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John William Calhoun papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.03340

Scope and Contents

Papers contain the historical narratives, daybooks, and photographs of John William Calhoun (1871-1947), teacher and administrator at The University of Texas, from 1925 to 1947. They also contain University of Texas memorabilia, correspondence from Calhoun to his daughter, Eveleyn Calhoun Miller, and Evelyn's scrapbook and high school yearbook. Calhoun’s narrative entitled The Short and Simple Annals of the Poor gives an account of the ways of life of poor whites in the hill country of southeastern middle Tennessee from 1870 to 1890. Trees on the Campus of the University of Texas contains narratives about the trees on the campus of The University of Texas, including photocopies of maps and pictures. "Autobiographical Notes" was written by Calhoun in San Diego, California, while he was on sabbatical in 1939.

The papers also include 14 of Calhoun’s daybooks from 1927 to 1947 with entries on weather, family affairs, and his activities as UT President, in addition to notes on appropriations for new UT buildings.

Photographs depict the University of Texas campus circa 1925 and building construction on the University in 1932, and are arranged by building. The sequence for each building is chronological. The structures pictured are the Main Building, Union Building, Home Economics Building, Physics Building, Engineering Building, Hogg Auditorium, Brackenridge Dormitory, Geology Building, Architecture Building, and Carothers Dormitory.

The papers contain correspondence from Calhoun's time at the university and five letters to his daughter Evelyn, as well as his text, Scraps and Scribblings.

The 1969 Dedicatory Program includes a transcription of comments made by various speakers at the unveiling of the Calhoun Plaque placed in Calhoun Hall, with a transmittal letter from Carl J. Eckhardt. The collection holds a UT Class Catalog from the year 1925-1926, and UT Commencement program for August 27, 1934, as well as a pamphlet entitled "Make Algebra Talk" written by Calhoun, dated June 15,1946, and published by The University of Texas for its Bureau of Public School Service, Division of Extension.


  • Creation: 1901 - 1947
  • Creation: 1969


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 / Historical

John William Calhoun was born in Manchester, Tennessee, on October 24, 1871. He was educated at several institutions in Tennessee and then began teaching in country schools in both Tennessee and Texas.

He entered the University of Texas (UT) in 1901, took a position as superintendent of schools at Arlington in 1902, returned to the university, and received his B.A. degree in 1905. He worked as a tutor in mathematics from 1905 to 1909 but took the year 1907–1908 to earn an M.A. degree from Harvard. He became an instructor at the University of Texas in 1909 and worked his way to full professor by 1923.

Calhoun served as Comptroller of UT from 1925 to 1937 and as President ad-interim of the university from 1937 to 1939 before he returned to teaching full time.

He was president of the University Cooperative Society for 25 years. He was also president of the University Club, a fellow of the Texas Academy of Science, president of the Texas Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and a long-time secretary of the Town and Gown Club of Austin. His publications, primarily official reports and textbooks, included Unified Mathematics (1918), Algebra for Junior and Senior High Schools (1930), and The University of Texas: The Position Achieved, The Opportunities Ahead (1938).

Calhoun died in Austin on July 7, 1947.

Abridged from:

William James Battle, CALHOUN, JOHN WILLIAM, Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


2.7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Papers contain the historical narratives, daybooks, and photographs of John William Calhoun (1871-1947), teacher and administrator at The University of Texas, from 1925 to 1947.

Accession Number(s)

1966-177; 1985-176; 1985-193; 2018-055; 2021-076; 2021-175; 2023-007

Related Materials

See also the UT President's Office Records.

OCLC Number


Processing Information

This collection was processed by W.H.R., January 1967.

Subsequent revisions were made by archives staff, June-August 1985; Vanessa Attia, July 2013; Colleen Hobbs, January 2020; Mia Li Rodriguez, September 2022; and Colleen Hobbs, March 2023.

John William Calhoun Papers, 1901-1947, 1969
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Revision Statements

  • 2020-01-28: Accession number 2015-055 added by Colleen Hobbs
  • 2022-09-20: Accession number 2021-076 added by Mia Li Rodriguez.
  • 2022-09-23: Accession number 2021-175 added by Mia Li Rodriguez.
  • 2023-03-10: 78 rpm audio disk added to collection by Colleen Hobbs.
  • 2023-09-05: Accession number 2023-007 added by Melanie Boleng

Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712