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C.E. (Cecil Eugene) Evans papers

Identifier: 21.900-02-Evans

Scope and Contents

The C.E. Evans papers (circa 1894-1958; 1966) are composed primarily of materials generated by Dr. Evans while he was president of SWTSTC; however, some documents, speeches, articles and especially newspaper clippings date from the period before Dr. Evans came to Texas (circa 1885). The bulk of the papers are from the 1911 to 1950 period, the years when Evans held the presidency at SWTSTC and the years immediately following his retirement. Education and construction at SWTSTC, education (in general), and politics, represent the overwhelming focus. Individual parts of the papers were indexed by the creator and serve as important finding aids to its contents.

There are eleven series of materials: correspondence, administrative files, financial documents, diaries and minutes, legal documents, special interests, literary productions, printed materials, personal, photographs, and artifacts. A large part of the correspondence is between the presidents of the Normal/Teacher Colleges and also between the presidents and members of the Board of Regents. The Administrative Files include a wide assortment of materials that were assembled in working with Federal and State government agencies (mid-1920s to mid-1940s). Literary productions are in manuscript and printed form (circa 1897; 1908-1957, bulk 1911-1950). Dominant in this group are addresses in their original and manuscript forms; however, printed and published versions are also included. In addition, there are indexes to speeches, research notes and annotated duplicates.

Most literary productions were composed by Evans; however, others were collected by him. Most often the compositions (usually undated) were produced for publication or for documentation as a part of a report. Among the composition are included histories of: Hays County, SWTSTC (1917), the Board of regents, and Education in Texas. Annotated reports to the Board of Regents bulk in the 1929-1944 and 1946-1950 periods. Evans’ major literary production, The Story of Texas Schools, is documented in manuscript versions, research notes, and accumulated research material. Indexed accumulations include correspondence, literary productions, minutes of meetings, published articles, reports, school and other histories (bulk 1921-1949).

Other research documentation is included in seven numbered and indexed scrapbooks (1950-1955). This unique set includes research notes, narratives, statistics, bibliographies, references, and maps regarding public and private education in Texas (1930-1955). Three individual early undated newspaper scrapbooks focus on Texas and U.S. education and comprise additional research material for The Story of Texas Schools and other Evans publications.

In addition, other scrapbooks focus on SWTSTC education and bring together early class schedules and assignments, tax schedules, bulletins, programs, a SWTSTC history (1917), and a large group of form letters, (1911-1927). Within each of 15 scrapbooks is included some references to education (SWTSTC, Texas, and U.S.), and politics (local, state, national). Two additional scrapbooks focus specifically on the 25th anniversary of Dr. Evans’ SWTSTC Presidency and on his retirement from that position (1936-1943). Also included are printed materials such as awards, certificates, booklets, broadsides, bulletins, cards, diplomas, flyers, invitations, pamphlets, and programs (1897, 1909, 1913-1915. Bulk 1827-1958).

Diaries and minutes also comprise a significant part of the papers. Included are 144 notation books (1909-1950), Dr. Evans’ “Red Books,” containing notes about daily activities, random data, reminders, thoughts, and impressions experienced by the creator. In addition, a day book, class record book, and Minutes of the Board of Regents of the State Teachers Colleges and a small group of Normal/Teachers College Presidents Reports (circa 1934-1942; 1950-1956) are included.

An important, though small, part of the papers are photographs. While many are not identified, they represent personal and professional associates and family members. One group of SWTSTC building photographs (circa 1943) depicts the campus at the time of Evans’ retirement; other SWTSTC campus photographs are not identified.

There is a small section of personal family material.


  • 1894-1966


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by Texas State University. Educational reproduction is allowed without permission. Authorization to publish must be obtained from the Special Collections and Archives.

Archives and Records Request Form

Biographical note

Cecil Eugene Evans was born in Bowdon, Georgia, January 21, 1871, the second child in a family of seven children. Evans was the eldest son. He spent most of his growing-up years in Ashland, Alabama where he attended public schools, received his high school diploma and in 1888, his B.A. degree from Oxford College. He continued his professional training in summer quarters at the State Normal College, Troy Alabama in 1891 and 1892 and the University of Texas, Austin, Texas in 1896, 1904, and 1906 and the regular session of 1905-1906. He was granted his M.A. degree in 1906 from the University of Texas. Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas presented Evans with an LL.D. in 1923. By this time, he had married Allie Maxwell of Anson, Texas (May 18, 1899) and their one child, Bernice had been born. (Bernice later married Erwin L. Soyars, Jr. and made her home in Sabinal, Texas.)

