The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Book Reviews

it. Throughout his tenure as director of the Texas NYA, Lyndon Johnson was in
a constant state of turmoil, because the national office was painfully slow in ap-
proving projects that he and his staff had conceived. At times Johnson went for-
ward with plans without Washington's approval, and he frequently ignored
suggestions from the national office, including those of Aubrey Williams.
The National Youth Administration files at the LBJ Library contain abundant
evidence of Johnson's frustration with the national office and his success in
building an innovative program in spite of Aubrey Williams. Going beyond dis-
pensing relief dollars to train and place disadvantaged young people in private-
sector jobs was a crucial element of the Texas NYA program.
On the other hand, Weisenberger has enriched the historical record by gath-
ering the conclusions of disparate articles, papers, dissertations, and theses on
the Texas National Youth Administration into one book. In addition, she has
written the only thorough published account of the Texas NYA that follows the
agency until its demise in 1943, when Congress denied it further appropriations.
Because Lyndon Johnson later became a national figure, most histories have
concentrated on the agency during his tenure as director, and much of the story
occurred after he went to Congress in 1937 and left his old friend Jesse Kellam
in charge of the NYA. Weisenberger does an admirable job of describing the
NYA after Johnson, which built upon the youth training and placement pro-
grams instituted in Texas in the early days of the agency, and Kellam's success in
adapting his programs to wartime conditions.
Austin CHRISTIE L. BOURGEOIS
Hidden Histories of Women in the New South. Edited by Virginia Bernhard, Betty
Brandon, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Theda Purdue, and Elizabeth H. Turner.
(Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994. Pp. vii+253. Introduction, af-
terword, notes, index. ISBN 0-82620-958-0. $34.95.)
Hidden Histories of Women in the New South is a selection of essays originally pre-
sented as papers at the second conference of the Southern Association of
Women Historians in 1991. As Elizabeth Fox-Genovese points out in the after-
word, southern women have been "hidden" from history longer than their
northern counterparts "within the interstices of families and households" (p.
227). The stories of the non-white and non-elite have been buried deepest of all.
This volume is a sampling of promising research underway in recovering the
south's invisible women. Three opening essays focus on the social control of
"problem" women. Mary Ellen Curtin has used prison records to find the
African American women incarcerated during and after Reconstruction for as-
serting their right to trade and speak freely. Steven Noll illuminates the way in
which eugenics, gender, and class interacted between 1900oo and 1940 to define
young, promiscuous, poor women as "feeble-minded" and therefore as candi-
dates for institutionalization and sterilization. A contribution of less depth by
Marianne Leung on birth control in Arkansas during the Great Depression
shows how the Arkansas Eugenics Association targeted its contraceptive advice

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1995

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed December 18, 2014.