Transcript of Eugene C. Barker

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.

Eugene Barker, in the words of his biographer, "did more than any other historian to show the influence that Texas exerted in shaping the destiny of the United States."

Born in East Texas in 1874, Barker first attended The University of Texas at Austin in 1895. His life intertwined with that of the young school, helping to make it the "university of the first class" called for in the state constitution.

Between 1915 and 1917, Barker was a leading voice in the university's struggles with Governor Jim Ferguson over academic freedom. Barker had a reputation for being stern, fair, and honest, qualities that made him a legendary teacher and colleague.

As a scholar, Barker furthered the study of Texas and expanded the Texas State Historical Association. In 1925, he published the first biography of Stephen F. Austin. Through this and other works, Barker made narratives of the borderlands central to American history.

Barker's influence was large. His students Walter Prescott Webb and Carlos CastaƱeda continued to make Austin a capital for scholarship on the American Southwest. In 1950, UT dedicated the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center, the first time the university named a campus facility for a living faculty member. Barker retired shortly thereafter and died in 1956.

More information about Eugene Barker and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.