University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Stephen H. Spurr Papers, 1964-1981

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Spurr, Stephen H., 1918-1990
Title: Spurr, Stephen H., Papers
Dates: 1964-1981
Abstract: Stephen H. Spurr was a forestry academic who served as President at the University of Texas at Austin from 1971 until his resignation in 1974. He was essentially forced out of the presidency by the Board of Regents due to his efforts to limit the funding of the Humanities Research Center by placing it under the control of the General Libraries.
Accession No.: AR 99-067
Extent: 2 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Stephen Hopkins Spurr was born in 1918, and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1935. He received his bacehlor's degree in botany from the University of Florida in 1938, and a Master of Forestry degree from Yale University in 1940. A doctorate followed in 1950 after Spurr worked for a time as a researcher in Harvard Forest and produced the book Aerial Photographs in Forestry (1948). After receiving his doctorate, Spurr briefly became a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, but left for the University of Michigan in 1952, publishing Forest Inventory in the same year. In 1960, Spurr revised his first book as Photo Grammetry and Photointerpretation, at one time commonly used as a textbook. Spurr acted as Dean of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan from 1962 to 1965, later leaving that post to become Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. During this time, Spurr wrote Forest Ecology (1964). He was also the founder and first editor of the influential journal Forest Science.

Spurr became president of the University of Texas at Austin in 1971, but was forced to resign the post in 1974 following a disagreement with the Board of Regents over the funding of the Humanities Research Center. Spurr had attempted to limit the Center's budget by placing it under the aegis of the General Libraries. Nevertheless, he remained in Austin and worked as a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Spurr's family consisted of his wife Patricia and two children, Daniel and Jean. Stephen H. Spurr died in Austin, Texas on June 20, 1990.

Scope and Contents

The Stephen H. Spurr Papers include a cowboy hat, various awards, diplomas from Yale University and the University of Florida, a program from a Phillips Exeter Academy class reunion, and photographs from a trip to the Soviet Union to visit educational institutions. The collection also contains the 1981 directory of the Society of Academic Foresters, University of Texas travel expense documents, and two forestry publications from the University of Michigan.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Separated Material

Some material has been separated to the Artifact Collection

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Stephen H. Spurr Papers, 1964-1981, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by archives staff.

This collection contains unprocessed materials.

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



2AA41 Awards and diplomas
3D102 Awards and diplomas
Forester publications
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Working paper, "Determination of Allowable Cut on National Forests," 1979
Society of American Foresters
Council members directory, 1981
University of Michigan
Newsletter of the Foresters' Association, fall 1964
Michigan Forester, 1965
Philips Exeter Academy, Class of 1935, 45th Reunion, 1980
3T76 Photographs (2 folders, about 15 photographs)
Tallinn, Estonia
Universities and institutes
3D102 Travel expense documents, the University of Texas at Austin, 1973