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Office of the President: Randolph B. Binnion Papers

Identifier: 2008.042

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers produced by President Randolph B. Binnion from 1917-1924.

Series I, Correspondence, is the largest series. The correspondence contains rich descriptions of the school, the faculty members, and student body. Each correspondence folder contains letters to prospective students and faculty members as well as correspondence with the Board of Regents discussing fiscal, academic, and campus needs. Of particular interest is the correspondence from January-July 1920 regarding the emergency appropriations needed from the State of Texas to complete much needed repairs and upgrades. Folder level descriptions are provided later in the finding aid.

Series II, Financial and Business Documents, contains operating budgets, faculty salary information, contracts and bids, reports, and monthly expenditures. The fire insurance inspection reports contained in this series contain detailed descriptions of campus buildings in the 1920s.

Series III, Ephemera, is the smallest series in the collection containing programs, clippings, pamphlets, and President Binnion's calling card.

Series IV, Essays and Speeches, contains essays completed by President Binnion in his post-East Texas career. The majority of the essays were completed as part of the requirements for his A.M. degree from New York University. The speeches also appear to be from his post-East Texas career.


  • 1917-1924, inclusive
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1924,


Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Randolph Bunyan Binnion, second president of East Texas, was born in the Rocky Ford Community near Biardstown, Lamar County, Texas, on August 4, 1878. The eldest of four brothers and a sister, Binnion attended the rural public school near Rocky Ford and later enrolled at Sam Houston Normal Institute, the first teacher training college established in Texas. He received a permanent teacher’s certificate in 1899 after two years of study.

He taught in a rural school in Lamar County from 1897-1898 and went on to serve as principal of the Fourth Ward School of Paris during 1902-1904 before becoming superintendent of the Roxton Public Schools. He was next appointed Lamar County school superintendent in 1907 and remained in this position until 1911. During his years in Paris, Binnion organized the Corn Clubs, the forerunners to the 4-H Clubs, for the young people of Lamar County. In 1907, he married Ms. Emma Shanklin, a public school teacher in Paris. Although the couple remained childless, they reared their niece, Louise Lehning, calling her their daughter.

In August 1911, he resigned his position as superintendent to become chairman of the State Board of Examiners, the agency responsible for the certification of teachers in Texas. While serving as chairman, Binnion completed one year of additional studies at the University of Texas in 1912. He served as chairman until September 1913 when he was appointed first assistant state superintendent of public instruction in the Texas Department of Education. While with the DOE, he worked on the passage of statewide compulsory school attendance laws, programs to provide aid to rural schools, and the reorganization of the DOE.

In June 1917, he was elected president of East Texas State Normal College. As president, he oversaw several renovations to the campus of ETSNC, including the addition of the Education Building (now called the Ferguson Social Sciences Building) and the Heating Plant. He also expanded the library collection. His greatest achievement was overseeing the college during the delicate transition from private college under the leadership of President W.L. Mayo to a state funded institution. In 1920, he began work at George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his degree in 1923. In all, he spent about one quarter of his time at East Texas on leave to study and research at Peabody. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, in 1923.

In 1924, after seven years as president of East Texas, he resigned to accept the position of provost of Peabody College. He was later elected treasurer of the College and promoted to director of extensions in 1929. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, Rotary Club, Masonic Order, Shriners, Kappa Delta Phi, and the National Geographic Society. He attended New York University later in life, receiving an A.M. degree in 1934. He died in Nashville on March 20, 1934, at the age of 55.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

The resource listed below is available upon request.

Whitley, S.H. Randolph B. Binnion: An Appreciation George Peabody College for Teachers, 1934.

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed at an unknown date and reprocessed due to the lack of a finding aid and numerous preservation concerns in 2012. The original processor made notes regarding the contents of each correspondence file. That information was transcribed and added to this finding aid. Accompanying each folder instance is a brief paragraph describing the contents of that folder as described by the original processor.

Office of the President Randolph B. Binnion Papers
Andrea Ellis Weddle
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives, Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository