Texas State Historical Association



The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) is a non-profit educational organization, dedicated to documenting the history of Texas. It was founded in
Austin, Texas Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas, as well as the seat and largest city of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. Incorporated on December 27, 1839, it is the 11th-most-populous cit ...
, on March 2, 1897. , TSHA moved their offices from
Austin Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas, as well as the seat and largest city of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. Incorporated on December 27, 1839, it is the 11th-most-populous city ...
to the
University of North Texas The University of North Texas (UNT) is a public research university in Denton, Texas. It was founded as a nonsectarian, coeducational, private teachers college in 1890 and was formally adopted by the state 11 years later."Denton Normal School ...
in Denton. In 2015, the offices were relocated again, to the University of Texas at Austin.


The chief executive officer is Jesús F. de la Teja and the chief historian is Walter L. Buenger. The association president (2018-2019) is Sarita Hixon; the preceding president is (2017-2018) Paula Mitchell Marks. Other past presidents include Steve Cook (2016-2017), Lynn Denton (2015-2016), John L. Nau III (2014-2015), Gregg Cantrell (2013-2014), Watson Arnold (2012-2013), Merline Pitre (2011-2012), Dianne Garrett Powell (2010–2011) and Walter L. Buenger (2009-2010). Other past presidents are the late Robert A. Calvert (1989–1990) of Texas A&M, Alwyn Barr (1992-1993) of Texas Tech University, and Jerry D. Thompson (2001–2002) of Texas A&M International University in Laredo.


On February 13, 1897, ten persons convened to discuss the creation of a non-profit promoting Texas state history. George Pierce Garrison, Chair of the History Department at the University of Texas, led the organizational meeting which established the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) on March 2, 1893. The TSHA elected ex-Governor Oran Milo Roberts as its first president. In addition to Roberts, TSHA charter members include Guy M. Bryan,
Anna Pennybacker Anna J. Hardwicke Pennybacker, known publicly after her marriage as Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker, was the president of the American General Federation of Women's Clubs in the early 20th century, a Chautauqua speaker and a leader in the women's suffra ...
, Bride Neill Taylor, and Dudley G. Wooten. About twenty or thirty persons attended the charter meeting. One of the founders was U.S. Texas Senator
John Henninger Reagan John Henninger Reagan (October 8, 1818March 6, 1905) was an American politician from Texas. A Democrat, Reagan resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives when Texas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. H ...
. This first formal meeting of TSHA included men and several women who became charter members. At this first meeting, George P. Garrison, forwarded the idea that archival material about Texas needed to be preserved. Officers were chosen during the meeting and a controversy over what
John Salmon Ford John Salmon Ford (May 26, 1815 – November 3, 1897), better known as "Rip" Ford, was a member of the Republic of Texas Congress and later of the State Senate, and mayor of Brownsville, Texas. He was also a Texas Ranger, a Confederate colonel, ...
called "lady members," caused Ford to storm out of the meeting. Ford wanted the original constitution for TSHA to amend "members" with "lady members" when the participants were women. Garrison did not want to change the constitution, and eventually Bride Neill Taylor spoke up and agreed that there was no need to change anything. Ford could not be placated and after yelling at Taylor, saying, "Madam, your brass may get you into the association, but you will never have the right to get in under that section as it stands," his amendment to create "lady members" was unanimously defeated by the others at the meeting. Ford's leaving the meeting was seen as a negative effect to the other charter members who were counting on his
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that studies ...
influence to support the group at the political level. The first president was Oran M. Roberts, with Dudley G. Wooten,
Julia Lee Sinks Julia is usually a feminine given name. It is a Latinate feminine form of the name Julio and Julius. (For further details on etymology, see the Wiktionary entry "Julius".) The given name ''Julia'' had been in use throughout Late Antiquity (e.g ...
, Guy M. Bryan and
Charles Corner Charles is a masculine given name predominantly found in English and French speaking countries. It is from the French form ''Charles'' of the Proto-Germanic name (in runic alphabet) or ''*karilaz'' (in Latin alphabet), whose meaning was " ...
elected as vice presidents. Dues for membership were $2 a year in 1897. TSHA began to hold annual meetings in Austin. The first annual meeting was held on June 17, 1897. Topics included "The Expulsion of the
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi or Anigiduwagi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, th ...
s From
East Texas East Texas is a broadly defined cultural, geographic, and ecological region in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Texas that comprises most of 41 counties. It is primarily divided into Northeast and Southeast Texas. Most of the region consi ...
, "The Last Survivor of the Goliad Massacre," "The Veramendt House," "Thomson's Clandestine Passage Around Nacogdoches," and "Defunct Counties of Texas." There was also a group business meeting. By 1928, TSHA had a membership around 500 individuals.

