Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


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).

Brian Hart


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

Brian Hart, "EMERSON COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.