Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Chester R. Burns

NIXON, PAT IRELAND (1883–1965). Pat Ireland Nixon, physician and historian, was born at Old Nixon, Guadalupe County, Texas, on November 29, 1883, the son of Robert Thomas and Frances Amanda (Andrews) Nixon. He graduated from Luling High School (1900), the Bingham School in Asheville, North Carolina (1902), and the University of Texas (1905). He received a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1909. After postgraduate work in Baltimore hospitals, mostly in gynecology, Nixon began a medical practice in San Antonio, on October 1, 1911. As a general practitioner, he attended patients for more than fifty years. He served on the medical staffs of Baptist Memorial, Nix Memorial, and Santa Rosa hospitals. He also helped found the Bexar County Medical Library during the years after he started his practice. He was president of the Bexar County Medical Association (1926) and the Texas Surgical Society (1956). As a member of the San Antonio Board of Health (first appointed in 1928), Nixon crusaded for improvements in local government and better public health programs in the Alamo city. He served on city or city-county health boards for two decades.

Nixon was the first physician to write extensively on the history of medicine in Texas, a field to which he contributed several articles and three books: A Century of Medicine in San Antonio (1936), The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528–1853 (1946), and The History of the Texas Medical Association, 1853–1953 (1953). He was also editor of Southwest Texas Medicine from 1934 to 1938 and medical editor for the Handbook of Texas (1952). Nixon served as president of the San Antonio Historical Association (1941), the Texas State Historical Association (1946–49), and the Philosophical Society of Texas (1946). He was permanent director of medical history at the Bexar County Medical Library from 1944 to his death and in that position acquired a large number of rare books for the library.

On July 3, 1912, Nixon married Olive Gray Read of Mineola, Texas. They had four sons. As a devout Methodist, Nixon also wrote articles and books about his church and family. In 1957 he received two literary honors-the Summerfield G. Roberts and Clement E. Trout awards. In 1963 he received an honorary doctorate from Trinity University. Nixon donated his extensive collection of Texana to Trinity University in 1964. He died on November 18, 1965, and was interred in Sunset Memorial Park, San Antonio.

Pat Nixon of Texas: Autobiography of a Doctor, ed. Herbert H. Lang (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1979). San Antonio Express, November 19, 1965. Who's Who in America, 1962–63.

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:

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, Chester R. Burns, "NIXON, PAT IRELAND," accessed August 19, 2019,

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

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox