Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963

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Educator. Historian. Author. Born in 1888 on a farm in Panola County, Texas. Attended University of Texas, receiving his B.A. (1915), M.A. (1920) and Ph. D. (1932). Started teaching at the University of Texas in 1918 and remained on the faculty until his death. Authored "The Great Plains" (1931), "The Texas Rangers" (1935) and "The Handbook of Texas" (1952). Served as director of the Texas State Historical Association, president of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (1954-1955) and of the American Historical Association (1957-1958). Married Jane Elizabeth Oliphant in 1916. She died in 1960. Later married Mrs. Terrell Maverick (widow of Maury Maverick) in 1961. Webb died in 1963.

From the description of Papers, 1957-1964, (bulk 1963). (Texas Tech University). WorldCat record id: 24730784

Historian Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) was born in rural Panola County, Texas, later moving with his family to a farm near Ranger, Texas. The young Webb showed an early interest in writing and appealed to magazine editor William Ellery Hinds for help. Hinds encouraged Webb, who graduated from Ranger High School and began teaching at a variety of small Texas schools. With Hinds' assistance, Webb enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1915 and married Jane Elizabeth Oliphant in 1916. He was asked to join the History Department faculty at the University of Texas in 1918, concurrently writing his master's thesis on the Texas Rangers and earning a master's degree in 1920.

After an unsuccessful attempt at doctoral work at the University of Chicago, Webb returned to Austin and wrote the seminal work The Great Plains in 1931. The book gained widespread acclaim as a new interpretation of the American West and was largely the basis for the University of Texas awarding Webb a Ph.D. in 1932. From 1939 to 1946 Webb also served as director of the Texas State Historical Association, where he expanded the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and began compiling an encyclopedia of Texas which was eventually published as the Handbook of Texas .

As a professor at the University of Texas, Webb was well-known for his books and engaging lectures, where he argued two seminal theories: the Great Plains thesis and the Great Frontier thesis. Webb asserted in his Great Plains thesis that westward expansion of Europeans across North America stalled briefly at the 98th meridian where the woodlands of the east gave way to the arid plains of the west. Not until technology adapted to the new environment were settlers able to continue the move west, with innovations such as barbed wire, the windmill, and the six-shooter revolver. In 1952 Webb published The Great Frontier to codify his theory of the same name. Webb argued that the great frontier discovered by Columbus and subsequently explored by countless adventurers and settlers provided the stimulus for the rise of wealth, capitalism, and democracy. Then as the lands were settled and the frontier disappeared (circa 1900), increasing stress on the land triggered the economic and environmental problems of the 20th century.

Webb published The Texas Rangers in 1935, Divide We Stand: The Crisis of a Frontierless Democracy in 1927, More Water for Texas in 1954, and a collection of essays titled An Honest Preface and Other Essays in 1959. His wife Jane passed away in 1960 and in 1961 Webb married Terrell (Dobbs) Maverick (widow of F. Maury Maverick). Webb's life ended abruptly in an automobile accident near Austin on March 8, 1963, and he is buried at the State Cemetery in Austin.

From the guide to the Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Historian,

taught at The University of Texas (1918-1963), directed the Texas State Historical Association (1939-1946), and authored numerous books and articles on the history of Texas and the West.

From the description of Webb, Walter Prescott, papers, 1857-1966. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 23285463

