In 1891 William Marsh Rice made a generous bequest in order to found the distinguished Houston institution that bears his name. Ironically, this very bequest helped to bring about his murder, an act of treachery perpetrated by a conniving attorney and Rice’s naïve, malleable manservant. This captivating tale—full of intrigue, legal twists and turns, and sensational revelations—an important part of the full biography of Rice himself, received its first careful historical investigation by Andrew Forest Muir, a longtime professor of history at Rice University who, beginning in 1957, performed the fundamental research that forms the basis for this biography. At the time of Muir’s death in 1969, the work remained incomplete. Subsequently, at the request of the Rice Historical Society, Sylvia Stallings Morris shaped the fruits of Muir’s labor into the first edition of this book, which was published in 1972.
The new edition of William Marsh Rice and His Institute, edited by Randal L. Hall, returns this fine biography to print in connection with the celebration of the centennial of the opening of Rice University. Incorporating new and important sources unearthed since the publication of the original book, this revised edition retains all the flavor and meticulous care of the earlier work, especially the “finely crafted storytelling of Sylvia Stallings Morris Lowe and Andrew Forest Muir,” as characterized by Hall.
Rice University students, faculty, staff, and alumni; scholars and students of Houston, Texas, and regional history; and those interested in the history of American higher education will all welcome William Marsh Rice and His Institute: The Centennial Edition.