Manuel, Herschel Thurman (1887–1976)

By: Teresa Palomo Acosta

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Herschel Thurman Manuel, professor of educational psychology and advocate for the education of Spanish-speaking children, was born to Asbury Hill and Sarah Jane Manuel on a farm near Freetown, Indiana, on December 24, 1887. He spent his childhood there and was educated in the Freetown schools and the nearby Brownstown High School, from which he graduated in 1905. He received his A.B. degree in mathematics from DePauw University in 1909, an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1914, and a Ph.D. in 1917 from the University of Illinois. Manuel joined the University of Texas faculty in 1925 after serving in the United States Army during World War I. On July 28, 1923, he married Dorothy Broad Beard, a widow with a daughter. They had a daughter and a son. Manuel was named supervisor of the UT freshman testing program in 1935 and went on to help establish and direct the university's Testing and Guidance Bureau, which was later renamed the Measurement and Evaluation Center.

In 1928 he received a grant to conduct research on the education of Spanish-speaking children. This work resulted in his book, The Education of Mexican and Spanish-speaking Children in Texas (1930). Three decades later he published another book dealing with the same subject, Spanish-speaking Children of the Southwest: Their education and the Public Welfare (1965). In the interim Manuel produced other related studies and allied himself with the League of United Latin American Citizens. On various occasions he addressed LULAC meetings; he also contributed to its national news organ, the LULAC News. Manuel argued that education was a birthright and that the state had a responsibility to provide it for the children's benefit as well as for the state's future welfare. He produced a series of bilingual Inter-American tests based on his research on the teaching of English in Puerto Rico. The Educational Testing Service published them in 1950. He was made a fellow in the division of evaluation and measurement of the American Psychological Association and was a diplomate in counseling of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology. Manuel retired from teaching in 1962 and was named professor emeritus of educational psychology. He continued to work as president of Guidance Testing Associates in Austin, which specialized in bilingual educational tests, until 1975. He died on March 21, 1976, in an Austin nursing home. After a memorial service at a funeral home, he was buried in Austin Memorial Park. See also BILINGUAL EDUCATION.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Educators
  • Bilingual Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans

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

Teresa Palomo Acosta, “Manuel, Herschel Thurman,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995

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