Andrews, Jessie (1867–1919)

By: Margaret C. Berry

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 2, 2017

Jessie Andrews, the first woman teacher at the University of Texas, one of five children of Jesse and Margaret L. (Miller) Andrews, was born in Washington, Mississippi, on February 17, 1867. She moved to Texas with her mother about 1874; her father, who had come earlier for his health, died less than a year later, and Margaret Andrews opened a boarding house near the Capitol to support the family. Jessie graduated from Austin High School, where she won the Peabody Award as the outstanding honor graduate. She became the first female to complete the entrance examinations and enter the new University of Texas in 1883. She majored in German. In 1886 she received a B.Litt. degree and thus became the first woman to graduate at UT. At the commencement ceremony she was presented a special award as the first female graduate and member of the Alumni Association. When a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at the university in 1904, she was elected to membership.

After teaching for a year in Mrs. Hood's Seminary for Young Ladies in Austin, Jessie Andrews taught German and French at the University of Texas, beginning in 1888. She thus became the first woman teacher at UT. In 1918, after becoming disillusioned with Germany because of World War I, she resigned and joined her sister in operating a store. She was a Presbyterian and an active member of the YWCA. She was chosen poet laureate by the Texas Woman's Press Association. A book of her poems was published in 1910 under the title Rough Rider Rhymes, and her verse also appeared in several magazines. She earned a master of philosophy degree from the University of Chicago in 1906, after studying there for nine summers. She died of pneumonia on December 23, 1919. Jessie Andrews Dormitory, built on the University of Texas campus in 1936, is named for her.

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Alcalde (magazine of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas), May 1920. Austin American-Statesman, May 5, 1989. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Foreign Languages
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Poets
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Austin
  • Central Texas

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

Margaret C. Berry, “Andrews, Jessie,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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August 2, 2017

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