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The Bernard Rapoport Legacy Project

Bernard Rapoport testifies on behalf of the University of Texas System, Texas Senate, ca. 1991-92. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers, CAH; di_07058.
Bernard Rapoport testifies on behalf of the University of Texas System, Texas Senate, ca. 1991-92. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers; di_07058.

With generous support from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the University of Texas Libraries have embarked upon a three-year, collaborative project to create a publicly accessible enhanced digital edition of Bernard Rapoport’s memoir Being Rapoport: Capitalist with a Conscience.

At the heart of the Rapoport Legacy Project is an updated, digitized edition of the book, written by Don Carleton and originally published in 2002 by the University of Texas Press in the Briscoe Center's Focus on American History Series. The project will result in an enhanced e-book that will link an updated, digitized edition of the memoir with hundreds of historical documents and photographs.

Born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in San Antonio, Texas, in 1917, Rapoport grew up in modest circumstances and worked his way through the University of Texas during the Great Depression. In 1951, he founded the American Income Life Insurance Company, developing it into a multi-billion dollar business. Using his wealth to support a host of local, national, and international organizations, Rapoport was named by Fortune magazine as one of America's forty most generous philanthropists, unstinting in his support for education, social justice, and liberal causes.

Bernard Rapoport and Bill Clinton in the White House. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers, CAH; di_07060.
Bernard Rapoport and Bill Clinton in the White House. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers; di_07060.

In his memoir, Bernard Rapoport discusses the development of American Income and its relationship with labor as one of the first officially designated Union Label insurance companies in America. He recalls his political activism as a supporter of Democrats from Ralph Yarborough to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle to his good friends Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. In addition, Rapoport describes his service as a regent of the University of Texas System, his support of the state of Israel, and his work on behalf of children's education.


The enhanced e-book will feature 1500 hyperlinks that jump from the text of the online book to corresponding archival documents (photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, reports, and other original material) selected from the Bernard Rapoport Papers and from other Briscoe Center collections. These links will encourage the online reader to explore Being Rapoport and gain a deeper understanding of Bernard Rapoport's message and philosophy of service.

Barbara Jordan and Bernard Rapoport at a University of Texas at Austin women’s basketball game. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers, CAH; di_069249. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers, CAH; di_07059.
Barbara Jordan and Bernard Rapoport at a University of Texas at Austin women’s basketball game. Rapoport (Bernard) Papers; di_06924.

The Rapoport Legacy Project will:

  • Prepare the Being Rapoport: Capitalist with a Conscience book text for the web
  • Create a website for the enhanced version of the book
  • Produce more detailed, in-depth inventories of the Bernard Rapoport Papers and related archival collections
  • Select and digitize documents from the Rapoport Papers and related collections to support the enhanced content of the book
  • Create metadata for the digital files
  • Create hyperlinks within the online edition of the book, which direct the user to the enhanced content
  • Maintain the website and preserve the individual digital files