Vinson Collins, attorney and legislator, was born near Honey Island, Texas, on March 1, 1867, to Warren J. and Eboline (Valentine) Collins. After graduating from Sam Houston State Normal College (now Sam Houston State University) in 1893, Collins taught for six years in Grand Saline and studied law in his spare time. He passed the bar examination in 1901 and opened a law practice in Beaumont. During three terms in the Texas Senate (1910–14, 1916–17) he supported prohibition, woman suffrage, and an eight-hour workday. In 1913 he wrote the state's first workmen's compensation laws. He was defeated by Martin Dies, Sr., in a subsequent race for the United States House of Representatives. Although he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Collins entered the 1924 gubernatorial election without securing support from the Klan hierarchy. In the absence of official backing, he fought a bitter, unsuccessful campaign against the official Klan candidate, Felix D. Robertson. Collins was among the many Texas Democrats who bolted from the party rather than endorse Alfred E. Smith during the 1928 presidential race. He served on the board of regents for state teachers' colleges from 1935 to 1950. He maintained an active law practice in Dallas, Beaumont, and Livingston until his retirement in 1957. He first married Lizzie Hopkins, who died in 1900; he later married Nannie Kuykendall of Grand Saline. Collins died in Dallas on July 5, 1966, and was survived by six children. He was buried at Livingston.
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Norman D. Brown, Hood, Bonnet, and Little Brown Jug: Texas Politics, 1921–1928 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1984). Dallas Morning News, July 6, 1966.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Collins, Vinson A.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 22, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 2, 2019
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