Ralph Wright Steen Papers, 1976-1981 | East Texas Research Center

Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Wright Steen Papers, 1976-1981Add to your cart.

ID: A/130

Primary Creator: Steen, Ralph Wright

Extent: 0.5 Linear Feet

Subjects: Academic libraries, Education, Higher -- Administration, Government aid to higher education -- Texas, Historians -- Texas, Ralph W. Steen Library -- History -- Sources, Steen, Ralph Wright, Stephen F. Austin State University -- Administration

Languages: English

Abstract

Historian and former President of Stephen F. Austin State University. Collection includes papers of Steen's work on the formula for state appropriations for higher education and a videocassette recording of the dedication of the Ralph W. Steen Library (1976) and a classroom lecture by Steen (1979).

Collection Historical Note

Ralph Wright Steen, son of Preston Cunningham Steen and Maude Fleming Steen, was born on December 26, 1905 in Clyde, Texas. His father owned a hardware store and Steen at first planned to continue in the family business. But after graduating from Clyde High School in 1924, Steen attended McMurray College, where he became interested in history. He took a Master of Arts degree at University of Texas at Austin in 1929, and a Ph.D. there in 1934. Meanwhile, he had started his teaching career at McMurray College from 1929 to 1930. From 1930 to 1932 he was a part-time instructor at University of Texas at Austin; from 1932 to 1934 he taught at Reagan County High School at Big Lake; and from 1934 to 1935 he was a professor of history at Hillsboro Junior College. In 1935 he joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, where he remained for 23 years, serving as Head of the Department of History and Government during his final four years there. Steen became the third president of Stephen F. Austin State University in 1958 and stayed there until his retirement in 1976. During his tenure as president, Stephen F. Austin grew from a college of 1,992 students to a university of more than 11,000 students.

A noted historian, Steen authored a number of books on Texas and American history and government, many of which were adopted as textbooks for use in the public schools including Texas History (for High School) (1936);  Texas: A Story of Progress (1937, 1942); History of Texas (1939); Twentieth Century Texas (1942); The Texas Story (1948, 1960), Texas Government (1952); Our Texas (1954); The Texas News (1955); Government By the People (1959, 1964); The United States: A History (1959); and Texas: Our Heritage (1962). Steen also published about 75 articles in major journals and was a popular public speaker. He served as president of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, the Texas State Historical Association, and the East Texas Historical Association. Steen was the recipient of numerous awards including the Texas Association of State Senior College and University Business Officers' award for service to higher education in Texas in 1972, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen Award for 1974, and the Nacogdoches Rotary Club Vocational Service Award in 1976. He was also named Mr. East Texas of 1976 by the Tyler County Dogwood Festival Committee. Steen married Gladys Edmonds on August 20, 1929 and they were parents of one son, Joe Ralph Steen. On January 24, 1980, Steen suffered a severe cardiac arrest while crossing the campus, and collapsed in front of the Rusk Building. He died in Memorial Hospital in Nacogdoches on January 30, 1980.

Steen's last book publication, The Texas Formula System, appeared in 1979. Steen was hired by the Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System in 1978 to direct a study on formula-generated state appropriations for higher education. During the year of the study Steen traveled throughout Texas and corresponded with university and college presidents, vice-presidents, deans and other officials within Texas and from other states. Most of the papers in this collection include correspondence and statistics gathered for the original formula study and follow-ups to the study. In addition there is a videocassette recording of the dedication of the Ralph W. Steen Library in 1976 and a lecture, "The Ferguson Years in Texas," which was presented before an education class by Steen in

( "STEEN, RALPH WRIGHT." The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/fstay.html  [Accessed Fri Jun 25 13:57:44 US/Central 2004 ]; "Steen, Ralph W." Vertical Files: Biography. East Texas Research Center. RAlph W. Steen Library. Stephen F. Austin State University).

Biographical Note

Ralph Wright Steen, son of Preston Cunningham Steen and Maude Fleming Steen, was born on December 26, 1905 in Clyde, Texas. His father owned a hardware store and Steen at first planned to continue in the family business. But after graduating from Clyde High School in 1924, Steen attended McMurray College, where he became interested in history. He took a Master of Arts degree at University of Texas at Austin in 1929, and a Ph.D. there in 1934. Meanwhile, he had started his teaching career at McMurray College from 1929 to 1930. From 1930 to 1932 he was a part-time instructor at University of Texas at Austin; from 1932 to 1934 he taught at Reagan County High School at Big Lake; and from 1934 to 1935 he was a professor of history at Hillsboro Junior College. In 1935 he joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, where he remained for 23 years, serving as Head of the Department of History and Government during his final four years there.

On November 1, 1958 Dr. Ralph W. Steen was named President of Stephen F. Austin State College, becoming the College's third president. Steen stayed in the position until his retirement in 1976 and he was given the appointment of President Emeritus. During his tenure SFA grew from a college of less than 2,000 students to the status of university with more than 11,000 students enrolled. As a result SFA's campus was expanded greatly. Upon his retirement in 1976 the campus library was named in his honor. On January 24th, 1980 Dr. Steen suffered a severe heart attack near the Rusk Building and was rushed to the hospital, but only responded marginally to treatment and passed away on January 30th, 1980.

Subject/Index Terms

Academic libraries
Education, Higher -- Administration
Government aid to higher education -- Texas
Historians -- Texas
Ralph W. Steen Library -- History -- Sources
Steen, Ralph Wright
Stephen F. Austin State University -- Administration

Administrative Information

Repository: East Texas Research Center

Related Materials:

President, Office of the (Steen), University Archives, UA1

East Texas Historical Association. ETRC Business & Organization Collection. B-21


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Ralph W. Steen Collection],
[All]

Box 1: Ralph W. Steen CollectionAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, January-March 1978Add to your cart.
Folder includes contract and time table for formual study. Typescript, photocopy, 10 pages.
Folder 2: Correspondence, April-August 1978Add to your cart.
Typescript, photocopy, 9 items.
Folder 3: Correspondence, September-December 1978Add to your cart.
Typescript, photocopy, 13 items.
Folder 4: Correspondence, January-March 1978Add to your cart.
Typscript, photocopy, 14 items.
Folder 5: Correspondence, April 1979Add to your cart.
Typescript, photocopy, 10 items.
Folder 6: Correspondence, May 1979Add to your cart.
Transcript, photocopy, 14 items.
Folder 7: Supplement to The Texas Formula System, and tables on higher education funding, 1977-1981Add to your cart.
Photocopies, 7 items.
Folder 8: Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System, Address listing, 1978Add to your cart.
Photocopy, 1 item.
Folder 9: Coordinating Board Report, April 1979Add to your cart.
CB Report, containing review of Steen's formula study. Printed, 1 item.
Folder 10: Ralph W. Steen Dedication, and Lecture, 1976Add to your cart.
(1) Ralph W. Steen Library Dedication, Apr. 23, 1976. (2) "The Ferguson Years in Texas," lecture by Ralph W. Steen to Education Methods class, Sept. 8, 1976. Videocassette tape. 2 items.

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