Contact:  Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service 

James Family to Introduce Book, T.L. James: A Biographical Memoir, during Ceremony at 10 a.m. Feb. 21 in Ruston 
T.L. James: A Biographical Memoir By Lee Morgan, Emeritus Professor of English, 
                                                                       Centenary College of Louisiana 

SHREVEPORT, LA -- A new book on the life of Ruston, La. businessman and civic leader T.L. James will be unveiled Thursday (Feb. 21, 2002) by the James family in Ruston. T.L. James: A Biographical Memoir is authored by Dr. Lee Morgan, emeritus professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana.  The book will be introduced during ceremonies at 10 a.m. at the former T.L. James family home at 504 North Vienna St. 

Described as "a slice of pure Americana," the book tells the story of James, who rose from early regional obscurity to become the founder and head of one of the country's premier highway construction companies. "What sets James off from many others in that class," Morgan writes, "is his single-minded devotion to his family, his church and his community.  His devotion went far beyond immediate categories; so that his philanthropy extended to colleges and universities, orphanages, churches outside his own Methodist denomination, the Boy Scouts, and numerous others." 

T.L. James (1879-1944) was the son of a Welsh immigrant father and a second generation Welsh-American mother.  In his hometown of Ruston, "he truly became a legend in his own lifetime," Morgan writes.  "His very name became synonymous with honesty, civic-mindedness, and generosity toward every worthwhile cause.  And in the wider spheres of business, no name commanded more respect for fair and honorable practices than that of T.L. James." 

Since beginning the research for the book in 1989, Morgan has been able to interview all of T.L. James's children who survived him and many of his grandchildren, other relatives and associates.  Grandson Tommy James, now of Marble Hill, Ga., represented the family in this project. 

The book, 108 pages, was printed by Mid-South Press, Inc. in Shreveport, La.  The cover design is by Matthew Johnson of Louisiana Tech University's School of Art. The book is available for $20 per copy at the Louisiana Tech and Centenary bookstores, as well as other bookstores in both Ruston and Shreveport. 

Dr. Morgan, who retired in 1997, taught at Centenary for 44 years.  He completed his doctoral dissertation on Dr. Samuel Johnson and, during his tenure at Centenary, taught 18th Century Literature and Johnson.  He authored the book Dr. Johnson's "Own Dear Master": The Life of Henry Thrale, and has co-authored and co-edited several books and publications, including three widely used Oxford University Press and Harper and Row textbooks.  He maintains an office in the Centenary Library. 

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