Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Walter Prescott Webb:

An Inventory of the Walter Prescott Webb Photograph and Print Media Collection at the Texas State Archives, 1888, about 1909-1963, bulk 1913-1945



Overview

Creator: Webb, Walter Prescott, 1888-1963.
Title: Walter Prescott Webb photograph and print media collection
Dates: 1888, about 1909-1963
Dates (Bulk): bulk 1913-1945
Abstract: Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) was a preeminent historian of the Great Plains region, a distinguished professor of history, and a prolific writer. The Walter Prescott Webb photograph and print media collection contains 680 black-and-white photographs, art prints, and negatives, taken or collected by Webb from 1888, about 1909-1963, the bulk dating 1913-1945. Images include Webb's personal images taken in Europe, photographs and photographic postcards of family and friends, and photographs from Webb's work with the Texas Rangers and West Texas, specifically the area of Texas that would become Big Bend National Park.
Quantity: 1.25 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Biographical Sketch

Walter Prescott Webb, historian and author, was born on a farm in Panola County, Texas, on April 3, 1888, the son of Casner P. and Mary Elizabeth (Kyle) Webb. The family moved to a farm in the Cross Timbers region of Texas in 1892, where Walter would grow to adulthood. As a boy he wrote to a weekly literary magazine and caught the interest of future benefactor William E. Hinds. After he finished Ranger High School with a teaching certificate, Webb taught at a number of small Texas schools. With the help of Hinds, he was able to attend the University of Texas, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915 at the age of 27.

Webb married Jane Elizabeth Oliphant on September 16, 1916. They had one daughter, Mildred Alice, born on July 30, 1918. That same year, he was invited to join the history faculty of University of Texas. In 1920 he earned his master's degree in history after writing his thesis on the Texas Rangers. This would serve as the foundation of his book Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense (1935). After a year at the University of Chicago, Webb returned to Texas and published The Great Plains in 1931. On the basis of this book Webb received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1932.

In 1937 the National Park Service contracted Webb to conduct historical research on the future Big Bend National Park hoping to influence the Texas Legislature to pass a land-acquisition bill. Webb, struck by the importance of the project, wrote a series of editorials promoting the region for The Dispatch, an Austin newspaper. On May 17 of that year, Webb and three others embarked on a 48-hour boat trip down the Rio Grande to promote the future park. In 1938 Webb spent a year in London as Harkness Lecturer at the University of London and would return to England in 1942 as Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1939 he became director of the Texas State Historical Association. During his tenure (to 1946), he expanded the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and launched a project to compile an encyclopedia of Texas, published in 1952 as the Handbook of Texas.

At the University of Texas he became famous for his books and seminars, especially those on the Great Plains and the Great Frontier. In all, Webb wrote or edited more than twenty books, held two Guggenheim fellowships, and acted as special advisor to Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson on water needs of the South and West. He also held the position of president in both the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (1954-1955) and the American Historical Association (1958).

Almost two years after Jane's death (June 28, 1960) Webb married Terrell Maverick, the widow of San Antonio mayor and New Deal congressman Maury Maverick, on December 14, 1961. He was killed in an automobile accident near Austin on March 8, 1963, and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery by proclamation of Governor John B. Connally.

(Sources include: Furman, Necah Stewart, "Webb, Walter Prescott," Handbook of Texas Online; Welsh, Michael, "A Dream Delayed: Failure to Secure Public Funding for Big Bend National Park, 1937," The Administrative History of Big Bend National Park; and Stroud, David, Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963), Kilgore, TX, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame E-Book, 2006; all accessed March 23, 2017.)


Scope and Contents of the Collection

Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) was a preeminent historian of the Great Plains region, a distinguished professor of history, and a prolific writer. The Walter Prescott Webb photograph and print media collection contains 680 black-and-white photographs, art prints, and negatives taken or collected by Webb from 1888, about 1909-1963, the bulk dating 1913-1945. The 79 black-and-white negatives in the collection are primarily duplicates of the prints. The images and prints vary in size, ranging from 2 x 3-inch to 8 x 10-inch photographs.

