rhe "Old Dqartmct" of Jistory
at the diversity of rexas,
THOMAS B. BREWER
O UR KNOWLEDGE IS THE AMASSED THOUGHT AND EXPERIENCES
of innumerable minds," Ralph Waldo Emerson once said.
Few departments of history in the United States amassed
more thought and experience than did the Department of History
at the University of Texas from ig9o to 1951. During that period
a group of men, as well as a university, grew from adolescence to
maturity. In later years those men frequently were referred to as
the "Old Department," a tribute to the loyalty and solidarity
that developed as time passed. For over thirty years the group
served the advancement of the knowledge of history as an integral
part of human culture. From the standpoint of tenure, no other
department in the University of Texas, nor probably in the
United States, can point to a record of almost forty years without
a major change in personnel. Furthermore, its members trained
a large percentage of the state's history teachers and enthusiastic
amateurs especially at the graduate level.
Beyond such academic considerations as tenure, scholarly re-
search, and excellent teaching-all features of the "Old Depart-
ment"-looms the personality of the group, which many claim
to have been the essence of the department. The contrasting
figures of Professors Eugene C. Barker, Charles W. Ramsdell,
Milton R. Gutsch, Thad W. Riker, Frederic Duncalf, Charles W.
Hackett, Walter P. Webb, and Frank B. Marsh created an atmos-
phere of respect and academic cooperation without particularly
close personal contacts.
In 1945 Barker stated, "It is a consequence of the unrelenting
drive of life that we do not concern ourselves much about the
influences of the past which have helped to shape our present; nor
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed September 15, 2014.