Heinsohn, Edmund (1888–1989)

By: Les Gronberg

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: October 24, 2019

Edmund Heinsohn, lawyer and Methodist minister, son of Charles and Louise (Schwecke) Heinsohn, was born in Fayetteville, Texas, on July 17, 1888. The family later moved to Bartlett, where Edmund graduated from high school in 1905. He received A.B. and LL. B. degrees in 1911 and 1912 from the University of Texas and opened a law office in Temple in 1912. He was also appointed assistant county attorney for Bell County at that time. After eleven years in the legal profession he entered the Methodist ministry, in October 1923. Following various assignments, including six years at the First Methodist Church in Georgetown, where he served at Southwestern University, he was assigned to the University Methodist Church in Austin in 1934. From 1931 to 1959 he was a trustee of Southwestern University, from which he received an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1931. He was chairman of the board of trustees of Huston-Tillotson College, which awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1946. He was also the first alumnus to receive the J.D. degree from the University of Texas law school when that degree was first offered.

Heinsohn was a member of the Texas State Library and Historical Commission (later the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) for twenty-five years and was twice chairman. He was a member of the Austin Town and Gown Club. He was a Lion, a Rotarian, and a Kiwanian and was selected Most Worthy Citizen of the City of Austin in 1959. Though he was the grandson of a slaveowner, Heinsohn worked to abolish segregation in the Methodist Church and the University of Texas. In 1957 his church became one of the first in Austin to accept black parishioners. He was opposed to war and was named vice president of the Methodist Commission on World Peace in 1940. He married Lollie Grimes in 1917, and they had three daughters. Mrs. Heinsohn died in 1979. Heinsohn preached his last sermon at the age of eighty-five in observance of the 100th anniversary of Southwestern University. He died on August 12, 1989, and was buried at Austin Memorial Park.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Austin American-Statesman, August 15, 1989. Thomas L. Charlton, Oral Memoirs of Edmund Heinsohn (Waco: Baylor University Program for Oral History, 1974). Edmund Heinsohn, Fifty Years: Courtroom-Pulpit (Austin: San Felipe Press, 1972). Edmund Heinsohn Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Religion
  • Methodist

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

Les Gronberg, “Heinsohn, Edmund,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 26, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/heinsohn-edmund.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
October 24, 2019