Texas Presbyterian College For Girls

By: Lisa C. Maxwell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 24, 2020

Texas Presbyterian College for Girls was founded by the Texas Presbyterian Synod and opened for its first session on September 24, 1902, in Milford, a community that offered the proposed school $25,000 and ten acres of land. A charter was filed with the secretary of state on January 3, 1902. The cornerstone was laid on May 15, 1902. The school opened with thirty-three boarding students, twenty-two day students, and nine faculty members. The school adopted the motto "Christian Women for Christian Homes." It originally offered primary and secondary education, but by 1911 it operated a high school academy separate from the college. Every student was required to take two years of Bible classes. TPC had no regular financing, and it opened with a debt of $5,885. For the first five years the trustees agreed to let Henry Clay Evans, the first president of the college, use the facilities free. After this period he would pay $500 in annual rent. But the student fees did not cover the costs of the college, and in 1908 the debt problem was temporarily relieved with a donation from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. One reason the school was not self-supporting was that it had no boarding facility and so had to turn away potential students. By 1917 it had become clear that the school could not continue to exist without endowment, so $100,000 was raised through donations. Texas Presbyterian College was recognized in 1917–18 as a standard college by the State Board of Examiners. It was already an A-1 member of the Association of Texas Colleges (later the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities). The Southern Association of Women's Colleges and the Educational Association of the Southern Presbyterian Church recognized Texas Presbyterian as a member.

The main building was the only structure at the college in 1902; more buildings were needed by 1903. The synod originally planned five buildings and later seven, to be arranged in a quadrangle, but only five were ever completed. The campus first comprised ten, and later forty, acres of landscaped lawn. In 1916 the Evans Library was opened at the college in honor of Henry C. Evans. The last major development of Texas Presbyterian College was the formation of the Lelia Verner Lodge, a camp two miles from the campus, in honor of the president's wife. The value of the buildings in 1926 was $250,000. More than 4,000 students attended Texas Presbyterian College or its academy during its twenty-seven years. The school reached its peak enrollment of 226 in 1914–15. World War I caused a drop to 143 in 1916–17 and 131 in 1917–18. By 1927 the enrollment was ninety-six. Texas Presbyterian College closed after commencement on June 5, 1929. It was consolidated with Austin College in Sherman. Everything movable was transferred, including the Henry C. Evans Library. The buildings brought $20,000 at auction after debts were paid.

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Dallas Morning News, May 2, October 5, 1902. Edna Davis Hawkins et al., History of Ellis County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972). William Franklin Ledlow, History of Protestant Education in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1926). William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1936). Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).

  • Education
  • Defunct Colleges and Universities
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian
  • Women

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

Lisa C. Maxwell, “Texas Presbyterian College For Girls,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-presbyterian-college-for-girls.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 24, 2020

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