Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963

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Walter Prescott Webb (April 3, 1888 in Panola County, Texas – March 8, 1963 near Austin, Texas) was an American historian noted for his groundbreaking work on the American West. As president of the Texas State Historical Association, he launched the project that produced the Handbook of Texas. He is also noted for his early criticism of the water usage patterns in the region. In 2012, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Webb was raised on his family farm in Carthage in rural Panola County, Texas. After graduating from Ranger High School in Ranger in Eastland County, he earned a teaching certificate and taught at several Texas schools. He eventually attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1915 at the age of twenty-seven. He worked as bookkeeper in San Marcos and optometrist's assistant in San Antonio, then in 1918 he was invited to join the history faculty at the University of Texas. He wrote his Master of Arts thesis on the Texas Rangers in 1920 and was encouraged to pursue his PhD. After a year of study at the University of Chicago, he returned to Austin, where he began a historical work on the West. The result of this work was The Great Plains, published in 1931, hailed as great breakthrough in the interpretation of the history of the region, and declared the outstanding contribution to American history since World War I by the Social Science Research Council in 1939. He was awarded his PhD for his work on The Great Plains in 1932, the year after its publication.

In 1939–1946 he served as president of the Texas State Historical Association. During his tenure as president, he launched a project to produce an encyclopedia of Texas, which was subsequently published in 1952 as the Handbook of Texas. The world wide web version of the work is a popular Internet reference tool on the state. In all, Webb wrote or edited more than 20 books. One of them, The Texas Rangers (1935) was considered the definitive study of the legendary Texas Rangers and its Captain Bill McDonald.

In 1958 Webb served as president of the American Historical Association.

Webb was killed in an automobile accident near Austin. He was interred at Texas State Cemetery in Austin on the proclamation of then Governor John B. Connally, Jr. At the time of his death he was working on a television series on American civilization under a grant from the Ford Foundation.

In his honor the University of Texas established the Walter Prescott Webb Chair of History and Ideas. The position is currently held by Philippa Levine. Webb Middle School in Austin, Texas is also named after him.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Miller, Steward Alexander. Steward Alexander Miller Papers, 1843-1873, 1926-1966 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Heinsohn, Edmund. Heinsohn, Edmund, papers, 1925-1990. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Gipson, Fred, 1908-1973. Papers, 1920-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn R. D. and Margaret S. Warden collection, 1835-1990. University of Texas at San Antonio, John Peace Library (JPL)
referencedIn R. D. and Margaret S. Warden Collection MS 138., 1835-1990 The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries . Special Collections
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part One) LIT/Owens MSS 00088., 1922-1979 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Anderson, Art. Art Anderson Sketch, ca. 1954. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Webb, Walter Prescott, papers, 1857-1966. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Kidd, Rodney J. [Interview with Rodney J. Kidd]. Austin Public Library, John Henry Faulk Central Library
referencedIn Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Collection, 1927-1964, 1927-1943. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Faulk, John Henry. Oral history interview with John Henry Faulk, 1981 June 9. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Owens, William A. oral history transcripts 92-226., 1953 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library
creatorOf Yore, Clement. Letters, 1922-1936. Harold B. Lee Library
referencedIn University of Texas at Arlington. Webb Lecture Committee. Records, 1965-1985, (bulk 1965-1975). University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Walter Prescott Webb Papers, 1857-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn KLRU-TEMP Video Collection 67-164., 1961-1963 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Inventory of the Samuel Erson Asbury Papers Texas MSS 00044., 1872-1960 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Steward Alexander Miller Papers 85-184., 1843-1873, 1926-1966 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn ALDRICH (ROY WILKINSON) PAPERS, AR 83-10., 1858-1955 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
creatorOf Williamson, Robert L., 1922-1975. Papers, 1948-1975. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission. Records, 1671-1958. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn Fletcher, John D., 1936-1963. John Fletcher collection, 1959-1989. University of Texas at San Antonio, John Peace Library (JPL)
referencedIn Owens, William A., 1905-1990. Owens, William A., oral history transcripts, 1953 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Morison, Samuel Eliot, 1887-1976. Papers of Samuel Eliot Morison, 1807-1976 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series I., General Correspondence, 1922-1977 (bulk 1946-1966). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Fred Gipson Papers TXRC95-A71., 1920-1973 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Parker, Edith H. Parker (Edith H.) Papers, 1922-1984 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn George Fuermann "Texas and Houston" Collection, 1970-001., 1836-2001 Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
referencedIn International Congress of Historians of the United States and Mexico, Second. Records, 1958. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic 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 Brown, Lyle C. Tribute to a Texan. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
creatorOf Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission. Records, 1671-1958. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn Rogers, Jerry L. Papers, 1964-1966. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Bedichek, Roy, 1878-1959. Bedichek, Roy, papers, 1897-1959. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Wittliff, William D. William D. "Bill" Wittliff Papers, 1968-1995. Texas State University-San Marcos, Albert B. Alkek Library
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Papers, 1957-1964, (bulk 1963). Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966. Papers, 1681-1966 (bulk 1900-1960) Houghton Library
referencedIn Texas War Records Collection Organization. Texas War Records Collection, 1916-1919, 1940-1951 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part Two) LIT/Owens MSS 00089., 1940-1980 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Warren Roberts Papers, 1987-004., 1959-1985. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
referencedIn Robert L. Williamson Papers AR197., 1948-1975 Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington 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 Texas Educational Media Program. KLRU-TEMP Video Collection, 1961-1963 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Rister, Carl Coke, 1889-1955. Papers, 1834-1956, 1946-1949. 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
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 (bulk 1953-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Art Anderson Sketch, 2005-020., ca. 1954 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Roy Bedichek Papers, 1897-1959 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn John D. Fletcher collection, MS 87., 1959, 1989 and undated The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries . Special Collections
creatorOf Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963. Letter to Herbert Eugene Bolton. Austin, TX. 1929 Oct. 21. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Inventory of the William A. Owens Papers (Part One) LIT/Owens MSS 00088., 1922-1979 Cushing Memorial Library,
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 International Congress of Historians of the United States and Mexico, Second. 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
Panola County TX US
Hays County TX US
United States 00 US
Austin TX US
Subject
Native Americans
Texas
Education, higher
Indians
Ranches and ranching
Teachers
Governor
Literature, Texan and Southwestern
Water
Crime and criminals
Teachers and teaching
Geography
Historians
Frontier and pioneer life
Law enforcement--History--Sources
Conservation of natural resources
History--Study and teaching
Manuscripts
Texas--Governors
Authors, American
Roads
American Bison
Politics and politicians
Water conservation
Law enforcement
Migrations--Westward movement
Economics
Indians of North America
History
Democracy
Roads and highways
Political science
Migration, Internal
Books
Great Plains
Ranches
Occupation
College teachers
Historians
Authors
Activity

Person

Birth 1888-04-03

Death 1963-03-08

Americans

Information

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Ark ID: w6621qz0

SNAC ID: 85715558