The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Book Reviews

spectives on women, reform, Texas, and Progressivism. Focusing primarily on
the Federated Women's Clubs of Texas, she begins with Texas women's intro-
duction to the Progressive reforms already underway in other states by the 189os
and their attempt to create their own state organization. As they battled for pure
water, education for women, and better schools, the women came to perceive
themselves as actors in the public sphere. The women used the "scientific" lan-
guage of the time to claim their authority as "home economists" and "educated
mothers," particularly fit to take over the "municipal housekeeping" so often
missing in their towns and cities. In Texas, which has traditionally favored mini-
mal government, the women expanded the responsibility of the state to those in
need. According to McArthur, women's suffrage was the culmination, not the
cause, of their creation of public roles for themselves in Texas.
Although the Texas Federation serves as the book's focus, McArthur relies on
her own extensive background in Texas women's history to take readers through-
out the state, reporting local activities and repeating telling quotations of the
women and their opponents. In addition, she compares the club women of
Texas with other women's organizations throughout the country and with the
men active in Texas Progressivism, showing the uniqueness of the Texas club
women's approach. She offers insight into how women, by organizing at the
local, state, and national levels of the General Federation of Women's Clubs,
affected significant legislation.
While the women active in the federated clubs of Texas were white and mid-
dle-to-upper class, race is an important theme running throughout McArthur's
book. African Americans had their own tradition of mutual aid, which had devel-
oped into a formal structure of national, state, and local clubs by 1900.
McArthur traces their activities in Texas, comparing them to the white women's
groups. Clearly, but nonjudgmentally, she describes the racism of the Texas
Federation of Women's Clubs, but contends that unlike others, they did not use
racism in their own campaign for suffrage.
Reading McArthur's book, and to a lesser degree McElhaney's, is an eye-open-
ing experience, not only for those of us who follow women's history, but for aca-
demics who ascribe minor roles to women in Texas history, and for general read-
ers ready to expand their own understanding of how one disempowered group
changed themselves and their state by claiming a public role.
Alpzne, Texas Marilyn Dell Brady
The Spanzsh Mzsszons of San Antonzo. By Lewis F. Fisher. (San Antonio: Maverick
Publishing Company, 1998. Pp. viii+1o3. Color plates, illustrations, pho-
tographs, introduction, chronology, selected bibliography, acknowledgments,
index. ISBN 0-965-1507-55. $26.95, cloth; 0-965-1507-63. $16.95, paper.)
In his latest offering, Lewis Fisher, journalist, author, and chronicler of San
Antonio's history as preserved in its buildings, gives the reader a fresh approach
to a theme that has been visited often but not always this well. The author's
intent was that of not only producing a "concise portrayal of the missions' saga"
but also a handbook for visitors to the missions.

625

2001

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed April 17, 2014.