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part Two) LIT/Owens MSS 00089., 1940-1980 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Fletcher, John D., 1936-1963. John Fletcher collection, 1959-1989. University of Texas at San Antonio, John Peace Library (JPL)
referencedIn Inventory of the Samuel Erson Asbury Papers Texas MSS 00044., 1872-1960 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Rogers, Jerry L. Papers, 1964-1966. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series VII., Other Department Files, 1916-1996 (bulk 1943-1969). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Morison, Samuel Eliot, 1887-1976. Papers of Samuel Eliot Morison, 1807-1976 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission. Records, 1671-1958. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn Texas War Records Collection Organization. Texas War Records Collection, 1916-1919, 1940-1951 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Collection, 1927-1964, 1927-1943. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
creatorOf Gipson, Fred, 1908-1973. Papers, 1920-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Robert L. Williamson Papers AR197., 1948-1975 Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library
referencedIn R. D. and Margaret S. Warden collection, 1835-1990. University of Texas at San Antonio, John Peace Library (JPL)
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library
referencedIn Faulk, John Henry. Oral history interview with John Henry Faulk, 1981 June 9. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Williamson, Robert L., 1922-1975. Papers, 1948-1975. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Rister, Carl Coke, 1889-1955. Papers, 1834-1956, 1946-1949. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn George Fuermann "Texas and Houston" Collection, 1970-001., 1836-2001 Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Brown, Lyle C. Tribute to a Texan. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Parker, Edith H. Parker (Edith H.) Papers, 1922-1984 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Owens, William A. oral history transcripts 92-226., 1953 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
creatorOf Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission. Records, 1671-1958. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn R. D. and Margaret S. Warden Collection MS 138., 1835-1990 University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series I., General Correspondence, 1922-1977 (bulk 1946-1966). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Wittliff, William D. William D. "Bill" Wittliff Papers, 1968-1995. Texas State University-San Marcos, Albert B. Alkek Library
referencedIn John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Roy Bedichek Papers, 1897-1959 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Steward Alexander Miller Papers 85-184., 1843-1873, 1926-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Fred Gipson Papers TXRC95-A71., 1920-1973 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Texas Educational Media Program. KLRU-TEMP Video Collection, 1961-1963 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn John D. Fletcher collection, MS 87., 1959, 1989 and undated University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part One) LIT/Owens MSS 00088., 1922-1979 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part One) LIT/Owens MSS 00088., 1922-1979 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Heinsohn, Edmund. Heinsohn, Edmund, papers, 1925-1990. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn ALDRICH (ROY WILKINSON) PAPERS, AR 83-10., 1858-1955 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn KLRU-TEMP Video Collection 67-164., 1961-1963 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Miller, Steward Alexander. Steward Alexander Miller Papers, 1843-1873, 1926-1966 University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 (bulk 1953-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Warren Roberts Papers, 1987-004., 1959-1985. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
creatorOf Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn University of Texas at Arlington. Webb Lecture Committee. Records, 1965-1985, (bulk 1965-1975). University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Yore, Clement. Letters, 1922-1936. Harold B. Lee Library
referencedIn Kidd, Rodney J. [Interview with Rodney J. Kidd]. Austin Public Library, John Henry Faulk Central Library
referencedIn Parker (Edith H. ) Papers 84-046; 84-100; 84-114; 84-119, 84-216., 1922-1984 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966. Papers, 1681-1966 (bulk 1900-1960) Houghton Library
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Papers, 1957-1964, (bulk 1963). Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Letter to Herbert Eugene Bolton. Austin, TX. 1929 Oct. 21. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library
referencedIn Texas War Records Collection 93-331; 87-57; 82-115; 82-110; 81-53., 1916-1919, 1940-1951 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Owens, William A., 1905-1990. Owens, William A., oral history transcripts, 1953 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Bedichek, Roy, 1878-1959. Bedichek, Roy, papers, 1897-1959. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Webb, Walter Prescott, papers, 1857-1966. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Anderson, Art. Art Anderson Sketch, ca. 1954. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Art Anderson Sketch, 2005-020., ca. 1954 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aldrich, Roy Wilkinson person
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Allen, Winnie person
associatedWith Anderson, Art person
associatedWith Anderson, Art. person
associatedWith Asbury, Samuel E. (Samuel Erson), 1872-1962 person
associatedWith Bedichek, Roy. person
associatedWith Bedichek, Roy, 1878-1959 person
associatedWith Bolton, Herbert Eugene, 1870-1953, person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Brown, Lyle C. person
associatedWith Callicott, William. person
associatedWith Callicott, William. person
associatedWith Connor, Seymour V. person
associatedWith Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. person
associatedWith Faulk, John Henry. person
associatedWith Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. person
associatedWith Fletcher, John D., 1936-1963 person
associatedWith Fuermann, George, 1918- person
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Gipson, Fred, 1908- person
associatedWith Heinsohn, Edmund. person
associatedWith Hinds, William Ellery. person
associatedWith Hinds, William Ellery. person
correspondedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson Institute (Hays County, Tex.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kidd, Rodney J. person
associatedWith Maxwell, Allen. person
associatedWith Miller, Steward Alexander person
associatedWith Miller, Steward Alexander person
associatedWith Morison, Samuel Eliot, 1887-1976. person
associatedWith Owens, William A., 1905-1990 person
associatedWith Parker, Edith H. person
associatedWith Parker, Edith H. person
associatedWith Rainey, Homer Price. person
associatedWith Rister, Carl Coke, 1889-1955. person
associatedWith Roberts, Warren person
associatedWith Rogers, Jerry L. person
associatedWith Rundell, Walter. person
associatedWith Slayden, Ellen Maury, 1860-1926. person
associatedWith Texas. Adjutant General's Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas. Adjutant General's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas Educational Media Program corporateBody
associatedWith Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas Rangers. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas War Records Collection Organization corporateBody
associatedWith University of Texas corporateBody
associatedWith University of Texas at Arlington. Webb Lecture Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Texas at Austin. Dept. of History. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Texas at Austin. President. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Texas. Dept. of History. corporateBody
associatedWith Vigness, David M., 1922-1979. person
associatedWith Warden, Margaret person
associatedWith Warden, R. D. person
associatedWith Webb, Walter Prescott. person
correspondedWith Williamson, Robert L., 1922-1975 person
associatedWith Wittliff, William D. person
associatedWith Yarborough, Ralph Webster, 1903- person
associatedWith Yore, Clement. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Texas
Austin (Tex.)
Texas
Austin, Texas.
Friday Mountain Ranch.
United States
Southwestern States
Flat Top Ranch (Tex.)
Great Plains (region).
West (U.S.)
Flat Top Ranch.
Friday Mountain Ranch (Hays County, Tex.)
Subject
Roads and highways
Native Americans
American Bison
Law enforcement--History--Sources
Indians of North America
Manuscripts
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Crime and criminals
Indians
Geography
Teachers
Authors, American
Democracy
Frontier and pioneer life
Education, higher
Books
History--Study and teaching
Migrations--Westward movement
Conservation of natural resources
Economics
Ranches and ranching
Teachers and teaching
Water conservation
Water
Migration, Internal
Texas--Governors
Literature, Texan and Southwestern
Ranches
Political science
Law enforcement
Historians
Politics and politicians
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1888-04-03

Death 1963-03-08

Americans

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