University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Thomas Ulvan Taylor Papers, 1872-1941, 1962

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Taylor, T.U. (Thomas Ulvan), 1858-1941
Title: Taylor, Thomas Ulvan, Papers
Dates: 1872-1941, 1962
Abstract: Correspondence, letterpress prints, speeches, financial records, notebooks, historical writings, programs, blueprints, charts, scrapbooks, broadsides, statistical data, and photographs chronicle Thomas Ulvan Taylor’s (1858-1941) career as a professor and dean of engineering at the University of Texas. The bulk of materials date from the late 1890s through the 1930s.
Accession No.: 93-016; 73-69; 65-167
OCLC No.: 841611743
Extent: 12 ft., 9 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Thomas Ulvan Taylor was born on January 2, 1858, to John Henry and Louisa (Allison) Taylor in Parker County, Texas. He attended Carlton College in Bonham and was one of the first graduates of Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in Huntsville. He earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia in 1883, then taught at the Miller Institute in Crozet, Virginia, where he married Maria Montgomery Moon of Albemarle County in July 1888. They had two children, a son and a daughter.

Taylor accepted an appointment as adjunct professor of applied mathematics at the University of Texas in June 1888 and was the only engineering professor until 1901. He went on leave in 1894–95 to attend Cornell University, where he received his master's degree in civil engineering in 1895. A Department of Engineering (later the College of Engineering) was established at the University of Texas in 1894, and Taylor became its first dean in 1905. Under his leadership, engineering enrollment increased from twenty-one in 1888 to 1,443 in 1936. He signed the first civil engineering degree given by the university in 1888 and before retiring granted 1,699 degrees in engineering, including the university's first M.S. in engineering in 1922.

He was the first state hydrographic engineer for the United States Geological Survey from 1897 to 1912 and a consulting engineer for many public works, including the Oak Cliff viaduct in Dallas, the new Austin dam in 1926, and the state highway system. Taylor conducted research on the quantity of water discharged by Texas streams, the underground waters of Texas, the silting of reservoirs, irrigation in Texas, and other hydrographic studies. He also wrote historical pieces about Texas pioneers and the University of Texas.

He initiated the Big Brothers' Fund and the Engineers' Loan Fund, later renamed the T. U. Taylor Foundation, and worked to establish honor and service organizations for engineering students. Taylor became dean and professor emeritus in 1936 and remained active as an engineer, teacher, author, elder of the Presbyterian Church, and thirty-second-degree Mason. He died in Austin on May 28, 1941, and was buried in Austin Memorial Park. The engineering building completed in 1933 was renamed T. U. Taylor Hall in his honor.

Abridged from:

Richard B. McCaslin, "TAYLOR, THOMAS ULVAN,"Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 27, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

"In Memoriam: Thomas Ulvan Taylor."Office of the General Faculty Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches, University of Texas at Austin. Accessed March 27, 2013.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, letterpress prints, speeches, financial records, notebooks, historical writings, programs, blueprints, charts, scrapbooks, broadsides, statistical data, and photographs chronicle Thomas Ulvan Taylor’s (1858-1941) career as a professor and dean of engineering at the University of Texas. The bulk of materials date from the late 1890s through the 1930s. The papers trace the development of the UT College of Engineering and reflect Taylor’s research interests in water power, irrigation, and bridge construction, as well as his supervisory work on dams and bridges in Phoenix, Arizona; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Austin, Dallas, Rio Grande Valle, Travis County, and Wichita Falls, Texas. The papers also contain genealogical studies of the Taylor, Chisholm, Upson, and other families. Also contained in the collection is Taylor’s historical research materials and writings about Jesse Chisholm, Parker County, pioneers of New Mexico, Billy the Kid, Mormons in Texas, the life of Cullen Montgomery Baker, the history of the University of Texas, and probate court hearings and proceedings in the case of the heirs of Jesse and William E. Chisholm.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use of photographic negatives, slides, and transparencies by appointment only; please contact photo archivist for more information.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Baker, Cullen Montgomery
Billy, the Kid
Butte, George C. (George Charles), 1877-1940
Chisum, John Simpson, 1824-1884
Dabney, Robert Lewis, 1820-1898
Mezes, S. E. (Sidney Edward), 1863-1931
Taylor, T.U (Thomas Ulvan), 1858-1941 -- Archives.
Ousley, Clarence, 1863-1948
Subjects (Organizations)
University of Texas at Austin--History.
University of Texas. College of Engineering
Civil engineering--Texas--History.
Pioneers--Texas--History--19th century.
Texas--Genealogy--Archival resources.
Austin (Tex.)
Bonham (Tex.)
Fort Worth (Tex.)
Huntsville (Tex.)
Parker County (Tex.)
Shawnee (Okla.)

Related Material

See also the UT College of Engineering Records, 1923-2002.

See also the Texas Academy of Science Records, 1892-1943.

See also the Thomas Ulvan Taylor Papers in the UT Fleming (Richard T.) University Writings Collection Records.

See also the Texas Authors Manuscript Collection.

Separated Material

Some material has been separated to the Map Collection and Architectural Drawings Collection.

Nitrate negatives from this collection (mainly negatives of prints found in box 3Y199) have been stored in the nitrate storage vault at the Austin History Center since 2009.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Thomas Ulvan Taylor Papers, 1872-1941, 1962, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Eugenia Nash Belden, June 1941.

