Tobin, Margaret Lynn Batts (1900–1989)

By: Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 1995

Margaret Lynn Batts Tobin, civic leader and member of the University of Texas System board of regents, was born in Austin on July 28, 1900, one of three children of Robert Lynn Batts and Harriet Fiquet Boak Batts. As a young girl, Margaret was exposed to the cultural riches of New York City, from which she gained a lifelong appreciation for operatic and symphonic performances. She apparently attended the University of Texas at Austin sometime before 1920 but did not graduate. In 1926 Margaret married Edgar Tobin, founder of an aerial survey company in San Antonio; the couple had two children. They made their home in San Antonio, where Margaret became involved in numerous civic endeavors. She was instrumental in the organization of a symphony orchestra in the city in 1939 and in the establishment of an opera series a few years later. Tobin served as president of the Symphony Society in 1951 and subsequently chaired its board. She also sat on the advisory board of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and was a member of the Met's managing board of directors. Other civic work for Tobin included serving as president of the McNay Art Institute (see MARION KOOGLER MCNAY ART MUSEUM) and on the national board of Recording for the Blind. She also was active in the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, and San Antonio Community Chest. In 1947 Governor Beauford H. Jester appointed Tobin to fill an unexpired term on the board of regents of the University of Texas. The daughter of a former chair of this board, she became the third woman to serve as a regent. Tobin was reappointed by Governor Jester to a full six-year term in 1949 and served until 1955. During her service on the board the university dedicated Batts Hall, a modern-languages building named for her father. After her husband died in a plane crash in 1954, Margaret Tobin chaired the board of his company. Later in her life she maintained homes in both New York and San Antonio. She considered herself a Democrat but campaigned actively for Dwight D. Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller. She was also a member of the Episcopalian Church. Margaret Tobin died in San Antonio on August 3, 1989, and was survived by her son. She was buried in San Antonio.

Visit the Texas Women Project's standalone website

The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.

Visit Website
San Antonio Express-News, February 19, 1978. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, San Antonio Public Library.


  • Education
  • School Trustees and Regents
  • Women
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders

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

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, “Tobin, Margaret Lynn Batts,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: