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FLEMING, RICHARD TUDOR

FLEMING, RICHARD TUDOR (1890–1973). Richard Tudor Fleming, business executive and collector, was born in Temple, Texas, on April 12, 1890, the son of Richard Tudor and Edna (Griffin) Fleming. After graduation from Temple High School he attended the University of Texas, where he lettered as a pole vaulter for the track team, was editor of the yearbook, Cactus, and was one of three originators of the infamous Blunderbuss, an underground newspaper first published on April Fool's Day, 1913, and then published for sixteen years. He received a B.A. degree in 1912 and an LL.B. in 1915.

Fleming began his legal career in Houston, where he practiced from 1915 to 1928, with the exception of the years 1917 to 1919, when he served in the United States Army; he rose to the rank of major. Back in Houston after World War I, he became president of the Houston Bar Association, executive secretary of the State Democratic Executive Committee, and one of the leaders in the fight against the Ku Klux Klan. He was married to Harriet H. Jameson on March 10, 1928, and they had one son. In 1928 Fleming moved to New York as an attorney for Texas Gulf Sulphur Company. He advanced in the company through the years as assistant secretary, secretary and general counsel, and finally vice president and general counsel from 1951 until his retirement a decade later.

His retirement from business opened a new career. A collector since his student days, he had particularly gathered all sorts of writings, paintings, photographs, and even sheet music and phonograph records by former University of Texas students and faculty. He offered his collection to the university, which installed the Richard T. Fleming Library of Texas Writers, with Fleming as volunteer founder, collector, and curator. For eleven years, until his death, he worked as an unpaid employee of the University of Texas in Austin, continuing to gather one of the most nearly complete collections of its kind in any major university. Wherever he went, Fleming was outspoken and always gathered controversy. Short of stature, but with tremendous vitality, he made both a powerful advocate and adversary. He died on March 12, 1973, and was cremated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Joe B. Frantz

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Joe B. Frantz, "FLEMING, RICHARD TUDOR," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffl10), accessed August 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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