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Records of Edward McShane Waits, 1906-1950 (inclusive), 1925-1940 (bulk).

Identifier: RU 11

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The papers document the life and career of Edward McShane Waits as President of TCU.  The papers in Series I contain information related to his personal life and career as a minister and a university administrator, as well as his active involvement in the local community.  The administrative material in Series II covers all aspects of his administrative duties at TCU, including student life, academic departments, Brite Divinity School, alumni, and the Board of Trustees.  Other components of this collection are his unpublished writings and speeches and his professional correspondence.  His speeches and writings related to TCU as well as the administrative material are the highlights of the collection due to their reflection of a wide range of campus life.


  • Creation: 1906-1950


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Edward McShane Waits was born on April 29, 1871 in Cynthiana, Kentucky.  Waits attended Kentucky Wesleyan College and then graduated from the College of the Bible of Transylvania University with a B.A. in 1896.  In 1898, he married Sarah Wooten, who died in 1915.  They had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Waits. 

Waits began his career as a minister of the Disciples of Christ church in Fulton, Kentucky in 1896.  In 1902 he became pastor of a church in El Paso, Texas before moving to Fort Worth to serve as minister of Magnolia Avenue Christian Church in 1906.  In 1910 he became involved in Texas Christian University, serving as secretary of the Board of Trustees from 1910 to 1916 as well as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Board from 1911 to 1916. 

Waits resigned as pastor of Magnolia Avenue Christian Church in 1916 in order to accept a pastor position in California, but instead he accepted the Board of Trustee's offer of the presidency of TCU.  He served as president of the university until his retirement in 1941.  Overall, he presided over a period of growth for the university, including paying off the university's debt, securing its endowment, increasing the property value, securing the Mary Couts Burnett Trust of almost $3 million, increasing student registrations, increasing the number of faculty members, and instituting faculty tenure.

Among his honorary titles were Doctor of Laws degrees from Transylvania University (1923), TCU (1923), and Austin College in Sherman, Texas (1924).  In 1929, he wrote A College Man's Religion.  Waits retired in 1941 and received the title of Professor Emeritus.  The E.M. Waits Dormitory was named in his honor in 1947.  Edward McShane Waits died on December 26, 1949 after a long illness. 


12.0 Linear feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series and one addition:  I.  Personal Papers, 1916-1950.  II.  Administrative Materials, 1912-1942.  III.  Speeches and Writings, 1906, 1929.  IV.  Correspondence, 1920-1943.  Accession 2009-A-005, 1935.

Physical Location

Vault BC 5-6; BD 1-3

Guide to the Records of Edward McShane Waits
Compiled by Claire C. Galloway
September 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)