacon, April 17, 1996

Box 5 (Wooster Project – Oral histories)
John W. Storey (Chair, History Department, Lamar University) and Terry Lee Rioux, October 7, 1997
Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 8, 1997
Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 15, 1997 (2nd in Series)
Ralph A. Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 22, 1997
Ralph A. Wooster – The West; Civil War, October 23, 1997
Ralph A. Wooster – Civil War, October 1997
Edna Wooster and Terry Lee Rioux, October 25, 1997
Ralph A. Wooster, October 29, 1997 (last)
Ralph A. Wooster – Law and Order (Colt Revolver, Walter Prescott Webb and Outlaws)
Ralph A. Wooster Perspectives – 1960s, February 18, 1998