A portion of the collection captures subject matter in line with Webb's research on the Great Plains and the Texas Rangers. This section contains a combination of photographs collected, including a photograph of a division in 1888 and several reprints, and images taken while researching areas of interest. The photographs show the Rangers during downtime, shoeing horses, and socializing. Locations include Navasota; Brownsville; Port Lavaca; Alice; Tom Green County; Boquillas, Texas; Boquillas, Mexico; and the Big Bend area. Several photographs of the collection are promotional images sent to Webb by the National Park Service (NPS). Webb was contracted by the NPS in 1937 to write a series of articles promoting the proposed park at Big Bend. These images portray hunting parties, animals of the area, and ground-level photographs of the Chisos Mountains, Mariscal Canyon, Johnson's Ranch, and the Rio Grande River.

Many of the family photographs in the collection portray Webb as a young man. There are portraits as well as candid images, many of which were taken during his courtship of Jane Oliphant in Beeville and Caddo, Texas. A few images are present of Webb's benefactor, William E. Hinds. Other images show Webb in later years, mostly through portraiture; however, there are also pictures of Webb with his daughter Mildred at an early age. There are also several personal photos of unidentified family members and friends.

The majority of the photographs in the collection are images of places and family, many of which were taken during Webb's time abroad in Europe. Landmarks such as Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and Stonehenge are present among the European photographs. The last 40 images are postcards and color art prints.


Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged into four subgroups: West Texas, Personal photographs, Europe photographs, and Print media. These records are arranged in their original order as received from the donor.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished works are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The term of copyright for published material varies. Researchers are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the State Archives when reviewing photographic materials.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
United States. National Park Service.
Subjects (Persons):
Hinds, William E., 1850-1912.
Webb, Jane Elizabeth Oliphant, 1889-1960.
Bugg, Mildred Webb, 1918-1996.
Subjects (Organizations):
Texas Rangers--Pictorial works.
Places:
Big Bend National Park (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Alice (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Boquillas (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Beeville (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Caddo (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Johnson's Ranch (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Mariscal Canyon (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Tour Eiffel (Paris, France)--Pictorial works.
Versailles (France)--Pictorial works.
London (England)--Pictorial works.
Stonehenge (England)--Pictorial works.
Navasota (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Brownsville (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Port Lavaca (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Tom Green County (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Chisos Mountains (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Rio Grande (Colo.-Mexico and Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Document Types:
Photographs--Texas.
Negatives (photographs)--Texas.
Photographic postcards--Texas.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Walter Prescott Webb papers, 1861-1870, about 1900-about 1963, undated, 6 cubic ft.
Walter Prescott Webb and family materials, 1867-1963, bulk 1916-1963, 4.72 cubic ft. [No finding aid is available for these unprocessed materials. Call numbers are 1979/009, 1979/170, 1979/224, 1980/032, 1981/052.]
Briscoe Center for American History
Walter Prescott Webb papers, 1857-1966, 42 ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Walter Prescott Webb photograph and print media collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1972/187

The Walter Prescott Webb papers were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by C.B. Smith on August 18, 1972. Photographs were separated from the papers at that time.

Processing Information

Processing and EAD finding aid created by Texas State University graduate student Lauren Wyatt, February 2017


Detailed Description of the Collection

Walter Prescott Webb photograph and print media collection, 1888, about 1909-1963, bulk 1913-1945,
1.25 cubic ft.

