The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 582
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
sentation. The style of Ann F. Crawford and Crystal S. Ragsdale is
lively, leaning toward rich use of vignettes and first-person retrospec-
tion by the subjects and their friends, yet informative in dealing with
such constructs as class, religion, ethnicity, and region as these relate
to gender and time.
The best of these illustrated sketches, averaging twelve pages in
length and with individual references, generally open with a telling
episode, progress through the person's life, and evaluate the person's
public role-attempting along the way, as Jean Jacques Rousseau
writes, to "doubly paint" the person, namely at the moment when
events happened and after later reflection. Elsewhere, and especially
when constrained by limited information, the sketches regress to pro-
files, interestingly compiled but not as richly textured. Humor is always
present, partly because these women seemed to share that outlook, a
stance of smiling "dignity and character" best captured by Frances Far-
enthold's credo in 1972: "I'm working now for the day when the un-
qualified woman, Black, or Chicano, can join the unqualified white
man in politics" (p. 286). Partly because of the greater range of sources,
but partly too because of the greater sympathies of the authors, the
more recent sketches of Farenthold, Barbara Jordan, Sarah Wedding-
ton, Liz Carpenter, and Lady Bird Johnson steal the show from the ear-
lier, largely narrative sketches.
One can foresee a later study by these authors in which they write an
integrated examination of women in Texas. Such a work would focus
more clearly on the social context of their historical development and
would evaluate women's roles in relation to the dominant character of
different times, assessing for example the impact of an Elisabet Ney on
her time as compared with a Dorothy Scarborough on hers. Many of
the misleading stereotypes of nineteenth-century women, for instance,
arise from the absence of well-conceived diachronic studies-of women,
of ethnics, of rural and urban populations. Ultimately, such works
must also discover how women, ethnics, and populations of one region
or state define themselves, positively or negatively, in relation to their
contemporaries in other areas. Only then will histories of subgroups
address themselves accurately to reconstructing the social fabric and to
filtering a changing reality.
Women in Texas does not set out to achieve these objectives fully,
but the book is quite successful as a gathering of thirty well-chosen bi-
ographies. One now looks forward to the next generation of Texas
GLEN E. LICH
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/640/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.