Heritage, Volume 04, Number 02, Fall 1986

and beautiful mother of five was to make
on both the town and the state. As wife
of A. N. McCallum, who would serve as
superintendent of Austin schools for 39
years, she was instantly accepted into
Austin society, meeting such people as
Elisabet Ney.
Ney also might never have guessed
what the future held for the young
woman, or what impact Ney herself
would make on McCallum, who later eulogized
the famous sculptor in magazine
and newspaper articles. In her unpublished
manuscript, McCallum describes
sitting quietly in awe as Ney summarily
greeted her as "the pretty child" and then
went on to her other guests. The influential
women who were among the coterie
of Ney's friends must have also had a profound
effect on McCallum's political and
social consciousness.
Always active in women's organizations,
McCallum would grow increasingly
aware that without the right to vote,
women could not effect the programs they
supported. Her initiation into politics began
when she directed publicity campaigns
for the Texas woman's suffrage
movement. Her efforts to promote
woman's suffrage also launched her journalisr.
career, as she began chronicling
the progress of the suffrage movement for
the Austin American in 1917 and the
Austin Statesman in 1918. Although
McCallum's writing career was to take a
backseat to her political involvement,
she continued submitting columns on
women's issues for the Austin Statesman
through the mid-1940's.
During the 1950's she concentrated on
collecting the stories of Texas pioneer
women and other notable, or notorious,
Texas women often neglected by writers
and historians. Although some accounts
reported this collection had been published,
it was never catalogued and no
manuscript was found until Poage located
the only copy.
The manuscript's discovery is another
example of women, like McCallum, who
felt the need to find the lost heritage of
their Texas foremothers. In the late
1970's, Ann Richards persuaded the Texas
Foundation for Women's Resources to initiate
a Texas Woman's History Project.
Mary Beth Rogers, the project directcr,
was ably assisted by Ruthe Winegarten,

Jane Y. McCallum was elected Secretary of State
in 1927, and played an influential role in the
women's sufferage movement during the early
1900's, courtesy of the Austin History Center.

Sherry Smith, Melissa Hield, Janelle
Scott and Frieda Werden in recording the
contributions made by women to Texas's
history. They foraged through museums
and libraries and issued the call for others
to join the search and look in their homes
for diaries, journals, photographs, and
other heirlooms. Thousands of hours of
research and the efforts of hundreds of
women across the state led to the first exhibition
about the history of women in
Texas, produced in 1981.
This exhibit, Texas Women: A Celebration
of History, spawned renewed interest
in women's history. The women believed
the exhibit's impact would substantially
affect the chronicling of Texas women,
especially with the forthcoming revision
of the Handbook of Texas, which promised
for the first time to include a significant
number of women among its entries. Yet
publisher Ellen Temple, writer Ruthe
Winegarten and other concerned women

felt the need to ensure the Handbook include
many women whose stories had
been detailed by the Texas Women's History
Project, as well as many stories yet to
be revealed. They asked the Texas State
Historical Association to sponsor a
"brainstorming" conference of Texas
women to be entered in the Handbook.
The seminar, held in October of 1985
in Austin, saw a group of enthusiastic
women and men who sought to record for
posterity the actions of women who in
some way affected Texas history. The participants
pointed out that school textbook
publishers were still remiss in portraying
more women in history texts.
They also called for the appointment of
more women to the advisory commission
to the Handbook, that included only two
women.
It was a conference that Jane Y.
McCallum would have loved, for she
dedicated many years of her life to compiling
the stories of Texas women. Unfortunately,
her manuscript was not published
in the fifties, for it would have
saved many hours or even months of work
for those women of the seventies who
went delving into some of the same
sources, looking for the same types of accomplishments
by women. McCallum
documented much of the manuscript with
footnotes, citing some obscure works and
a few primary sources, therefore creating
an invaluable reference that would have
been the standard for years if the book
had been published.
However, the manuscript needed a
major revision that McCallum, at age 76,
could not undertake. In 1957, at the age
of 79, she died. Though she remained active
in the latter years of her life, even
serving as Travis County's first woman
grand jury commissioner in 1954, she was
affected by glaucoma and was forced to
abandon her great love of writing. And
though many of the stories she collected
in the 1950's have since been told, the
manuscript's reappearance at this time,
during the Sesquicentennial, symbolizes
the need to acknowledge the importance
of women who have served Texas and
to preserve their stories for future
generations.
Bobby Duncan is a free lance writer
from Austin, Texas.

Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 04, Number 02, Fall 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45442/. Accessed July 22, 2014.