Subsequent revisions were made by archives staff, August 1965, March 1976; Stefanie Wittenbach, July 1984; Lawrence A. Landis, December 1987, May 1989, October 1990; Deborah Bloys, January 1993; Vanessa Attia, March 2013.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2K273 Letter presses:
September 28, 1930
November 2, 1933
June 22, 1931 – May 13, 1935
September 16, 1932 – August 5, 1936
2K274 February 15, 1934 – August 3, 1936
June 30 – August 21, 1936
October 28, 1936 – July 17, 1938
2K275 August 1 – October 11, 1938
April 17, 1938 – February 20, 1940
May 9, 1939 – December 3, 1940
Jesse Chisholm research and writing
2K276 Letter presses:
September 22, 1939 – March 20, 1940
December 6, 1940 – February 22, 1941
2K277 1931-1936
2K278 1940-1941
Speeches, bound and unbound
4M92 Letters regarding publications, 1937-1940
2K279 Account books
Fort Worth papers
2K280 Notebooks
Bills and receipts
2K281 Literary productions
Jesse Chisholm
Life of T. U. Taylor
Fifty Years on Forty Acres
2K282 Fifty Years on Forty Acres:
Narrative and commencement programs, 1844-1933
2K283 Programs, 1883-1933
Commencement addresses, 1884-1917
2K284 Family histories
Genealogical notes on Taylor, Chisholm, and allied families
4N14d Genealogical charts
2K285 Literary productions:
B. Hall notes
B. Hall and miscellaneous photostat illustrations
2K286 Some schools in Parker County
Pecos pioneer points in New Mexico
Mormons in Texas
"Swamp Fox of the Sulphur: Life and Times of Cullen Montgomery Baker"
2K287 Silting of the lake at Austin, Texas
Cullen Baker
John S. Chisum and local history
Student papers
4M92 Water data:
Texas rainfall data, 1896-1926
Daily flow of rivers, 1896-1924
2K288 Printed material:
The University of Texas Commencement programs, bound
The University of Texas Commencement programs, unbound
Red Cross medal
2K289 Programs
Commencement addresses
2K290 Programs
Newspaper clippings
2K291 Scrapbooks:
Number 1, 1894:
Cooper’s charges
R. L. Dabney
Impounded water
Number 2, 1898:
Foster’s report
Failure of dam
Boundary monuments
Number 3, 1905:
Mineral survey
Houston elected
Dam rebuilt
Number 4, 1907:
Engineer’s reception
Rebuilding dam
A & M Row
2K292 Number 5, 1908:
Home Stude Prunes
Dumont contract
Dallas water supply
Number 6, 1906:
Mezes elected
Number 7, 1911:
Banquet programs
Faculty meeting, 1925
Number 8, 1915-1917:
Dr. Vinson
Ferguson Row
Austin Dam
2K293 Number 9, 1937:
Ferguson Row
Number 10, 1917:
Ferguson Row
Committee of Fifteen
Number 11, 1912:
New location
Dallas water supply
Number 12, 1924:
Jed Adam’s address
Butte, a candidate
2K294 Number 13, 1924:
Decalogue of stadium
Stadium movement
Number 14, 1928:
Helen Fursman
Wichita Falls report
Number 15, 1936:
B Hall closed
B Hall wins
B Hall closed
Number 16, 1927:
Giesecke leaves University
Water rights in Texas
Weaver’s report
2K295 Number 17, 1928:
Bryan in Tennessee
Teacher training
Number 18, 1929:
A & M Branch of University
Cavanaugh tract bought
Southern poems
Number 19, 1929:
Owen White
Moody vote
Number 20, 1921:
Highsmith murder
Brady trial
Brady convicted
2K296 Number 21, 1930:
O. Henry
Jesse Chisholm
Engineer’s song
Number 22, 1933:
Schoch-Taylor report
Old Capital burns
H. E. Hill
Number 23, 1935:
Honor students
Engineer’s songs
"Alec" Chisholm
Number 24, 1937-1938:
Billy the Kid
2K297 Number 25, 1936:
Eyes of Texas
Financial help for seniors
Number 26, 1936:
T. U. Taylor
Engineer’s show
Number 27, 1938:
Golden wedding
Number 28, 1938:
Alec Chisholm
Painting given to University of Texas
2K298 Number 29, 1936-1937, 1938:
"The Chisholm Trail"
The Grand Young Men
Dean honored
Trail Drivers Reunion
Number 30, undated:
Stark reappointed
A & M hazing
Number 31, 1937-1938:
Billy the Kid
Buchanan Dam
Number 32, undated
2K299 Number 33, Newspaper clippings, water and biographical
Number 34, Newspaper clippings, water and biographical
Number 35, Newspaper clippings, water and biographical
Number 36, Newspaper clippings, water and biographical
2L140 The T. U. Taylor Quarter Centennial Book, 1888-1913
2L423 Biography of Cullen Baker, by Thomas Orr
4M92 Scrapbook
4N14c Drawing
Lake Austin dams
3C20 Fifty Years on Forty Acres
Life sketch
Speeches of T. U. Taylor
Letters to Dean Taylor, May-June, 1936
3Y197/3Y199 Photographs:
Dr. Thomas Ulvan Taylor
3S179 Upson family genealogy chart, undated
3S181 Photographs:
T. U. Taylor
Frederic W. Simonds
Henry Winston Harper
"Eyes of Texas"
S.M.A. class, 1917
Small town
OD1278 Photograph of John Chisum
Photostats of Blazer’s Mill, New Mexico
2K260 Life sketch and speeches of T. U. Taylor
Legal documents, 1939
Quarter Centennial drawings