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Underwood, Robert Bruce, Dr., 1914-2001


Dr. Bruce Underwood, a journalist and educator had a long and distinguished career in the worlds of the news media and the academy. He was born in 1914 in Tulia, Texas and moved to Brownsville, Texas in 1927. Underwood earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Southern Methodist University in 1934, an M.A. in Education from Stanford University in 1954 and a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1965.

Underwood’s journalism career was wide and varied including the Brownsville Herald, the Dallas Times, Dallas Dispatch, Dallas Times-Herald, and in his later years he contributed to several Brownsville Texas publications including The Rio Grande Valley Business Journal, The Brownsville Times, and the Brownsville Horizon.

Underwood’s career in academia was a long and storied one. He taught journalism at Iona College, Cornell University, Pan American University, and was a visiting Fulbright lecturer at the Universidad de Navarra in Spain for a year. He was chairman of the journalism departments at Temple University, Pace University, and the University of Houston.

In later years he taught English part-time at the University of Texas at Brownsville. He also returned to secondary school teaching at Pace High School in Brownsville. He was a life-long scholar and a frequent user of the Arnulfo Oliveira Memorial Library. Underwood’s education career began in Brownsville, Texas where he was superintendent of El Jardin Independent School District. As a former student of the district Underwood had a special understanding of the 300 students who studied in the one building that contained both an elementary and high school. He also served as principal of the Lyford, Texas elementary school and the Sam Houston elementary school in Harlingen, Texas. He had a long-term commitment to education in the Rio Grande Valley also serving as a founder of the Rio Grande Valley Writer’s Guild.

Underwood served in World War II as a counter-intelligence agent investigating personnel who might have Nazi or communist sympathies. He continued to serve his country remaining active in the reserves until age 60.

Underwood’s family life was a happy one. His wife of 41 years, Carol died in 1996. He is survived by three children: Elizabeth, a graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Thomas Underwood, a tutor in the Department of History at Harvard University, and Walter, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Bruce Underwood Collection

 Collection — Container: 0014
Identifier: BLIBR-0014
Scope and Contents The collection consists of nine boxes of newspapers, newspaper clippings, typescripts, correspondence, college notebooks, course syllabuses, grade books, awards, and other material. The papers document Underwood’s career in journalism and academia.
Dates: 1925 - 2000