Heritage, 2011, Volume 3 Page: 34
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In the mid-1980s...a research fellowship in women's history
for The Handbook of Texas revision project...[provided]
fertile ground for original research about women and a
nation's first resource collection about females. In 1951,
TWU history professor A. Elizabeth Taylor published an
important article, "The Woman's Suffrage Movement in
Texas." Twenty-five years later, Jane Dysart wrote an early
article about Mexican women in San Antonio, and in 1979,
Jacqueline Dowd Hall published a cultural study of Jessie
Daniel Ames, a civil rights activist in the South. But not
until the 1980s did Texas women's history emerge as a field
Credit for awakening that interest goes to the Texas
Foundation for Women's Resources (TFWR) and its Texas
Women's History Project. Research Director Ruthe Wine-
garten and her team spent three years combing the state,
producing a 2,000-entry bibliography, collecting biograph-
ical information about almost 600 women, and catalogu-
ing more than 20,000 items. The resulting 1981 exhibit,
"Texas Women: A Celebration of History," was unique in
the U.S., traveled the state, and gave more than a million
visitors a new perspective on Texas' past.
In the mid-1980s, to expand the interest that the exhibit
tapped, TFWR and Ellen Temple created a research fellow-
ship in women's history for The Handbook of Texas revision
project at the Texas State Historical Association, thereby
providing fertile ground for original research about women
and a venue for publishing. Historians Sandra Myres and
Fane Downs were project advisors. Staff members Judith
McArthur, Nancy Baker Jones, Debbie Mauldin Cottrell,
Nancy Beck Young, Caroline Castillo Crimm, Teresa Palo-
mo Acosta, Cynthia Orozco, Paula Marks, and Emily Cu-
trer later published their own books about women. Volun-
teer contributors including Ruthe Winegarten, Mary Lou
LeCompte, Elizabeth Hayes Turner, Jackie McElhaney,
Elizabeth York Enstam, Rebecca Sharpless, Janet Hum-
phrey, and Juliana Barr also continued to publish about
So accomplished was the 1980s output of dissertations,
articles, and books that Ann P. Malone wrote one biblio-
graphic essay (for A Guide to the History of Texas) in 1988
and Fane Downs another (for Texas Through Time) in 1991.
Women and Texas History: Selected Essays, a compilation of
conference papers from the first statewide academic confer-
ence on Texas women's history, appeared in 1993, as did
another acknowledgment of the quality of the field, the
annual Liz Carpenter Award (named after the Texas-born
journalist and speechwriter) for the best book.
Publications continued to appear at an impressive rate
throughout the 1990s and into the present. The sub-
jects about which female historians are writing-African
American, Tejana, Jewish, and Indian women; rural and
urban women; women in ranching, medicine, business,
the military; and issues affecting females such as social
reform, labor, politics, slavery, art, liberalism, conserva-
tism, religion, and law-seem limitless. Complexities
of race, gender, sexuality, economics, and mythmaking
are now common themes, as evidenced by such books
as Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas (2007),
Forgetting the Alamo (2009), and Texas Through Women's
Eyes (2010). In 2012 the University of Georgia Press will
publish an edited collection of biographical essays en-
tirely about Texas women in its series, "Southern Wom-
en: Their Lives and Times."
A brief overview such as this is necessarily incomplete.
Visit the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation website, www.
womenintexashistory.org, for a comprehensive bibliog-
raphy as well as many other Texas women's history re-
Nancy Baker Jones is board president of the Ruthe Winegar-
ten Foundation for Texas Women's History. She wishes to ac-
knowledge and thank board members Teresa Palomo Acosta,
Cynthia J. Beeman, and Melissa Hield for their assistance in
the research and preparation of this article.
34 TEXASHERITAGE I Volume 3 2011
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 3, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254222/m1/34/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.