Campus Life

Texas A&M Professor, Historian Henry Dethloff Dies At Age 84

Henry Clay Dethloff wrote "Texas Aggies Go to War" and "A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976," a title that is considered to be the definitive history of Texas A&M.
By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing &Communications January 28, 2019

Henry Clay Dethloff, a longtime renowned history professor at Texas A&M University who authored what is considered the definitive history of Texas A&M, died Jan. 25 following a lengthy illness. He was 84.

Dethloff graduated in 1952 from Natchitoches High School and went on to graduate from the University of Texas in 1956 and earned his master’s degree in 1960 from Northwestern State University. He received his Ph.D from the University of Missouri in 1964.

He was a history professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana from 1962-69 and became a faculty member in the history department of Texas A&M in 1969, serving as head from 1980-85.

He was known as a colorful writer and was praised by many former students as being one of their favorite professors.

Dethloff and the former Myrtle Anne Elliott, married on Aug. 27, 1961 and the couple had two sons, Carl Henry Dethloff and Clay Elliott Dethloff.

 A prolific writer, Dethloff wrote numerous books, including A Pictorial History of Texas A&M: A Tradition in Higher Education in 1975 and followed it with A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976.

Other notable works include

  • The United States and The Global Economy
  • Texas Aggies Go to War
  • Our Louisiana Legacy
  • Southwestern Agriculture
  • Sterling C. Evans: Life, Learning and Literature
  • Special Kind of Doctor: A History of Veterinary Medicine in Texas

Dethloff was also an officer in the U.S. Navy for two years starting in 1956.

“We go back over 45 years. He’s a combination of mentor and best friend,” said John Adams, a former student and co-author with Dethloff.

Adams said Dethloff was an inspiration and mentor to historians as well.

“One of his great impacts was the ‘Centennial History’ in 1976. It was the first fully-researched documentation of the history of the university. He drove home those three things – teaching, research and extension – which are the hallmarks of a land-grant university. No one, I think, had really documented and quantified that history.”

“This is a great personal loss of a great friend and mentor. He had a lasting impact on thousands of Aggies.”

A celebration of life service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the First United Methodist Church in Bryan, Texas. Arrangements are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station.

Media contact: Keith Randall, (979) 845-4644 or

Related Stories

Recent Stories