W. Robert Webb

Founder, Webb School of Knoxville

Knoxville native W. Robert Webb was born in 1919. He graduated from the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, a school that was founded by his grandfather.

Webb attended the University of Tennessee and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He began his teaching career in 1946 at the Webb School in Bell Buckle and in 1955 he founded the Webb School of Knoxville. Through his visionary leadership it has become a highly respected educational institution.

In his retirement, Robert Webb helped develop the East Tennessee Historical Society museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Bijou Theatre, and other cultural institutions.

For almost two decades, Robert Webb committed his considerable resolve, energy, and expertise to advance the ETHS mission to preserve, promote, and interpret the region’s history. Mr. Webb served ETHS in many capacities, including as president, vice president and secretary.  His commitment to education led him to his most notable contribution to our organization—the establishment of the Museum of East Tennessee History.

As chair of the “Bringing the Past to Life Campaign”, from 1989-1992, he directed the fundraising efforts to bring this museum to reality. For Robert Webb, a museum wasn’t just artifacts and labels but education and school children. He measured success by the yellow school buses parked outside the History Center.

Robert Webb was named an Honorary Pillar of Support by the ETHS Board of Directors.