TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Thomas Watt Gregory Papers, 1852-1915
Thomas Watt Gregory was born on November 6, 1861 in Crawfordsville, Mississippi. He graduated from Southwestern Presbyterian University in Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1883 and attended the University of Virginia for one year before entering the University of Texas in 1884. He graduated one year later with a law degree. He practiced law in Austin for fifteen years, then served as assistant city attorney of Austin (1891-1894), special assistant to the United States attorney general (1913), and attorney general (1914-1919). President Woodrow Wilson wanted to appoint Gregory to the United States Supreme Court in 1916, but Gregory declined, citing his impaired hearing, self-described lack of temperament, and desire to participate in Wilson's reelection campaign instead.
A champion of the University of Texas, Gregory served on the UT Board of Regents (1899-1907) and headed the Ex-Students' Association from 1926 to 1928. He is also credited with organizing a fundraising campaign that led to the construction of four new university buildings, one of which was the men's gymnasium that now bears his name.
After ending his tenure as attorney general, Gregory served on Woodrow Wilson's Second Industrial Commission (1919-1920) and again practiced law in Washington, D.C., and Houston, Texas. He married Julia Nalle in 1893 and the couple had four children. Gregory contracted pneumonia on a trip to New York to meet with Franklin Roosevelt and died on February 26, 1933.
The Thomas Watt Gregory Papers, 1852-1915, are comprised of certificates and diplomas of Gregory and one family member, Frances R. Gregory, marking his completion of studies at Southwestern Presbyterian University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Texas. Certificates documenting Gregory's stature as a licensed attorney in the state of Texas and his tenure on the UT Board of Regents are also included. Furthermore, the collection contains original letters regarding Gregory's appointment as a special assistant to the attorney general and copies of letters written by Gregory during his tenure as attorney general to Rev. Paul R. Hickok of the Metropolitan Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C.; Don C. Seitz, Esq.; and Hon. Thomas R. Marshall.
A related collection at the Briscoe Center for American History, the UT Fleming (Richard T.) University Writings Collection Records, contains originals of effusive letters from President Woodrow Wilson to Thomas Watt Gregory regarding his distinguished service and Wilson's regret at Gregory's resignation and refusal to sit on the Supreme Court.
This collection is open for research use.
Thomas Watt Gregory Papers, 1852-1915, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Jessi Fishman, August 2016.