Carl Coke Rister

University of Oklahoma, 1915

Carl Coke Rister was born June 30, 1889 in Hayrick, Texas, and moved with his family to McCaulley, Texas, as a young boy. He graduated from Simmons College in 1915 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Rister then served as Superintendent of Schools in McCaulley before moving to Washington, D.C., to work for the United States Treasury Department and to study at George Washington University, where he earned his master’s degree in 1920. The next several years were spent teaching at Simmons and studying at the University of California during the summers before returning to George Washington University to earn his Ph.D. in 1925.

Rister joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in 1929, where he remained for 22 years. He served there as Professor of History, Chairman of the History Department, and Research Professor of History. He gained a national reputation for his work in Southwestern, Military, Indian, and Oil history. In 1951, Rister accepted the position of Distinguished Professor of History at Texas Technological College.

Dr. Rister was elected a fellow of the Society of American Historians, the Social Science Research Council of New York, the American Philosophical Society, the American Geographical Society, and the Texas State Historical Association. Dr. Rister authored or co-authored 13 books and produced one of the finest bodies of historical material that focused entirely on the American Southwest. In 1942, Hardin-Simmons awarded him an honorary Doctor of Literature degree.

In 1916 Rister married Mattie May. Carl Rister died on April 16, 1955 in Rotan, Texas.

Hardin-Simmons University proudly honors the life of Carl Coke Rister.