Phillips, William Battle (1857–1918)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

William Battle Phillips, geologist, chemist, and professor, son of Charles and Laura Caroline (Battle) Phillips, was born on April 4, 1857, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He received an A.B. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1877 and a Ph.D. in 1883; he also studied at the School of Mines in Freiburg, Germany. On October 8, 1879, he married Minerva Ruffin McNeil; they had three sons. Phillips held teaching positions in chemistry and metallurgy at the University of North Carolina (1886–88) and the University of Alabama (1891–93). He also worked as a private consulting engineer in Birmingham, Alabama (1888–92), and as a chemist for the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railway Company. In 1900 he was awarded an instructorship in field and economic geology at the University of Texas. From 1901 to 1905 he was director of the University of Texas mining survey and was connected with the Bureau of Economic Geology and Technology of the University of Texas from 1909 to 1914. He was married a second time on January 21, 1908, to Angie Isabel Miller. In 1914 Phillips became president of the Colorado School of Mines. He returned to Texas in 1916 and settled in Houston. During his life he wrote about 300 articles for technical and scientific publications. He was the editor of the Engineering and Mining Journal, American Manufacturer,and Iron World in the 1890s. He died in Houston on June 8, 1918, and was buried in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Galveston Daily News, June 16, 1918. Houston Post, June 8, 1918. University of Texas Record, December 1900. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Sciences, Agriculture, and Engineering

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

Anonymous, “Phillips, William Battle,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995