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Tsanoff, Radoslav Andrea (1887–1976)

Konstantin Kolenda Biography

Radoslav Andrea Tsanoff, philosopher, teacher, and author, was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, on January 3, 1887, the son of a distinguished author, educator, and newspaper editor. He came to the United States in 1903 to pursue higher studies at Oberlin College, from which he graduated with honors in just three years, and in 1910 he earned his doctorate in philosophy at Cornell University. He was employed at Rice University in Houston as assistant professor of philosophy in 1914 and retired as professor emeritus in 1956. He returned in 1961 as Trustee Distinguished Professor of Humanities and before retiring for the second time in 1974 was the first occupant of the Carolyn and Fred McManis Professorship in Philosophy. He was an authority on the history of ideas and a productive scholar and author. His publications include The Problem of Immortality (1924), The Nature of Evil (1931), Religious Crossroads (1942), Ethics (1947, rev. 1955), The Ways of Genius (1949), The Great Philosophers (1953, rev. 1964), Worlds to Know: A Philosophy of Cosmic Perspectives (1962), Autobiographies of Ten Religious Leaders (1968), and Civilization and Progress (1971). He was also a brilliant teacher who inspired generations of students. In 1970 the Association of Rice Alumni awarded him the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service. He was a member of the board of directors of the Houston Symphony Society during its formative years and served as a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He was a founding member of the Houston Philosophical Society and an active member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Texas Folklore Society. Although he was not a member of any church or political party, Tsanoff was nevertheless a deeply religious man and a liberal by persuasion. He died on May 29, 1976, in Austin. His wife, Corrinne (Stephenson), who died two months before her husband, was also a dedicated community leader. She worked in the Houston Settlement Association, Ripley Center, the Family Service Bureau, the League of Women Voters, the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, and the National Committee for Support of Public Schools. The Tsanoffs were both buried in Houston and were survived by two daughters.

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


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Time Periods:

  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston

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

Konstantin Kolenda, “Tsanoff, Radoslav Andrea,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 29, 2020,

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