The Philosophical Society of Texas was formed in 1837 by Texans active in founding the Republic and later State of Texas, including Mirabeau Lamar, Anson Jones, and Sam Houston, to “collect and diffuse knowledge”. Lamar served as the first president of the Society, which met for a few years and then went quiet. In 1936, the State’s Centennial Celebration inspired a revival of the Society.
Since then, for over 85 years, the Society has held Annual Meetings around the state without interruption, focusing each year on a theme of importance to Texas and its future. About the focus of its meetings, the Society’s founders wrote “The field of our research is as boundless in its extent and as various in its character as the subjects of knowledge are numberless and diversified.” Speakers at the Annual Meetings have included state and national leaders in research, arts, and world affairs.
Since 1937, the Meeting’s Proceedings have been shared with libraries statewide. Taking advantage of technology, they are now produced both in print and digitally for wider distribution. The Society also bestows annual prizes on significant works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry by Texas authors or about Texas.