Edward Jackson Mathews, university administrator, was born on October 21, 1878, at Clopton, Alabama, and was brought at an early age to Waller County, Texas, by his parents, I. P. and Martha (Wall) Mathews. He graduated from Hempstead High School in 1896 and taught in the public schools for six years; he acted as superintendent of the Salado schools his last year. Following a period as a bookkeeper of a business concern in Waco, Mathews entered the University of Texas in 1907; he received his B.A. degree in 1910 and his M.A. in 1918. During his first student year he became an assistant to the registrar; from 1909 to 1911 he was secretary to the president. Beginning in 1911 he served both as registrar and secretary of the board of regents. In 1914 he was made assistant dean of the College of Arts. He held these three jobs for about ten years, interrupted briefly for military service in World War I. Mathews gave up his other positions in 1935 and assumed the position of registrar and dean of admissions. Having reached the age for retirement in 1949, he received the title dean of admissions, emeritus, and continued in modified service until 1959, when he fully retired.
Mathews served twice as president of the Association of Texas Colleges (later the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities). He was twice president of the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers; in 1914 he served as president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and in 1926 as president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. He was a member of the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Southern Association for many years and in 1929 served as its chairman. For a number of years he was a special consultant of the Monterrey Institute of Technology, in Nuevo León. In 1934 Mathews received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Southwestern University. In 1948, at the celebration of its golden jubilee, Our Lady of the Lake College (now Our Lady of the Lake University) of San Antonio gave him a citation recognizing his service to education and his assistance to the college in its formative years. In 1956 Monterrey Institute of Technology presented the University of Texas an oil portrait in recognition of Mathews's services. He married Ravenna Wakefield on July 29, 1922; they had three children. Mathews was a thirty-second-degree Mason and a deacon of the First Baptist Church in Austin. He died on May 31, 1964, and was buried in Austin Memorial Park.