Maverick, Fontaine Maury (1895–1954)

By: Richard B. Henderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: October 18, 2016

Maury Maverick, congressman and mayor, son of Albert and Jane Lewis (Maury) Maverick and grandson of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on October 23, 1895. He was educated in the public schools of San Antonio, Virginia Military Institute, the University of Texas in Austin, and the University of Texas School of Law. In World War I Maverick was a first lieutenant in the Twenty-eighth Infantry, First Division; he received the Silver Star and other decorations in the Argonne offensive, an engagement in which he was twice critically wounded. He married Terrell Louise Dobbs (who after his death married Walter Prescott Webb on May 22, 1920, and they had two children. He served as tax collector of Bexar County (1930–34), congressman from the Twentieth District (1935–38), mayor of San Antonio (1939–41), and member of the War Production Board and chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation (1941–46). As a New Deal congressman he attracted national attention as the organizer of a group of "maverick" congressmen who tried to "out-New Deal" the New Deal. He was influential in the passage of the Patman Bonus Bill, neutrality legislation, a measure strengthening the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Public Utilities Holding Company Act, legislation establishing the National Cancer Institute, and in the defeat of bills that threatened civil liberties. As mayor of San Antonio, Maverick was generally credited with bringing reform to the Alamo city with an honest and efficient administration. He was most proud of his leadership in the restoration of La Villita, a Spanish village in the heart of San Antonio. In World War II Maverick gained a reputation as an able administrator and a champion of small business as chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation. As a lawyer, Maverick gained fame as a defender of civil liberties. He was the author of A Maverick American (1937), In Blood and Ink: The Life and Documents of American Democracy (1939), and numerous articles on public affairs. He died in San Antonio on June 7, 1954.

Bruce Catton, The War Lords of Washington (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1948). Judith Kaaz Doyle, An Ironic Crusade: Maury Maverick, San Antonio Politics, and the Black Political Machine, 1938–1941 (M.A. report, University of Texas at Austin, 1982). Judith Kaaz Doyle, Out of Step: Maury Maverick and the Politics of the Depression and the New Deal (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1989). Richard B. Henderson, Maury Maverick: A Political Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Maury Maverick, A Maverick American (New York: Covici-Friede, 1937). John Thomas Slater, ed., The American Politician (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1938).

Time Periods:
  • Great Depression

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

Richard B. Henderson, “Maverick, Fontaine Maury,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

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October 18, 2016