A Guide to the Prather (William Lambdin) Papers, 1899-1902
William Lambdin Prather was born near Paris, Tennessee on May 1, 1848 to George W. and Lucretia P. (Lambdin) Prather. Prather and his family moved to a plantation near Waco, Texas in 1854. In 1867 Prather was sent to study under General Robert E. Lee at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where Prather received an LL.B degree in 1871. Prather practiced law for 28 years in Waco, Texas after he was admitted to the bar in 1871. From 1875-1878 Prather served as the Waco city attorney. He served as master in chancery for the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, and from 1895-1896 he served as president of the state bar association.
Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross appointed Prather to the UT Board of Regents in 1887; he became vice chairman of the board in 1895 and chairman in 1899. Later in 1899 he became acting president of UT and president in 1900. As president of UT, Prather believed in the promotion of the university and the idea that the university should serve the state. Prather is also recognized as first person to use the phrase “the Eyes of Texas are upon you,” which gave rise to the UT school song.
Among Prather’s accomplishments were receiving a conferred LL.D degree from Washington and Lee University in 1900 and one from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1901; serving as vice president of the National Education Association in 1903-1904; and serving as vice president of the Association of State Universities in 1904-1905. Prather died on July 24, 1905.
William James Battle,"PRATHER, WILLIAM LAMBDIN,"Handbook of Texas Online.Accessed May 1, 2015. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpr02
Teresa Palomo Acosta,"In Memoriam: William Lambdin Prather,"University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council. Accessed May 1, 2015. http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2000-2001/memorials/AMR/PratherW/prather.html
The papers contain a letterpress from July 31-September 18, 1899; letters from July 31 and August 19, 1899; a letter from July 15, 1901 to legislators; and a letter from December 11, 1902 to Ben H. Powell and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. The letterpress contains copies of letters and telegrams sent by Prather during his service as chairman of the UT Board of Regents. The letters and telegrams are correspondence to fellow regents and other individuals pertaining to the academics, finances, and administration of UT Austin and the Medical Branch in Galveston; the selection of a UT president; the recruitment of faculty and staff; and the building and furnishing of the campus physical plant.
This collection is open for research use.
William Lambdin Prather Papers, 1899-1902, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Ralph L. Elder, March 1979.
Detailed Description of the Papers