Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987 Page: 35
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cotton and learn how "hoe cake" got its
name. This is a wealthy book because it
is rich in descriptions of Texas plantation
life. It is properly footnoted and
makes good use of available source
material such as the WPA interviews of
former slaves. It would have been easy
to have gone astray since this book
covers such a broad subject, but just at
the time it is about to wander off like a
crooked furrow, it comes back with a
brilliant display of insights and facts
about daily life on a Texas plantation.
It would not be right to finish without
a compliment to the illustrations by
Charles Shaw. They achieve what illustrations
should, but rarely do. They
describe in picture the character of the
literary effort, going even beyond that
and, through their excellence, adding a
greater dimension to the entire project.
The book is a bountiful harvest. In
the vernacular of the plantation owner
and his slave counterpart, it's "three
bales to an acre" of a book.
J. P. Bryan is the Editor-In-Chief, Heritage
Texas Women: A Pictorial
History from Indians to
Texas Women: A Pictorial History from
Indians to Astronaut. By Ruthe Winegarten;
published by Eakin Press, Austin,
1986; 187 pp., 250+ photographs, plus
index, bibliography, reference notes,
photo credits, appendix.
Growing up in South Texas, in the
heart of Texas Revolution country, I
have from a young age maintained an
interest in Texas history. I remember
pestering my parents to stop on family
vacation trips to read roadside historical
markers, and it wasn't until much
later that I began to realize that nearly
everything I had heard or read about
the history of Texas dealt with men and
their exploits, mostly military. Even in
school, little was ever mentioned about
the contributions of women in Texas, or
anywhere else for that matter. Later,
working toward a history degree in
college, very little was mentioned
about women in my courses. Of course,
most of my professors were men.
My introduction to women's history
came after I moved to Austin and heard
about the Texas Women's History Project,
which was being conducted by the
Texas Foundation for Women's Resources.
That project's director of research,
Ruthe Winegarten, and her staff began
the enormous task of surveying the state
for information to include in the 1981
major touring exhibit, "Texas Women:
A Celebration of History." Previously,
no one had bothered to assess the resources
available on Texas women's history.
The project staff soon found that they
were uncovering more information than
could ever be included in ten exhibits,
much less one. At the time, in the back
of Ruthe Winegarten's mind the plan
for a pictorial history of women in
Texas began to form. Published in 1986
by Eakin Press of Austin, her book,
Texas Women: A Pictorial History from
Indians to Astronaut, is the culmination
of that early plan.
This book is a multi-ethnic approach
to the subject of women in Texas history,
and includes the stories of hundreds of
women who have made lasting contributions
to Texas, both individually and in
groups. It is a monument not only to
women most of us have heard about,
such as Jane Long, Cynthia Ann Parker,
Belle Starr, and Miriam A. "Ma"
Ferguson, but also to the numerous
"anonymous" women whose achievements,
contributions and activities have
gone unrecognized much too long.
Readers of Ms. Winegarten's book,
both serious students of history and
those just looking for an interesting
book to spend time with, will delight in
the variety of experiences and personalities
featured in the work, accompanied
by the sometimes moving and powerful
visual images of the photographs she
has chosen to include. What fascinating
women these are! The East Texas -
Caddo Indians were led for thirty years
by a woman, Angelina, for whom Angelina
County was named, the only Texas
county to so honor a woman. Dofia
Patricia de la Garza de Leon, after staking
her $10,000 inheritance to help her
husband found the town of Victoria in
1824, became the richest person in
Texas after his death in 1833. She con
tributed large sums of money to the
Texas revolutionary efforts against her
native Mexico. After independence was
won, however, anti-Mexican sentiment
forced her and her family out of their
home, one of her sons was murdered,
and all her property was siezed.
Jan Cazneau, the only woman awarded
an empresario grant to develop land
in Texas, wrote articles in Eastern newspapers
championing the cause of Texas
annexation. She was the first war correspondent
to report from behind battle
lines during the Mexican War.
Lizzie Johnson was one of the first
women to ride the Chisholm Trail to St.
Louis and later became known as the
"Cattle Queen of Texas." Becoming
miserly in later life, she died in 1924,
owning property in five counties and
leaving diamonds hidden throughout
her Austin apartment.
Dr. Sophie Herzog, a widowed
mother of fourteen, established her
medical practice in Brazoria in 1895.
She was buried wearing a necklace she
had made of twenty-four slugs she had
extracted from her often rowdy
Secretaries and office workers all
over the world have a Texas woman to
thank for that modern miracle, Liquid
Paper. Single mother Bette Graham,
seeking to make life easier for herself
as well as other overworked secretaries,
began experimenting in her kitchen with
her old-fashioned mixmaster, and invented
Liquid Paper in 1951. When
IBM declined her offer to sell the invention,
she began marketing the product
herself, and by 1967, Liquid Paper was
a multi-million dollar business. Before
her death in 1980, Bette Graham had
established two philanthropic foundations
to aid women.
Winegarten's book illustrates not
only the contributions made by individual
women, but also the lasting effects of
women's organizations in Texas. The
Texas Equal Suffrage Association played
a major role in guaranteeing women
of this state the right to vote. The organization
was instrumental in the careers of
two of Texas' most important leaders.
Annie Webb Blanton became the first
woman elected to statewide office when
she became State Superintendent of
Public Instruction in 1918. During her
terms of office, she increased teachers'
pay by 50%, provided free textbooks,
and improved schools for blacks and in
Minnie Fisher Cunningham, President
of the Texas Equal Suffrage
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987, periodical, Autumn 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45439/m1/35/?rotate=270: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.