Brian Hart

EMERSON COLLEGE. Emerson College, in Campbell, Hunt County, was established in September 1903 as a private, coeducational institution designed to offer a four-year college program. The school operated for three years. In April B. F. Holcomb, S. W. Miller, J. R. Johnson, and a number of Campbell residents purchased the old Henry College campus from Henry T. Bridges. In September 1903 they opened Emerson College, named for Ralph Waldo Emerson. The institution's facilities consisted of at least an administration-classroom building and dormitories. It maintained music, art, commercial, primary, and liberal arts departments aimed to "train the youth for duties incumbent upon them as citizens of the Republic, as factors of the social structure." Instruction was offered leading to four degrees: bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of literature, and licentiate of instruction. Thirty-six courses were required for a degree. An unexpectedly large initial enrollment of 500 students almost overwhelmed the faculty, administration, and facilities of the new school. Such interest also encouraged the owners to borrow money with which to expand the college. On the heels of this beginning, however, drought and crop failure hit Northeast Texas in 1904 and 1905, ruining the area's economy, substantially reducing Emerson College's enrollment, and decreasing the tuition and fees collected. This reduction of income, which made repayment of the loans impossible, combined with the competition for students provided by such other Hunt County colleges as East Texas Normal College (now East Texas State University) at Commerce and Texas Holiness University at Peniel, forced the institution to close in June 1906.

Jackson Massey, A History of College Education in Hunt County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1928). Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).

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, "EMERSON COLLEGE," accessed August 14, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbe08.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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