Edwin Richardson

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Edwin Sanders "E. S." Richardson, Sr.
9th President of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana
In office
1936–1941
Preceded by George W. Bond
Succeeded by Claybrook Cottingham
Personal details
Born (1875-08-31)August 31, 1875
Gum Springs, west of Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died October 11, 1950(1950-10-11) (aged 75)
Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Zenobia Longino Richardson (married 1903-her death)
Children Leland, Ruth, Don L., Evelyn, Edwin, Jr.
Occupation Educator; College president
Religion Baptist

Edwin Sanders Richardson, Sr., principally known as E. S. Richardson (August 31, 1875 – October 11, 1950), was an educator who served from August 14, 1936, until 1941 as the president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish. Previously, Richardson was the superintendent of schools in his native Webster Parish. The E.S. Richardson Elementary School at the intersection of East Todd and Elm street in the eastern part of Minden, established by a bond issue after World War II, is named in his honor.

Early years, education, and family[edit]

Richardson was born in the Gum Springs community near the small city of Minden in northwestern Louisiana to James Sanders Richardson and the former Sally C. Havis. He attended the Minden Male Academy and then in 1900 procured his Bachelor of Science degree from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. Years later in 1936, he received an LL.D. degree from Methodist-affiliated Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. On May 10, 1903, he married the former Zenobia Longino, and they had five children: Leland Richardson of Baton Rouge, Ruth Richardson of Ruston, Don L. Richardson of Tallulah in Madison Parish, Evelyn Richardson Mulhern of Rayville in Richland Parish, and E. S. Richardson, Jr., of Shreveport and later Lafayette. Richardson began teaching in 1898. He was a member of the Louisiana State University faculty in Baton Rouge from 1911-1916.[1] From 1916-1920, he was the superintendent of Bienville Parish public schools, based in Arcadia.[2]

Educational standardization[edit]

Front of E. S. Richardson Elementary School in Minden, Louisiana

In 1921, Richardson left Bienville Parish to succeed Thomas Wafer Fuller as the superintendent in Webster Parish. A teacher in Sibley, Fuller was a state senator from 1896 to 1900,[3] and a newspaperman.[4] Richardson implemented a reform and standardization plan in regard to pupil progress. In the summer of 1927, he made appearances at educational conferences in seven states to explain the plan that some had termed the "Webster miracle." His uniform promotion plan, used for several decades, rested on four principal points:

  1. Promotions in the first three grades were based on work in reading and arithmetic. For the second grade, a student had to perform in two minutes fifteen simple addition problems and nine subtraction problems.
  2. In grades 4-7, a pupil had to pass arithmetic, reading, and language before being eligible for promotion. He could be promoted with one failure in either of the other major subjects, history, civics, geography, and health.
  3. A pupil absent from school for the last marking period could return for the final examinations provided that he had performed passing work in arithmetic, reading, and language at the time of his withdrawal, and provided that his absence was for sufficient cause.
  4. Examinations were given at the beginning of each year to pupils, on request, if they failed two subjects, one of which could be arithmetic, reading, or language. Pupils who withdrew from school after attending as much as one hundred days could hence take examinations in all subjects with a view of promotion, provided they were doing passing work in reading, arithmetic, and language at the time of their withdrawal.[5]

Pupils absent during the last marking period and who returned for the final examinations but failed to make passing grades, could again take examinations in the subjects in which they failed. Uniform tests were prepared by the superintendent and teachers and advertised in the newspaper as to when and where they would be administered. By defining this policy, Richardson furthered the standardization he established in nearly all aspects of the parish system, from furniture to textbook acquisition.[5]

Later years[edit]

In 1926, Richardson was named president of the Louisiana Teachers Association. He was also a member of the National Education Association and was thereafter affiliated with the National Association of School Administrators. Richardson left Webster Parish schools in 1936 to accept the Louisiana Tech presidency, which he held for five years. He was then named Tech president-emeritus.[1]

In Webster Parish, Richardson was succeeded as superintendent by his assistant, James Edward Pitcher' (1896–1988), a New Orleans native who was reared in Hammond, Louisiana, and was a son-in-law of the LSU President Thomas Duckett Boyd. Pitcher, a lieutenant in the Louisiana National Guard, came to Minden in 1920 as a classroom teacher. After a stint as Richardson's assistant superintendent, he was elevated by the school board as superintendent, a position which he filled from 1936 to 1961. After he left the parish school system, Pitcher was the business manager of the former Evergreen Presbyterian School in central Webster Parish.[6] Pitcher is remembered for having survived an attempt by segregationists to oust him in 1957 at the height of the power of the defunct White Citizens Council.[4]

On June 23, 1942, Richardson, a Democrat, became the area rent director under the wartime Office of Price Administration, an agency for which Richard M. Nixon similarly worked in Washington, D.C. He was affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club in Minden and Ruston. Richardson was Baptist.[1]

Richardson Hall at Louisiana Tech University was once a men's dormitory.

Richardson died in a Ruston hospital of heart and gall bladder problems. After the death of his wife, Richardson had resided in Ruston with daughter Ruth Richardson, a home economics professor at Louisiana Tech. He was predeceased by his wife and survived by all five children. He was survived by a brother, S. M. Richardson, Sr., M.D. (1878- also 1950), of Minden, and a second brother and two sisters, none of whom are identified by name in the newspaper obituary. His nephews included Minden physicians, S. Milton Richardson, Jr. (1909–1986), a former member and president of the Webster Parish School Board, and Thomas A. Richardson (1911–1976), the former Webster Parish coroner.[7]

A niece, Virginia Grace Pullig (1921–1979) of Houston, was married to Wilson Clyde Pullig (1924–1996), an engineer who was reared in Sibley and was the older of two sons of William Clyde Pullig (1899–1979) and the former Stella Sarah Hathorn (1902–1951).[8]

Richardson is remembered by the naming of one of the four public elementary schools in his honor in his native Minden as well as the Richardson Hall men's residence building at Louisiana Tech. Next to Richardson Hall is Cottingham Hall, named for Richardson's successor as the Louisiana Tech president, Claybrook Cottingham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Edwin Sanders Richardson", Who’s Who in America, 1948-1949, p. 2068
  2. ^ Memories of Minden
  3. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-2012". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "John Agan, Webster Superintendents of Schools". mindenmemories.org. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b nwlanews.com - Your home for news in Bossier and Webster Parishes
  6. ^ "Former Superintendent James E. Pitcher dies", Minden Press-Herald, February 23, 1988, p. 1
  7. ^ "Dr. E. Richardson, 75, Dies Wednesday in Ruston Hospital", Minden Herald, October 13, 1950, p. 1
  8. ^ "Descendants of William L. Lucky". familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
Preceded by
Thomas Wafer Fuller
Superintendent of Schools in Webster Parish, Louisiana

Edwin Sanders "E. S. "Richardson, Sr.
1921–1936

Succeeded by
James Edward Pitcher
Preceded by
George W. Bond
9th President of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana

Edwin Sanders "E. S. "Richardson, Sr.
1936–1941

Succeeded by
Claybrook Cottingham