Texas Baptist University was founded by the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas. The association made plans for the university at its 1904 meeting, and subsequently acquired Patton Seminary in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and constructed a three-story building there. Texas Baptist University opened for classes at that site on September 20, 1905, with Dr. J. R. Pentuff as president and A. S. Laird, former president of Patton Seminary, as professor of mathematics. The Hector C. Garcia Middle School now occupies that location.
TBU offered a bachelor’s degree and operated a school to prepare students for the regular four-year course. It had a conservatory of music and departments of divinity, art, elocution, and business. By April 1908 the faculty numbered fourteen. When plans for the university were made, the Baptist Missionary Association had 563 enrolled churches and was at the peak of its growth, but in the years that followed it began to decline. When it became unable to provide adequate resources, the university’s debts mounted until TBU was forced to close in 1912.
Prior History – The Houston Daily Post on June 16, 1901 ran a display ad featuring the Patton Seminary located in Oak Cliff, Texas. Ad details: Patton Seminary and Conservatory of Music, Select School for Girls. Offers superior advantages to a limited number of students for the session beginning September 10th. Only fifty girls will be admitted in the boarding house. ….. No school in the state offers superior advantages. Certificate admits to Wellesley and State University. Conservatory open all summer. Wellesley College was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, who were passionate about the higher education of women, but it appears that the college was located in Boston.
Postcard courtesy George W. Cook collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The card was postmarked Jan. 14, 1910 at Cleveland, Texas.
Courtesy Texas State Historical Association.