West Texas, about 1930 to 1937
Box Photo
PP0260 1972/187-391 thru 393 Big Bend, about 1937
[three 7 x 9-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-394 thru 428 Texas Rangers, about 1937
[thirty-five 3.5 x 5.5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-429 thru 436 West Texas, 1888, about 1935
[eight black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-437 thru 440 Texas Rangers and Big Bend, about 1925-1938
[five 2 x 2.5-inch and 3.5 x 4-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-441 thru 445 West Texas, about 1920-1935
[five 4 x 6-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-446 thru 460 Texas Rangers and West Texas, about 1920-1937
[fifteen 4 x 6-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-461 thru 467 Texas Rangers, undated
[seven 3.5 x 5.5-inch postcards]
[Contains reprints of historic Texas Ranger photos and a painting.]
1972/187-473 Texas Rangers, about 1935
[one 2 x 2.5-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-557 thru 578 Big Bend, Rangers, 1937
[twenty-two 8 x 10-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-593 West Texas and Big Bend, about 1937
[one 5 x 7-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-594 Texas Rangers, 1930's
[one 4 x 5-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-595 thru 600 West Texas, 1936
[five 3.25 x 5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-602 thru 605 Texas Rangers, 1925-1936
[four 3 x 4.5-inch black-and-white photographs]
Box Photo
PP0286 1972/187-608 thru 616 Texas Rangers, about 1920-1930
[nine 3 x 5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-617 thru 623 Big Bend, Mexico, about 1935-1937
[seven 3.5 x 5.5-inch black-and-white photographs and photographic postcards]
1972/187-624 and 625 Rangers, West Texas, about 1920-1935
[two 4 x 6-inch and 4 x 5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-626 thru 628 Big Bend, about 1937
[three 3.5 x 6-inch and 3 x 5-inch black-and-white photographs and photographic postcard]
1972/187-631 Big Bend, about 1937
[one 5 x 7-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-632 thru 636 West Texas, about 1920-1937
[five 8 x 10-inch black-and-white photographs]
Personal photographs, about 1909-1963
Box Photo
PP0260 1972/187-478 and 479 Walter P. Webb, youth, about 1908-1913
[two 2 x 3-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-480 Walter P. Webb, adult, about 1933
[one 2 x 3-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-481 thru 494 Walter P. Webb, youth, about 1908-1913
[fourteen 3 x 4-inch and 3.25 x 3.25-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-495 thru 499 Mildred Webb, daughter of Walter P. Webb, about 1918-1922
[five 3 x 4.5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-500 thru 505 Walter P. Webb, youth, about 1913
[six 2.5 x 4-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-506 and 507 Walter P. Webb, adult, about 1935
[two 4 x 6-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-508 thru 510 Mildred Webb, daughter of Walter P. Webb, about 1918-1922
[three 3.5 x 5.75-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-511 Walter P. Webb, about 1928
[one 3.75 x 6-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-512 and 513 Personal photos, about 1910-1915
[two 3.5 x 5.5-inch photographic postcards]
1972/187-514 thru 521 Beeville, 1913
[eight 3.5 x 5.5-inch photographic postcards and black-and-white photograph ]
1972/187-522 thru 524 Personal photos, about 1909-1920
[three 3.5 x 5.5-inch and 4.25 x 5.25-inch photographic postcards]
1972/187-525 Walter P. Webb, youth, 1913
[one 3 x 8-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-526 and 527 Walter P. Webb, about 1948-1958
[two 8 x 10-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-528 Walter P. Webb, youth, about 1915
[one 7 x 11-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-529 thru 548 Personal photos, about 1900-1930
[twenty black-and-white photographs and photographic postcard]
Box Photo
PPB017 1972/187-549 Family portrait, about 1938-1948
[one 10.5 x 12.5-inch black-and-white photograph]
Box Photo
PP0260 1972/187-550 thru 556 William E. Hinds, about 1876-1912
[seven black-and-white photographs and photographic postcard ]
1972/187-579 and 580 Walter P. Webb, youth, about 1915
[two 1.5 x 1.5-inch and 1.5 x 3-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-581 thru 591 Personal photos, 1913-1916
[eleven 2.75 x 4.25-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-592 Walter P. Webb, 1935
[one 4 x 6-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-601 Personal photos, undated
[one 3.5 x 5.5-inch silhouette]
Box Photo
PP0286 1972/187-606 University of Wisconsin, Texas Club, 1916
[one 3 x 3-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-607 Walter P. Webb, about 1937
[one 5 x 7-inch black-and-white photograph]
1972/187-629 and 630 Personal photos, undated
[two 4.5 x 6.75-inch and 5 x 7-inch black-and-white photographs]
Europe photographs, 1938-1942
Box Photo
PP0232B 1972/187-1 thru 390 Travel photos, about 1938
[three hundred ninety 2 x 2.5-inch and 2.5 x 4.25-inch black-and-white photographs]
Box Photo
PP0260 1972/187-468 thru 472 Travel photos, about 1942
[five 2.75 x 4.5-inch black-and-white photographs]
1972/187-474 thru 477 Travel photos, about 1938
[four 2 x 2.5-inch and 2 x 3-inch black-and-white photograph]
Print media, undated
Box Photo
PP0286 1972/187-637 thru 642 Illustrated color postcards, undated
[six 3.5 x 5.5-inch postcards]
1972/187-643 thru 680 Art prints, undated
[thirty-eight 4.5 x 6-inch prints]