William Campbell Binkley, historian and teacher, was born on April 30, 1889, at Newbern, Tennessee. He studied history at the University of California, where he received a B.A. (1917), an M.A. (1918), and a Ph.D. (1920). Binkley began teaching history at Colorado College in 1921 and became a full professor in 1925. He was a student of the history of the West and the frontier, but his special interest was Texas history. From 1930 to 1953 he was professor and chairman of the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. In 1953 he was named professor of history at Tulane University and editor of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, positions he held until his retirement in 1963; he was given an honorary LL.D. degree by Tulane in 1964.
During his long teaching career Binkley spent many summers in Austin teaching at the University of Texas and doing research. He was looked upon there as an ex officio member of the history department and worked with those who were also interested in his special field, notably Eugene C. Barker and Walter Prescott Webb. After his retirement from Tulane, where he was named professor emeritus, Binkley lived in Austin for a year working on the official correspondence of the Republic of Texas. He taught in 1965–66 at the University of Houston, where he was distinguished professor of American history. He returned to New Orleans and taught history at University College, a part of the adult continuing-education division of Tulane University, until February 1970.
In addition to editing the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Binkley edited the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and the Journal of Southern History. He was a founder of the Southern Historical Association and was active in that organization as well as in the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and the American Historical Association. He became a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas in 1940. Binkley wrote numerous articles for historical journals. His three major works were The Expansionist Movement in Texas, 1836–1850 (1925), Official Correspondence of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (1935), and The Texas Revolution (1952). He died on August 19, 1970, and was survived by his wife, Vera (McGlothlin), and two daughters. He was buried in Lake Lawn Park and Mausoleum, New Orleans.
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New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 20, 1970. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Binkley, William Campbell,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 17, 2020