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Philosophical Society of Texas records

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01630

Scope and Contents

The records of the Philosophical Society of Texas, 1838, 1935-1999, consist of the organization’s administrative records, including membership nominations and ballots, files on individual members, proceedings, dues assessments, files on the history of the society, invitations to the society’s annual meeting, certificates, correspondence, annual meeting records, financial records, brochures and pamphlets, by-laws, forms, and memoranda. The records also include sound recordings of meetings and presentations on phonotape and audiocassette. The records relate to the history, founding, revival, and purposes of the society, including the collection, discussion, research, and preservation of topics of interest and historical, literary, and philosophical materials. Furthermore, the records relate to the society’s day-to-day functioning and administration.


  • Creation: 1838
  • Creation: 1935 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of this collection is stored remotely; contact repository in advance for retrieval.

Access to some audiovisual formats requires an appointment; contact repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical Note

The Philosophical Society of Texas was founded on December 5, 1837, in the capitol of the Republic of Texas, Houston, by Mirabeau B. Lamar (president); Ashbel Smith, Robert A. Irion, Anson Jones, Joseph Rowe, and David S. Kaufman (vice presidents); William Fairfax Gray, David G. Burnet (secretaries); Augustus C. Allen (treasurer); and John Birdsall (librarian). The purpose of the society was to collect and discuss information regarding morals, social conditions, financial situations, political and military history, climate and other natural productions, and any other topics deemed interesting to the members. Activities of the organization ceased prior to annexation in 1845, but the society was revived in 1935, by George Waverly Briggs, James Quayle Dealey, Herbert P. Gambrell, Samuel Wood Geiser, Umphrey Lee, Charles Shirley Potts, Ira Kendrick Stephens, Lucius Mirabeau Lamar IV, William Alexander Rhea, and William Embry Wrather.

The purpose of the society is to encourage the research and preservation of historical, literary, and philosophical materials, as well as keeping the memory and spirit alive of the men who founded the initial organization. The rules for membership and initiation have been amended several times; initially membership was by invitation only, and was limited to those born within, or residents of, the boundaries of the Republic of Texas. By the 1990s, when the society had moved its offices to Austin, Texas, the bylaws had expanded to allow for 200 active members and varying numbers of emeritus and associate members. Meetings of the organization occur in early December, every year, and consist of addresses and symposia on current topics of interest in the world. Since 1937, the society has published its Proceedings annually.

Source: Gambrell, Herbert. Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. Philosophical Society of Texas.


28.7 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Philosophical Society of Texas was founded on December 5, 1837, in the capitol of the Republic of Texas, Houston, and was revived in 1935 in Dallas. By the 1990s the society had moved to Austin. Records of the society include administrative records of the organization, relating to the history, founding, revival, and purposes of the society, as well as to its day-to-day functioning and administration.

Accession Number(s)

1999-042; 2000-030; 2003-074; 2006-260

Separated Materials

An original newspaper, Telegraph and Texas Register, Houston, Texas, January 13, 1838, has been separated to the Texas Newspaper Collection. Republic of Texas commemorative buttons have been separated to the Material Culture unit.

OCLC Number


Processing Information

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. Subsequent processing by Colleen Hobbs, February 2021.

Philosophical Society of Texas Records, 1838, 1935-1999
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Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712