Greer, Hilton Ross (1879–1949)

By: Brian Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 23, 2020

Hilton Ross Greer, journalist and poet, was born to Samuel Jeffries and Isabella Jane (Boren) Greer on December 10, 1879, at Hawkins, Texas. He was educated at a private school operated by his mother and in the public schools of Pittsburg, Texas. At twenty he entered the newspaper business as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Pittsburg Gazette. Shortly thereafter he moved to Louisiana, where he worked as a reporter for the Shreveport Times until 1901, when he was hired to administer the Sherman, Texas, office of the Denison Herald.

From 1902 until 1904 Greer was employed in Washington, D.C., as a secretary to Congressman Choice Boswell Randell. He also served as Washington correspondent for a number of Texas newspapers. Upon his return to Texas he was hired as associate editor of the Sherman Register. He soon moved to Austin, where he continued his career in journalism while he attended the University of Texas from 1908 to 1910. He also worked for a time as a clerk in the General Land Office and as a reporter in San Antonio. In 1901 he became managing editor of the Amarillo Daily Panhandle. He was later managing editor of the Amarillo Daily News. He was appointed to fill his district's vacancy in the Thirty-third Legislature in 1913. He moved to Dallas the following year to work as editorial-page editor of the Dallas Evening Journal. Greer remained a Dallas newspaperman for twenty-four years. In 1933 he began a daily column that he continued until he was promoted to literary editor. When the owners of the Dallas Morning News purchased the Evening Journal in 1938, Greer became an editorial writer and literary columnist for the News.

He sought to introduce readers to Texas and southwestern literature through many articles. During the Texas Centennial, 1935–36, he wrote and published over 100 articles focusing on Texas writers. He published a number of volumes of poetry, including Sun Gleams and Gossamers (1903), The Spider and Other Poems (1906), A Prairie Prayer and Other Poems (1912), and Ten and Twenty Aprils (1935). He also edited a number of anthologies of state and regional writers. Among those collections were Voices of the Southwest: A Book of Texan Verse (1923), Best Short Stories from the Southwest (1928 and 1931), and New Voices from the Southwest (1934). He was a founding member of the Poetry Society of Texas, organized in 1921, and served as the group's president from 1921 to 1940. When he declined another term in 1941, he was made honorary president for life. He also helped organize the Texas Institute of Letters in 1937 and served as its president from 1942 through 1944.

Greer was a member of the Democratic party, the Presbyterian Church, and a number of fraternal organizations, including the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Woodmen of the World. He was also a member of the Texas Geographic Society, the Texas Folklore Society, the Poetry Society of America, and the Poetry Society of England, which he served as vice president from 1934 through 1938. On June 29, 1914, he married Imogene Puryear Agard; they raised two daughters. Greer died at his home in Dallas on November 26, 1949.

Dallas Morning News, November 27, 1949. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 38. Leonidas Warren Payne, Survey of Texas Literature (New York: Rand McNally, 1928). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 3.

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Poets
  • Scholars, Editors, and Critics
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Brian Hart, “Greer, Hilton Ross,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 23, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: