While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Brian Hart

BEATY, JOHN OWEN (1890–1961). John Owen Beaty, teacher and author, was born to James Robert and Eula (Simms) Beaty at Crow, West Virginia, on December 22, 1890. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1913 and enlisted in the United States Army in 1917; he remained on active duty through World War I, then stayed in Europe and took graduate courses at the Université de Montpellier, France, before returning to the United States, where he joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1919. He married Josephine Mason Powell in 1920. The couple raised four children. Beaty completed his Ph.D. in 1921 at Columbia University. In 1926–27 he was an American Kahn fellow in Asia and Europe.

An Introduction to Poetry
An Introduction to Poetry, by John Owen Beaty. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
The Iron Curtain over America
The Iron Curtain Over America, by John Owen Beaty. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

In 1922 he was promoted to professor; he was selected chairman of the Department of English in 1927. He retained this position until 1940 and was honorary chairman until his retirement from the university in 1957. From 1926 to 1934 he was visiting professor during the summers at various universities, including the University of Texas. He authored and coauthored a number of articles for popular and professional journals and several books, including An Introduction to Poetry (1922), An Introduction to Drama (1927), Texas Poems (1936), Swords in the Dawn (1937), Image of Life (1940), and Crossroads (1956). In 1951 he published The Iron Curtain Over America. This highly controversial and widely criticized book contended that Jews not only were largely responsible for the success of the Bolshevik Revolution but dominated the Democratic party in the United States.

Beaty was chairman of the Modern Language Association's Old English group, 1938–39; president of the Texas branch of the Conference of College Teachers of English, 1937–38; and a member of the American Academy of Political Science. He also served as pronunciation consultant for the second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary, published in 1934. In addition, he was a member of the United States Army Reserve until 1950; he retired with the rank of colonel.

Grave of John Owen Beaty
Photograph, Grave of John Owen Beaty in Gordonsville, Virginia. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

After his retirement from SMU, Beaty and his wife moved to Campbellton Farm, which his father had established, near Barboursville, Virginia. He died on September 9, 1961, while hospitalized at Gordonsville, Virginia. He was a Baptist and a member of the Order of the White Cross, the Masonic order, and the Woodmen of the World.


Dallas Morning News, September 10, 1961. New York Times, September 13, 1961. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 4.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Brian Hart, "BEATY, JOHN OWEN," accessed May 31, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbe10.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on May 17, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...