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Historian and TSHA director born in Panola County


On this day in 1888, historian and author Walter Prescott Webb was born on a farm in Panola County, Texas. His father was a schoolteacher and part-time farmer. The Webb family had moved from Mississippi to Rusk County, Texas, then to Panola and westward past the 100th meridian. The arid West Texas environment profoundly influenced the young Webb, as reflected in his later writing about the Great Plains. During his tenure as director of the Texas State Historical Association (1939-46), he expanded the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, founded the Junior Historians of Texas, and launched a project to compile an encyclopedia of Texas, published in 1952 as the original Handbook of Texas. He was also a charter member and fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas. Webb died in an automobile accident in 1963; the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society was later founded and named in his honor. The TSHA Webb Site also bears his name.

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