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William Marsh Rice Papers

Identifier: MSS-0140

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection consist primarily of Rice's personal and financial correspondence as well as financial records covering his residency in Houston, with the earliest papers dating from 1841. There are some financial records dating back to 1869. The collection also contains personal and financial papers of Frederick Rice, Rice's brother, and of John H. Brown, a business associate of Rice and the first husband of Rice's second wife, Julia Elizabeth Baldwin. A grouping of unidentified records and correspondence covers the years 1837-1868.

This collection is valuable to anyone researching the early history of Houston. Persons interested in Civil War history could also profit from this collection, as there are numerous personal letters regarding the war as well as many financial records relating to Rice's struggle to keep his finances solvent in the latter days of the Confederacy. Finally, there are several financial ledgers in the collection which are of importance to social historians as they provide both lists of goods being purchased by Rice's customers as well as the prices which were paid for them.


  • 1831-1869

Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the William Marsh Rice Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

The life of William Marsh Rice is intimately connected with the early history and development of the city of Houston.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1816, Rice moved to Houston in 1839, which had been founded only three years before. For the next twenty-five years, Houston served both as Rice's home and a base for his numerous business interests. Even after Rice moved to New York in 1865, he remained deeply involved with Houston for he continued to maintain business ties with the city and, together with his wife, he made almost annual visits to the city until 1897. In 1891, nine years before his death, Rice completed the formulation of plans for his greatest legacy to Houston, his provisions for the founding of Rice Institute.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



The materials in the William Marsh Rice collection are arranged by subject matter (e.g. personal correspondence) in three boxes beginning with those materials relating directly to William Marsh Rice, with the second box containing those items relating to Frederick Rice and John H. Brown. The third box contains miscellaneous correspondence and records. Within each of the nineteen folders in this collection, the correspondence or records are arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Hugo Neuhaus, Jr.

Processing Information

Processed by Steven Strom, 1980. Collection and finding aid was audited and updated by Abra Schnur, June 2018.
William Marsh Rice Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
This Finding Aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository


(832) 393-1662

The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
M Closed | T 10-6 | W 10-6 | Th 12-8 | F 10-5 | Sa 10-5 | Su Closed
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002
M Closed T 10-6 W 10-6 Th 12-8 F 10-5 Sa 10-5 Su Closed