A Guide to the Ethel Zivley Rather Papers, 1905-[ca. 1954]
Texas historian Ethel Zivley Rather (1881-1967) grew up in Gonzales, Texas. In 1902, she graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in history. Awarded a fellowship, she went on to get her master’s in history from UT in 1903. She was subsequently a Fellow in American History at Cornell from 1905 to 1906, then the Buckley Fellow in History at Yale from 1906 to 1907. She received her Ph.D. in history from Yale in 1908. Her master’s thesis, DeWitt’s Colony, and her Ph.D. thesis, Recognition of the Republic of Texas by the United States, were published by both the University of Texas and the Texas State Historical Association, of which she became a fellow and, eventually, executive council member. From 1911 to 1912, she was the Director of Women’s Religious Studies at Columbia University.
In 1915, Rather married Ernest Joseph Villavaso, a professor in UT’s Department of Romance Languages. They donated their property on Duval St. in Austin to the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, where a chapel was built and dedicated in 1966 to the couple’s only child, Ernest Jr., who died in 1947 at age 29.
The Ethel Zivley Rather Papers, 1905-[ca. 1954], document Ethel’s life as a student and Texas historian and the work of her brother-in-law, UT professor Frederic Duncalf, on the History of the Crusades. The series “Ethel Zivley Rather” includes transcriptions and translations of Spanish-language archival materials on early Texas history, letters from members of the YWCA board concerning her position at Columbia University, letters from the Episcopal Theological Seminary concerning its chapel. Also included are an account book, a diary of her trip to the American Historical Association meeting in 1905, and assorted photographs. The “Frederic Duncalf” series comprises correspondence with many historians, particularly John LaMonte; editorial material; and legal and financial records.
This collection is open for research use.
Ethel Zivley Rather Papers, 1905-[ca. 1954], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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