Celebrating Women’s History In a Whole New Way
Pilots, activists, oil magnates, storytellers, scientists, ranchers, daughters, mothers – the number of women who have affected or influenced the history of our state is as vast as the Texas landscape itself, and there are many more notable women waiting to be discovered.
Enter the Handbook of Texas Women. The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) seeks to shed light on the achievements of Texan women through a massive initiative to expand on the nation’s oldest and most successful digital state encyclopedia, the Handbook of Texas. Texas women make Texas history, and the time has come to illuminate the stories of these women.
The Handbook of Texas project began in 1939 as an effort led by University of Texas Professor Walter Prescott Webb to preserve Texas history and create “the most useful book that has ever been published in Texas.” The TSHA was organized in Austin on March 2, 1897, and the Handbook began as two printed volumes in 1952, with a supplemental third volume in 1976. Twenty years later, the six-volume Handbook included 23,640 entries and 687 illustrations within 6,945 pages. The Handbook of Texas Online launched in February 1999 and was among the first digital encyclopedias accessible for free on the Internet to the general public. The Handbook consists of more than 27,000 overview, general, and biographical entries focused on the entire history of Texas from the indigenous Native Americans and the Prehistoric Era to the state’s diverse population and the Modern Age. These entries emphasize the role Texans played in state, national, and world history.
Handbook entries are written by volunteer historians and professionals, reviewed by TSHA staff, vetted by scholars, and approved by TSHA’s Chief Historian before appearing online. The development of new entries is driven by current events, user suggestions, and internal identification of missing topics, which are reviewed by the TSHA Chief Historian for consideration. Authors utilize secondary and primary sources such as books, census records, newspapers, military service records, obituaries, diaries, and letters to craft historically accurate entries. The sources are compiled into a bibliography and updated regularly to provide readers with the most current scholarship. The Handbook editors fact-check, copyedit, and format entries using appropriate language for users ranging from middle school to college.
You have a unique opportunity to pass the many stories found in the rich history of Texas women onto our state’s youth. For the launch of this initiative, we have collected our best content and relevant lesson plans into a bundle.
Texas enthusiasts like you are our organization’s most loyal constituency and are critical to helping us spread this content. For the launch of this initiative, we have curated some of our best content available on Texas women’s history.
Below, you will find a bundle packed with a lot of information on women’s history in Texas that you can download for free. This information will help in your study of history both inside and outside of school.
Navigate through history!
TSHA invites you to take a journey through Texas women’s history on our interactive historical marker map. On the global map, you will learn more about the many prominent women who made significant contributions to the state of Texas. The map is user-friendly and allows you to zoom in and out, click on each location to learn why it is important, and navigate to the Handbook of Texas to read more about the selected individual. Each pinned location offers a brief description of the woman associated with the location and an explanation as to why the location is important.
We will be adding more to this map in the coming months, so please check back often to discover new locations. Also, if you have a new idea for a location and would like to help us add content for the map, please let us know or simply click on the picture to the left and begin exploring today!
Women Across Texas History eBook Volume 2: Early Twentieth Century
Our unique history is shaped by the stories from the myriad individuals who influenced the politics, economy, and culture of Texas. Among these individuals are countless women who fought for gender equality and shattered glass ceilings, creating new opportunities for those who followed. Texas women make Texas history, and as a result of their contributions in the past, the foundation for the future is much stronger.