Martha D. Utterback

HOWARD, WILLIAM EAGER (1877–1948). William Eager Howard, physician and Texana collector, one of seven children of Lee (Weir) and Henry Peyton Howard, was born in San Antonio in 1877. He shared with his father a love for books and souvenirs and reading newspapers, as well as the medical profession. He graduated from the University of Texas Department of Medicine in Galveston (now the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston) in 1897 and began his medical practice that year in San Antonio in the Medical Arts Building. He did postgraduate work at Johns Hopkins and Tulane universities and practiced in Dallas, where he became a noted eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist and eye surgeon.

Howard collected Texana-books, documents, early currency, manuscripts, art, newspapers-that he gave to museums and libraries. Major beneficiaries were the Hall of State, the San Jacinto Monument and Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Gonzales Museum, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo. At the DRT Library his donation of over 2,000 Texana items served as the core collection. Among Howard's important acquisitions and subsequent donations were Maximilian memorabilia-a collection begun by his father-and papers of Maximilian's ambassador to the Vatican; Spanish royal and viceregal documents; papers of Stephen F. Austin; records of DeWitt's colony; letters and the will of Antonio López de Santa Anna; letters of the Baron de Bastrop and Sam Houston; and documents bearing the signatures of the men for whom Texas counties were named, of the presidents of the republic, and of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. In cooperation with James T. DeShields, a Dallas historian, Howard acquired a number of unpublished manuscripts, together with articles and illustrations, documenting Texas pioneer life. At some time he wrote and published a booklet, The Romance of Texas Money, and he developed an extensive bibliography of Texas history sources.

Howard was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Knights of San Jacinto, the Commission for the San Jacinto Battleground, and the commission appointed by the state legislature to locate the battleship Texasqv at San Jacinto. He served as president of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, chairman of the Historical Council of the Texas Centennial of Statehood Commission, and a director of the Dallas Historical Society. The James Butler Bonham Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas made him an honorary member. He was a member of the Texas Philosophical Societyqv and the Dallas Rotary Club, a Mason, and a Presbyterian.

Howard served in the Spanish-American War and became surgeon general of the Spanish-American Veterans of the United States. He was decorated by the president of Cuba as a knight of the Order of Carlos Finlay and was made a knight of the Cuban Legion of Honor. The Department of State appointed him to represent President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the centennial of the medical school of the University of Mexico (1933), after which he was commended by Ambassador Josephus Daniels.

Howard was a member of the staff of Dallas City Hospital and was vice president of St. Paul's Sanitarium in Dallas. He was a member of the Dallas County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He retired from practice in 1942. Howard and his wife, Augusta, had one son and one daughter. Dr. Howard was a resident of San Antonio and Dallas, and both his profession and his hobby led him on extensive travels. He died in Dallas on February 21, 1948, of a heart attack.

Camilla Boykin Campbell, William Eager Howard-A Short Biography (San Antonio: Carleton Printing, 1961). Pat Ireland Nixon, A Century of Medicine in San Antonio (San Antonio, 1936).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Martha D. Utterback, "HOWARD, WILLIAM EAGER," accessed July 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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