The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ior in Texas before the onset of the New Deal.2 Treatments of Fer-
guson's struggle with the University, then, have seen it as part of other,
noneducational, trends and developments, with less attention to the
enduring consequences for the institution itself. A focus on Ferguson's
impact on the University and, more importantly, on popular attitudes
about the University of Texas will indicate how this episode estab-
lished a pattern of politicization that persists to the present.
At the beginning of this century, the University of Texas was mov-
ing beyond the growing pains of its first two decades. Founded in 1881,
first opened in 1883, it had more than i,ooo students in the 1900oo-1901
academic year, and that number increased to more than 2,700o by 1915-
1916. The governing body was the board of regents, consisting after
1915 of nine members whom the governor appointed to six-year terms.
During the fifteen years after 1goo the faculty at the main campus in
Austin grew from 39 to 147. There was, in these years, a sense that for
the first time the University had the potential to become more than a
mediocre state school. A young English teacher, Stark Young, joined
the faculty in 1907 and found his new home "a nice place, with a fine
spirit among the students, a most considerate attitude on the part of
the faculty and president, and the prospect of becoming the greatest
and most important institution in the South and West." Two years
later the secretary of the University wrote Woodrow Wilson, then
president of Princeton, for an endorsement of the progress Texas had
made. "We do not think we are guilty of an exceedingly good opinion
of ourselves in fancying that the University of Texas is known to the
great institutions of the East and West."3
Historical judgments on the quality of a university faculty are haz-
ardous at best, but surviving reminiscences do indicate that the ability
2Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (New York, 1976), 35; Ru-
pert N. Richardson, Ernest Wallace, and Adrian N. Anderson, Texas, The Lone Star
State (4th ed.; Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1981), 377-387; Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and
Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Era (Austin, 1973), 185-231. Earlier ac-
counts of Ferguson's involvement with the University include Cortez A. M. Ewing, "The
Impeachment of James E. Ferguson," Political Science Quarterly, XLVIII (June, 1933),
184-210; John A. Lomax, "Governor Ferguson and the University of Texas," Southwest
Review, XXVIII (Autumn, 1942), 11-29; and Ralph W. Steen, "The Ferguson War on the
University of Texas," Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, XXXV (Mar., 1955), 356-
362. Norman D. Brown, at the University of Texas at Austin, has followed Ferguson's
career in the 192os in a forthcoming book on Democratic politics in that period.
3H[arry] Y. Benedict (comp.), A Source Book Relating to the History of the University
of Texas: Legislative, Legal, Bibliographical, and Statistical, University of Texas Bulletin
no. 1757 (Austin, 1917), 822-823; Stark Young to Emma Coleman Meck, Oct. 21, 1907, John
Pilkington (ed.), Stark Young: A Life in the Arts, Letters, 1900oo-1962 (3 vols.; Baton
Rouge, 1975), I, 15; John E. Rosser to Woodrow Wilson, Oct. 26, 1909, Woodrow Wilson
Papers (Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/292/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.