Roy Langford Biography


Born in Cherokee, Kansas, Roy Langford developed an early interest in art that helped him overcome many hurdles as a child and that became a stimulus for his research and teaching as much as it served as an escape from his professional duties. Langford lived with fifteen different families during his childhood and earned his own living from the age of fifteen. After completing high school in Galena, Kansas, he enrolled at Kansas State College in Manhattan. He earned his master’s degree in psychology from K-State in 1926 and his doctorate in psychology from Stanford University in 1934.

Langford credited a fourth-grade art teacher with stimulating his lifelong interest in art. According to his daughter, Jean Andrews of Santa Cruz, California, Langford always thought of himself as a student of art. “[He] spent untold hours in art museums,” she says. As a master’s candidate at K-State, Langford studied painting with John Helm, Jr. He pursued art training as well as a graduate student at Stanford, leaving that institution with a minor in graphic art. 

Langford taught psychology at K-State for more than forty years. He managed a heavy course load and served on numerous university committees. He helped his wife raise two children, taught Sunday school, served on the school board, and maintained a ranch on Zeandale Road. Despite a university career and many social commitments, Langford diligently pursued his painting. “For years he gathered ideas by sketching—in pastures, in the hills, on the river bottoms, in the streambeds—anywhere off the beaten track,” his daughter says. Langford built a studio into the Manhattan home he had designed on Claflin Road. During the 1950s he hosted a sketching club that included K-State art professors Oscar Larmer and E.J. Tomasch.

Langford retired from K-State in 1973. He suffered a stroke a few years later and painted infrequently afterward. He died in 1990. 

—Irene Ward, retired associate professor, K-State English department