Texas State Historical Association

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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, on March 2, 1897. As of November 2008, TSHA moved their offices from Austin to the University of North Texas in Denton. In 2015, the offices were relocated again, to the University of Texas at Austin.[1]


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.[2] 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.[3] 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, Bride Neill Taylor, and Dudley G. Wooten.[2] About twenty or thirty persons attended the charter meeting.[4] One of the founders was U.S. Texas Senator John Henninger Reagan.

This first formal meeting of TSHA included men and several women who became charter members.[5]

At this first meeting, George P. Garrison, forwarded the idea that archival material about Texas needed to be preserved.[6] Officers were chosen during the meeting and a controversy over what John Salmon Ford called "lady members," caused Ford to storm out of the meeting.[2] Ford wanted the original constitution for TSHA to amend "members" with "lady members" when the participants were women.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8] Ford's leaving the meeting was seen as a negative effect to the other charter members who were counting on his political influence to support the group at the political level.[9]

The first president was Oran M. Roberts, with Dudley G. Wooten, Julia Lee Sinks, Guy M. Bryan and Charles Corner elected as vice presidents.[2] Dues for membership were $2 a year in 1897.[10]

TSHA began to hold annual meetings in Austin.[11] The first annual meeting was held on June 17, 1897.[10] Topics included "The Expulsion of the Cherokees From East Texas, "The Last Survivor of the Goliad Massacre," "The Veramendt House," "Thomson's Clandestine Passage Around Nacogdoches," and "Defunct Counties of Texas."[10] There was also a group business meeting.[10]

By 1928, TSHA had a membership around 500 individuals.[12]

Notable members[edit]

Selected TSHA fellows[edit]


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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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[edit]

A list of presidents of the TSHA:[13]

  • 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[edit]



  1. ^ "University of Texas Welcomes Texas State Historical Association Back Home to Austin". UT News.
  2. ^ a b c d McDonald, Archie P. "Texas State Historical Association". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  3. ^ Taylor (1929), p. 1.
  4. ^ Taylor 1929, p. 1.
  5. ^ Grider and Rodenberger 1997, p. 56-57.
  6. ^ Taylor 1929, p. 2.
  7. ^ a b Taylor 1929, p. 4.
  8. ^ Taylor 1929, p. 5.
  9. ^ Taylor 1929, p. 6.
  10. ^ a b c d "State Historical Association". Galveston Daily News. 13 June 1897. Retrieved 27 April 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Baker Lectures on Texas Revolution". Austin Daily Texan. 1 April 1928. Retrieved 26 April 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "State Historical Ass'n Opens Today". Taylor Daily Press. 11 April 1928. Retrieved 26 April 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "President". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 8, 2022.


External links[edit]