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Roy Bedichek papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00011

Scope and Contents

The Roy Bedichek Papers, circa 1880-1960, 2003, concern the career of Bedichek (1878-1959), naturalist, educator, and writer. Materials relate to Bedichek's activities as editor of the Deming (New Mexico) Headlight1910-1912), director of the University (of Texas) Interscholastic League (1914-1948), and secretary of the Town and Gown Club of Austin (1930-1934); his studies of ornithology, botany, wildlife, and conservation; and historical philosophical studies. The collection includes documentation for Bedichek's publications: the Interscholastic Leaguer, published under his editorship; Adventures with a Texas Naturalist (1948); Karankaway Country (1950); Educational Competition (1956); and The Sense of Smell (1960). Included are correspondence, literary productions, business papers, pamphlets, brochures, broadsides, newspapers, newspaper clippings and photographs.


  • circa 1880-1960
  • 2003


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Roy Bedichek was born on June 27, 1878, in Cass County, Illinois. At the age of six, he and his family moved to Falls County, Texas. Bedichek attended the Bedichek Academy at Eddy, a school founded by his father. He entered the University of Texas at Austin in 1898 and worked for John A. Lomax in the Office of the Registrar until graduating with a B.S. in 1903. In 1910, he married Lillian Greer; they had three children together. From 1903 until 1917, when he returned to the University, Bedichek held many jobs: reporter, high school teacher, newspaper editor, and secretary to two Chambers of Commerce, one in Deming, New Mexico, and the other in Austin (where the Chamber of Commerce was then known as the Young Men's Business League). From 1915-1916, Bedichek worked as the executive secretary to Will C. Hogg's Organization for Promoting Interest in Higher Education in Texas. In 1917, he returned to the University of Texas at Austin as the director of the University Interscholastic League (UIL, aka Texas Interscholastic League). Through his belief in the benefits of educational competition, Bedichek shaped the UIL's policies and made the fledgling league a success. Bedichek served as director of the UIL until his retirement in 1948.

Bedichek is best known for his work as a Texas naturalist and his friendship with J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb. His career as an author and his relationship with Webb and Dobie are intertwined, as it was these two friends who encouraged Bedichek to write his first book, Adventures with a Texas Naturalist (1947). To write this work, Bedichek took a hiatus from the UIL and went into a year long seclusion at Webb's Friday Mountain Ranch. Bedichek wrote two more books, Karankaway County (1950) and Educational Competition (1956) before his death in 1959. The Sense of Smell (1960) was published posthumously. Bedichek's letters have been collected into three books, including one detailing his friendships with Dobie and Webb.


53.9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Roy Bedichek (1878-1959) was a naturalist, educator, writer, and director of the University (of Texas) Interscholastic League from 1914-1948. The Roy Bedichek Papers, 1897-1959, 2003, document his studies of ornithology, botany, wildlife, and conservation, history and philosophy and include literary productions, correspondence, and business records.

Accession Number(s)

1967-041; 1970-016; 1970-055; 1972-048; 2005-037; 2020-057

OCLC Number


Processing Information

Collection was processed by staff; inventory updated by Bethany Anderson, November 2011, and Colleen Hobbs, November 2020, July 2021, and February 2022.

Roy Bedichek Papers, circa 1880-1960, 2003
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Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712