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UT School of Law Early Deans 1902-1974

George C. Butte, 1923-1924

George Charles Butte (1877-1940) was born in San Francisco on May 9, 1877. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Texas. George C. ButteButte received his B. A. from Austin College in 1895 as well as B. A. and M. A. degrees from the University of Texas in 1903 and 1904. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1903 and the Oklahoma bar in 1904. Butte practiced in Muskogee, Oklahoma until 1911, when he moved to Germany to attend the University of Berlin. Butte obtained a degree in jurisprudence from Heidelberg University in 1913 and studied at the École de Droit until 1914. He quit his studies to return to Texas where he was appointed professor of law at the University of Texas.

Photo of George C. Butte from The Alcalde,
February 1940

During World War I, Butte volunteered for army service where he achieved the rank of major and held the position of Chief of the Foreign Intelligence Section of the General Staff until March 1919. Upon his return, Butte took a one year leave of absence from the University in October 1919 in order to work for the oil and gas division of the Texas Railroad Commission implementing strategies for oil conservation.

Butte returned to the University of Texas School of Law in 1920. He served as dean of the Law School from 1923 through 1924. In 1924, he stepped down from this position to run for governor of Texas but was defeated by Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson.

In 1925, Butte was appointed Attorney General of Puerto Rico. He then served as Vice Chairman for the Puerto Rican Public Service Commission. From 1926 to 1927, he was Acting Governor of Puerto Rico before being appointed Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General, John G. Sargent, in 1928. Butte served as Vice Governor and Secretary of Public Instruction of the Philippine Islands, then a U.S. territory, in 1930 and as Acting Governor from 1931 to 1932. In 1932, Butte was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines by President Herbert Hoover. In 1936, he left the Court to create regulations for oil and natural gas conservation in Texas at the request of the Texas Railroad Commission.

In 1913, Butte published Great Britain and the Panama Canal and Amerikanische Prisengerichtsbarkeit, a monograph on American enterprise. His articles include Early Development of Equity in Texas, published by the Yale Law Journal in 1917.

Butte was a member of the American Society of International Law, the American Law Institute, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Theta Phi, and a thirty-third degree Mason. He was an honorary life member of the State Bar of Texas and honorary president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

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