Philosophical Society of Texas founded in Houston

December 5th, 1837

On this day in 1837, the Philosophical Society of Texas was founded by twenty-six prominent Texans who met in the capitol of the Republic of Texas at Houston. The purpose of the organization was stated as "the collection and diffusion of correct information regarding the moral and social condition of our country; its finances, statistics and political and military history; its climate, soil and productions ... animals ... aboriginal tribes ... natural curiosities ... mines ... and the thousand other topics of interest which our new and rising republic unfolds to the philosopher, the scholar, and the man of the world." Charter member Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected the society's first president and occasional meetings were held during the annual sessions of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, but the society became inactive before 1845. In 1935 the organization was revived by a group that included George Waverly Briggs, James Quayle Dealey, Herbert P. Gambrell, Samuel Wood Geiser, Umphrey Lee, Charles Shirley Potts, and Ira Kendrick Stephens. Membership was by invitation and was limited to persons who were born within or had resided in the geographical boundaries of the Republic of Texas and who had contributed to the achievement of the original aims of the society. The Philosophical Society had its office in Dallas upon its reorganization, but by the 1990s was headquartered in Austin.

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Philosophical Society of Texas founded in Houston

December 5th, 1837

On this day in 1837, the Philosophical Society of Texas was founded by twenty-six prominent Texans who met in the capitol of the Republic of Texas at Houston. The purpose of the organization was stated as "the collection and diffusion of correct information regarding the moral and social condition of our country; its finances, statistics and political and military history; its climate, soil and productions ... animals ... aboriginal tribes ... natural curiosities ... mines ... and the thousand other topics of interest which our new and rising republic unfolds to the philosopher, the scholar, and the man of the world." Charter member Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected the society's first president and occasional meetings were held during the annual sessions of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, but the society became inactive before 1845. In 1935 the organization was revived by a group that included George Waverly Briggs, James Quayle Dealey, Herbert P. Gambrell, Samuel Wood Geiser, Umphrey Lee, Charles Shirley Potts, and Ira Kendrick Stephens. Membership was by invitation and was limited to persons who were born within or had resided in the geographical boundaries of the Republic of Texas and who had contributed to the achievement of the original aims of the society. The Philosophical Society had its office in Dallas upon its reorganization, but by the 1990s was headquartered in Austin.

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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
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  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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