A regional historian of imagination and vision, Walter Prescott Webb presented his studies of the frontier, the Great Plains, and his beloved Texas in terms that enhanced the reader's understanding of the entire national experience. Born into a poor East Texas family at a time when the plains were succumbing to the pressure of white civilization, he was a true product of his environment and liked to say that he had begun research on his classical study The Great Plains (1931) "when I was four." Trained at the University of Texas, he began teaching there as well in 1918; yet a series of misadventures prevented him from receiving his Ph.D. until 1932. In 1938 he was Harkness lecturer in American history at the University of London and several years later Harmsworth Professor of American history at Oxford University. Although Webb's work excited controversy and sharp criticism in some quarters, it inspired significant new thinking about the role of regionalism and the environment in the nation's history. In his presidential address to the American Historical Association in 1958, Webb spoke of "History as High Adventure," an apt reflection of his lifelong approach to his work.