Cody, Claude Carr (1854–1923)

By: Jon D. Swartz

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Claude Carr Cody, teacher, mathematician, and university administrator, son of Madison Derrell and Fanny (Carr) Cody, was born in Covington, Georgia, on November 5, 1854. In 1875 he received an A.B. degree from Emory College with highest honors, and in 1878 Emory awarded him the A.M. degree. After three years he returned to Emory to receive an honorary doctorate. In 1898 he continued his studies at Cornell University. On January 20, 1879, Cody became professor of mathematics at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. With great distinction he taught and served Southwestern for thirty-seven years. He also served as Southwestern's first dean and occasionally taught large numbers of students. In addition, at various times during his long tenure he was manager of the dormitories, secretary and chairman of the faculty, a member and secretary of the executive committee, treasurer of the university, and librarian. Known in his later years as the "Grand Old Man of Southwestern," he was "a leading candidate for the honor of being the most beloved teacher in the history of the institution" and was twice its acting president. One of Cody's greatest contributions to Southwestern and one of the toughest battles he had to fight was his role in the controversy that arose in 1910–11 over the proposal to move the university to Dallas. Cody's leadership against the proposal was important in keeping Southwestern in Georgetown, and Texas Wesleyan University (later Southern Methodist University) was founded in Dallas instead.

Cody published a biography of Southwestern's first president, The Life and Labors of Francis Asbury Mood, D.D. (1886), and, in collaboration with W. H. Bruce, several mathematics textbooks. He was an editor of the Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly and helped found the Texas Methodist Historical Association. He was a Democrat and participated in local and statewide religious and civic affairs and county politics.

On December 29, 1883, Cody married Martha R. Hughes, daughter of Judge Thomas Proctor Hughes. They had three sons, who, because of their close association with Southwestern, had a lifelong interest in the university. In the 1930s, as president of the board of trustees, Cody's eldest son, C. C. Cody, Jr., played a major role in saving Southwestern from a crippling debt. Cody resigned his deanship in 1915. He died on June 26, 1923, and was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Georgetown. The fund for a library at Southwestern was begun immediately after his death, and in 1939 the Cody Memorial Library was completed and dedicated to his memory.

Claude Carr Cody Papers, Cody Memorial Library, Southwestern University. Ralph W. Jones, Southwestern University, 1840–1961 (Austin: Jenkins, 1973). Who's Who in America, 1920–21.
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Math
  • University Presidents and School Administrators

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

Jon D. Swartz, “Cody, Claude Carr,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994