University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Philosophical Society of Texas Records, 1838, 1935-1998

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Philosophical Society of Texas
Title: Philosophical Society of Texas Records
Dates: 1838, 1935-1998
Abstract: The Philosophical Society of Texas was founded on December 5, 1837, in the capitol of the Republic of Texas, Houston, and was revived in 1935 in Dallas. By the 1990s the society had moved to Austin. Records of the society include administrative records of the organization, relating to the history, founding, revival, and purposes of the society, as well as to its day-to-day functioning and administration.
Accession No.: 99-042; 2000-030; 2003-074; 2006-260
Extent: 29 ft., 9 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

The Philosophical Society of Texas was founded on December 5, 1837, in the capitol of the Republic of Texas, Houston, by Mirabeau B. Lamar (president); Ashbel Smith, Robert A. Irion, Anson Jones, Joseph Rowe, and David S. Kaufman (vice presidents); William Fairfax Gray, David G. Burnet (secretaries); Augustus C. Allen (treasurer); and John Birdsall (librarian). The purpose of the society was to collect and discuss information regarding morals, social conditions, financial situations, political and military history, climate and other natural productions, and any other topics deemed interesting to the members. Activities of the organization ceased prior to annexation in 1845, but the society was revived in 1935, by George Waverly Briggs, James Quayle Dealey, Herbert P. Gambrell, Samuel Wood Geiser, Umphrey Lee, Charles Shirley Potts, Ira Kendrick Stephens, Lucius Mirabeau Lamar IV, William Alexander Rhea, and William Embry Wrather.

The purpose of the society is to encourage the research and preservation of historical, literary, and philosophical materials, as well as keeping the memory and spirit alive of the men who founded the initial organization. The rules for membership and initiation have been amended several times; initially membership was by invitation only, and was limited to those born within, or residents of, the boundaries of the Republic of Texas. By the 1990s, when the society had moved its offices to Austin, Texas, the bylaws had expanded to allow for 200 active members and varying numbers of emeritus and associate members. Meetings of the organization occur in early December, every year, and consist of addresses and symposia on current topics of interest in the world. Since 1937, the society has published its Proceedings annually.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Philosophical Society of Texas," (accessed June 8, 2010).

Scope and Contents

The records of the Philosophical Society of Texas, 1838, 1935-1998, consist of the organization’s administrative records, including membership nominations and ballots, files on individual members, proceedings, dues assessments, files on the history of the society, invitations to the society’s annual meeting, certificates, correspondence, annual meeting records, financial records, brochures and pamphlets, by-laws, forms, and memoranda. The records also include sound recordings of meetings and presentations on phonotape and audiocassette. The records relate to the history, founding, revival, and purposes of the society, including the collection, discussion, research, and preservation of topics of interest and historical, literary, and philosophical materials. Furthermore, the records relate to the society’s day-to-day functioning and administration.


Access Restrictions

Use of reel-to-reel tapes by appointment only; please contact sound archivist.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 1798-1859
Smith, Ashbel, 1805-1886
Irion, Robert A. (Robert Anderson), 1804-1861
Jones, Anson, 1798-1858
Rowe, Joseph
Kaufman, David S. (David Spangler), 1813-1851
Gray, William Fairfax, 1787-1841
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863
Briggs, George Waverley
Dealey, James Quayle, 1861-1937
Gambrell, Herbert Pickens
Geiser, Samuel Wood, 1890-1983
Lee, Umphrey, 1893-1958
Potts, Charles Shirley, b. 1872
Stephens, Ira Kendrick, 1887-
Subjects (Organizations)
Philosophical Society of Texas--Archives.
Philosophy, theory, and educational research
Houston (Tex.)
Dallas (Tex.)
Austin (Tex.)

Separated Material

An original newspaper, Telegraph and Texas Register, Houston, Texas, January 13, 1838, has been separated to the Texas Newspaper Collection. Republic of Texas commemorative buttons have been separated to the Artifact Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Philosophical Society of Texas Records, 1838, 1935-1998, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed. Contact repository for more information.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



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