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The Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society of the University of Houston-Downtown is a charter member of the statewide student organization established in 1974 at Waco, Texas.
The chapter and the statewide organization are affiliated with the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), the oldest and most prestigious professional historical association in the state. Established in 1897, the TSHA publishes the Southwest Historical Quarterly and other scholarly works and holds annual conferences at its headquarters in Austin and other Texas cities. It recently published the highly-acclaimed new edition of Handbooks of Texas.
The Webb Society, which has chapters at four-year and two-year colleges across the state, is named for the renowned Texas historian, Walter Prescott Webb, who taught at the University of Texas for many years, authored The Great Plains and The Texas Rangers, edited Handbook of Texas and created the Junior Historians in 1940. An organization of junior and senior high school students, the Junior Historians inspired the founding of the Webb Society for college students.
The Webb Society exists to inculcate in young people an appreciation of the state's heritage through such means as conferences, field trips, lectures, research and writing, and participation in civic activities. An annual journal, Touchstone, exhibits the finest of student articles selected in brisk competition. Each chapter is autonomous within the statewide organization and operates under its own charter.
The University of Houston-Downtown chapter has maintained continuous operation since its founding and has won both individual and chapter awards from the parent organization in statewide competition. Individual essay winners have had articles published on Judge Roy Bean, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bordertown, a United States-Mexican national park, and Pacifica Radio of Houston. The chapter has won awards for oral histories of Houston racial integration, Houston minority businesses, and the University of Houston-Downtown. A current major project involves locating and researching historical sites in the Houston area for the placement of Texas Historical Commission markers.
Other activities have included voter registration of UH-Downtown students, annual monetary and food collections for the Houston Food Bank, and this year's first annual golf tournament. Members attend the spring meetings of the Webb Society at the Texas State Historical Association conventions and fall conferences in historic locations. The chapter has visited the missions of San Antonio, the European-founded communities of Fredericksburg and Castroville, Fort Phantom Hill, Spindletop, San Augustine, and Anahuac, among others. They are planning a second trip to New Orleans.
The University of Houston-Downtown Webb Society is open to all students, irrespective of major, race, or creed, who wish to know more of their state and region's rich past and to participate in its preservation.
Conact Dr. A. Allen
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Last updated or reviewed on 6/23/10