Ramsdell, Charles William (1877–1942)

By: J. Horace Bass

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 13, 2020

Charles William Ramsdell, historian, was born at Salado, Texas, on April 4, 1877. He entered the University of Texas in 1900, received a B.A. degree in 1903 and an M.A. in 1904, and finished his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1910. From 1906 until his death he was a member of the history department at the University of Texas, although he held visiting lectureships in the state universities of Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, and Louisiana and in Columbia, Northwestern, Western Reserve and Duke universities. The Old South was his field of investigation, and he became such an authority on that epoch that his colleagues commonly referred to him as the "Dean" of Southern historians. Although classroom teaching was his primary interest, Ramsdell wrote widely. A bibliography of his publications includes three books, two edited works, twenty-two articles and monographs, seventeen contributions to American historical and biographical dictionaries, and numerous book reviews. His books are Reconstruction in Texas, A School History of Texas (in collaboration with Eugene C. Barker and Charles S. Potts), and Behind the Lines in the Southern Confederacy (published posthumously). He was coeditor with Wendell Holmes Stephenson in the planning stage of the multivolume A History of the South, a joint endeavor of the Littlefield Fund for Southern History at the University of Texas and the Louisiana State University Press. The several historical associations in which Ramsdell was active recognized his eminence. He served as president of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association in 1928–29. The Southern Historical Association honored him with its presidency in 1936. He was a member of the executive council of the American Historical Association from 1931 to 1934. The Texas State Historical Association elected him treasurer annually from 1907 until his death, and he was an associate editor of its Quarterly from 1910 to 1938. He died on July 3, 1942.

Wendell Holmes Stephenson, "Charles W. Ramsdell: Historian of the Confederacy," Journal of Southern History 26 (November 1960). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Social Sciences

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

J. Horace Bass, “Ramsdell, Charles William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ramsdell-charles-william.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2020