Evans’ professional career began as the principal of village schools in Alabama, where he remained until 1893 when he moved to Texas. Here he lived the rest of his life; serving first as an assistant principal in the high school in Mexia (1894-1895), then as superintendent in the public schools of Anson (1895-1902), of Merkel (1902-1905), and finally in Abilene (1906-1908). He resigned this position to become the general agent of the Conference for Education in Texas, a position he retained from 1908-1911 when he was chosen the second president of Southwest Texas State Normal School, March 24, 1911. Throughout the rest of his professional career, he served the citizens of Texas in this position. He retired from the active presidency, after 31 years, in 1942. He was named President Emeritus at that time. He has been numbered among the leaders in Texas education. While the general agent for the Conference, he actively sought improvement of County Common Schools (rural) and amendments to the Texas State Constitution that were favorable to them. Three separate school amendments were adopted largely through the influence of the Conference while Evans represented it.

After assuming the presidency at SWTSNC, he served on the State Textbook Board (1912-1913), was a member of the State Board for Nomination of textbook Board members (1917-1927), was a member of the Texas Accrediting Committee (1921-1940); he also served as the president of the Council of Teacher College Presidents (1923-1942). Throughout much of this period (1917-1936) the SWTSTC President and the Presidents of the other Normal/Teachers Colleges in Texas banded together to ward off the sustained attack upon their existence. Evans built his own college from a one-year Normal School to a College offering a Masters Degree; simultaneously experimenting with a comprehensive (multi-level) laboratory school which encomposed the entire San Marcos community. He was recognized as one of the top ten most distinguished and respected educators of the first half of the twentieth century.

Evans made other important contributions as a professional educator, a civic leader, a churchman, orator, and writer. His most significant publication, The Story of Texas Schools, is a comprehensive story of the growth and development of education in Texas. His numerous addresses and articles also touch a wide variety of timely late 19th and 20th Century topics. He was an active Democrat, Rotarian, Mason, and a devoted member of the Methodist Church. Evans died on August 11, 1958.


27.42 Linear Feet (50 document boxes, 1 flat oversized box, 1 oversized folder in G tray, 6 ledgers, 2 folders in vertical file)

Language of Materials



The C. E. Evans Papers were a gift to Southwest Texas State University Archives in 1987 from his daughter, Bernice (Mrs. Erwin L.) Soyars, Jr., and others. Dr. Evans’ 31 year career as president of the College parallels the early growth and development of the institution, (1911-1942). The papers hold two major strengths: documentation of Southwest Texas State Teachers College (SWTSTC) activity and documentation of Dr. Evans growth as an educator, administrator, and literary figure. The College growth is demonstrated in the administrative files, the correspondence, and through written notation books, the ephemera accumulations, and an extensive scrapbook series; the growth of Dr. Evans is demonstrated through his prolific speech and composition writing, finally culminating in a major professional literary work, The Story of Texas Schools, published in 1955.

A subtle thread weaving throughout the papers is the political interest of Dr. Evans and the influence which that interest had upon the development of the College during the years of his Presidency. When he first came to Texas, he served as the General Agent for the Conference of Education, a State agency. He subsequently was appointed to the SWTSNC Presidency by Gov. O.B. Colquitt, in the Governor’s first term. The importance of Dr. Evan’s relationship with other governors, local, state, and national political figures is reflected in the literary productions, correspondence, diaries, scrapbook entries, and ephemera.

The Evans Papers demonstrates the positive aspect of collecting and record keeping. The notation books represent a complete series. Also, large segments of documentation for his literary productions, College statistics and depression era campus construction and research notes are substantially complete.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site. Advance notice may be required for use.

Custodial History

Before the papers were given to the University Archives, they were in the possession of Tom W. Nichols, Evans’ secretary and biographer, who used the papers to write Rugged Summit. Some of the papers contain Nichols’ shorthand notes. Parts were apparently rearranged and no longer reflect the creator’s original order, it does, however, reflect the interest, style, and detailed overview of the several involvements of the creator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Evans Collection was a gift to Southwest Texas State University Archives in 1987 by the heirs of C. E. Evans, Bernice (Mrs. Erwin L.) Soyars, Jr., a daughter, and others.


College expense ledgers transferred by Misty Hopper, University Libraries cataloging department, 2021 September 8.

Related Materials

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum holds correspondence bewteen LBJ and C. E. Evans dating 1937-1957, bulk 1939-1941. See the Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives Collection, 1931-1968.

C.E. (Cecil Eugene) Evans papers
Under Revision
Iris T. Schumann, 1982; Jared Schampers, 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Alkek Library Room 580
601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA