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Murphy, Retta (Henrietta), 1886-1981



  • Existence: 1886 - 1981

Biographical statement

Retta (Henrietta) Murphy was born in Mexia, Texas in 1886. She attended high school there before attending Texas Presbyterian College for Girls and then receiving her state teaching certificate from University of Texas in 1914.

In the summer of 1909, Murphy traveled via the S.S. Minniewaska to Europe with a camera and visited seven countries.

She was dean of women and a professor of history at Trinity Presbatyrian School (now Trinity University) before coming to Southwest Texas State Teachers College as a professor of history in 1919. She received her Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of Texas in 1938, and became the first female faculty member at Southwest Texas State to hold a Ph.D. She taught in the History Department until her retirement in 1956, and also temporarily served as chair of the Division of Social Sciences at the end of WWII.

Murphy put her all into teaching at Southwest Texas State Teachers College. Colleagues remembered her as “one of the great legendary figures” of Texas State University, diligent, reading copiously, and for smoking a pipe. In January 1954 she gave the commencement address. When the History Department moved into the old Fine Arts Building, the building was renamed to honor Murphy as well as James Taylor.

Murphy past away 1981 in a San Marcos nursing home at the age of 95.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Retta Murphy collection

Identifier: 90.200-Faculty-1981-Murphy

This collection contains materials related to Retta (Henrietta) Murphy, who was a professor at Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University). Consists of personal items such as her dissertation, diplomas, financial ledgers, and notable two photo albums.

Dates: 1854-1981; Majority of material found within 1902 - 1981