James Earl Rudder '32 Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

TxAM-CRS 384

Name and location of repository

Level of description



James Earl Rudder '32 Collection


  • 1918-2001 (Creation)
  • 1944 - 1970 (Creation)


97.00 Boxes

Name of creator

Biographical history

James Earl Rudder was born on May 6, 1910, in Eden, Texas. After graduating from high school in 1927, Rudder attended John Tarleton Agricultural College. In 1930 he transferred to Texas A & M College, graduating in 1932 with a B.S. in Industrial Education. Upon his graduation he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry of the U. S. Army Reserves. Rudder served as a football coach and teacher for the high school in Brady, Tex., from 1933 to 1938. In 1937, he married Margaret Exa Williamson, who was also a teacher at the Brady High School. He coached football for John Tarleton College from 1938 until 1941, when he was called to active duty in the United States Army as a 1st Lieutenant.

During World War II, Rudder was stationed initially with the 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Sam Houston, and later became a Battalion Executive Officer with the 83rd Infantry Division. In the summer of 1943, he organized the 2nd Ranger Battalion. On June 6, 1944, the Rangers landed at Pointe du Hoc, on the shore of Normandy, as a part of the Allied invasion of Europe, and scaled its 100-foot cliff.

After the war, Rudder returned to Brady where he became a rancher and businessman. Elected mayor of Brady in 1946, he held the post until 1952. Rudder later served as Vice President, Public and Labor Relations Counselor at Brady Aviation Corporation from 1952 to 1955.

During his tenure as mayor, Rudder developed important political connections in Texas, most notably with Governor Allan Shivers and then-State Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. In January 1955, Rudder became the Commissioner of the General Land Office of the State of Texas and Chairman of the Veterans Land Board, to finish out a predecessor’s unfinished term. Rudder won popular election to the post in 1956; he remained in office as Commissioner until he was appointed Vice President of Texas A&M on February 1, 1958. He became President of the university on July 1, 1959. Rudder's position as President was combined with the position of Chancellor for the Texas A&M University System on September 1, 1965. Rudder served as both President of Texas A&M University and the University System until his death.

James Earl Rudder died 23 Mar. 1970 and is buried in College Station, TX.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The collection spans the life of James Earl Rudder. The bulk (1944-1970) of the materials roughly correspond to the chronology of James Earl Rudder's life, with additional materials collected mainly by his wife, Margaret Rudder. The collection includes materials from Rudder’s time in the service during WWII, clippings from newspapers, as well as posters, magazine issues, memorabilia, and Rudder’s awards.

System of arrangement

This collection is organized into the following 10 series:

  • Series 1. Early Life, 1918-1933.
  • Series 2. Coaching and Teaching, 1933-1941.
  • Series 3. Military Service, 1941-1969-04.
  • Series 4. Brady, Texas, 1946-1959.
  • Series 5. Commissioner of the General Land Office, 1930-1959.
  • Series 6. Texas A&M University System, 1958-1970.
  • Series 7. Final Illness and Death, 1970-02-02-1977.
  • Series 8. Margaret Rudder, 1942-03-22-2001-10-24.
  • Series 9. Awards and Ephemera.
  • Series 10. Miscellaneous

Maps that originally arrived as part of this collection are stored separately rather than being housed in boxes with the rest of the collection.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Restricted access to original videocassettes and 16mm films, for which duplicate copies have been made for patron use. Restricted access to very fragile wooden field map case, and audiocassettes, for which duplicates have not yet been made.

Physical access

These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

Technical access

Audio/video cassettes and films must first be digitized before viewing.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

  • 1 Class A hat with field grade insignia
  • 2 Fatigue caps, one soft, one barrel-shaped rigid with MGen insignia
  • 8 Field caps as follows:

1 with Major General insignia
1 with Brigadier General insignia
1 American Legion
1 VFW Lodge 856 - National Security Committee
1 VFW Lodge 856 - National Security Committee Vice Chairman
1 VFW Lodge 856 - National Security Committee Chairman, 1965-1966
1 VFW 4692 Life Member - National Security & Foreign Affairs Committee, 1960-1970
1 VFW Lodge 856 - Texas
1 Set Major General Insignia, class A embroidered stars

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: Aletha Andrew, Lyndsey Raney.

Access points

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Accession area