Notable members

* Ben H. Procter, president from 1979 to 1980 * Florence Warfield Sillers

Selected TSHA fellows

* Paul H. Carlson (1992), Texas Tech professor emeritus and a specialist in Texas and the American West * A. C. Greene, book critic, historian, poet, journalist, and essayist


The organization produces three educational publications, in addition to the '' New Handbook of Texas'': * The ''Southwestern Historical Quarterly'' (originally called the ''Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association'') is the oldest continuously published scholarly journal in Texas. This journal usually features 16 articles per year, covering topics in a range of appeal. * ''Riding Line'' is published by the agency as a quarterly newsletter. It features news and current information on statewide historical activities. * The '' Texas Almanac'' is a biennially published reference work providing information for the general public on the history of the state and its people, government and politics, economics, natural resources, holidays, culture, education, recreation, the arts, and other topics. TSHA acquired the ''Texas Almanac'' as a gift from the A. H. Belo Corporation on May 5, 2008.

Educational programs

* Educational Department: Founded in 1939, looks to promote the teaching of Texas history in the states’ schools. * Junior Historians of Texas: An extracurricular program for students in grades four through twelve. * Texas History Day: Provides an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge of history in an annual state-level history fair for students in grades six through twelve. * History Awareness Workshops: Helps educators develop teaching strategies for informative content and practical classroom applications. * Heritage Travel Program: a one-week traveling seminar dealing with a specific subject in Texas history held at summer.

''Handbook of Texas''

The organization publishes the ''New Handbook of Texas'' which is a six-volume multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, culture, and geography. In addition, the ''Handbook of Texas Online'' is provided by TSHA for internet historical research of Texas.

List of presidents

A list of presidents of the TSHA: * Oran M. Roberts (1897–1898) * Dudley G. Wooten (1898–1899) * John H. Reagan (1899–1905) * David F. Houston (1905–1907) * A. W. Terrell (1907–1912) * Zachary T. Fulmore (1912–1915) * Adele Briscoe Looscan (1915–1925) * T. F. Harwood (1925–1929) * Alex Dienst (1929–1932) * W. R. Wrather (1932–1939) * Harbert Davenport (1939–1942) * L. W. Kemp (1942–1946) * Pat Ireland Nixon (1946–1949) * Earl Vandale (1949–1951) * Herbert P. Gambrell (1951–1953) * Claude Elliott (1953–1955) * Paul Adams (1955–1957) * Ralph W. Steen (1957–1959) * Merle M. Duncan (1959–1962) * Fred R. Cotten (1962–1964) * George P. Isbell (1964–1965) * J. P. Bryan, Sr. (1965–1967)

See also

West Texas Historical Association The West Texas Historical Association is an organization of both academics and laypersons dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the total history of West Texas, loosely defined geographically as all Texas counties and portions of coun ...
, based in Lubbock




* *

External links

''Southwestern Historical Quarterly'' online
* ''Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association''. Fulltex
via HathiTrust
various dates {{Authority control State history organizations of the United States Organizations established in 1897 Historical societies in Texas University of North Texas History of Texas University of Texas System