PHILLIPS, WILLIAM BATTLE (1857–1918). William Battle Phillips, geologist, chemist, and professor, son of Charles and Laura Caroline (Battle) Phillips, was born on April 4, 1857, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He received an A.B. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1877 and a Ph.D. in 1883; he also studied at the School of Mines in Freiburg, Germany. On October 8, 1879, he married Minerva Ruffin McNeil; they had three sons. Phillips held teaching positions in chemistry and metallurgy at the University of North Carolina (1886–88) and the University of Alabama (1891–93). He also worked as a private consulting engineer in Birmingham, Alabama (1888–92), and as a chemist for the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railway Company. In 1900 he was awarded an instructorship in field and economic geology at the University of Texas. From 1901 to 1905 he was director of the University of Texas mining survey and was connected with the Bureau of Economic Geology and Technology of the University of Texas from 1909 to 1914. He was married a second time on January 21, 1908, to Angie Isabel Miller. In 1914 Phillips became president of the Colorado School of Mines. He returned to Texas in 1916 and settled in Houston. During his life he wrote about 300 articles for technical and scientific publications. He was the editor of the Engineering and Mining Journal, American Manufacturer,and Iron World in the 1890s. He died in Houston on June 8, 1918, and was buried in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Galveston Daily News, June 16, 1918. Houston Post, June 8, 1918. University of Texas Record, December 1900. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.

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, "PHILLIPS, WILLIAM BATTLE," accessed August 23, 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