Claude Elliott (1896-1958) was a historian, university professor and administrator, writer, and collector of Texas history material. He was born in Cross Plains, Texas, on September 21, 1896, and grew up and received his early education in Dora, Texas. He attended Abilene Christian College, Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University) and West Texas State Teachers College, then served in the United States Navy during World War I. He completed his undergraduate education in 1923, receiving a bachelor of arts degree from Southwest Texas Teachers College (later Southwest Texas State University and now Texas State University). In 1928 he received a master of arts, and in 1934 a doctorate of philosophy, from the University of Texas at Austin, studying under Eugene C. Barker, Charles W. Ramsdell, and Walter P. Webb. Elliott taught school while working on his graduate degrees: he taught history and served as the principal at Donna High School, served as superintendent of the La Feria school system, and taught history at UT. In 1927 he married Emma Edwin Moore of San Marcos.
Elliot held a number of positions at Southwest Texas State University. He was professor of history 1929 to 1942, registrar and director of personnel 1942 to 1949, coordinator of veteran affairs 1943 to 1945, and the first dean of graduate studies 1949 to 1958. He was a member of a number of historical organizations, including the Texas State Historical Association, the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, and the Classroom Teachers Association. Elliott was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, serving as vice-president 1947 to 1952 and president 1953 to 1955. He was a member of the advisory council and a major contributor to the first two volumes of the Handbook of Texas.
His publications include Leathercoat: The Life History of a Texas Patriot (1938), and Theses on Texas History (1955). Texas: Wilderness to Space Age was published posthumously in 1962 by his wife and Dr. William Pool of Southwest Texas State University. Elliott's articles were published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, the Georgia Historical Review, the Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (now the Social Science Quarterly), and the Journal of Southern History.